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The luggage is fit to burst, a new pair of hiking boots have been broken in, and your vaccinations are up-to-date. You’re all ready for a challenging trek in the Karakoram. But aren’t you forgetting something? What about this travel insurance?
According to figures released by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, one in four of us go without travel insurance when travelling abroad. We shell out thousands on flights, accommodation and equipment for those once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
When you finally check your bank balance, you could be tempted that travel insurance is just another unnecessary expense and that a cheap travel policy will suffice.
Why Do You Need Travel Insurance?
Think back to your previous expeditions; aside from the odd bruise here and there, most of them probably went smoothly. The probability is high that your next trip will go without a hitch.
However, just the possibility of a nasty surprise is enough of a reason to get yourself insured. Even us well-seasoned travellers experience conditions beyond our control.
Not convinced? Here are three common situations that demonstrate why researching your travel insurance is essential.
Emergency Medical Care and Repatriation
If there is only one reason you buy travel insurance, make it the emergency medical cover.
Tuning in to how your body feels can be forgotten as you push through to catch the sunrise over Mawenzi from Kilimanjaro. A big trip is a time to switch off from your usual routine and challenge yourself, and where your water comes from may not be an immediate concern if you are tired and dehydrated. Even when preparations have been made, such as topping up your travel vaccinations, a good travel policy will put your mind at rest if you make an unexpected visit to a medical facility.
Countries such as the US and Canada have some of the most expensive medical costs in the world. A day in the hospital will set you back $5,220 in the US compared to just €434 in Spain. While medical treatment in South Asia may be fairly affordable, costs could balloon if you need to be repatriated home.
for further treatment.
Be aware that not all activities in your itinerary will be covered under a normal travel insurance policy.
Some of the most breathtaking views in the world are also the most dangerous. It can be difficult to find an insurance policy that protects you during ͞hazardous activities͟. For example, many providers won’t cover treks above a 4,000-metre altitude. So, if you fall ill at the summit of Stok Kangri (6,200 metres), you might be forced to shell out an extortionate expense for an air ambulance to find an air ambulance to find and bring you to the nearest medical facility, even if the cost of your medical treatment is reimbursed.
Unforeseen Circumstances Can Bring Your Trip To An Abrupt End
You have worked hard to save up for the trip of a lifetime. In the event of an unexpected change in circumstances, travel cancellation cover will ensure you don’t lose all the money you put towards a non-refundable trip and help front the costs of replacement flights to bring you home.
Events outside your control include sudden illness, the death of a close relative, or a travel warning at your destination. This type of cover is essential when visiting counties prone to natural disasters.
Don’t expect to be covered for environmental disasters as default, seek out a provider that does (such as Global Rescue) and you need to purchase it at the moment of booking your tickets, not afterwards.
The debilitating earthquake that struck Nepal in 2015 left homes and communities in disrepair and visitors stranded. Flights were intermittent; many exhausted Everest trekkers were isolated at Base Camp as they desperately tried to rebook onto the next available outbound flight. Remember, travel cancellation is not included in all plans.
Just as all trips are unique, not all travel insurance is created equally. Policies have different benefits and exclusions, so it is incredibly important to read each policycarefully.