Travel insurance is one of those things that we pay for, with the hope that we will never need, but if something goes wrong anyone will want to have it. Yes, it may be an added cost and sometimes it may not even be cheap but I think anyone should be covered by some kind of insurance when traveling. There are even more and more countries that just as a requirement to grant an entry visa, one has to present proof of insurance and some other destinations like Panama has even been offering complimentary travel insurance for a month to all visitors.
When one travels, and especially when we are talking of international trips, one is exposed to many different circumstances, from weather changes, to political unrest, natural disasters or just losing the luggage or being robbed. It is a relief that these circumstances are rare, but when it happens certainly have the potential to turn a trip into a nightmare or the even jeopardize physical and economical integrity.
Not all travel insurances are the same, and many people feel really confused when shopping for it. Not necessarily the most expensive is the best. There are minimums that a person should look for when getting insurance. One has to be at least covered for medical emergencies, including hospitalizations, and medicines together with repatriation if necessary. Many plans do not cover pre existing conditions or just until a certain age. From there it is good to be covered in case an emergency happens back home, the next item in importance is to be covered in case the luggage does not reach the destinations or if flights are cancelled.
The possibilities for ads-ons are immense. I personally like as well to include coverage in case one has to cancel a trip, one can pay even a little extra to get the famous “cancel for any reason” where the traveler gets up to 75% of the total insured cost if decide to cancel the trip even because one does not want to travel anymore.
It is extremely easy to buy travel insurance online or directly with the companies, but beware, the fact of buying an insurance does not mean one is covered, reading the fine print is tremendously important because one can be just wasting money or what is worse, to find one is not covered when one is in need. There are restrictions related with age, destination, activities or even local residence. The best advice: ask everything about it and be sure you are covered.
Finally read reviews, the final decision is not based only on this but it is good to hear personal experiences of other travelers: how good the service was when they were in need? Was it easy to reach the insurance company? Was assistance prompt? I always will go for one of the companies that has better reviews.
Once you have the insurance, relax! The possibilities you will need one are small, but now at least you have it!