Travelling is one activity that every individual must undertake at one time or the other; it does not matter what the purpose of travel is, or whether the travel is local or international. A lot of people actually look forward to travelling to other parts of the world for various reasons and purposes, including but not limited to business, tourism, vacation, pilgrimage, education and for medical attention.
The euphoria to travel outside of one's domain usually comes with a lot of preparations, and more often than not, a great deal of resources are deployed to ensure that the travel is actually takes place; and these include acquisition of an international passport, medical tests (where applicable), expensive visa processing fees, flight booking and hotel reservation.
A lot of people will do anything and everything just to actualise their international travel ambition. And to be very candid here, international travel is actually fun and something to look forward to. Travelling, especially international travels, is a form of education for the travellers as they have an opportunity to see new environments, meet new people, and learn how things are done elsewhere.
International travel affords the traveller a lot of opportunities irrespective of their original purpose of travel. These include business opportunities, educational opportunities, employment opportunities and even marital opportunities. Unfortunately, however, it is only these and many other opportunities that these (would-be) travellers see. They seem to be ignorant or care less about risks that are embedded in international travels, so they don't take any steps towards mitigating such risks.
At this juncture, you may be tempted to ask the question: "What are those risks that are associated with international travels?" Very good question. Just read on, as most of those risks are discussed in the following paragraphs.
Risks Associated with International Travels
As interesting, fun, enjoyable, profitable and educative as international travels may be, they also come with their own downsides - the risks - just as every other thing in life. And very fortunately for travellers, most of these risks can be transferred to professional travel insurance providers, by way of buying a travel insurance - also referred to as "travel health insurance" or "travel medical insurance".
These international travel risks are many and varied, and they include, but not limited to:
- Sudden illness in the country of destination requiring urgent medical attention and/or hospitalization.
- Involvement in an accident leading to bodily injuries, temporary or permanent disability, or death
- Loss of checked-in baggage
- Loss of valuable items such as international passport, drivers' licence, national identity card, etc.
- Personal liabilities abroad
- Emergency dental cases
- Arrest by law enforcement agencies requiring bail and legal defence
Another question that may be asked at this juncture is: "Do travel insurance policies cover all the above-mentioned risks?" And the answer is a big YES, and so much more.
Covers and Benefits Provided by Major Travel Insurance Policies
Below is a list of most of the covers and benefits provided by travel insurance policies - depending on the providers. So the next time you buy a travel insurance policy, look out for these covers and benefits.
- Medical Expenses and hospitalization abroad
- Emergency Medical Evacuation
- Repatriation after treatment
- Emergency dental care
- Repatriation of family member travelling with the insured
- Travel of one Immediate Family Member
- Emergency Return Home following Death of Close Relative
- Repatriation of Mortal Remains
- Medical Assistance
- Legal Assistance
- Pre-Departure Services
- International General Assistance
- Abroad Information Assistance about lost Luggage and Passport,
- Delivery of Medicines
- Legal Defence
- Advance of Bail Bond
- Hijacking in means of Public Transport
- Loss of Passport, driving license, national identity card abroad
- Compensation for in-flight loss of checked-in baggage
- Compensation for delay in the arrival of luggage
- Delayed Departure
- Location and forwarding of baggage and personal effects.
- Accidental Death
- Permanent Disability
- Personal Civil Liability
- Trip Cancellation Expenses
Risks Not Covered By Travel Insurance Policies
Having talked about the covers and benefits afforded by travel insurance, it is also important to consider the risks that are not covered by most of these policies, as listed below:
- Participation in criminal acts, or as a result of his/her fraudulent, seriously negligent or reckless actions including those actions of the Insured in a state of derangement or under psychiatric treatment costs for which are themselves excluded;
- Natural phenomena such as floods, earthquakes, landslides, volcanic eruptions, atypical cyclonic storms, falling objects from space and aerolites, and in general any extraordinary atmospheric, meteorological, seismic or geological phenomenon any other type of natural disaster;
- Events arising from terrorism, mutiny or crowd disturbances;
- Events or actions of the Armed Forces or Security Forces in peacetime;
- Wars, with or without prior declaration, and any conflicts or international interventions using force or duress or military operations of whatever type.
- Participation in bets, challenges or brawls, save in the case of legitimate defence or necessity;
- Pre-existing Illness or injuries
- Participation in competitions, sports, and preparatory or training tests;
- Motor racing or motorcycle racing, horse riding, climbing, pot holing, boxing, wrestling in any of its modes, martial arts, parachuting, hot air ballooning, free falling, gliding and, in general, any sport or recreational activity that is known to be dangerous;
- Participation in competitions or tournaments organised by sporting federations or similar organisations.
- Hazardous winter and/or summer sports such as skiing and/or similar sports.
- Work-related accidents
- Internationally and locally recognized epidemics.
- Illnesses or injuries arising from chronic ailments or from those that existed prior to the inception date of the policy;
- Death or injuries as a result of suicide or attempted suicide or any self-inflicted injuries.
- Illness, injuries or pathological states caused by the consumption of alcohol, drugs, toxic substances, narcotics or medicines acquired without medical prescription, as well as any kind of mental illness or mental imbalance;
- Illness or injuries caused by pregnancy and childbirth or any complication therefore or voluntary termination of pregnancy;
Where to Buy Travel Insurances
Travel insurances can be bought online - and there are many travel insurance providers to buy from. All you need to do is locate your preferred provider, and complete the online form or questionnaire, and make your payment, and policy is made available to you for immediate printing or sent to your email address.
You can also buy travel insurance offline from a local insurance company or travel agency. whatever method of purchase you choose, you can rest assured that you will be fully protected against insurable gravel insurance risks.
Using Your Travel Insurance
After you have bought your travel insurance policy, whether it is self-purchased using the provider's online portal, at a travel agency or through a local insurance company, you should make sure that you do not forget to take the document with you while travelling. This is so important because you may be required to produce that document by relevant bodies.
You should take particular note of your policy number (if possible copy the number somewhere else) as it will be required by the service providers to property identify you when you call them for assistance.
Another thing you should take note of on your travel insurance certificate or policy document is the Assistance Company's telephone numbers that you need to call when you need help. These numbers are always conspicuously written on the travel insurance document - so take note of them.
You should endeavour to read as much of the document as possible so as to understand the covers provided, the terms and conditions of the policy as well as its exclusions. And very importantly, when making a claim on your policy, be honest and avoid every form of fraudulent practices.
Summary and Conclusion
There are other benefits that travel insurance policies provide which cannot be exhaustively discussed here. But having read the few benefits discussed above, you will agree that really, Travel Insurance is a must-have for a successful trip. So the next time you are planning an international travel, make the purchase of a travel insurance a top priority. It is quite affordable, and anyone can buy it. The peace of mind and the protection it will afford you are enormous.