For hardcore backpackers, the policy may be as minimal as an emergency medical treatment policy. More robust policies can offer plans covering personal liability, dental issues, lost or stolen luggage, trip delay or cancellation, legal expenses and medical repatriation.
What kind of trip are you taking? Consider the kind of travelling you want to do before choosing a policy. Backpackers who don’t book ahead don’t need cancellation insurance, while less impulsive travelers may feel more comfortable with knowing that lost meals and flights are covered. Older travelers may opt for a comprehensive medical plan that includes pre-existing medical conditions.
Lost or stolen luggage coverage is appropriate for crime-ridden areas. Legal expenses and personal liability coverage are must-haves for bachelor parties and drinking holidays. The agony of a toothache is universal.
Read the policy carefully. Be sure that the coverage applies to all the areas in which you plan to travel. Have you got the coverage dates right? Don’t forget that you need to include travel days in your policy. Be sure to catch up on vaccinations, and bring a record of them with you.
Find a deductible that you will be able to afford, not only at the beginning of the trip, but also at the end: doctors don’t usually take souvenirs as payment. Be aware of what you plan to bring or buy. Many lost or stolen luggage policies have a replacement limit.
Keep a copy of the policy handy, with contact numbers, should you need to provide it. Most of all, enjoy the safari, Mt. Kilimanjaro trek, spelling bee, conference, beach, Eiffel Tower, Star Trek convention, opera, or whatever, knowing that you are covered and Mum is happy.