The most popular travel insurance options, and what they provide
In our previous article, we’ve started to consider travel insurance, and found out why travellers need it. Today we’d like to continue, so, with your permission, we’ll look into the issue.
We’ve mentioned the most common types of travel insurance (medical, flight delay/cancellation, trip cancellation/interruption, and lost/damaged luggage), but really, they all can be clustered into one big set called vacation plans (also known as package plans, or just travel insurance). It is the most popular option when it comes to travelling, and statistically, more than 90% of travel insurance sales are vacation plans. Others can be called special plans, and they include some extra specialised stuff, such as travel accident, rental car-related issues, etc.
However, standard plans sometimes offer just medical emergency and evacuation, so some health-related expenses can be contested by the company you are dealing with. Thus, make sure you completely understand what kind of medical insurance you are signing up for (we’ll provide more detailed info about medical insurance a little later).
Medical insurance: types of expenses and what to look
The standard medical insurance package usually doesn’t cover a full set of possible expenses, as we’ve mentioned above. Let’s see what type of medical care a traveller might need abroad:
- Medicines prescribed by a doctor. And it is very important to discuss these costs with the insurance company before purchasing the medicine in order to be 100% sure this will be covered. To do so, you need to contact the call centre of the insurance company and ask the right questions related to the issue. Normally, the phone numbers are attached to the insurance policy.
- Hospital care. speaks for itself.
- Transportation to hospital/temporary place of residence. The signed insurance policy guarantees you’ll be transported to hospital. However, you may be transported to your temporary place of residence (hotel, rented apartment, etc) if there is no possibility of providing the necessary medical care in the host country, or if the costs of staying in the hospital may exceed the limit established in the insurance contract.
- Compensation of transportation costs in the case when a traveller cannot fly home on time due to the need for inpatient treatment.
An insurance event (as covered by this type of insurance) is a sudden illness in the territory of the policy. However, the event is not recognised as an insurance event if it is associated with chronic diseases known at the time of the conclusion of the insurance contract. Existing illnesses that the insured person has previously don’t count as an insurance event. This rule is universal for any kind of illness, including cardiovascular ones.
Well, it has a sort of logic. The essence of insurance is protection against risks, the occurrence of which is difficult to predict in advance. If a person with a heart condition goes on vacation to another country, the responsibility for their existing health problems should lie on them, and the insurance company has nothing to do with it.
The features of insurance, or what to look for
Insurance is the major way to ensure the safety of tourists abroad. There are two types of insurance compensation for travel risks:
- Compensatory. A traveller pays all expenses, then, upon returning to the country, provides the reporting documentation to the insurer, which in turn compensates all confirmed costs. This form of insurance implies that the insured person has enough personal funds to cover all unforeseen cases.
- Service. The insurer concludes contracts with foreign insurance companies specialising in supporting tourists and compensates for the costs incurred (apparently, in case of proven insurance events only). Obviously, this type of insurance is much more convenient for a tourist, and it is the most popular option.
The main components of the insurance policy are:
- Duration of the trip;
- The host country (the territory, where the insurance policy will be applied).
- Age of the insured person, in case of medical insurance (normally, tariffs are higher for children and the elderly).
These points directly affect the price of policy too. The cost of the policy is also affected by a set of risks and the size of the sum insured. Insurance companies usually offer standard travel insurance cover, but some of them provide the opportunity to include additional risks or conditions in the policy. In addition, a common version of the comprehensive cover from insurers is to support compulsory insurance with an additional top-up.
The policy is only valid in the territory of the country that is specified in it. If one country is marked in the document, it will be valid only in its territory; if a traveller is going to visit several countries, then they need to specify all these countries. If only one country of the Schengen Area is specified, the policy will still be valid throughout all Schengen Area states.
Where can I get travel insurance?
There are a couple of options:
- You can go to a specialised insurance company.
- Tour operators usually offer insurance services to their clients.
- You can apply online.
Finally, the corny yet important recommendation: work with companies that have a reputation as reliable insurers.