It is exciting. Packing your bags for your round the world journey. Planning the perfect itinerary and getting your gear ready for some incredible adventures. But what is not so exciting is shopping around for the right round the world travel insurance. Actually there are not a lot of companies that offer a long term travel insurance package that covers several countries.
Maybe it does not even matter which insurance package you go with.
Maybe nothing will go wrong and . . .
Maybe you do not even need it. (Do not think like that, more to come on this later in this post)
Round the World Travel Insurance
Embarking on your round the world adventure is one of the biggest things that you may ever prepare for. There is a lot that goes into the preparation and a lot of moving parts that you need to think about. From booking flights and hotels to booking excursions and activities, and most importantly how you are going to get from destination. But do not even think about forgetting the long term travel insurance.
Looking for insurance plans to cover your travels is not fun. Especially when it comes to multi-country trips, it can be hard to find the right provider and the right plan to cover yourself and your belongings. At least in our experience, finding travel insurance providers for long term travel to several countries has been difficult.
One that we have come to trust is World Nomads. They offer a very simple way to get a price on your trip for long term trips and work with you on any extensions you need should you ever decide you are not ready to go back home.
However, a lot of people have asked me in the past when planning their trip if they even need the travel insurance.
Do I NEED Travel Insurance?
Buying long travel insurance (or any type of insurance for that matter) is kind of like going to the casino. Why you ask? Well when departing for your exciting new adventure around the world, you have a choice to make when it comes to travel insurance. To buy or not to buy.
To buy means that you are putting a wager on the chance that you may get injured, having a trip cancellation, or other types of incidents covered by travel experience, and if you do that you will get covered by the insurance you bought. To not buy means that you are putting a wager on you not getting hurt or having any other the other incidents previously stated happen to you.
You buy for that peace of mind that you get knowing should something terrible happen, though the chances are less than that if they do not happen, you are covered by your travel insurance. You do not buy if you think that the amount you would spend during your lifetime on this insurance would cancel out the costs of how many travel incidents you would have in your lifetime.
For example, say you travel for one month of every year and you know that being covered would cost you $250 for this each year. During your lifetime of travel, which you figure will be the next 25 years, you will pay $6,250. Do you feel you will be having $ worth of incidents throughout your lifetime of travel?
Well let me draw from my personal experience to put this into perspective.
My Experience Not Having Travel Insurance
Back in 2016, Natalie and I went to Hawaii from South Korea for one week. With all the planning that went into the trip, it never really crossed our mind to get travel insurance. It was a short trip and we did not think to get it maybe because we felt a sense of security traveling to the U.S. That false sense of security is what gets so many people when traveling and deciding not to get travel insurance.
In this case, the first and only case we did not get travel insurance, the unexpected happened. Upon landing in Hawaii, my ear felt some pressure and after a day that pressure never went away. My ear never popped upon landing and the pressure in my ear only got worse and worse. Finally, at the end of the day when I laid down in the hotel bed, I felt a pop and warm liquid coming out of my ear. My ear drum had burst from the inside out. It was surprisingly the worst pain I had ever felt. Like my head was splitting in half. I could not put a sentence together and was on the ground in pain.
I asked Natalie to go down to the front desk to ask them to get me a ride to the hospital to make sure nothing serious was happening to me. She came back up five minutes later to tell me that she called an ambulance, not knowing how much we would need to pay for that service. An ambulance ride to the emergency room, a doctor check up, and a $2,500 bill later and we were on our way back to the hotel.
My ear drum had been ruptured and in time it would heal again. About six to eight weeks. I was prescribed amoxocilin to keep my ear from being infected and I could not do anything involving water in Hawaii. The pain would continue for days and all I could hear was ringing for weeks. It was not a pleasant time, made worse by not having travelers insurance.
How would we have known that we would need some medical services in Hawaii? We were not going to do anything crazy. No adventurous things like skydiving or rock climbing going on in our itinerary. Just a leisurely escape from our lives. Unfortunately, life has other plans. It was from this experience that we vowed never to neglect getting travel insurance again.
Long Term Travel Insurance
So let us get real here. If something unexpected like this can happen to someone who had nothing crazy planned during their short stay in another country, what do you think could happen during your round the world journey? Best case scenario is that nothing happens and you had the great no-worry feeling of having this long term travel insurance pillow ready to cushion your fall should there be one.
Worst case scenario is . . . well, let us not go there and let us talk about maybe the next to worst case scenario where you get very sick or break something very serious and need a get medical attention in air lifted back to your country. Something that would definitely not be cheap. Something that would cost tens of thousands of dollars potentially now covered without you needing to worry about that when you are potentially in the worst pain you have ever been in.
This is why we get long term travel insurance. To make sure that if something horrible happens we only have to deal with the physical pain and not the financial pain that comes with it.
Preparing for Your Trip
You should understand and document a few things before you embark on your trip.
- First thing is first, you should really understand what your long trip travel insurance covers. Read your policy extremely carefully and know all of the fine print. A lot of people do not completely understand what their policy covers because of the wording or they just do not even bother reading the policy and they assume it covers anything. Knowing your policy is priority number one.
- You should also have your policy on hand with the phone number you need to call should anything happen to you that will need to be claimed. It is important that if something does happen to you that you call this number immediately and have them tell you who to call or what hospital you should go to. Some insurance companies require this, hence why you should be reading your policy in great detail.
- Document everything you are bringing with you that you would be disappointed if it were to get stolen. This includes gear like camera equipment, laptops, and so on. Make sure you take a photo or better yet a video of what they are, the serial numbers, and you taking them on the road with you. Should you need to claim these as stolen you will want to proof that they were brought along with you. Also, refer to your policy.
- Last, but not least, read your policy one last time. I cannot stress this enough and that is why it is listed as the first and last thing. Preparation is key and knowing what you need to do in case of an emergency is the most important thing. Knowing what adventure activities your travel insurance will cover, countries that are covered, and so on.
Travel safely. This is the most important thing. A lot of round the world travelers embark on their journey to see the world, but forget that safety is the most important thing. It is the best course of action to preventing anything from happening to you and having to make a claim on your travel insurance.
At the same time, things happen all the time that are out of our control. We know this and so do insurance companies. That is what insurance is for. It is a wager. But a wager that we are willing to place so that we know we are going to be taken care of financially should something horrible happen to us on our round the world trip.