Travel Insurance: Is It Necessary?

The truth is, when it comes down to it, travel insurance is a necessary evil. It’s something you don’t want to spend money on, but when you find yourself in an unfortunate situation far from home, you will be happy if you have it.

What is travel insurance?

Travel Insurance is financial security against accidents that may happen on your trip. It will provide you with medical coverage if you get sick or injured on your journey, reimburse you if your new iPhone gets stolen or your flight gets canceled, or if a family member dies and you need to go home. It’s protection against those emergencies that can come out of nowhere and cost you dearly if you are not prepared.

Since most health programs will not cover you overseas and credit cards often provide minimum protection, buying a good travel insurance is a no-brainer.

Why should I buy travel insurance?

We can’t speak for others, but we can tell you why we never travel without travel insurance.

For us, it’s peace of mind knowing that if one of us do get sick, we do not run the risk of potentially running up huge medical bills and that there will be someone there to pick up the tab if we get unlucky and need to go to the hospital.

It means that we can do the activities that we love like skiing, surfing, diving, and many other things without worrying about the financial consequences of an accident.

It means that there is someone we can call if we are in the middle of Thailand with malaria symptoms, who will tell me what hospital we should go to or even more importantly which ones we should avoid.

And if my bags get lost or stolen, at least we know we haven’t lost everything. We have someone to call that can help us with some emergency money if all our credit cards and money are stolen.

Is travel insurance expensive?

The price can vary depending on your age, medical history, where you are going, how long you will be traveling for and what you planning to do during your trip. Activities like hiking in Nepal, which is considered a high-risk activity with potentially enormous costs for medical evacuation, will for instance often add a bit to the price of an insurance.

But on average, for a regular travel insurance, we are just talking a few dollars per day. Less than you spend on a smoothie, a coffee at Starbucks or a beer!

What to look for in travel insurance

Not all travel insurance are created equal. Make sure you read the fine print of your policy. I can only tell you what we look for and you will have to decide for yourselves. We look for a travel insurance that:

  • Has sufficient coverage to pay for any medical expenses. Typically at least 100.000 USD, preferably more.
  • Covers both injury and sudden illness
  • Will cover emergency evacuation and care, so if we get injured on a trek in the jungle, it will cover the expenses to get us to the hospital.
  • Will pay for transportation back home to my own country if necessary
  • Includes the activities that we enjoy. If you think you might do a scuba diving course then make sure your insurance covers you for that. Sometimes you need to purchase extra coverage for more extreme activities like kitesurfing or horseback riding.
  • Covers the countries we want to visit. Make sure your insurance covers you in high-cost countries like Japan and the US if you are traveling there.
  • Can be extended while traveling if our travel plans change
  • Covers my most important valuables should they get lost or stolen
  • Has a twenty-four-hour emergency contact number we can call to get help
  • Cover cancellations if ourselves or a family member get sick and we can’t travel after all
  • Covers any political unrest or emergency situations that may result in the trip getting cut short
  • Claims can be filed online
  • Is reasonably priced


Which travel insurance should I get?

There are tons of companies offering travel insurance. We have traveled for a long time and have researched a lot of travel insurance providers over the years.

Our favorite is World NomadsWe have used them several times over the last ten years and have been very happy with them. Their customer service is in our experience top notch, the insurance can be bought and extended online while traveling, and it covers quite a few of our favorite adventurous activities.

World Nomads is also the travel insurance recommended by Lonely Planet and National Geographics.

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