Travel Insurance for Solo Travelers: The need for insurance has grown with concerns as to political issues around the world and terrorist attacks. It also is important in case of petty theft or accidents.
I was glad I had it when I was robbed at noon in a top European town. It is worth it even for a lost bag.
I have known of tourists hit by cars on city streets. Mopeds can cause a few wrecks, too.
What should you do? Find the right travel insurance.
Travel Insurance for Solo Travelers: Cancellation/Coverage:
Think of your own risks.
- How far ahead will you book? CheapAir.com says 54 days is the right time. This varies around the world. The right time for South America is 70 days, 120 days for Europe, and 160 days for Asia.
- Will family needs cause you to miss a trip? If your only costs are hotel and airfare, check your right to make changes. Many hotels have no fee. Charges for a change of flights vary with the airlines.
- Is this trip for your job? Ask your HR team what they cover.
- Does your job tend to cancel leave time? Be sure this is covered.
- Do you have health issues that could prevent travel? See your doctor if you have such issues. See CDC for more information.
- Does your health insurance cover you abroad? Know before you go. Some sports may not be covered. So take a look.
Read the Fine Print of Your Insurance Policy.
Pay close attention to what costs are covered when finding the right plan for you.
For example, you may not have coverage for a “pre-existing medical condition”. You could be accepted to any hospital, but not a clinic.
Another example is reimbursement limited to “usual and customary medical cost”. Be aware that the customary cost in mid-town Manhattan is very different than in a small town in the Amazon. However, insurers may take an average cost not necessarily the customary one at your destination.
Read the travel insurance glossary of terms for further clarification.
Special Travel: What risks come with adventure tours?
Just last year I went up the Amazon River on a small boat. We were frequently admonished to avoid accidents since we were “10 hours by fast boat from the nearest hospital”. “Glamping“ in the Okavango Delta, we had a Black Mambo Snake allude capture when only a “zapper” stood between us and some remarkably lethal venom!
Read your insurance policy carefully for any exclusions, including:
- Zip lining
- Scuba diving
- Use of other than scheduled airlines (excludes helicopter/small plane sightseeing)
- Failure of vendors, including the tour operator
- Price of documents or tickets that are lost (except for administrative fees)
Are you planning outdoor activities for your next solo travel? Check out our adventure travel packages for the latest deals!
7 Travel Insurance Tips for Your Next Solo Travel: Tip 4: What are your risks?
Anticipate Trip Interruptions or Emergencies
What happens if you or a loved one gets ill before or during your trip? Instead of delaying the help you need when you need it, consider purchasing trip interruption coverage or emergency evacuation coverage.
If you return home bitten by a wild dog, the rabies incubation period is one year. In areas I have traveled, the Center for Disease Control recommended costly rabies shots among other more conventional vaccines. Although I chose to forego that expense, I had visions of marauding monkeys looking for one free bite! Luckily, that never happened. (In fact, the few monkeys I saw up-close and personal were so disinterested in me that I could barely get a single photo!).
Regarding a fellow traveler I knew, he failed to take the necessary precautions before visiting Africa and as a result, he contracted malaria. Having taken malaria pills several times prior to visiting parts of Africa and Southeast Asia, I was puzzled that he was unaware of the risk at his destination.
This coverage also extends to your loved ones. For example, if one of your parents or children become hospitalized, you can cancel or change your flight with a full refund and head home instead. Contact your travel insurance provider to make sure they can cover potential illnesses and injuries.
Travel Insurance: Does Local Law Change Things?
Discover if your policy may be limited by your local law at home. For example, policies may look at the law where a traveler lives for coverage of “Domestic Partners”, “Family Members” or “Spouses”.
More puzzling is local law at your destination. As a law-abiding citizen at home, I learned one January in Russia that scurrying across the Neva River’s thin ice could have subjected me to arrest if apprehended. If I had fallen through the ice, my policy might have prohibited coverage since I was engaging (unknowingly) in a prohibited activity!
Travel Insurance for Solo Travelers: Track Cost of What You Pack!
Track the Value of Your Items Beforehand.
Stolen or lost property may require proof of value in order to receive a reimbursement from your travel insurance provider.
If you are not typically a hoarder of all past receipts, you may have trouble here. One alternative is making a list of the items you packed on your trip along with the approximate purchase dates. You can also photograph your belongings with labeling to prove ownership.
Still too much of a hassle? Leave your jewelry and haute couture safely at home.
Don’t just take our word for it! Read the 10 solo traveler safety tips from seasoned travelers and security experts.
Special Travel Insurance: Cancel for Any Reason:
Cost of More Coverage to Cancel
Add-On the Cancel for Any Reason Policy
The “Cancel for Any Reason” option offers extended coverage for specific, unforeseen reasons. Trips can be canceled at least 48 or 72 hours prior to the departure date, depending on your plan.
This policy is especially helpful for “one-percenters”, i.e., not billionaires, but those subject to unusual reasons for cancellation, including:
- You are a business owner making much less profit this year but with no insurable risk (For example, the store did not burn down.)
- Your dog needs surgery equal to the cost of your trip
- You have virtually assured a partnership in your firm with higher pay but that promotion went to the owner’s son-in-law
- Your passport was stolen and can’t be updated in time for departure
- Your visa is stuck in processing with no hope of receipt in time for the scheduled trip
Where to Buy Travel Insurance:
We recommend visiting InsureMyTrip.com to compare hundreds of travel insurance policies for your upcoming trip.
They provide five primary travel insurance plans including cancellation, medical, and evacuation coverage. You can also contact their staff directly for further assistance.
All in all, make sure to compare your options, carefully read the definitions and exclusions of each policy, and prepare a detailed plan for what to do in case of emergency before, during or after your trip.
You can also visit our blog for money saving travel tips, destination highlights, and the latest company news and contests.
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