Growing up I’ve had a variety of job titles.
Whether it was Waitress, Childcare Practitioner, Assistant Manager, Teacher or Social Media Manager, I’ve pretty much tried them all. But of all of the things I’ve learnt throughout my, diverse, career shall we say, one of the lessons which stood out the most was what I learnt during my time working as a Medical Assistance Coordinator, and that was the importance of travel insurance.
The importance of travel insurance is something which is pretty much drummed in to you when you spend all of your working hours looking at pictures of, well, broken people. You see my role as a Medical Assistance Coordinator was to help people whom became ill or injured during their trip and as a result I’ve assisted people with everything from chicken pox in Egypt, to broken limbs in Peru, to mental breakdowns in the Maldives and let me tell you – minor details can sometimes turn out to be not so minor at all and without travel insurance many of these people would have been left with hefty bills and a whole lot of stress.
For example, the aforementioned chicken pox case seems simple doesn’t it? After all, it’s just chicken pox? But when you throw in a chicken pox diagnosis on the last day of a holiday an hour before the transfer to the airport is due to leave and your child has been declared as unfit to fly, has to stay in quarantine and you have two children with you, a dog in the kennels back home, no place to stay and you spent months saving for your family trip and so have no spare cash to pay and claim for hotels or treatment… It becomes much less simple.
However, if you throw travel insurance into the mix then there are people who take care of all of that for you. There’s people who can call on-call doctors on your behalf and fly people out to help with keeping the child in quarantine whilst you and the other children go and get dinner. There’s somebody to arrange your transfers and flights and to liaise with the doctors or hospitals regarding payment and most importantly, there’s someone to provide much needed support in your hour of need. And that’s just a chicken pox example. Broken bones? Well they get a whole lot more technical… Especially if you’re on a winter sports holiday.
Which brings me to the importance of travel insurance and the question of if you always need it.
Which to be honest, depends. There are various different types of travel insurance and the one most suitable for you will depend upon where you are travelling to and what you plan on doing whilst there. As a firm believer in the importance of travel insurance, I’ll cover all of that in a separate blog post (otherwise this post will end up being hella long) but when I moved to Thailand I didn’t have travel insurance. Looking back I probably should have something extra in place, but I was over there on a one way flight, I was registered at the local hospital and as a result I didn’t feel the immediate need to have additional insurances in place. After all, I wasn’t sure if or when I would be moving on elsewhere.
But truth be told that if I was robbed or I had died, I would have needed those extra assurances which came with insurance because repatriations do not come cheap.
So how do you know if travel insurance is right for you?
Travel insurance is a topic that has been wildly debated on travel blogs and there are arguments for both sides. In the top five search results on Google for travel insurance I found this article, which states that one of the reasons not to get travel insurance is “you might be going somewhere where risks are incredibly low”. It then goes on to elaborate saying “If you’re going on a cultural tour of the United States the chances of anything going really wrong are so remote it’s just not worth the cost” and the advice actually annoyed me more than a little bit for being so irresponsible. I know, I know, I sound like a total Grandma but let’s be real here – you literally have no idea when things are going to go wrong and considering America has one of the highest health care costs (I once had a case for an ear infection where treatment cost thousands and that was before new flights and extended accommodation were added on!) it’s completely careless to give out such advice, because let’s face it unless your immortal, have access to a private jet and your belongings are unbreakable or unlosable, you’re going to need insurance.
So when it comes to questioning the importance of travel insurance, and whether it’s something you really need, I recommend that you do. Because not only is it better, but it is also much, much cheaper to be safe, than it is to be sorry!