I always purchase good quality travel insurance before leaving on a trip because doing so has helped me on several occasions. These are several reasons why you should buy some for yourself for every trip.
Avoid buying insurance through your airline, it’s easy to add insurance as you’re buying the flight tickets online but often not value for money. Internet based travel insurance companies are usually cheaper as they don’t have to pay for retail shops or a sales call centre. Check with fellow business travellers to see which insurer they recommend and search google for the insurers name to see if there are any reviews online published by customers.
If you travel quite often then it may be worth purchasing annual travel insurance coverage instead of a separate policy every few weeks. If you have a premium credit card it may have some travel insurance included but be very careful before relying on this because the the terms and conditions can be tricky, for example only covering cancellation of travel for tickets you’ve purchased with the card.
Lost, Stolen or Strayed
If you travel often then there’s a good chance that you or the airlines you fly on will lose or damage some of the items you’ve brought with you for your trip or they will get stolen by a pickpocket.
As an example during a trip I left a pair of prescription sunglasses at the cafe table where I was eating breakfast. By the time I noticed the loss the next day I was already in a different town. I called the cafe and they hadn’t found the sunglasses.
According to my travel insurance policy I had to file a lost property report with the local police station and send the insurance company a receipt for proof of purchase of the sunglasses.
Always call your insurance company (collect call/reverse charges) immediately. They want you to do this so they can advise the best course of action. Police reports generally only take a few minutes and can often be done on the phone. The police will need to know what you lost, where you lost it and when.
Thankfully I’d kept that receipt for the sunglasses so upon arrival home I posted it to the claims department at my insurance company and a few weeks later received a cheque in the mail for the original purchase cost of the sunglasses, less $50 for the policy excess.
Laptops and tablets are also easy to lose or get stolen if you leave them unattended in a public area. Travel insurance policies usually have coverage limits for specific items so if you have a high end laptop check that all of it’s value is covered. If it’s your personal laptop then it needs to be claimed on your policy, whereas a laptop owned by your employer needs to be claimed on their travel insurance policy – check with the corporate department that you book travel plans with for details.
Another unfortunately common occurence is budget airlines losing checked in luggage altogether or sending it by another flight a day or 2 late. Check your travel insurance policy to see how long the luggage has to be delayed before you can make an insurance claim for temporary replacement clothes. It’s also worth taking a photo of the contents of your luggage with your smartphone while packing as proof of what was in the suitcase.
During your business or personal travels you’re likely to eat all of your meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) from a airport takeaway shop, cafe or restaurant instead of home cooked meals. This means the liklihood of getting food poisoning from poorly cooked or stored food is much higher than usual.
My worst experience of food poisoning while travelling resulted in a trip to a local medical centre, hospital and a hotel stay to recuperate for a few days before having to fly back home to recover properly. The total cost of all the taxi trips, hotel and hospital bill was well into 4 figures but thankfully it was all covered by my travel insurance policy.
Keep All The Receipts!
Take note that insurance companies insist on a paper trail for any claims, whether it’s for hotel rooms, lost luggage, medical bills, taxis or other costs. Carefully file away all your receipts, invoices etc and make a clear photocopy of all of them before posting the originals to the insurance claims department.