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Travel bloggers Krista Staudinger and Matt Reading were traveling through Thailand when Matt flipped off a swing and injured his head. The playful stunt left him in need of stitches in a foreign country thousands of miles away from home.
Fortunately for Matt, he had travel insurance. His policy covered this unprecedented medical expense, allowing him to continue his journey abroad.
Annie Dunning, on the other hand, was preparing for a trip to Cuba when her travel partner came down with a serious knee injury. Their trip was just two weeks away. Dunning’s $25 travel insurance policy would ultimately save her vacation.
The two friends secured a refund for their $350 flight as well as the accommodation they had already booked. They used that refund to book themselves a new trip a few months later when the injury had healed.
I know firsthand that the travel insurance realm can be a bit daunting, especially when it comes to finding an affordable policy.
Because of this I teamed up with experts at Yonder, a travel insurance aggregator, to help travelers fully understand how it all works. As an aggregator, Yonder helps connect travelers to a wide range of policies that fit their needs.
Yonder co-founder and president Terry Boynton gave us the inside scoop on travel insurance.
Everything You Need To Know About Travel Insurance
Q: Why should I get travel insurance?
A: Every time you leave the country you should have some sort of travel insurance policy, especially for medical evacuation purposes.
Accidents happen anywhere. People may think they’re invincible, but as common as it is to get into an accident at home, it’s just as likely to happen abroad. When that happens in a foreign country in which you don’t speak the language, the situation may be even scarier.
Travel insurance gives you peace of mind. It gives you the reassurance that if something were to happen, you’ll be taken care of.
People need to know this is an affordable way to have a worry-free trip. You’re already investing so much on your vacation. You want it to be carefree and fun. Travel insurance provides you that peace of mind.
Q: Are there additional benefits?
A: One major benefit of purchasing a travel insurance policy is gaining access to a 24/7 emergency provider while abroad.
This is a 24/7 service you can call if you get injured or have any travel-related emergencies, such as a missed connecting flight. Most people aren’t aware that this 24-hour service can assist travelers beyond medical emergencies. It’s also there for other mishaps.
This isn’t something you get with your regular health insurance.
Q: So how does it work? What happens if I get hurt?
A: We always hope no one has to use his or her travel insurance, but if you do, you’ll be backed by medical professionals 24 hours a day.
Whether you’re rebooking a missed flight, looking for a nearby hospital or evacuating from a really remote place, you can call that emergency hotline for assistance.
When it comes to smaller claims, such as a wrist sprain or stomach virus, you will most likely pay the expenses upfront then file a claim later. Make sure to keep your receipts as proof for the provider.
For serious injuries or evacuation, you should work directly with the emergency assistance provider. They will work with the hospital or evacuation service treating you, and the costs should be covered by your policy.
Q: Doesn’t my regular health insurance cover me when I’m abroad?
A: While your health insurance may partly cover you abroad, that coverage is most likely limited. You’re better off finding an affordable travel insurance policy that will give you hundreds of thousands of dollars of coverage far beyond what your U.S.-based provider can offer.
Q: For what type of trip would I need travel insurance?
A: Any trip abroad.
Another benefit of having travel insurance is you’re able to insure the costs of an expensive trip. Let’s say you go on one big vacation per year, and it’s usually a hefty financial investment. If you insure that trip, you won’t have to worry about about losing your deposits if for some unforeseen reason you have to cancel.
Q: What type of policy do I need?
A: So it’s not a one-size-fits-all type of thing.
Some policies are great for senior travelers who have pre-existing conditions and need an extensive list of cancellation reasons. Others are ideal for adventure enthusiasts who need flexible medical coverage for hazardous sports.
There are three different types of travel insurance policies that we sell on Yonder.
The most common is comprehensive. It includes trip cancellation, medical expenses and evacuation, and travel loss and delay coverage. It’s an all-in-one package, but you’ll likely need a round-trip ticket to purchase this type of policy.
The second is a travel medical policy, which is a more flexible plan ideal for travelers spending an extended period of time abroad, especially those with open-ended tickets. You can purchase, renew and extend this plan while traveling. This option provides extensive medical expense and evacuation limits while you’re abroad.
The third is an evacuation policy, which offers straightforward medical expense and medical evacuation coverage. This is for someone who is traveling to a really remote area where evacuation costs would be really high, as there’s usually an unlimited amount of coverage for emergency evacuation.
Q: How much does travel insurance cost?
A: Generally about 5 to 10 percent of your total trip cost, but at an aggregator site like Yonder can filter through policies to get you the best bang for your buck. The cost of a policy depends on the age of the travelers, as well as the length and cost of the trip.
Q: At what point in my trip planning should I buy travel insurance?
A: As soon as you start making payments toward your trip, or as soon as you have your travel dates set. Although you can purchase a policy up until the day before your departure, we recommend doing it as soon as you begin booking flights and hotel stays.
You can file for a refund if you need to cancel your trip due to an unforeseen event, such as a death in the family or a natural disaster happens.
Q: Where can I buy travel insurance?
A: We would definitely recommend using a travel insurance aggregator site like Yonder.
Yonder will present you with different policies based on your specific needs, allowing you to compare, sort and filter through varied coverage options from several providers.
When you purchase a policy through an aggregator you’re also getting a third-party advocate. You won’t have to do all the dirty work alone: If you open a claim and you still haven’t heard back a couple of weeks later, you can reach out to us for help. We know the industry, and we can advocate for you by working directly with the provider.
Yonder is also committed to providing a week’s worth of food to a child in need with every policy sold. So you can travel well, and do well, when you go Yonder!
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