I’ll admit, Travel Insurance hasn’t always been at the forefront of my mind before going on a trip. I vividly remember rushing around trying to organise insurance just a few hours before leaving on my first big trip to Thailand, and then to Australia for a year, and typing into google ‘do I need travel insurance?’. Because it’s seems like one of those things that you purchase, don’t use and next time around question whether it was worth even getting!
The thing is, if you have the above situation over and over every time you go away, you’re actually really lucky! Because when you need insurance it means something has gone wrong. You can be the most responsible and careful traveller ever but something bad can still happen to you.
I’m fortunate that in 7 years of travelling I’ve only ever had to claim on my insurance once and I’ve only been really close to claiming a second time but there have been many times where knowing that I have insurance in a slightly tricky or dangerous situation has reassured me (sorry mum)!
Just to put it in perspective, let me tell you about some of those very real experiences…
Rewind back to the summer of 2010 and I was in South Carolina working at a summer camp looking after the horses and ponies. Now if I was to tell you that I fractured my arm that summer you’d think it was due to the horses but oh no, on one of our weekly activities where the staff got to leave camp we went to a roller disco. I knew it was a bad idea from the start because I was always a roller-blader when I was younger, not a skater (big difference!) and so I fell forward half way through, put my arms out and ended up fracturing my arm.
I was terrified, not because of the pain or the cost of going to a hospital in the USA (although probably because I didn’t realise how much medical charges are in the USA then.. let me tell you now that they are ridiculously high!), but because I thought I would get sent home half way through the summer. I had been looking forward to this for months, I didn’t want to go home early. Luckily my manager let me stay as my arm healed in 3-4 weeks and it worked out fine.
Fast forward a few more years, it was 2014, I’d lived in Australia for 2 years and I was now travelling South East Asia for as long as my money would last for me. I thought money would be the only reason I would need to go home but fate had other plans.
I’d been so careful travelling around Asia. I’d been there 5 months and consistently avoided riding a moped on my own in case I fell off or crashed. I had made sure I didn’t get too drunk when tubing in Vang Vieng so you know, I didn’t drown, and generally I had been good at avoiding crazy situations that backpackers often find themselves in.
I arrived in Thailand ready for my second Full Moon Party with my new backpacking friends and part of going to the Full Moon Party is going to the pre parties. So the night before the Full Moon Party, we headed to the Jungle Party. It didn’t get off to a great start as it was so busy and then whilst walking along a path with not much lighting, I stepped on a broken Chang beer bottle!
At the time, I just pulled my foot up and off of the glass which had gone through my Havaianas which were now covered in blood. The next 24 hours was a mess of trying to clean it myself, taking pain killers, wrapping it up in bandages and duct tape and starting to drink again and going to the Full Moon Party because there was no way I was going to miss it!
Long story short, I ended up flying home just over a week later. My foot had got infected and when I finally went to the hospital (I swear I was just in denial that it was as bad as it was because I didn’t want to leave), I had to have my foot cut open and go back to the hospital continuously for about 5 days to get it cleaned. I just knew that it wouldn’t heal any time soon and travelling on crutches is not ideal! (In the end it took 3 months to completely heal).
When it happened I still remember my friends asking me that all important question – ‘you have travel insurance right??’. Thankfully I did and again, it all worked out ok!
Insurance isn’t just there for physical accidents or to cover medical expenses – it’s also there for loss of luggage, theft of your camera, purse and money etc.
I’ve been around so many travellers in the past few years who have had their cameras and phones damaged from water or fallen off a moped or been mugged or fallen ill and been admitted to hospital, and either I or someone else has asked them that dreaded but important question – ‘you have travel insurance, right?’ and in that moment everyone so badly needs the answer to be ‘yes’!
As hard as it is to admit, especially when you are travelling on a budget (as I often am), if you can’t afford insurance, you can’t afford to go on the trip!
So I vouch that from 2017 on I will ALWAYS travel with travel insurance.
If you are a keen traveller and do a lot of trips a year then the best way to make sure you are always covered and not needing to worry about getting insured before each trip is to get Annual Multi-Trip Insurance which basically does what it says on the tin. It covers you for multiple trips within a year period, but make sure you read the PDS so you can find the best policy to suit your travel needs.
I am covered by Cover-More UK’s Annual Multi-Trip Insurance, which when purchased in April 2017 cost £93.00 for the year with a maximum excess of £75.00 which is great as the lower the excess is the more likely you will benefit from claiming.
So do you need travel insurance? Is it worth it? YES!!
*Have you had any experiences where you are glad you had insurance or wish you’d had it? Let me in the comments or by tweeting me!*