Many ask me all the time: do I really need to get travel insurance. And the short answer is YES. Especially when traveling international. The key is to find the insurance that best works for you.
Personally, I did not start buying travel insurance until around 2013, when some friends took a trip to Panama. Some of my friends made it back, some did not. The ones who did make it back had horror stories of hospital officers coming to their beds daily demanding payment, or they would be jailed, some were allowed to leave unless they had doctors and a private plane. Who can afford that? Also, be sure that you know the ins and outs of your insurance. Most companies take up to six weeks to pay, and most international countries want their money UPFRONT.
And note: we are talking about trip cancellation insurance AND emergency evacuation insurance as well. Because if you are in a country and civil unrest becomes an issue you will need to be evacuated. If evacuated by the US government you should expect:
1. Not to be evacuated to your home state/country. They will probably get you to the safest (welcoming) country
2. You will probably get a bill from the government to pay for the evacuation. (Yes, it happens. No one gets anything for free in the good ol USA).
Good travel insurance will cover those costs. Reasons you need insurance can range from the USUAL THREE:
- Trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance (TCI) covers the financial risks of (1) losing some or all of the value of prepayments and deposits if you have to cancel a trip due to sickness, accident, or a variety of other reasons, and (2) the extra costs of interrupting a trip and returning home early for those reasons. It generally applies both if something happens to you and if something happens to a traveling companion or a close relative who remains at home.
- Medical travel insurance includes coverage for doctor payments, hospitalization, and emergency transport to a medical facility if you suffer an accident or illness while traveling.
- Rental car collision insurance covers the cost of paying the rental company for damage to a rented car while it's in your custody.
NOTE: Please be aware that if you get ill while in the UAE, your travelers or international health insurance WILL NOT be accepted here unless your insurance company has a local UAE affiliate / subsidiary that can guarantee immediate payment to the hospital/clinic. You will be considered a private account and will be forced to pay cash or the Police will get involved. Please Beware! International Health Insurance means absolutely nothing.
Good websites to compare travel insurance:
Cancel for any reason:
Generally has to be purchased within 15 days of booking the trip.
Typically expensive but figure out what the costs covers...not all policies are equal. Some cover 50% or 75%.
Reasons for cancellation has to be valid and yes they do check. Saying you have to work is not enough...you need notarized affidavits, etc.
Credit Card Insurance:
Generally this is trip protection/cancellation but look at your policy