Travel Advice – Understand Travel Insurance: An essential part of your backpacking plans should involve getting and understanding travel insurance. You’ll need to speak to your insurance provider and investigate your policy thoroughly to verify details of exactly what your policy does and doesn’t cover. For worldwide travel insurance Money Supermarket has a database of travel insurers. There are some things that a backpacker insurance policy will usually cover as standard, so read on for the lowdown on the essentials:
Medical cover is probably the most important part of your insurance plan. The US government recommends checking whether or not your existing medical insurance policy covers things like medical evacuation; if it doesn’t it is recommended that you take out a supplemental policy to cover yourself. Healthcare cover should cover you for between two and three million USD. Some policies also include a 24 hour emergency service. With this, you’ll be entitled to assistance from a specialized company, helping you with everything from repatriation to on-the-spot advice.
It is extremely important to be aware that many policies will exclude cover for injuries incurred whilst participating in certain activities, such as jet-skiing or sky diving.
Your insurance provider will usually be more than happy to include cover for such extreme activities, providing you’re willing to pay a higher premium.
Policies usually include cover for cash and documents (e.g. passport), although there are limits, so check your policy thoroughly and, if there’s anything you don’t understand, ask your insurer. With policies usually carrying an upper limit on both the amount claimed per item and the total claim, you’ll need to make sure that if you’re taking any expensive items with you they will definitely be covered. Again, you’ll often be able to purchase extra cover for such items. Make sure your luggage is covered – airlines are only obliged to pay back a tiny amount per kilo of lost luggage, which could see you seriously out of pocket if anything were to happen.
Wherever you are, theft must be reported to the police within 24 hours, proof of which will be requested by your insurance company if they’re going to process any claims.
Personal Accident Cover
In the unlikely event of death or permanent disability incurred whilst on your trip, your insurance company will pay out a fixed sum. Some policies will even cover legal expenses incurred when pursuing compensation after such an event.
Personal Liability Cover
This covers costs incurred by you if you injure someone or damage their property and you’re subsequently sued.
This needs to begin on the date you book your holiday, because it covers you for having to cancel your trip, either in part or in full. Similarly, some policies will cover you if your flights are moved or completely cancelled and you’re forced to forego some or all of your trip.
Things To Remember:
- Declare any existing health conditions or anything else you think might affect a potential claim. Any failure to do so could see your insurance policy completely invalidated, which means you’ll be covered for absolutely nothing.
- Be fully aware that your insurance policy probably won’t cover you for any alcohol or drug-related injuries or accidents.
- Always purchase cover from a reputable insurer that will pay out for valid claims quickly and in full.
- You may have some degree of travel insurance from things like credit cards or private healthcare insurance, but these rarely provide comprehensive worldwide cover so always check the fine print.
- Remember also to keep a copy of your insurance policy and emergency contact numbers on your person at all times while travelling – you never know when you might need it.
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