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Top 3 Insurance Tips for International Travel

Hot air baloon over Cappadocia

Hot air balloon over Cappadocia

Dan Skilken, President,

Recently, several travelers—many of them avid photographers—have asked me for advice on buying travel insurance for their upcoming trips to different Asian, African, European, and other international destinations. Each traveler and each trip is different, of course, and there are numerous insurance options. But, if I were limited to 3 generalized tips, I would say:

 • Get enough emergency medical evacuation coverage. Each year, thousands of travelers—young as well as old—are injured or become ill and need to be evacuated, often by a special air transport. While most people who purchase travel insurance are covered for this possibility, they often do not have the level of coverage they need. This is especially true for destinations such as Southeast Asia or Africa, where many travelers are far from home. It’s typical among Americans, for example, to insure themselves for (US) $50,000 or even $100,000 for this kind of trip and truly believe that they are more than covered should they need to be evacuated back to the U.S. Unfortunately for them, however, they’ve seriously underestimated this cost, which usually ranges (depending on the specifics involved) from $175,000 to $250,000. It’s important to stress that anyone—no matter the kind of trip the person is taking or the person’s age—can require this kind of assistance. We have seen cases, for example, in which a simple jog on a paved path by a person under 30 can turn into a life threatening medical evacuation problem. This is one area where I wouldn’t skimp on coverage.  If your coverage isn’t adequate, the financial consequences can be—and often are—catastrophic.

 • Purchase special insurance to cover your cameras, lenses, and other electronic devices. Your homeowner’s insurance and travel insurance plans generally do not provide adequate coverage for cameras, lenses, smart phones, tablets, and other kinds of devices travelers often take with them. There is insurance that does, and, especially when traveling in many parts of the world during the wet months when water damage can be a real concern, insurance coverage can really be a comfort.  You can buy worldwide annual insurance coverage for your expensive camera equipment against theft and accidental damage. The theft of small but valuable items such as smart phones has become a major issue almost everywhere people travel these days. Buying a supplemental policy for your camera equipment is a smart move.

 • Comparison shop for insurance. You can purchase travel insurance from many places. Travel agents, travel providers such as air or cruise lines, or online comparison sites are just a few of your options. But, because of how different insurance distribution channels are set up, the cost of essentially the same level of coverage can vary widely—sometimes by as much as 40% or more. So, I always advise insurance shoppers to shop around online and compare. It will only take a few minutes, and—especially in the case of an expensive trip to another part of the world—it may mean a savings of many hundreds of dollars.


These tips were offered courtesy of 

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