To be honest, buying Travel Insurance is not very complicated. A key part to remember, however, is when to buy Travel Insurance. There’s a specific key time to purchase it that gives a traveler the best protection. More about that below.
Today I will teach you the basics of purchasing Travel Insurance, and what you need to look out for! If you want to also follow along on your screen, I will be using SW Medical Insurance for the screen shots. I will also be using the ‘Nomad Insurance’ option rather than the ‘Remote Health’ option.
The Basics Of How To Buy Travel Medical Insurance:
- Answer Questions
- Select Plan/Options/Extras
- Read The Fine Print
- Buy Travel Coverage
1) Answer Required Questions
Depending on the insurance company that you choose, there are many different potential questions that you may be asked. Different insurance companies generate premiums by calculating different variables in different ways. Here are some example questions:
The day, month, and year that you were born.
Some insurance companies calculate your price based not only on the quantity of days that you require insurance, but also the specific dates that you will be traveling on.
How Much Your Trip is Worth?
The more money that you have invested in flights, hotels, and excursions Etc, the higher your insurance premiums will be. This is not because they think you have more money so therefore you need to pay more for your insurance. Rather, it is because many insurance companies will cover trip cancellation to some extent. Therefore, it costs more to insure vacations that are worth $20,000 vs $2,000.
How Many People Are Insured?
Are you traveling alone? Are you traveling with a spouse? Are you traveling with an entire family? Some insurance companies charge the same price for each individual person, some charge differently based on other factors, and some insurance companies have packages that include families – even at reasonable prices!
Locations Planning To Visit?
It is no surprise that it is more expensive to go to an emergency room in France than Vietnam. So therefore, depending on which country you plan on visiting, the price may be different for your insurance premiums. But not always. Some insurance companies, like SafetyWing Medical Insurance, charge a flat fee no matter where you travel in the entire world, with very few exceptions. Really cool!
Country You Are From?
Some insurance companies charge different prices depending on which country you are from. If you are a dual citizen, I recommend trying to input both countries to see if there is a price change.
Pre Existing Conditions?
Some insurance companies cover pre-existing conditions, and some do not. Some do, but have weak plans. Some do and have strong plans. Every company is different. If you do in fact have pre-existing conditions, it is important to be upfront about everything when buying the coverage. Otherwise, it can be a devastating financial loss if you have a problem while in a foreign country and they refuse to cover you.
Don’t Lie! I know, this sounds obvious – but I’m serious! Every year there are people who face serious penalties because they lied to insurance companies before/during/after making a claim. This is called insurance fraud.
Some insurance companies simply deny you because you lied to them. Other insurance companies will deny you and submit your information to the local authorities which will start an investigation. This will most likely end with huge financial penalties or even some prison time.
Do not, under any circumstance, commit insurance fraud. Simply provide honest and accurate information to the insurance company, and you should be fine.
2) Select Plan/Options/Extras
What I like about the SafetyWing Medical Insurance Nomad Plan is that there aren’t many ‘extras’ to select. There’s only 2…and I’m not sure if I’d call them ‘extras’.
Nomad Plan (general traveler):
Traveling To the USA
If you don’t already know, the medical costs in the USA are unbelievably high. So, it makes sense that premiums must be higher for travelers who wish to visit this country. Simply select this option if you plan on visiting the USA. It’s required.
Specific Travel Dates
Only pay for the dates that you plan to travel. If you only plan on traveling for a week, for example, then why would you want to pay for an entire month? Select this option to pay only for the days that you wish to travel.
Remote Health (working abroad):
This insurance is a bit different. It’s geared more towards people who are working and living abroad. If you choose this option, there are indeed several add-ons/upgrades. Things like:
If you are going to be in the USA, Hong Kong, or Singapore, then the cost of the coverage will be a bit higher. Healthcare costs, rules, and regulations are a bit different in these locations – which drive the costs up a bit.
This is an extra option for things like checkups, routine care, fillings, crowns, dentures, inlays, and probably a few more things.
A $250 deductible is normal for SafetyWing Insurance. But if you want to decrease your deductible to $0, then you need to select this extra option. Your monthly premium will increase when doing so.
This is when you need treatment outside of being admitted to a hospital. Things like seeing a family doctor or physiotherapy.
Be sure to read the fine-print with all of these add-ons, on the main site. Some have special requirements or even co-pays. Also, the policies may have changed since the date of me creating this article. Check for any updates.
3) Read The Fine Print/Know Your Policy
Before purchasing travel insurance it is very important to look through the policy.
Look At The Extras
Like mentioned above, it is important to look at the extras that are offered. Some are worth it some may not be worth it. Some might pertain to you, and others may not. Glance through them and see if they are a good fit for you or not.
Look At The Policies
It is important to look at the policies and compare them to what you plan on doing in a particular country. If you plan on walking a lot, look at policies regarding walking. If you plan on snowboarding, then be sure to look at the fine print of the snowboarding policy.
Select A Policy Without ‘Holes’
The fine print may surprise you. Crazy example: You want to go snowboarding. You purchase travel insurance who says that they will cover snowboarding. You travel to a different country and have a snowboarding accident.
You try to file a claim but you are denied. You become very angry because the company said that they would cover you for a snowboarding accident. They then point to the fine print. The fine print states that they will cover you only when you are with a professional snowboarding instructor.
This is absurd. You are a snowboarding expert and have been snowboarding for the last 20 years! Your claim was denied because you went down the hill alone.
This is an easy method that allows insurance companies to keep a lot of the money, rather than reimburse their customers. Beware.
Do I read every single line of the fine print? No. Usually, my main concern is that I will be covered for the activities that I plan on doing a particular country. If I plan on going fishing then I want to make sure that there are no weird policies about fishing.
For example, someone may be covered for fishing through an organized tour but not covered when fishing alone. Or maybe I would be covered for certain types of fishing but other types of fishing I would not be covered for. Weird, right?
There are gray areas and technicalities for every insurance company. However, I just glance at the policy to make sure that there are strange policies that would affect my coverage in a negative way – specifically for the activities that I plan to do.
4) Buy The Travel Insurance Coverage
When you feel comfortable and confident with your potential insurance company, buy it. It’s as simple as that.
One thing to note with SafetyWing Insurance, is that you can purchase a subscription. This is particularly helpful for long-term travelers, like me.
If you want the coverage to auto-renew each month, then great! If not, then you need to indicate specific travel dates which will start and stop the coverage. This is simple to do.
You can look at this as convenient or inconvenient – depending on your point of view. As a long-term Solo Traveler, simply subscribing to global coverage is super easy and convenient! I don’t have to buy a new policy every time that I exit one country and go to another. I think that’s one of the best parts about them. One blanket policy for almost every country that you visit! Simplicity. Set it and forget it!
Commonly Asked Questions:
Who Should Buy Travel Insurance?
Everyone who plans on traveling abroad should purchase travel insurance. Men, women, elderly, and children. Everyone. You never know when the unexpected will happen. It is always best to be covered.
When Should You Purchase Travel Insurance?
In general, the best time to purchase travel insurance is immediately after you have invested money into your flights, hotels, and excursions. This allows you to be covered under trip cancellation Insurance in case something unexpected were to happen before your flight departure.
Where Is the Best Place To Buy Travel Insurance?
The internet! Surprise, surprise, right? Seriously though. Why would anyone want to get in a car, drive to town, and then talk with a representative just to buy coverage? So time-consuming! I feel that the most efficient way to buy travel insurance is to simply use a laptop, tablet, or smartphone. It is ridiculously simple.
Also, many Travel Insurance websites have a chat feature enabled. If for some reason you have a particular question, you can simply chat with a representative and get an answer almost immediately. No need to leave your home. Buying coverage can be done on a laptop or smartphone.
When Does Coverage Begin?
Generally, travel insurance coverage begins immediately after you purchase it, or, midnight on the day of the dates that you have purchased your coverage for.
Why Should You Buy Travel Insurance?
The most important reason for purchasing travel insurance is to protect yourself against a large and unforeseen financial loss. Don’t think that it could happen to you? Think again. That’s why they call it ‘unforeseen.’ Be sure to learn more about why travel insurance is so important.
Should I Keep Records Of Everything?
Absolutely! If for some reason you needed to pay out-of-pocket for a hospitalization, and then you filed a claim, but you didn’t make a copy of any of your documents – your claim will most likely be denied.
Insurance companies need proof of the hospitalization and payment. You should either save or photocopy every document that is given to you (even the documents that you don’t think will be needed). This does not only refer to hospitalization.
If you are going to make any claims it is always important to have documents that support your claim. Without proper documentation, I can almost guarantee that your claim will be denied or you will not be fully reimbursed.
Buying Travel Insurance Is Easy
See, I told you it wasn’t very complicated! Simply answer a couple questions, select your desired options, read some of the policy, then make a purchase. Done.
I hope this information helped you understand the basics of purchasing travel insurance. If you are interested, be sure to check out my very small list of recommended insurance companies. I only list highly reputable companies there. Happy travels!