Do You Need Travel Insurance at All?
Travel insurance is supposed to cover the risks occurring while traveling either internationally or within one's own country.
Most travel insurance plans include coverage of medical expenses, trip cancellation, trip/baggage delay, lost and stolen property, emergency situations, evacuation and so on. Different plans can cover different risks.
In most cases travel medical insurance is recommendable, though voluntary, but more and more countries require foreign tourist, entering there territory, to have one. To date the list of countries with mandatory medical travel insurance looks like this:
- 26 countries of Schengen Area,
- and the UAE.
For example: a resident of Thailand wishing to enter Italy (Schengen area member state) needs to procure insurance contract (= insurance policy) either from an insurance company based in Europe or the same issued by one of the regional (Thai) companies, included in the list of companies, approved by the Italian Embassy in Bangkok. And, please, read further:
Only the listed insurance companies are accepted by the Embassies of the Schengen Countries in Bangkok.
If you provide an insurance from a different company based in Thailand, the policy will not be accepted.
And believe me or not, they really mean it. So be careful.
* (Lately travelers from a lot of different countries became an opportunity to buy their travel medical insurance policies online from various international travel insurance providers, such as
Allianz Global Assistance (the world's largest insurance company, headquartered in Munich, Germany), Atlas Travel Insurance (HCCMIS, both products of Insurance Services of America), Travel Guard, World Nomads, etc. The policies of these companies, as they assure on their web pages, are accepted by the consulates of all Schengen countries. And purchasing travel insurance policy online has its undeniable advantages, most importantly: you can at any time extend or modify your policy, as well as make your insurance claim while you're still traveling and without waiting for your return to the country where the policy was issued.)
In this particular case the minimum coverage must be €30.000,00, as stated in the European Community Code on Visas.
In the same document we can also find what risks travel medical insurance must cover and they are:
any expenses which might arise in connection with repatriation for medical reasons, urgent medical attention and/or emergency hospital treatment or death, during their stay(s) on the territory of the Member States.
Now to other cases, when travel insurance is a must:
— The risks occurring when engaged in so called dangerous activities, such as winter sports, adventure sports, scuba diving, are as a rule not covered by standard plans. And keep in mind, if you're going to take part in any competitions (no matter professional or amateur and again, we don't speak about chess tournaments here) during your vacations, you'll need this special type of travel medical insurance in order to take part in these competitions (otherwise you won't be allowed to do so).
- World Nomads is one of those few companies initially focalized on the needs of adventurous travelers and whose standard plan already includes coverage of risks associated with various adventure sports and activities (tennis, volleyball, football, hockey, cycling, including, oddly enough, mountain biking on/off track/downhill, motor biking, hunting excluding big game, surfing, etc.) .
- World Nomads travel insurance policy covers more than 200 various activities, but not all of them are included in their standard policy. You'll have to buy more expensive Explorer plan if you're going to be engage in skiing, snowboarding, scuba diving up to 50 meters, kite surfing and so on. The list of the activities, sports and adventures covered by World Nomads.
- However, World Nomads won't cover any expenses relating to pre-existing medical conditions or issue a policy to a person older than 70 for US or 66 for European residents .
— It's usually very hard to see your kids or pets suffer: an hour or so and you don't think about money any more (one can say that children and pets represent quite different cases, but pet lovers will certainly understand me and all the responsibility for the two rests exclusively with a parent / a pet owner). A simple calculation will help you to decide, whether the insurance of these risks is sensible or otherwise (everything depends on the destination country here).
— You should check, whether your chosen travel medical insurance policy covers costs of emergency dental treatment. People who stoically endure other types of pain (even if it's threatening their lives) are often very sensitive to toothache. And usually no one is ready to spend with it all the vacations!
Most travel medical insurance plans do not cover:
- preexisting medical conditions;
- injury or illness caused by alcohol or drug abuse;
- non-emergency (elective) surgery or treatment;
- travel to war zones and terrorism (actually, these risks are covered by some plans).
- and so on, for example look at Atlas Travel Insurance exclusions, for more information read the Description of Coverage (a .pdf document, General Exclusions on page 22).
Draw all the conclusions necessary and use your common sense. Stay safe (even if you bought the most expensive travel insurance policy)!
Sincerely yours, ArnoldSkiPro