Choosing Travel Insurance Companies: Tips for Family Travel Insurance

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Is travel insurance worth it? Would the family travel insurance cost be better spent on my holiday? Do I need travel insurance at all? I mean, we’re just going for two weeks! These are just a few questions I’ve heard regarding family travel insurance.

Choosing travel insurance isn’t the most exciting part of travel planning, but it’s really important. Below I’ve listed up a few tips and tricks for finding the right travel insurance policy for you.

Is travel insurance worth it? Would the family travel insurance cost be better spent on my holiday? Do I need travel insurance at all? Choosing travel insurance isn’t exciting, but it’s important. Here are a few tips & tricks for finding the right travel insurance policy. travel insurance tips | best travel insurance companies | travel planning tips | travel insurance for cruise | travel insurance for disney | eu travel insurance Europe | travel insurance for usa | best travel insurance to get

Choosing the Best Travel Insurance Plan for You

Who doesn’t love planning a big trip? I know I do. But there is always one part of family travel that we prioritize: choosing travel insurance. Many people ask “Is travel insurance worth it?” I would say yes. Absolutely.

Even the best travel insurance companies get a bad rap (sometimes deservedly) for not being upfront about what’s covered and then trying to wriggle out of reimbursements if an emergency occurs.

Not all insurance reps are like this, but be prepared and read everything. Many people choosing travel insurance premiums only look at the family travel insurance quotes and don’t look at the details of their coverage.

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Family Travel Insurance Coverage: What to Expect

Is travel insurance worth it? Would the family travel insurance cost be better spent on my holiday? Do I need travel insurance at all? Choosing travel insurance isn’t exciting, but it’s important. Here are a few tips & tricks for finding the right travel insurance policy. travel insurance tips | best travel insurance companies | travel planning tips | travel insurance for cruise | travel insurance for disney | eu travel insurance Europe | travel insurance for usa | best travel insurance to get

Travel insurance is not a replacement for your regular health insurance. Like the name says, travel insurance is for travel. Sometimes it’s called vacation insurance or holiday insurance, but it’s all the same, and your coverage deals with travel-related issues.

Don’t expect regular health checks or annual teeth cleaning to be covered. Even the best travel insurance companies don’t cover that!

The best travel insurance policies cover things like:

  • Lost or stolen luggage
  • Stolen gear or equipment
  • Flight costs when you have to return for an emergency
  • Traffic accidents in a rental car
  • Money to live on if your wallet is stolen or a canceled flight leaves you stranded
  • Emergency evacuation because of injury, catastrophe or other perilous situation
  • And of course, medical costs if you get sick or hurt

Let’s say your pack is swiped from a café…and the entire family’s passports were in it. The best travel insurance will cover the cost of replacements and possibly cover flights and hotels if it means you get thrown off schedule.

A typhoon or other catastrophe hits your beach vacation spot and your tickets are non-refundable. Or let’s say your spouse gets really ill or a close relative dies on the day before you plan to leave for Europe. The best travel insurance will cover much of your expenses if you need to cancel the trip. But only if the plan was in place beforehand.

These are a few of the things you can expect from a good family travel insurance plan. They don’t cover the day-to-day things that normal health and dental plans do, but if there’s an accident or serious emergency, you’re taken care of.

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Pre-Trip Research: Choosing the Best Travel Insurance Policy

Finding the best travel insurance for you and your family means starting early. If possible, start your family travel insurance research long before you hit the road. That way you can get a good look at all the best travel insurance companies and know how they differ.

Here’s how to start.

Who (and What) are You Insuring?

How many people are your traveling with? What are their ages? Anyone over 65? Anyone under a year? All of these factors could impact your family travel insurance premium.

Do you plan to insure any expensive items like laptops or camera equipment? Know the value of your gear before looking at coverage.

And remember: if your laptop is stolen or broken, the best travel insurance companies can replace insured gear, but they can’t necessarily get back the data.

How Will You Travel?

Will you be flying a lot? You might want to look at family travel insurance policies that well cover missed flights and lost luggage.

Renting cars often? You’ll definitely want accident coverage there.

On the other hand, if your style of travel involves lots of hiking and outdoor activities, it’s better to look at coverage for medical needs, including medical evacuation.

What Will You Do?

Is travel insurance worth it? Would the family travel insurance cost be better spent on my holiday? Do I need travel insurance at all? Choosing travel insurance isn’t exciting, but it’s important. Here are a few tips & tricks for finding the right travel insurance policy. travel insurance tips | best travel insurance companies | travel planning tips | travel insurance for cruise | travel insurance for disney | eu travel insurance Europe | travel insurance for usa | best travel insurance to get

Are you a thrill seeker? Will you be going surfing, snowboarding, canyoning, rock climbing, scuba diving or something similar? You’ll want a travel insurance coverage for such activities.

If you plan to just relax at a resort, you’ll need a very different policy than the skydiver.

When and How Will You be Reimbursed?

Many family travel insurance claims are reimbursements. That means that in many situations, you’ll have to pay for something upfront (a hospital bill, new clothes if an airline lost your luggage). Then you’ll have to file paperwork to get paid back.

Look at each travel insurance policy and the paperwork required to get reimbursed for travel accidents. Do you need police reports? Hospital records? Receipts? Proof of your stolen item’s value?

Do you need to file some kind of written report? Is there a deadline? And most importantly: How soon will you be reimbursed?

Seek the Right Insurance Premium/Deductible Balance

The travel insurance premium is the money you pay for the insurance itself. The travel insurance deductible is the amount you pay out of your own pocket before the insurance kicks in. For example, if you have a USD $500 deductible, then anything under 500 dollars is on you.

In general, low deductibles mean higher premiums and vice versa. In the past, we have taken low premium/high deductibles because we were traveling in Southeast Asia, where general medical costs are low. For example, an emergency room visit on the island of Langkawi in Malaysia with meds and x-rays cost me 30 USD.

We preferred to just pay out of pocket then. But if we were in more expensive parts of the world like Switzerland or Japan, we might have reversed our strategy.

Read Everything – Especially Small Print

Is travel insurance worth it? Would the family travel insurance cost be better spent on my holiday? Do I need travel insurance at all? Choosing travel insurance isn’t exciting, but it’s important. Here are a few tips & tricks for finding the right travel insurance policy. travel insurance tips | best travel insurance companies | travel planning tips | travel insurance for cruise | travel insurance for disney | eu travel insurance Europe | travel insurance for usa | best travel insurance to get

Look at each travel insurance plan in-depth. I know that poring over every detail of even the best travel insurance plans is rarely an entertaining read, but be sure to read all of it. Choosing travel insurance means wading into the fine print, I’m afraid. But it’s not as painful as it sounds.

Most reputable travel insurance companies post their full travel insurance policies online. Also, look at sites that compare travel insurance coverage and measure out what’s best for you. Understand exactly what each insurance policy covers.

More importantly, however, make sure you understand what they don’t cover, as well. If needed, ask detailed questions beforehand and keep each company’s emailed replies handy in case you need to bring them up later.

Confirm What’s NOT Covered

Sorry, but this needs to be re-emphasized: before choosing travel insurance, it’s crucial to confirm what your policy doesn’t cover.

Our podcast guest Nick Johnson is an insurance lawyer, and his first recommendation was this: see what’s not covered and if that lines up with your plans. For example, his family planned to hike to Base Camp of Mount Everest. Guess what coverage they confirmed first?

“High-Risk” Activities

Are you planning on doing any activities that could be considered “high-risk?” Check to see if they’re covered. This is where stuff like bungee-jumping is mentioned, but other activities to check on are things like SCUBA diving, rafting, hiking the Himalayas, and canyoning. Activities like skydiving are rarely covered, but it depends on the company.

“High-Risk” Locations

Also, consider where is not covered. For example, many of the best travel insurance companies will not cover your visit to war zones or areas of the world notorious for kidnapping or other violent crime. As a general rule, if your government has warned its citizens about visiting a place, then some family travel insurance providers can use that as reason enough to deny a claim. Check, confirm and document everything before you go.

Other Peril

Is travel insurance worth it? Would the family travel insurance cost be better spent on my holiday? Do I need travel insurance at all? Choosing travel insurance isn’t exciting, but it’s important. Here are a few tips & tricks for finding the right travel insurance policy. travel insurance tips | best travel insurance companies | travel planning tips | travel insurance for cruise | travel insurance for disney | eu travel insurance Europe | travel insurance for usa | best travel insurance to get

Also look to see if extreme weather, political violence (war, terrorism, etc) and “Acts of God” are covered. For example, when Bali’s volcano erupted and there was too much ash in the air for planes to land. Lots of people were glad they had the right travel insurance with a cancellation policy.

Pre-Existing Conditions

Healthwise, understand that most reputable travel insurance plans don’t cover pre-existing conditions. If you don’t declare them beforehand and they find out, some providers can cancel your coverage.

Check with Your Credit Card

It’s possible that your credit card company may automatically cover certain expenses, such as rental car insurance. Check with your credit card to see what’s covered when you travel.

Our cards cover flights, stolen goods, and small medical costs. However, that’s only for me, not my family, and it doesn’t cover large and extreme costs such as medical evacuation. In addition, that coverage only lasts for three months (most cards focus on serving business travelers). Your card company may be different. Check with them.

Buy Before You Book Flights

If you want to get your money back for the flight you missed due to a sudden change of plans (often referred to as “travel disruption coverage”), you need to buy travel insurance with this particular coverage included before you start booking everything. The best trip insurance plans will cover things well if you’ve signed up early.

This happened to podcast guest Jason Marshall (minute 16:40). He and his family were certainly glad that they had travel disruption coverage.

Check Policy about Early Return

Is travel insurance worth it? Would the family travel insurance cost be better spent on my holiday? Do I need travel insurance at all? Choosing travel insurance isn’t exciting, but it’s important. Here are a few tips & tricks for finding the right travel insurance policy. travel insurance tips | best travel insurance companies | travel planning tips | travel insurance for cruise | travel insurance for disney | eu travel insurance Europe | travel insurance for usa | best travel insurance to get

Coming home early is another form of travel disruption. You may need to return unexpectedly. Check to see if time back in your home country is covered and if you’ll continue to be covered if you resume traveling during the time you bought travel insurance for.

Consider a High Coverage Limit

Depending on your budget, it’s really worth making sure that you’re really covered. Not just covered to a certain degree. Personally, we’ve gone with a high deductible, high coverage. Southeast Asian medical care was great and cheap, so we’ve mostly just paid out-of-pocket the few times we needed it.

However, if we were in a real emergency, we wanted to be ready. Before choosing travel insurance, see how much it covers for electronics. If you’re carrying a pricey laptop, you might want to consider additional coverage.

Is Cheap Travel Insurance Good Enough?

Well, it depends on what you consider cheap travel insurance. But this I can tell you cheap travel insurance is just that: cheap. You get what you pay for, and if you put in the least then you may be left hanging when an emergency strikes.

After Signing Your Travel Insurance Policy

Okay, so you’ve looked at various policies, and considered the travel insurance cost. You’ve made your decision and signed up. Now you’re out on the road and Murphy’s Law strikes. There’s an accident or problem and you’re going to need to put your travel insurance to work. Here’s what to consider.

Consider Your Role in Any Mishaps

Is travel insurance worth it? Would the family travel insurance cost be better spent on my holiday? Do I need travel insurance at all? Choosing travel insurance isn’t exciting, but it’s important. Here are a few tips & tricks for finding the right travel insurance policy. travel insurance tips | best travel insurance companies | travel planning tips | travel insurance for cruise | travel insurance for disney | eu travel insurance Europe | travel insurance for usa | best travel insurance to get

Think like an insurance company: how could they get out of paying for something? Is there any way you could be at fault? Not victim-blaming here. Just thinking strategically.

For example, exactly where and how your goods are broken/stolen will play a large role in whether or not you’re reimbursed for them. Leaving your laptop unattended on a park bench or hotel lobby is not a good idea. You know that. So do the insurance companies.

By the same token, don’t expect a payout if police records show you as drunk. Even the best travel insurance policies don’t cover accidents where it’s on record that you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

For example, see what your policy defines as “reckless” behavior so that you know where you stand if your camera is waterlogged after a fall in the pool and the policy won’t cover it.

Also, we understand that travel in Southeast Asia can easily involve riding on scooters. No license, no problem, right? Well, if you don’t have a motorcycle license in your home country, then some family travel insurance providers have a reason not to cover your claim if an accident happens.

To be clear, Keiko and I ride in Southeast Asia a lot but don’t have licenses in our home countries (we only have licenses in Taiwan where we learned to ride). We have accepted the risk.

Keep Records of Interactions with Your Provider

Keep all contact with your family travel insurance company accessible and on file. Give yourself “insurance from the insurers,” in case you need to remind someone of what they said or wrote.

When you call to file a claim, record the call and let them know that you’re recording it. I use Skype and eCamm (same thing I record my podcast with), but there are other options, such as Pamela.

Get the Right Documentation

If you are actually robbed, file a police report ASAP. You’ll need this for your insurance claim. Same goes to medical expenditures.

When choosing family travel insurance, be sure to know exactly what the company requires when you file a claim. Before you move on to the next destination, you want to have every document needed. If at all possible, don’t leave the town of a theft or accident until you have all the documentation you need.

Keep Good Records

Make sure that you have all of your gear information safely recorded before you travel. That means photos of all the gear, as well as copies of the receipts, policy numbers and serial numbers of expensive goods in a safe place.

Make scanned copies and have them available online in places like Evernote, Dropbox or Google Drive. That way they’re at your fingertips if you need to send them off to your travel insurance provider.

If possible, leave a digital or hard-copy file of this info with a friend or family member at home. That way if all of your gear is gone and online storage options are unavailable for some reason, someone still has your back.

Prepare to Prove Yourself

As you can imagine, reimbursements require proof. Don’t take it personally, and don’t think it’s weird to ask the hospital, funeral home or whomever you need to for the documents you need.

Plan to Pay Up Front

Cancellation and disruption costs are usually a reimbursement situation. Same with many medical costs. Besides, insurance companies can’t act as fast as we need them in emergency situations anyway, so you’re going to probably have to pay for urgent flight changes up front and then ask them to pay you back later.

Never Visit the USA Without Family Travel Insurance

If you don’t already know, medical costs in the USA are dramatically more expensive than most place. Always, always have medical insurance before you start wandering around the United States. Health coverage there is different than other countries.

In fact, medical costs are so much higher in America that we sometimes have to get separate policies: one for the US, and one for the rest of the world.

You don’t want to be sick or hurt in the USA without insurance. Unfortunately, there aren’t many cheap options when choosing travel insurance for America.

World Nomads: Our Choice

We have used World Nomads since 2013 and have had a great experience every time. We’ve found their policies to be reasonable, easy to understand, and convenient.

One thing we like about World Nomads is that you can apply and extend your policy even while on the road. We’ve done both multiple times.

Get Quotes from World Nomads

 

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Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means, at no extra cost to you,  we might receive a small commission if you make a purchase, book a room, or buy family travel insurance using those links. My opinions are my own and I only recommend places/services that I believe will genuinely help find the best family travel insurance.

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