Travel Insurance while Backpacking through Europe

Along with your passport, this is one of the most important things you need to have before you leave home. Travel insurance policies should be reviewed in depth and take note of all the fine print, so you are not overpaying for services you assumed was included. The travel policy you select should not just cover you on your trip, but should cover you before your trip. This is a broad overview of things to consider when shopping around for travel insurance:

Medical coverage – if you become sick while you are away or need to go to the hospital/doctor, you want to ensure your insurance covers those fees or partial fees. Check to make sure you are covered for emergency medical situations and transportation (ambulance fees are often quite expensive).

Cancellation insurance – if you are sick and can not board the plane, or if the flight is cancelled, review the policies to ensure the coverage you select has options or reimbursements for flight and hotel cancellations.

Loss and/or Theft – this is where most travellers struggle with claims. There is many loop holes and companies will do a lot not to pay out claims of stolen property or theft. The smart recommendation would be to leave all your valuables at home, but who goes anywhere nowadays without a smartphone, tablet and laptop. Not to mention expensive headphones, gps, cameras. Read the fine print regarding this topic. Often cash, electronics and other high valued items are not covered under most policies.

Once deciding on a policy, you should know the details on how to make a claim. When something arises, you do not want to then be panicking, looking for those details. Be prepared before you leave with the policy number and company contact information. Understand how to make a claim, some companies will want receipts of your purchases or ATM/bank slips.

To recap, you want to purchase the travel insurance that is best for you and suits all your needs. Most policies do not provide coverage while you are travelling, you need to have it before you start travelling. You need to shop around months in advance of your trip, so you are not leaving this major decision to the last minute. Do not go by what is promised on the internet, make sure you talk to a representative/agent from the Insurance company. It is great to read reviews and other traveller’s experiences, but do not purchase a policy online.