Travel or medical insurance is such a boring subject for the intrepid solo traveller to consider and its often one of those things that gets left to the last minute. However, it is probably one of the most important things that you need to address before you travel.
Why should you bother taking out travel insurance?
Medical and health cover
This is why travel insurance for travelers and backpackers is so important. You might be a picture of health when you leave your home country but this could easily change in a fraction of a second.
For instance you might be zipping around on that motorbike that you have just proudly rented from a Thai rental shop but then lose control and crash, as so often happens to tourists as they are often not use to riding bikes in the first place.
Who is going to pay for the ambulance?
Who is going to pay for the hospital admission and bills?
Who is going to pay for the doctor to accompany you home on a flight?
These costs can literally spiral into the 10 – 20 thousands of dollars and you will be liable. Many of the better international hospitals that will be will refuse you admission if you cannot prove you have travel insurance or enough money to cover the likely bills and you could end up in a public hospital which in some cases will be sub-standard care.
So for this one reason alone you should take out cover. Do not go away thinking ‘it won’t happen to me’. Travel insurance for a long period abroad might not be cheap but you risk bankrupting your family otherwise.
If you are in a very poor county with limited health care services then you absolutely must have evacuation cover. Just because the policy covers medical and travel it might not necessarily cover evacuation which could be a life saver depending on where you are.
Travel insurance not only covers baggage items such as phones, ipods etc but will also provide cover for expensive medications that you might be travelling with. The cost of replacing medicines can be very expensive. For instance in the UK an asthma steroid inhaler is the cost of a subsidized prescription (GBP8) while the same item in Singapore could cost up to GBP70.
Covering adventure sports
Many solo travelers will often embark on exciting sports or activities while they are away, such as scuba diving, high altitude trekking or surfing. Many activities can put you in life threatening situations without urgent medical assistance, and if you have to pay for this assistance because you are not covered by travel insurance then you are potentially bankrupting your family.
We hope you can see why travel insurance is so important. Without it you literally could be bankrupt or put your own health at risk. Many private hospitals will not accept you in their emergency rooms if you do not have travel cover or cash on you. Please don’t skimp on insurance as it could save your life.
If you are from the UK and retired then look at out older person travel insurance comparison that is especially for the over 70s and beyond. We also have some links for backpacker travel insurance too that will cover longer trips up to 18 months.