Do You Really Need Travel Insurance?

The simple answer to this question is a resounding YES!

Choosing which backpackers insurance to go for is far more complicated than we anticipated. It took over 2 weeks to choose the right type of cover – something which we thought would take a day to complete!

It is essential choosing the right insurance – going with the cheapest option is not always your best bet.

Here are a few tips I can recommend for those looking into travel insurance policies:

READ THE SMALL PRINT! – this is too important to skip, there is guaranteed to be terms and conditions which are purposely made to be misleading. Never assume – contact the company so they can clarify your queries.

Round the world or one way ticket? – some policies are not available for one way tickets. Again, be sure to confirm this is covered if you’re travelling one way (like we did).

Claims – there are some policies which won’t allow you to claim whilst you are travelling! Meaning you’ll have to return back home to do so.

Pre Existing Medical Conditions – check in the terms and conditions if a current medical condition will be included. Also check the amount of medical costs covered (ideally £5M)

Activities – biking, surfing, trekking, bungee jumping – whatever activities you intend on doing you’ll need check to see if this is covered. This is especially important if you’re trekking in mountainous regions like Nepal.

Valuables – bear in mind that insurance policies cover a partial/limited value on your belongings. Check how much the valuables limits are in the event of making a claim.

What was the best travel insurance for us?

We found an insurance company by the name of True Traveller which ticked all our requirements.

We took out 12 month policy which covered the following:

•No return ticket required (ideal for us as we’re travelling on a one way ticket)

•Making a claim whilst travelling

•Medical cover to £5M (per person)

•64 activities covered as a standard – with the ability to add more for high risk sports

•Ability to extend our policy whilst we are travelling

*our life insurance Zurich covers us worldwide for gadgets.

The True Traveller were originally a travel company but now only specialise in insurance. I particularly find the website very easy to navigate and their policies clearly explained. Even when we called them to clarify a few policies they were more than helpful answering our questions and giving us advice.

The total cost for 2 people including an activity pack for 12 months came to £819.26. This price also included an excess waiver. This costed more than we planned but we felt that we had chosen the right provider and cover. As the True Traveller quote goes ‘if you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel’.

Tried and Tested: Making a Claim (July 2014)

I’ve added this section as we have used our insurers to make a claim on the following:

•Delayed flight

We made a claim with True Traveller as we were delayed on our first flight out on Kathmandu. The airline had provided a paper document (which confirmed the delayed departure for the claims process) which we used to help file a claim with both the airline and insurance company. The process was very straightforward and we were sent each a compensation cheque from the airline and True Traveller to our home addresses within a matter of weeks.

•Medical assistance

I was admitted to a clinic for 2 nights in Kathmandu for gastroenteritis and required a drip throughout the duration. We phoned True Traveller and were told which forms I needed to fill out to make a claim. With the clinics help we sent off the required documents and had the medical bills paid off by the insurance by the time I left the clinic. The bill was estimated to be around $3000 as estimated by the doctor – all of which was paid off by the insurance.

Having two successful claims within our first few weeks travelling reaffirmed how important it was for us choosing the right cover. Based on the experience we have had, I would recommend True Travellers for long term travellers.

Click here for more information about True Traveller – as we reside in the UK I can’t guarantee any exemptions applied outside England.