Choosing a travel insurance is an important step when planning your trip overseas. Whether you are traveling for holidays, as an au-pair, expatriate, or student, you will need to have a proper health cover.
Depending on the type and the length of your trip, your destination or the activities you are planning to do other there, the choice of your health insurance will be different. Through this article, we will try to guide you to get the best travel insurance when preparing your trip.
Types of trips
First you should think about your needs during your trip to know which travel insurance to choose. Your needs will be different if you travel as a tourist for holidays and for a short period of time or if you go backpacking on the roads for a year or more. During your trip, you may encounter sudden changes in altitude, temperature and can be exposed to a variety of diseases, which can result in illness.
Moreover, the health risks you will be exposed to will be different depending on your activities and way of life abroad. For example, if you are planning to do extreme sports (skydiving, diving etc.), make sure to pick a travel insurance that can cover adventure sports.
Backpacking around the world
If you decide to travel around the world, in addition to the different risks you will be exposed depending on the countries you are visiting, you may also need to rearrange your trip for some reasons. For this type of trip it would be wise to choose insurance with a large luggage cover and a cancellation option to be more flexible in case of unforeseen events. Also make sure your insurance is effective in all the countries you are visiting. Check that you can receive emergency assistance 24/7, or that your medical expenses will be covered upfront and from the first cent paid and this regardless of your location.
During a family trip, your priorities and needs are different than if you are traveling by yourself. In this case you should opt for high insurance coverage because your children may have special needs or be more fragile. Also, when traveling with your family, a cancellation in case of unforeseen events can be pretty expensive. You should think about taking out cancellation insurance to travel with peace of mind.
Finally if you are traveling to be an au pair overseas, you will need an insurance that offers specific guarantees for this activity. For example, an insurance that will cover your hotel expenses if you need to change family or that will cover you personally if you accidentally hurt the child in your care.
Type of visa
When choosing your travel insurance, you will also need to consider the type of visa you will travel with in order to purchase the appropriate insurance cover.
Working Holiday Visa
If you intend to travel with a Working Holiday Visa, you may have to take out mandatory insurance to have your visa approved. Moreover you will probably spend several months in a country, increasing the risk of being sick or have an accident. Some insurance companies are specialised for this kind of travel and will offer you all the guarantees you need for your trip.
If you are traveling with a student visa, depending on the country you will be studying, you may have to take out compulsory national health insurance. However, you may also have to take out private insurance to make up the gap in reimbursement and be covered for other risks such as potential early return, personal liability, rental liability etc.
If you intend to live in a foreign country for work you will need insurance that covers your medical expenses or repatriation in case of illness or an accident while working or even in your everyday life. A proper insurance cover will allow you to pack and go with peace of mind for you and your family.
If traveling on a tourist visa, depending on the length of your stay, the insurance will also be different. Also, for a stay as a tourist you will certainly want insurance that covers your luggage or will refund you in case of cancellation of your stay. If you are going to do sports activities (skydiving, climbing etc) you must again make sure that these are covered by your insurance contract.
Country of destination
To be sure to purchase adequate cover, your destination country must also be taken into account. Travellers are exposed to health risks and some diseases would be more common in some areas of the globe.
If you intend to travel in Europe and are a European citizen, you will be able to request a European Health Insurance Card, allowing you to be treated in all the European countries at no cost for you.
If you are planning to travel to Asia or Africa, make sure that you will be covered in your destination country as some countries may not be covered by insurance companies for X or Y reasons. It is therefore important to enquire about this point and to check your insurance contract.
Finally, depending on the level of ‘development of the country’ you will be visiting, your insurance coverage will be different. Depending on your destination (tropical countries, isolated, recently at war ones etc) your coverage will be different, this is due to the health risks you may be exposed to or the activities you may do there for example.
Special medical needs
When choosing your travel insurance, your personal needs and condition must be taken into account. Do you have a physical disability or a specific illness or condition that requires a continuing treatment? Then you will need a special health insurance. In this situation, the best option is to contact your national health care system. Discuss with them the potential reciprocal agreement they may have with other countries.