Travel insurance is a thorny issue with me. We’ve only ever tried to claim twice. One of those claims has just gone in. We’ll see what happens there. The other was back in 2009 when Tanya got particularly sick and needed medical attention in Thailand. She saw a doctor and got a prescription which we then filled. I forget how much the total bill was but after we went through the bother of submitting a claim we found out that the total bill was below the insurer’s minimum claim threshold ($100). Thai health care was just too cheap.
Plus there are plenty of people around with nasty stories like turning down non-vital but highly desirable things like pain killers while hospitalised because their insurer wouldn’t tell them whether or not they’re covered until after the fact.
But yet, as we sit here in Thailand, we both have travel insurance. Yes, its a tad expensive. Yes, we will probably never get a dime of that money back. But, what if…
What if we are involved in a serious traffic accident?
What if one of us gets injured or develops an illness that requires surgery?
What if we have to be moved to a larger city or, potentially, all the way back to Australia?
We’re both quite comfortable with the idea of going to local doctors and local hospitals. After all, who better to treat a tropical disease than a doctor in the tropics? But what if the local hospital just isn’t equiped to deal with whatever it is wrong with us?
And so, we have travel insurance.
After a lot of research, and I mean a lot, we chose World Nomads. We’ve actually used them a number of times. We keep looking around but then coming back to them.
The primary reason for that is that they will let you purchase travel insurance when you are already on the road. They also let you extend it for as long as you require. As we like to slow travel we don’t really know how long we will be away. When we left Perth we bought travel insurance for six months. Just before the six months is up we should receive a notification from World Nomads asking if we want to renew. Easy.
Another reason why we chose World Nomads for our travel insurance is because they patiently answered every question we put to them. And we ask a lot of questions.
If we are teaching English under a tree outside of school grounds and a branch falls down and hits my head, enough to need a hospital stay for a day or two, would we be covered? Yes.
If Andrew is riding a motorbike that is the correct cc for his Australian licence, and Tanya being his pillion, would we both be covered if something nasty happens to us? Yes, if Andrew has the correct International drivers licence in that country. (The issue of in which countries an international driver’s license is valid is still a bit fuzzy to me but that’s a post for another day)
There were a lot more questions like that. Basically, we did our research, asked questions, compared prices and eventually chose World Nomads yet again.
I’m not going to tell you to buy travel insurance. Some people don’t and just take their chances. That’s their decision. I just want you to remember something. You don’t have to like your travel insurer. You are certainly not going to be overcome by joy when you hand over the money for a policy. But just think how stupid you will feel, laying in a hospital bed a thousand miles from home, with a doctor telling you that they just don’t have access to what you need, sorry.
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