Sunday, August 26, 2012

Make sure you're ensured!

Have you ever had that moment when you arrive at the airport and you are waiting for your luggage. The crowd around you starts to get smaller and finally there are three bags just going around and yours is nowhere to see? I have. Twice.

How about getting sick or injured during your trip? Done that too.

When something unexpected happens during your trip, it is very important to know that your insurance will cover you. It may feel like a lot, when you are paying the insurance fees before the trip, or like me, every month, when nothing even happens. Then again when something DOES happen, which it sooner or later will when you travel a lot, it feels very good to know that you are covered. Hospital fees and payments can be very costly in countries where they for instance don't have public health care.

Also when something happens, there usually are a lot of things to take care of, and if your insurance is okay, then you at least have one things less to worry about. Worst case scenario: You are traveling alone in a foreign country where you don't speak the language. You wake up in the ambulance and nobody speaks any English, or any other language that you know for that matter. You are in complete shock, because you don't know what is going on and what has happened. You arrive at the ER and they start examining you. You are brought into a tube and now you really feel like you are going to start crying any minute. Finally a doctor comes who speaks English. He explains to you that it seems you've had an epileptic seizure. The doctor explains, that you will be transferred to the neurological ward. Shock. It feels really surreal. Like the whole thing is happening to someone else. The nurse comes to you with a bill for the ER. So far you haven't even thought about payments. You make a call to the emergency contact at your insurance company. They say that it won't be a problem, just pay and you'll get the money back once you are back home. At this point you feel really relieved that at least your insurance matters are in order.

A cool old picture at a hospital in Budapest.

At some places you don't even have to pay anything, you only give your insurance card, and the insurance company will take care of payments directly with the hospital. Naturally it depends on the hospital and on your insurance.

There are a variety of things that can happen. If your trip includes extreme activities like rafting, climbing and bungy, it is important to consult your insurance to find out what they cover. At many companies there are supplement policies for extreme activities. At some companies you can even pay an extra fee just for specific dates within your trip, if you know the dates for the activities before you go on the trip. It is really important to find out what your policy covers, so that in that unfortunate case when something happens, you know that your insurance will take care of the payments. Also it is important to know about your rights, so that you know what to do in that situation.

Sometimes the luggage just isn't as fast as you are...

Then there is the case with the lost luggage. Depending on the airline, they cover part of your loss. Sometimes you only get a survival kit (t-shirt, toothbrush, shampoo, etc.) and sometimes you also get some money. However, when your luggage is lost, your insurance can be your best friend. Also in this matter I am very satiesfied with my insurance company, which is the Finnish company Pohjola, by the way. When I flew to New Zealand a few years ago (Helsinki-Zürich-Singapore-Christchurch), my luggage was left in Zürich. We were staying two days in Christchurch and then continuing to the south end of the island, to Steward Island. Naturally I wished that my luggage would arrive while in Christchurch, since they had been able to locate it. It didn't. I got it four days later, when we got to Invercargill in the south of the south island. Of course I was very happy to get it back, because I had a lot of valuable hiking gear in the bag, not to mention our tent! My insurance allows me to buy essentials for 60 euros per day, every day when my luggage hasn't still arrived. I went crazy on hiking gear in a city on the way to Invercargill, when we found a shop, where everything was like 60 per cent off! Well, that wasn't my point but...

If I hadn't gotten my bag back, I would've had to make a list about everything in the bag and the value of the things. The insurance would have covered at least part of it, if not everything. So, you see now why it is essential to have a good insurance?

It's not just about losing things, but often also losing memories.

Then again a good insurance isn't enough, you also have to know what it includes, so that you can get a supplement insurance when it is needed.

Of course there are many other scenarios: late or cancelled flights, robberies, breaking things, loosing things, you name it. Even more reason to have your insurance matters taken care of. It sure is worth a day or two to find out about the best policy for you and your needs. So before your next trip, take a look through your insurance policy, maybe contact the insurance company and make sure you have the best deal for you. Then you can enjoy your trip with one less thing to worry about.

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