Solo travel is both exciting and daunting, so to help alleviate the anxiety travel insurance should be your number 1 item you must have when you travel, yet many solo travellers overlook it.
“If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel.”
A top tip for any solo traveller is to pre-plan so that you feel well equipped and prepared to deal with any unforeseen circumstances or situations that may arise on your travels. Travel insurance is an easy one to tick off your list pre-departure and it will give you that much needed peace of mind knowing that you are covered should anything untoward happen.
The 5 Tips for purchasing Travel Insurance as a solo traveller are:
1. Where you are travelling to
Once you start to research your travel insurance options, you will find that premiums differ based on the destination(s) that you will be travelling to. This is generally driven by the cost of medical treatment in those locations, the cost to bring you home and the level of risk associated with a destination. Most Travel Insurance providers offer domestic travel policies and International travel policies with the International travel policies broken into a basic cover and a comprehensive cover. The difference between the 2 international covers comes down to what is covered and up to how much. For example, a basic cover may give me $2000 baggage cover and no or very limited medical cover whereas comprehensive cover may give me $5000 baggage cover and unlimited medical cover.
It is important that you take sufficient cover for the destination(s) that you are travelling to and each Travel Insurance provider or your booking agent will give guidance on this. You may also like to have a look at the government website Smart Traveller for further information. This is also a great site to see the latest advice on any travel restrictions and bans to countries around the world.
2. How long you are travelling for
Duration of your holiday is an important consideration. You do not want to be that person that fell one day short on your cover and that’s the day you have an accident or your luggage is stolen. Be sure to purchase the correct days for your trip and if you extend your holiday, contact your Travel Insurance provider to organise an extension of your policy.
3. What will you be doing
If you’re about to embark on an adventure that will see you scaling cliff faces in Yosemite National Park, bungee jumping in Queenstown or heli-skiing in Alaska then you will definitely want to take a very close look at what your travel insurance policy will cover you for. Quite often any type of extreme sports, including your equipment, will not be covered under a basic policy. If you have any doubt, it is best to contact the Travel Insurance provider to discuss your needs and they will advise you on the most suitable policy. You may be required to provide a medical certificate and to detail specific equipment that you’d like covered such.
4. How often will you be travelling
For frequent travellers or if you are looking to be abroad for an extended period, you may want to look into an annual policy. These work out to be much more cost effective for solo travellers and it means you can jump on a plane without having to worry about travel insurance cover as you know you purchased an annual policy. BUT, do remember to diarise a reminder to renew when it’s close to expiring. And don’t forget to purchase an annual policy that will cover you for all of the destinations that you intend to travel to.
5. The 3 must have coverage items in your travel insurance policy
There are many horror stories that you can find on the internet, and possibly someone close to you has one, where they have experienced a medical emergency overseas. Of course we don’t plan (or want) these to happen, but as life teaches us – shit happens! You want to look for medical and dental cover with a 24/7 in-house emergency medical and travel assistance contact centre. If you have a pre-existing illness, make sure you advise your insurance provider so they can advise if you are covered and if so, what additional premium will be charged.
TIP! Be sure to carry with you at all times your policy number and the contact number for your Travel Insurance provider.
You may need to cancel due to unforeseen circumstances, or perhaps your travel provider cancels the trip or part of it, and you incur fees due to having to amend your travel arrangements. Cancellation coverage amounts differ based on the policy you purchase, so make sure the cancellation amount is sufficient to cover the cost of your trip. You will also want to clear under which conditions do they cover you for cancellations & amendments.
Luggage cover within your travel insurance policy will cover your actual suitcase, backpack, and carry-on baggage; and also the contents within your luggage. Be realistic about the value of the goods you are taking with you and where necessary itemise more expensive items that you’d like covered or choose to leave them at home. For example, if you have a designer watch worth $5,000 you can pay to have this insured as part of your policy or you may elect to leave it at home to save an increase in your premium (and to just not have the worry).
Credit Card Insurance
You may be entitled to some degree of travel insurance cover by one of your credit cards however it is important to look into the level of cover and what exactly they do cover you for. You will also want to check if you need to activate the cover to ensure you have travel insurance cover for the duration of your trip.
There used to be a short list of Travel Insurance providers however these days you will find many more options to choose from so we highly recommend that you use these 5 key considerations for purchasing insurance as a solo traveller to guide you on your travel insurance purchase.
Happy & safe Travels 🙂
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