Whether you’re going on an annual leave vacation or a business trip, travelling costs money and requires planning. However, even with planning, we cannot possibly have everything under control and unexpected occurrences can happen—but this is where travel insurance comes in. This article gives a comprehensive guide on what travel insurance is, what it covers, what it excludes, and how to purchase one for yourself on your trips.
What is Travel Insurance?
Travel insurance is an insurance policy that offers protection for people travelling either locally or internationally. It covers the losses associated with travelling.
Types of Travel Insurance Coverage
Here is why you need travel insurance and the areas most policies cover:
1. Trip Cancellation or Interruption Coverage
Trip cancellation insurance covers you for prepaid, non-refundable travel expenses on a cancelled trip. The acceptable reasons for cancelling a trip and getting access to this coverage can include illness, the death of a close one, weather issues, or sudden business conflicts.
Trip cancellation can also help you when paying more than you’re comfortable losing. For example, if you pay N499,000 for a tour package and the tour’s cancellation policy states that all but N49,900 is refundable upon cancellation, travel insurance will cover only the non-refundable N49,900.
2. Personal Baggage Coverage
Personal belongings getting lost, stolen, or damaged while travelling is not an unusual thing. Baggage coverage protects you when any of these happen.
Usually, most airlines reimburse if the loss or damage is their fault. However, this reimbursement may not be comprehensive or come fast enough and this is why baggage insurance coverage brings an additional layer of protection.
3. Medical Insurance Coverage
Medical insurance covers your medical expenses while travelling whether for a few days or several months. It can include airlift travel to a medical facility, help to locate doctors, cover for extended stays, and emergency evacuation to a medical facility.
However, it is advisable before purchasing, to know the provisions and see what exclusions apply such as pre-existing medical conditions. You should also determine whether a policy extends its coverage outside the country.
4. Accidental Death Coverage
An accidental death policy provides coverage for accidents and deaths that happen during the course of flights and pays benefits to the surviving beneficiaries. However, this does not cover deaths caused by drug overdose, sickness, etc.
If you have a life insurance policy, this cover may not be necessary as you are already covered. But then, benefits paid by your travel insurance coverage can add to your life insurance policy payout, thus leaving more money to your beneficiaries.
Besides the main categories of travel insurance highlighted above, coverage also often includes 24/7 emergency services, such as replacing lost passports, cash wire assistance, and rebooking cancelled flights.
What Is Not Covered By Travel Insurance?
It is easy to fall into the trap of only focusing on what travel insurance policy covers and leaving out what it excludes. However, both are important to take note of.
Below are some of the exclusions of travel insurance:
1. Cancellation initiated by the tour provider
Travel insurance covers a cancellation you initiated. In times when a tour company suddenly cancels the trip after you have made your reservations, there will be no coverage. This is because it was the tour operator that cancelled and not you.
2. Civil Unrest/War
Travel insurance does not cover cancellation due to civil unrest. Insurance companies do their best to cover you against a lot of mishaps. However, a travel insurance policy does not cover cancellations caused by acts of war. You may also want to double-check to know what is included/excluded in your policy.
3. Pre-existing illness
If you have an illness prior to your trip, you will not be covered for it in your travel policy even if any problem arises during your trip that is related to the illness.
4. Short Baggage delay
Until your baggage is delayed indefinitely and there is no hope of recovery, most insurance companies do not quickly pay claims. So if your baggage is just delayed for a day, don’t bet on your claim just yet.
5. Invalid Cancellation Reasons
Insurers don’t just provide cover for any cancellation reason, your reason must be valid. Some reasons like “my cat died” or “I got divorced” definitely do not count. A valid reason can be an illness, the death of a close one, weather issues, or some sudden business conflict.
6. Sports injuries
Injuries sustained during high adrenaline sporting activities like skydiving, bungee jumping, etc. will not be covered.
7. Pregnancy delivery charges
A travel insurance policy does not cover the delivery charges of a pregnant woman. However, it does not mean pregnant women cannot make use of the policy.
Questions To Ask Yourself Before Buying Travel Insurance
Know if travel insurance is the best for you by asking the following questions:
- What are the chances I’ll be impacted by severe weather or another event?
- Do I have an illness or is a loved one ill?
- Do I have health insurance? Does it cover me abroad?
- Can I afford to cancel and rebook my trip?
- How willing am I to take risks?
- How much am I willing to pay for an insurance plan?
Avoid This Mistake When Buying Travel Insurance
Oftentimes, people discuss with insurance agents and agree to go ahead solely based on the conversation. They do not read the policy form, documentation and entire paperwork to have a clearer understanding of what is included or not in the policy.
Some do not provide any cover for medical expenses or there can be a lot of exclusions contrary to what you need. You will only get to know this by allowing yourself to take a moment and read through.
Read and review the policy thoroughly. Ask questions about any coverage exclusions. And if there is something you wish to get covered that is not included, you can discuss it. In exceptional situations, you may have to pay a bit more for the extra inclusion.
How to Purchase Travel Insurance
The cost of travel insurance varies by the service provider, coverage, limitations and exclusions.
Here at Leadway, our all-inclusive travel insurance covers your unexpected expenses when you travel whether for holidays or business purposes. Your premium is calculated according to your destination and duration of stay.
Ready to get started and select a plan that’s right for you? With our travel insurance plans, you’ll get to enjoy travel benefits with a million other Nigerians.
Travel Insurance FAQs
Does travel insurance check medical records?
When buying a travel insurance policy, it’s normal for your insurance provider to ask you for your medical records.
What can be claimed on travel insurance?
Travel insurance claims mostly include flight delay, loss of personal belongings, medical expenses and trip cancellation or postponement.
How much does travel insurance typically cost?
Travel insurance premium (cost) is determined by different factors- your destination, duration of stay, age etc. You can click here to get a quote
Does travel insurance cover cancellation due to civil unrest?
No. Travel insurance does not cover cancellation due to civil unrest.