I had just come back to my hostel after a crazy night out drinking around Vancouver. When I returned to my dorm room the window was open and the room looked a little gloomy. I looked at my hostel locker and quickly noticed that it was both jammed open and completely empty.
I had thought it would be a smart idea to leave everything in my locker to avoid losing it.
I had my passport, wallet and mobile phone in the locker.
It had all been stolen and there was nothing I could do about it.
I could have cried about it, but instead, I decided to pick myself up and buy everything else again and carry on with the backpacking adventure. It was my first week into my first year of travelling on my gap year round the world and I wasn’t going to let this moment ruin my adventure.
Luckily I had insurance
Luckily I had documented everything and backed up the receipts of all the items in my bag.
After a trip to the police station and a quick trip to the British embassy I was back on track travelling again.
My insurance claim was granted and I was allowed to buy everything again to claim back for what I had lost.
How to pick the most affordable travel insurance policy
Without travel insurance I would have had nothing, I would have just been stuck and had to bail myself out, in such situations that’s the last thing you want to do.
My travel insurance company of choice: SafetyWing
SafetyWing are truly a leader in the field and they tailor for travel medical insurance for long-term travellers to get what you need out of insurance.
Just get it and never think about it until you have to use it.
Pick a Policy that suits your needs
You might see it as an annoying expense that you have to fork out for, but with multi backpacker trip policies at low prices it’s silly not to.
Pick the insurance relevant to where you are travelling.
If you’re going to be based in Australia for one year the policy might be cheaper if it’s without USA cover.
Also make sure that if you’re not travelling to the USA to say you’re not because USA travel insurance is more expensive and you can cut your final price if you’re not going to travel there.
How to pick a good insurance policy
The most important part of the travel insurance, without it you have a very pointless policy. How to make sure it’s a good policy? Read the small print on what it covers you for.
Make sure the cover is in the millions so you’re completely covered if something bad happens.
It may sound silly now, but it has been known to go into this figure, make sure you’re covered for this excessive amount and hope you never need that much.
One example of a past case that went into the millions:
“Guy breaks his leg in a USA national park close to the Rockies. Emergency mountain rescue gets to the scene and calls out a helicopter which then drops off the patient to an ambulance which then drives to the private hospital and orders an X-Ray, then doctors are needed to look at the X-Ray. Next, he’s into surgery with all the doctors doing the operations along with one week of the patient needing the hospital bed and food with many more X-rays. This is an example of a million plus claim. If you didn’t have the insurance you would have to take it out from a bank and pay it back at high interest. When you have an emergency like that the doctors will not think twice about how much it will cost you they will just do it at your expense. Get travel insurance and make sure it has a good health policy. You will most probably never use it, but if you have to, you’ll be very thankful you have it.”
Other areas you should look into covering
Death and funeral fees, means that if you die when travelling, your family won’t have to worry about paying for an expensive flight to get your body home.
It will be covered and they will have nothing to worry about. It’s up to you if you want this, but I get it as it makes me sleep a little easier at night knowing my family don’t have to worry about a thing if that was to happen.
Normally the cheaper the cover the higher the waver cost is.
This means if you have a medical emergency, you may have to pay the first £200 and the rest is covered. For a £20,000 operation paying only £200 of that bill does seem like a much better deal.
The higher the waver the cheaper the insurance so you have to work out yourself how much you’re prepared to pay upfront in such situations.
Once you have health covered you have the main bases of the much-needed travel insurance.
When it comes to expensive items, however, do read the cover as it might be £1,000 for electronics as a whole and will cover in multiples of £100 per item.
That means if your laptop gets stolen you will get £100 back, not the £700 it cost, so make sure this part is clear and you know exactly what you will be getting covered.
Personally, I never cover electronics. I did on my first trip, but after that I realized that if my phone or laptop got stolen I would be prepared to buy a new one myself.
Now I put the cost of what the policy amount would be each year into my banks saving account. Now if I had ever had these items stolen, I can cover myself (after many years of saving). If I still have my Electronics after all my travels then I have a lovely pot of beer money waiting for me at the end.
Passport and visa?
Should you cover your passport on your insurance? The cost of getting a new one will be under £100, so is it worth paying extra to cover this fee? It’s up to you; I personally would just buy a new one if that was to happen.
I’m not an expert at Travel Insurance, just simply offering my advice on what you should do, but I do recommend that you get it, would be silly to travel without it.