• 28 January 2022

Travelling is an exciting adventure – exploring new and mysterious places and widening horizons! However, if something were to go wrong on – or before – your travels, you’d want to know that you’re looked after and covered financially. This has become even more important since the Covid-19 pandemic began in 2020, creating serious health concerns and travel restrictions. Travel insurance is necessary for protection and to ease your travel anxieties!

The subject of insurance can be confusing. This often causes people to ignore it until the last minute, or simply avoid it altogether. The important thing to remember is that armed with the proper information, travel insurance isn’t as complex as it seems. Expat Explore has covered some travel insurance basics in our Travel Insurance 101 Guide. Now, we’re diving deeper into the subject, explaining it in more detail and ensuring that you have everything you need to be covered for your next trip!

What is travel insurance and how does it work?

Simply put, insurance is protection while you are travelling. It’s usually bought after you book your trip – flights and accommodation included – but before you depart. Anyone about to travel should make sure they have travel insurance set up before they leave. This is why we require all our travellers to have insurance before they depart on any of our tours.

Also, many embassies will refuse visas to anyone who does not have travel insurance. This is especially true for the Schengen visa that you might need when you travel to any of the Schengen area countries.  So, to avoid being denied entry to your destination of choice, purchasing insurance is absolutely necessary.

Related: What is a visa and do I need one for my tour? 

The Schengen State Flag, Travel Insurance
The Schengen visa is easier to obtain when you have good travel insurance.
What is covered by travel insurance and what should travel insurance include?

As with any insurance, travel insurance comes in a variety of options. To be sure of what you’re covered for you’ll need to check the company’s policies. Some of the things that are covered by travel insurance include:

  • Trip cancellations
  • Medical emergencies during your trip
  • Lost luggage
  • Medical evacuations
  • Flight and/or vehicle accidents on your trip

However, there are some instances where you may not be covered. An example could be taking part in extreme sports while travelling. As well as any pre-existing conditions, losses or injuries incurred while committing a crime. You will also need to check with your insurance provider about Covid-19 cover as it is important to be covered for medical expenses should you contract the virus.

Certain events relating to Covid-19 may be covered while others may not.
Travel insurance and Covid-19

Covid-19 put travel on pause for months on end and it has certainly changed the way we travel. Thankfully, the world is opening up and we’re press play on travel once again! However, it is more important than ever to protect yourself in the event that you fall ill or your trip is cancelled. While coverage differs depending on your insurance provider, Covid-19 cover usually includes:

  • Medical assistance overseas in the event of testing positive for Covid-19 while travelling.
  • Trip cancellation due to testing positive for Covid-19 prior to your trip.
  • Medical repatriation/evacuation.

On the other hand, in these instances, you will generally NOT be covered by your insurance provider:

  • Overseas government restrictions preventing you from travelling. E.g. lockdowns, quarantine on entry.
  • Choosing not to travel based on health and safety concerns.
  • You cannot go as you are not willing to meet quarantine requirements (if applicable) on return to your home country.
  • You are not vaccinated against Covid-19.

Please note, this is not applicable to all insurance providers. Some providers cover more than others. Check with your personal provider to find out what exactly they will cover in relation to Covid-19.

Types of Travel Insurance

Not all travel insurance is the same, and there are many different plans which cover a variety of events:

    • Medical travel insurance covers you for medical emergencies while you’re travelling.
    • Vacation plan travel insurance covers the cost of flights and accommodation should you need to delay or cancel your trip.
    • Personal liability travel insurance covers you in the unfortunate event that you may cause injuries or damage to somebody else.
How to Buy Travel Insurance

Unlike other insurance types, travel insurance is paid for once-off – instead of with multiple premiums. You purchase a plan online the same way you do with any other online shopping purchase! Fill out a form, pay for the package and print out your confirmation form.  It is usually a simple and seamless process and doesn’t take much time at all.

Admiring the scenery in Peru, South America, Travel Insurance
Admiring the scenery in Peru, South America
What’s the Best Way to Sign up For Travel Insurance?

It’s very important to research the different companies and pick the one that suits you best. You also have to read all of their policies and terms and conditions to make sure that the insurance will cover you as needed. Sign up for a policy as soon as you’ve booked your flights and trip!

Important questions to ask Your Travel Insurance Provider

If you’re not quite sure about your travel insurance plan, here are some handy questions you could ask your provider. These should help you feel more secure with your policy:

  • How much of my medical bills are covered with the insurance policy?
  • What is the maximum age for this policy? Will my age affect my travel insurance coverage?
  • Will there be excess to pay? How much is this?
  • Will my medical bills be paid directly? Or do I need to pay for them and then claim back?
  • Must I seek approval from the insurance company before seeking medical help?
  • Can I contact the company 24/7 in the event of an emergency?
  • Can I extend my policy if I decide to stay longer?
  • How am I covered for events relating to Covid-19?
Bike Adventures in Bolivia, Travel Insurance
Bike adventures (in Bolivia) are much more fun if you have peace of mind that you are covered if anything happens.
How Much is Travel Insurance

Many people worry about how much travel insurance costs. It is usually a percentage of your total trip costs. This percentage will depend on the insurance company but usually ranges between 4% and 10%. However, some insurance companies will base the cost of travel insurance on the benefits you need. Travel insurance prices are also reliant on the traveller’s age, length of the trip, and the level of cover needed.

Good News! Many companies will give you lower insurance costs if you’re buying a package tour!

Travel Tip: Contact your medical insurer and your credit card company to see if you are already covered for your travels. Some credit card companies offer you free travel insurance if you pay for your trip using your credit card. BUT, be careful to research what this insurance actually covers.

What is Travel Insurance Excess

Much like other insurance policies, your travel insurance may require an excess to be paid. This simply means that you may have to pay a portion of your claim. You can get travel insurance with lower premiums, but you’ll have to pay more excess. This can sometimes help, if you’re looking to pay less for your travel insurance – provided that you are prepared to pay should something happen.

Family atop Table Mountain, Cape Town, Travel Insurance
Family atop Table Mountain, Cape Town.
Where to Find the Best Travel Insurance Options

Expat Explore’s recommended travel insurance provider is World Nomads. They offer comprehensive travel insurance for all nationalities and cover travellers’ needs appropriately. We use them often, and so do many of our travellers.

However, depending on which country you are from, and what your specific travel insurance needs are, there may be another provider that suits you best. You are always free to pick your own travel insurance company.  If we can give you one last piece of travel insurance advice, it would be to do your research. Always choose a policy that suits your individual needs. Make sure you are adequately covered in the event of an unfortunate emergency. It’s also wise to be sure that you understand the terms and conditions of your policy.

As much as we hope you’ll never have to use your travel insurance, it’s always better to be safe than sorry! So, whether you’re visiting a country close by or going all the way across the globe; heading off on a short trip or a multi-country tour – travel insurance should always be a priority. Now that you know more, have a look at our upcoming tours and get ready to start exploring!

Questions & Comments

  1. I have travel coverage with Chase Visa Explorer card but wanted to know if there is something that I need in writing to take with me on our trip? Thank you

    • Expat Explore says:

      Hi Denise

      Thank you for your message.
      You may print out your Cover letter provided with your Travel Insurance Provider and Policy number we will also ask you to complete this information onto your Traveller’s details in order for us to keep a record. This was emailed to you from our reservation system today.

      We look forward to hearing from you again

      Kind Regards
      Customer Service

  2. Eastern Highlights tour says:

    I was unable to complete form. Our tour will begin on June 8, 2021 and end June 18, 2021.

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