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Can we do without travel insurance?

I traveled between 2008 and 2013 without travel insurance. Of course, a few trifles have happened to me here and there, but nothing has ever made me aware of the importance of insurance.

I started to see things differently when I almost did a motorcycle accident in India.
I then realized that beyond my own health, it was my loved ones and my family that I risked indebted to in the event of tragedy…

  • You can never anticipate everything and most national health insurance will not cover you abroad.
  • Who could have predicted that I would be bitten by a mosquito in Vietnam that would have transmitted dengue fever to me?
  • Who could have predicted that I would have my mobile phone stolen in the Buenos Aires metro by a pickpocket?
  • Or even that a friend of mine punctured his eardrum while scuba diving?
  • Worse still, who could premeditate the death of a family member and therefore a premature return?

Travel insurance allows you to be able to face all these misadventures and relieve yourself of the financial aspect. Of course we always hope not to have to resort to our travel insurance, but given that it does not cost more than a few euros a day, I think today that it is a mistake to do without it. Prevention is better than cure as they say.

Things to check

When looking for the most suitable travel insurance for your needs, make sure that the solution you opt for more than covers your medical expenses.

Good insurance companies cover your medical expenses up to 100,000 euros (this amount may be higher if you take out more expensive offers). The maximum amount available on the market is 1,000,000 euros (but unless you call Bruce Willis and blow everything around you, I don’t see in what case you could need such a insurance).

Good travel insurance should include the following services:

  • It must be valid in most parts of the world.
  • The protection it offers you must extend at least in part to your electronic devices (generally during transport; plane, bus, train)
  • It must cover any sudden injuries or illnesses.
  • In the event of an emergency, you must be able to access its assistance services 24 hours a day.
  • It must cover the loss, damage or theft of your personal items such as your jewellery, your luggage, your documents, etc.
  • It must cover all kinds of cancellations (travel, hotel reservations, plane tickets or any other means of transport).
  • It must cover emergencies or disturbances occurring in your country of destination and which could force you to return to your country of origin earlier than planned.
  • It must include personal coverage in the event of an accident.
  • It must cover any legal expenses if such an expense proves necessary.
  • It should provide you with financial protection in the event that your chosen shipping company goes bankrupt and you find yourself stuck abroad.

Under no circumstances take out travel insurance that does not offer all the above services!

Please note regarding electronic devices: most insurance companies only cover part of the cost of your devices (usually up to 400 or 500 euros), as this is part of their basic offer. In addition, this only covers your devices while you are traveling (for example if your computer breaks in the baggage hold).
I therefore recommend that you take out additional insurance for your electronic objects.

What the insurance does not cover is important

You should absolutely find out what is not covered by your travel insurance. Most insurance doesn’t cover accidents that occur during extreme activities such as hang gliding, paragliding or bungee jumping, unless you pay extra.

Similarly, the majority of insurance companies will not cover you if you injure someone while driving (civil liability does apply in this case). Insurance companies do not normally cover accidents related to the consumption of alcohol or narcotics or negligence on your part concerning your luggage and more generally your valuables.
You will not be reimbursed if you have been “reckless”, term whose definition varies according to the insurance company concerned.

To sum up, in the event that a sane person would never have taken part in what caused your accident, your insurance company will not reimburse you.

What you need to know about complaints

In the event of a claim, always keep in mind that any insurance company, no matter how good its services, aims to achieve a high turnover and will do everything possible to avoid having to pay money unnecessarily.

It is, after all, an insurance company, and it is not by reimbursing Henri, Pierre and Jean that it will prosper. So be prepared to be patient before you receive your money, because even the best insurance companies reimburse their customers only begrudgingly.

To ensure that you will actually be reimbursed, don’t forget to keep all your receipts, necessary forms and relevant documents (this will allow you to make your case faster).

Insurance included in the credit card

In case you don’t know, paying for your plane tickets with your bank card (Visa premiere or Mastercard) automatically insures you (can someone confirm that for Canada?)!

You are automatically entitled to:

  • repatriation assistance (including the payment of some medical expenses)
  • death and disability insurance

But to be honest credit card insurance has serious drawbacks:

  • Limited to the first 90 days of travel
  • Large deductible
  • Reimbursement in addition to social security (this complicates everything)
  • Refund only on purchases paid with the said bank card
  • Guarantees less important than travel insurance

So card insurance is always better than nothing, but I really don’t recommend them.

The European health insurance card

Are you going on holiday to Europe, to a European Union/European Economic Area (EU/EEA) state or to Switzerland? Before your departure, obtain the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) (you can do this online directly here). It will allow you to certify your rights to health insurance and to benefit from on-site coverage of your medical care, according to the legislation and formalities in force in the country of stay.

On the other hand, you will have to advance all the costs. It is therefore strongly advised to take out long-term travel insurance…

Travel insurance comparison

I took a look at the best travel insurance to create two summary tables for you.
All these travel insurances cover the elements mentioned above. I have chosen to limit the number of insurance to 4 for the moment and 6 criteria so that it is clear and understandable for you.

  • The first table is for one-year trips. The prices are therefore displayed per month on a 12-month basis.
  • The second table concerns short stays of less than 3 months. Prices are displayed per month on a 3 month basis.

Long-stay insurance comparison (from 3 months to 1 year)

Solo
Outside USA and Canada
Solo
Whole world
Couple
Outside USA and Canada
Couple
Whole world
Family
Outside USA and Canada
Family
Whole world
Chapka
Subscribe
48€ 62€ 91€ 117€ 163€ 210€
Avi
Subscribe
47€ 59€ 94€ 118€ 128€ 128€
Axa assistance
Subscribe
57€ 57€ 114€ 114€ 217€ 217 €
World Nomads
Subscribe
66€ 83€ 132€ 167€ 165€ 208€

Short stay insurance comparison (3 months max)

So which travel insurance to choose?

Well, that depends on you and your wallet.

The best value for money

Daredevil and extreme sports

The coverage with the highest ceiling

The insurance with the most important guarantee is Chapka. This is the one I recommend in 99% of cases because it is suitable for any type of traveler.

You also have several options available at Chapka:

  • Are you going on a world tour for more than 90 days to 1 year? Take CAP adventures: Cape Adventure
  • Are you leaving for less than 90 days? Take it Cape Assistanceperfect for short stays anywhere in the world.
  • Are you going on a working holiday? Take it CAP Working Holiday .
  • Are you going on a trip to study abroad? Take Cap Student

Conclusion

Whichever insurance company you choose, research thoroughly before making your decision. No insurance is identical to another and it is preferable that you choose the one that best corresponds to the trip you are going to undertake (for example, I never take out insurance that covers high-risk activities such as parachute jumping, because I don’t practice this kind of sport at all).

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Choosing travel insurance can be confusing and complex!  Here I offer you advice and a comparison to choose the best one for you.


PS: This article took a long time to write as I had to research and call each travel insurance I quote here in order to provide you with the best selection. Also, for the sake of transparency, I would like to point out that if you subscribe to travel insurance via the links in this article, I will receive a small commission on each sale at no additional cost to you. You will help me to continue my work on this blog.




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