Travel insurance. Ugh. I used to have an attitude of “bad things happen to other people”, “I’m too smart to get hurt”, and “I’m too cheap to spend a dime on something I’ll never use”. That attitude somehow served me well as I made not one, but two trips to Belize- exploring some of the most remote jungles, caves, ruins, waterfalls, and swimming holes imaginable. Many times alone. Sometimes making pretty risky decisions. And I managed to survive! Then I started frequenting travel boards, and I heard stories. Stories of bad things happening to people just like me. Stories of smart people slipping, falling, and/or getting sick. Stories of people spending tens of thousands of dollars to deal with medical problems while traveling. So as I began planning my Costa Rica/Cuba trip for the summer of 2016, I decided that in a 2 month time span something bad could happen to me, being smart doesn’t prevent accidents/illnesses, and a couple hundred dollars could prevent the dreaded, and potentially deadly, penny-wise-pound-foolish-itis!

I’ll admit, I didn’t do a ton of research. It’s far more exciting to research traveling topics like where to go, what to see, where to stay, and what to eat! I begrudgingly compared two sites World Nomads, which I had heard a lot about on different travel blogs, and Trip Insurance Store, which I had read some great reviews about on the Trip Advisor forums. I didn’t save my research, but I ended up going with the Trip Insurance Store because they offered a policy that would cover Cuba. I was alone on the 7 week Costa Rican portion of the trip, and then Brian and I met in Panama and flew to Cuba together for 10 days. The policy was flexible enough to include both of us, and for what I thought was a very reasonable price of $185. You can view the coverage amounts and invoice here. Of course, it came with a terms and conditions attachment that would have made Tolstoy blush. Ok, I’m exaggerating a little bit here, but I will admit that I did not read the 31 pages of whatever. I just bought the policy and hoped that a) I’d never need it and b) If I did have some serious situation, I’d be covered. Because let’s be honest, there were reviews of lodging to read and lists of “must sees” to make!

For my month long European trip in December of 2016, I decided to not get insurance. I guess I just feel (possibly naively), that the French wouldn’t let me die bleeding on the steps of the hospital if I managed to wheeze out “I don’t have insurance” like my American brethren would. I mean, I’m a French History teacher! Doesn’t that somehow grandfather me in to their health care?! 😉

That brings me to the summer of 2017. Another epic trip. This time, all the way around the world! Malaysia– from the big city of Kuala Lumpur where I could potentially get run down by a motorbike, to the jungles of Borneo, where malaria could be injected into my bloodstream at any moment. Singapore– where I could be blinded by the sun gleaming off the cleanliness. Greece– where I could pass out from the view from my airbnb and get a concussion. Italy– where Mt. Vesuvius could decide to cover me in ash in Pompeii, I could choke from gobbling down pizza in Naples, be thrown to the lions at the Coliseum in Rome, or have the Leaning Tower of Pisa finally fall right when I was standing under it. Sweden– where it could snow. Seriously, if you know me, you’d know that out of all these major catastrophes I’ve listed, snow is the most feared! Ah, the world! Where potential death, doom, and destruction (and snow!) is lurking around every corner! Yeah, not so much. But again, my fear of contracting penny-wise-pound-foolish-itis caused me to delve back into the dark corners of the internet to seek out travel insurance.

Look, I have no doubt you could go to some other blog and find a doctoral thesis style explanation of what to get and why. I don’t have that much interest in insurance. I’ll give you the bare bones. I’m looking for a few things:

  • Good reviews on customer service
  • Low price
  • Decent medical coverage

I will research lodging options for HOURS- pouring over every detail, every review, every amenity. I am not going to do that for insurance. So began research with the two I researched last year, Trip Insurance Store and World Nomads, and a new one I found by searching the Worldschoolers facebook group- IMG Global. For a trip lasting from June 7-August 17, here’s what I found:

CoveragesTrip Insurance StoreWorld NomadsIMG Global: Patriot Travel Medical Insurance $2,500 deductible
Emergency Medical$100,000$100,0002,000,000
Emergency Transportation, Evacuation$1,000,000$500,00500,000
Baggage Loss$1,000$1,000$50
Baggage Delay$300 after 12 hours$750x
Trip Delay$1,000 after 6 hours, $200 per day$1,500$5000
Trip Cancellation$4000$10,000x

IMG Global was the winner. Hands down. They offered a lot of different options (Trip Insurance Store offered about 8 options, World Nomads offered 2). I could get a massive amount of coverage ($2,000,000) for not a lot of money with a $2,500 deductible. Of course, they had $0 deductible options as well. Here is the chart of options I was presented with, detailing out deductibles vs. coverage and how much each costs.

So now I’m free to go out into the world without fear!! Well, except for snow…but hopefully the month of August is the only insurance I need against that in Sweden!


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