Destination TBD

| Travel Insurance |

I have mixed emotions about insurance. I like the security but I hate to pay for something that I might never use. But it's better to be safe than sorry, as the saying goes.

Following are some tips on finding the best insurance for your needs:

Comprehensive plans offer insurance for lost or stolen possessions, trip cancellation, accidental death and dismemberment, and medical care, all wrapped up in one neat package. The hitch is, most plans only offer a maximum of $500.00 or $1000.00 for lost or stolen possessions. This didn't work for me because I was traveling with expensive camera equipment and a laptop. The value of my possessions was far greater than the maximum coverage. Also, most of these plans are designed for trips lasting less than 6 months – a longer trip and the price for coverage soars. And, as an independent traveler, I wasn't worried about trip cancellation. I didn't need comprehensive coverage and couldn't afford it anyway.

Instead, I signed up for a 'medical only' policy. These are great for extended travel and are far more affordable. Many plans offer an optional 'hazardous sports' rider for activities like hiking, snorkeling, scuba diving, etc... Policy pricing is dependant on the deductible and choice of coverage limit, which ranges from $50,000.00 - $1,000,000.00. For a little over $600.00, I bought a plan for 9 months, with a $250.00 deductible and $500,000.00 of coverage, including emergency evacuation in the event of a serious accident. I ended up traveling for 13 months and extended my policy online. I never needed to use my travel insurance, but nonetheless, I wouldn't travel without insurance because you never know what can happen. From food poisoning to bus accidents, it's better to be safe than sorry.

In terms of protecting property, I was almost resigned to the fact that I'd have to take my chances. Many travelers say, "If you care about losing it, don't bring it." However, I can't live without my camera, especially while traveling, and I needed the laptop to write. After a lot of research and inquiries on discussion boards, I found a company who offers insurance plans specific to tech equipment.

Their plans cover computers, digital cameras, PDAs, and the like from theft and damage. They also cover personal property like clothing and luggage. Pricing is, of course, dependant on the limit of coverage and deductible, and all policies are good for one year. My policy was $225.00, for $4500.00 of coverage (a much better deal than those comprehensive travel insurance plans). One thing to note: in order to collect on any losses, you'll need to have receipts for your stuff. Be sure you have them before purchasing a plan.

Links for travel insurance:

Link for tech equipment insurance:

© 2006, Cheryn Flanagan