What kind of travel insurance do you really need? If you blindly buy a policy based on marketing and hype, you could end up paying far more than you should, and yet may not be able to claim a single cent when you need it. Here’s what to watch out for when considering travel insurance – plus 5 things you really need cover for.

1. Frequent traveller? Choose multi-trip or annual insurance.

If you travel more than 2-3 times a year, choose a multi-trip or annual policy instead of buying insurance for each individual trip. A more robust policy that covers all of your trips throughout the year will be much more affordable overall.  It also minimises the risk of forgetting travel insurance.

2. Watch out for sneaky sound good add-ons.

Should you choose a policy that includes things like ‘credit card insurance’ when choosing a travel policy? While it may sound like a nice inclusion, you’re usually paying for something that may never be claimable. Almost all credit card companies have built-in fraud protection and limits for liability in cases of true fraud, which means you’d almost never be responsible for any fraudulent charges – whether you’re travelling or not.

The otherside of this is the common fine print. For instance did you know that most credit card agreements require you to never loose sight of your card as any protections may be forfeited? Travel cover policies usually make reference to the need to comply with all T&C's, theirs and those of the credit card provider. How many times has that waiter taken your card behind a blind or door to process?

3. The risk of terrorism.

Terrorism coverage seems to take up about 98% of the news, the actual chances of being involved in a terrorist attack are extremely slim compared to other travel incidents. According to the Washington Post, you’re more likely to be crushed by a falling television set than be a vistim of a terrorist act. What’s more, ‘terrorism cover’ that is offered through most travel insurance policies comes with a laundry list of disclaimers and limits.

Cover for acts of terrorism is a personal choice and the heavy premium on this inclusion, bolstered by the media attention it receives, can be the price to pay for some peace of mind. For more statistics read the Global Research article on terrorism statistics recently published.

4. Acts of God clauses will make you lose faith.

Acts of God clauses may or may not exclude cover for natural disasters like earthquakes, hail, tornadoes and hurricanes.  Again read the fine print. For instance if the policy covers Acts of God but the insurer has proof that it was an act of an individual, the incident may not be covered. A plane delay caused by a volcano might be covered, but a plane delay caused by the ill health of another passenger may not be covered.  Conversely many policies may exclude Acts of God from cover and this could easily become a philosophical discussion when making a claim for the 40 days and 40 nights of rain and flood that washed away your holiday plans.

5. Let’s be real – you’re not that adventurous.

A lot of travel insurance companies offer coverage for ‘adventure sports’ – activities such as diving, skiing, parachuting and rock climbing. Sounds reasonable enough, right? You’re probably more likely to get injured doing something adventure-y than, say, sipping a latte in a Paris café.

But here’s the catch: insurers often bundle adventure sports into a single (expensive) add-on to your policy. You may only be going hiking for a week, but you’re effectively also paying to go parachuting and zip lining too for the whole year. So if you are a regular traveller but only an occasional adventurer it may be better to get annual travel cover and add ‘top up’ coverage on a per-trip basis only for the activities you’ll actually be doing and only for the period you are doing them.

6. Choose your country carefully

Just as not all travel policies are created equal, not all countries are covered equally under the same policy – so make sure your destination is covered. Check if the country is on any travel advisory lists, and ask how adding that country to your policy could influence the rate. For non-U.S. residents, for example, adding the U.S. to your coverage can almost double the cost of the of the cover.

7. Make sure you’re covered for these 5 things

So if you don’t need travel insurance for terrorism or bungee jumping, what do you need it for? Here are the 5 top things any proper policy should cover:

•    Lost or stolen luggage
•    Missed flights and delays
•    Loss or damage of personal items
•    Trip cancellation
•    Medical treatment in the event of an accident

 These are the things you’ll most likely need coverage for no matter where your next destination may be. Always be aware of the exlcuisions in and travel cover as many travel cover options will excluded pre-existing medical conditions, pregnancy or limit the benefit value for individual items.  So if you have expensive camera equipment or have a medical condition you need to have covered seek out professional advice on the best cover for your specific situation.

Did you buy travel insurance for your last trip? Have you ever had to use your travel insurance before?

Let us know in the comments below!

Disclaimer: The above article is presented for general information purposes only and cannot be considered professional advice.  Individuals are encouraged to seek out professional and qualified assistance relevant to personal situations.