Taken on our honeymoon in Rarotonga, Cook Islands. You definitely want to have travel insurance when traveling to a remote island like this!
It’s hard to picture how travel insurance can save you money when it’s something you actually have to purchase, after all it’s usually avoiding purchasing something that saves you money. I’m all for cutting costs where possible and finding the most budget friendly way to travel overseas, but cutting out travel insurance is not one of them. In my opinion, it’s absolutely essential. As the saying goes, if you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel.
Thankfully, I have never had to actually make a claim on my travel insurance, but it’s still something I take out each and every time I travel internationally. Not everyone knows this, but even taking a cruise around Australia is considered international travel, and you won’t be covered by Medicare in a medical emergency when at sea, even if you are fairly close to the Australian coastline. You have probably heard the horror stories of people traveling overseas and getting sick, then having to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills. This is really not something you want to mess around with.
Choose a policy that covers kids free of charge
Considering everything travel insurance covers, it’s very budget friendly, especially for families. When we travel I’m always searching for kids travel/stay free deals. With some travel insurance policies, kids are covered under their parents policy free. Just be sure to check the policy details before you purchase the insurance, as with any insurance, to double check your kids are covered.
Save on your rental vehicle excess
The first thing that comes to mind when you think of travel insurance is cover for lost or stolen baggage, and illnesses, but good policies cover so much more. A huge benefit to us when we take out travel insurance is the rental vehicle excess cover. When you hire a car, you will usually be asked if you want to pay a premium in exchange for a reduction in the rental vehicle excess, which you will be liable to pay if your rental is damaged, even if it’s not you at fault. The premium to waive the excess is often over $30 per day, every day for the duration of your rental. That add up to a huge amount! This excess reduction cover is actually included in any decent travel insurance policy, giving you up to $5000 cover, which should well and truly cover the excess requested by your rental company if you have an accident. Travel insurance is definitely the most cost effective way to hire a rental vehicle.
Purchase your cover early on
When you take out any insurance, you want to make sure it covers you for any possible situation. Since you have no idea what life holds for you between the time you book your holiday, and the time you travel, make sure you take out your travel insurance policy as soon as you start booking your trip. That way, if you get seriously sick in the meantime, you have one less thing to worry about.
New York, part of our amazing pre-kids USA trip
Don’t rely on credit card travel insurance
There are many credit cards out there these days that offer built in travel insurance, but you are usually better off not relying on this. The cover offered by your card is more often than not subject to a while stack of terms and conditions which can be confusing, and usually the cover offered is only very basic. For peace of mind and to ensure you are actually covered if the worst does happen before or during your trip, take out a stand alone travel insurance policy. It’s worth every cent.
Keep copies of your policy handy
If you need to make a claim while you are on holidays, the last thing you want to do is be spending time trying to find the details of your insurance policy. You need to keep them easily accessible at all times. Print out a few copies of you policy, placing one in each peace of checked baggage, and one in your carry on. That way, if you lose one piece or the other, you should still have you insurance details handy. Also, give a copy to someone a home, who you can easily get in contact with if need be (consider doing the same with a photocopy of your passport, just in case you lose it or it gets stolen). Also make sure you keep an email containing a copy of your policy in an internet based email account that can be accessed using any internet connection, such as Hotmail, so if all else fails you can log in anywhere in the world and retrieve your details.
Most importantly, when you are in the process of purchasing travel insurance, be sure to shop around. A more expensive policy does always not equal a higher level of cover, so compare not just cost, but also the level of cover included. One of the cheapest policies I have come across, that still provides a full level of cover, is Southern Cross Travel Insurance. They cover all the essential, including rental vehicle excess, and provide free cover for kids.