Lonely Planet's travel insurance essentials
It's the final countdown to your next big adventure. You’ve got your passport and tickets, every pair of socks you own, and enough mosquito repellent to cover an elephant. But aren’t you forgetting something? Don’t forget to buy travel insurance, a safety net if things go wrong – it should be right at the top of your list.
Travelling wouldn’t be fun without surprises, but sometimes the unexpected leaves you whimpering in a hospital bed when you should be exploring the jungle. Injuries, illnesses, and the occasional spewing volcano can tear up your perfect itinerary. And that’s where travel insurance can save you from distress – or at least from some of the costs depending on the policy you buy.
Reading through your policy won’t exactly get your pulse racing, but it’s essential to check how you’re covered, what’s not covered and any conditions that may apply before you set out – whether you bought annual travel insurance or cover for a short trip. Let’s face it, you won’t be in the mood to read through travel insurance exclusions if you’re shivering with dengue fever in Borneo, or nursing a broken hip (turns out you can’t ski backwards). You might think it’s ‘fine print’ but you really don’t need that magnifying glass. So let’s look at a few things you should consider:
- Medical insurance The guidebook told you there would be piranhas, but if you risk it and go for a swim, you might not be covered if they have you for lunch. If you get in an accident and seriously injured abroad, you need to know if your expenses are covered (particularly in pricey USA) and that they’ll help fly you home if you’re not able to keep travelling.
- Sporting injuries We wouldn’t dream of doubting your skills. But don’t hike up Table Mountain in South Africa or bungee jump in New Zealand before checking if your policy covers it and if you’ll be helicoptered to hospital if you break a leg.
- Contents insurance If you don’t like having thumbprints on the lens of that fancy camera, imagine how you’ll feel if it gets snatched out of your hands on your tour of Australia. Check whether your travel insurance policy covers all your gadgets or if you need to take out extra cover for more expensive gear. Many policies also have conditions that apply to high value items so be aware of any exclusions that might apply. It might be easier to leave your gear in the campervan, but it’s also at greater risk.
- Delay and cancellation If the departures board is awash with cancellations, at least you can spend your extended holiday in the airport with some of your expenses covered by your travel insurance.
Make sure you compare insurance plans to get the right policy for you, whether you’re a carefree student, trekking across Canada with your family, or relaxing on a cruise. And think about how often you travel: do you need annual multi trip insurance for your mini-break addiction or single trip insurance for a one-off jaunt? If you’ve finally taken the plunge for a gap year or career break, look out for backpacker and long-stay trip travel insurance.
At Lonely Planet, we want you to travel far and wide with the knowledge that someone will catch you if you fall. So get started with a quote for travel insurance and carefully read the policy to make sure it suits you.
This service is provided by WorldNomads.com Pty Ltd under an agreement with Lonely Planet. World Nomads is supported by different insurers from around the world. Travel insurance pricing, policy benefits and terms and conditions will differ depending on the plan, options and upgrades you choose. You should always review the full description of coverage contained in the policy wording to make sure the policy is right for you.