So a big part of going on any holiday, even within the home country, is travel insurance. Nikki recommended that we purchased our travel insurance first, as that way we are immediately covered. The last thing we wanted was to book it and something horrible to happen before we booked our insurance!
After a bit of our own research Duncan ended up with STA Travel Insurance and I ended up with AA Travel Insurance – they are fully comprehensive as we thought better safe than sorry. However, we learnt a few key lessons I think are worth sharing…
- Health Premiums are a b*tch
I have a small ventricular septal defect (VSD) – a defect in the septum between the right and left ventricle of the heart, and a Tracheal stenosis with bronchial tree narrowing and abnormal anatomy – in normal language, my lung is a bit damaged and narrow. Neither of these has ever made me ill, I just sound a bit like I’ve got bad asthma!
However, after paying £400 for the ‘PREMIER PLUS’ with STA Travel Insurance, they wanted to charge me an additional £700 just for these – ouch! I ended up with AA, which while not as inclusive as STA e.g. only £3 million health insurance cover compared to £10 million. At least I am covered fully without paying £1100.
Despite this, I have nothing against STA – a number of other companies charged the same and the majority wouldn’t even consider me.
- Balance the cost of the insurance with location
Our original trip included a 48-hour stopover in Singapore however, when research for travel insurance I noticed one of the first questions was always: Are you visiting one of the following countries: USA, Canada, the Caribbean, Mexico, China, Hong Kong or Singapore? This made me curious, why have these been mentioned? The answer, cost!
It is well-known that different countries have different health cares, laws, and regulations, however it’s worth taking this into account when booking your trip – it was going to cost me (for the insurance alone) an additional £270 for a stopover in Singapore for less than 48 hours. I’m not saying don’t go; just take it into consideration. At this time, Duncan and I thought an extra week in Bali would be a better use of £270!
- Insurance covers a lot, what do I need to compare?
When reviewing all the insurance it got very confusing on what to priorities; medical, flights, abandonment etc…? It all got a little daunting.
I focused on the ten things recommended by ‘Money Super Market’ as it seems the best to me (top three to me are bolded)…
- Limits on trip duration
- Destinations that might be excluded
- Pre-existing conditions
- Action-packed holidays – this is especially important for backpacking adventures! I had to pay an additional cost, but at least I am covered!
- Limits on claims
- How your belongings should be treated
- How you should report a theft
- If you miss a flight
- Alcohol and drugs policies
- Single, Annual, or Backpacking?
At first, I started to look at Annual travel insurance thinking it would be the best bet – it covers us for the whole year after all – wrong. Backpacking Insurance covers you for the period of your trip, while annual insurance covers you for a year – you are limited to a certain period out the country (normally 30 days!)
- Read the terms and conditions
I am not going to lie; I hate reading T&Cs and to be honest most of the time don’t. But this cover is for 3 months or more of your life – READ THEM.
One thing I found out in my T&Cs was that I was not covered to cancel my trip if a terrorist attack happened in one of my potential locations. Unfortunately, after recent events (i.e. Jakarta), I needed to consider this and paid a small premium to have it covered.
On the plus side, I found out after reading the T&Cs I am also covered if (god forbid) something happened to Duncan or a close family member that I needed to cancel. They are worth reading…
This post seems rather negative, but I’m trying to keep a blog of all the hurdles we found to hopefully save someone else the trouble. We are still very excited to be going away and no matter what the hurdles we will find a way!
Other travel insurance agencies we looked at are:
For clarification, we were not recommended any particular insurance provider by Nikki or STA, just that we should buy cover before anything else.
Also, we are not recommending any particular travel insurance, just this is our story.