Planning on doing a trip on a budget? Trying to save money on insurance could end up costing you more!
There are three types of holiday goers when it comes to insurance: The Stupid, who refuse to pay for any insurance because it's 'just a scam' (or they spent the £5 they needed for it on a club ticket). The other offenders are the 'I'm with Stupid' travellers. These guys know that travelling with no insurance is just a little bit too risky yet when making their purchase they simply find the cheapest deal, without even a quick scan of the terms and conditions, and set out on a jungle trek through the Himalayas. And finally, there are the 'Savvy Travellers'. Although they may be on a tight budget, this wiser explorer realises that skimping on cheap insurance could end up costing them a lot more in the long run. They know what they're looking for and understand why it's worth paying more.
Unfortunately as students, the reality of 'budget travelling' is all too real (£1 a night hostels in Bangkok anyone?) and therefore all too often we fall into the 'Stupid' or 'I'm with Stupid' category. That £3 you saved on insurance that allowed you to get those chips you desperately needed at 3 a.m. seemed like the perfect compromise until you find yourself stranded half way up Machu Picchu with a broken shoulder. The air ambulance alone could cost £2490! The doctor will cost you another £1920. The total bill? Up to £15,786.* Will your part time summer wages and maxed out overdraft really stretch that far?
By this point holidays are sounding a little stressful, and sipping a cocktail on a paradise beach loses its allure. Why risk such a huge amount of money? How do you know if you're fully covered?
'Fully covered'- what does this even mean?! Insurance companies know that on the whole, people won't look at the T&Cs, just the price. This could leave you lacking sufficient coverage and render you uninsured whilst on holiday if you aren't careful. Certain companies may state in their policy that no form of moped riding is permitted - ultimately rendering many of the attractions of South East Asia unattainable to the cheaper traveller. As for mountain walking? Fine, as long as you stay under 2000m - taking away the challenging trek and adrenaline surge from reaching the top. However, this isn't the same for all insurance. Start looking at the policy, check that everything you may want to do on your trip is covered, from quad biking to scuba diving. Look out for clauses on electronic devices - a lot of companies won't cover mobile phones (everyone's true best friend). Be careful, check thoroughly.
This needn't be a strenuous task, in fact there's plenty of help online. My advice would be to get it done as soon as you know what you're doing on holiday!
*All figures are taken from the Know Before You Go campaign by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. If you want to see more information go here