How to obtain travel insurance

In today’s world, most travel insurance policies are sold online. In a matter of minutes, you can

  • Get a quote
  • Pay with a credit card
  • Print your e-mail confirmation
  • And you are done!

There are several ways to obtain travel insurance coverage

Use a travel insurance comparison website which sells policies for various insurance companies. With these websites, you can review and compare travel insurance plans, from various companies, side by side. This is an excellent way to select the insurance plan that fits your needs if you do not have a favorite insurance company yet. The following websites are travel insurance comparison sites.

  • Squaremouth.com
  • Insuremytrip.com
  • Quotewright.com

Purchase directly from a specific insurance company. Travel Insurance Review provides a review of the most popular travel insurance companies. Only buy from reputable companies. A.M. Best rates insurance companies. After purchasing travel insurance a few times, you might have one or two favorite insurance companies. If you do, you can go directly to their website, compare their various plans side by side and purchase the policy that’s right for you.

Purchase from a company such as Worldnomads.com which covers many adventure activities.

Suggested steps for obtaining the coverage you desire

Prior to making your initial trip payment –

  • Make a list of the various coverages you want for your upcoming trip
  • Use the coverage information in this chapter as a guide, websites such as Travel Insurance Review and also the comparison websites to develop your list.
  • Include, on your list, additional benefits that you would like included (e.g. evacuation coverage to the facility of your choice or home, pre-existing medical condition waiver, etc.).
  • Identify which coverages, if any, you will use existing insurance policies (e.g. your personal health care plan) to cover.

As soon as you make your initial trip payment (e.g. the deposit for your cruise or tour, payment for the airline tickets, etc.) –

  • Purchase your travel insurance policy. This allows you to take advantage of the features that require purchasing within a certain number of days (e.g. the pre-existing medical condition waiver) and the trip cancellation coverage. Remember, trip cancellation is based on an event that is unforeseen at the time you purchase your policy.

Notes regarding travel insurance policies

Important to know before you purchase your policy –

If you are planning any adventure activities (e.g. skydiving, rock climbing, bungee jumping, motorcycle riding, etc.), carefully review the coverage and exclusions prior to purchasing your policy. Many insurance plans exclude these types of activities. You might need to purchase a plan, such as an adventure package plan, that includes these activities. For instance, squaremouth.com notes this under the Sports category and then the Hazardous Sports sub-category. Many of the plans indicate “no coverage”. Squaremouth notes that Hazardous Sports are activities such as motorcycle riding, motor scooter riding, mountaineering, hang gliding, parachuting, bungee jumping, caving and heli-skiing. Always ensure that your activities, while traveling, will be covered. Don’t assume that riding a motor scooter in Thailand will be covered by your emergency medical plan. As a side note, when you’re traveling, consider whether you are covered before undertaking an activity that comes up unexpectedly (e.g. bungee-jumping). The activity might not be covered by your travel insurance plan or your personal health care plan.

Each insurance company has a number of base packages. Packages will be based on different types of travel (e.g. cruise, adventure, family, etc), the level of protection (from basic to premium) and/or the type of insurance (e.g. medical only). This will assist you in finding a plan that is right for you. If you cannot find the plan that best fits your needs, many insurance companies will allow you to modify the base plan with available options for an additional fee.

Some coverages might not be included in the base package plan. They might only be available for an additional fee, or if the policy is purchased within a certain number of days following the initial trip payment/deposit or only be effective after a waiting period. Be aware and careful.

The cost of the travel insurance policy is the same whether you purchase through a comparison website or directly from the insurance company. The comparison website receives a commission, from the various insurance companies, for any policies they sell.

Purchase a policy that fits your needs and not one that is based on price alone.

Purchase the policy as soon after the initial trip payment as possible.

Some insurance companies offer a “free look” period which is typically 10 to 14 days. This provides time to thoroughly review your policy and ensure that it’s right for you. If you are not satisfied, you can cancel the policy (prior to the end of the free look period) and obtain a refund. This must be completed before any claim is filed or the trip departure date.

Verify the policy is valid in the country you are traveling to. There are a handful of countries where some travel insurance policies are not covered.

You can obtain a quote for a single trip or in some cases an annual plan that includes multiple trips you will take within the next year.

All policies will have exclusions. Know what they are!