Actually insurance is the simplest part of going away, although I know plenty of students or young people, like myself, just kind of shudder and go ‘insurance? Dunno, dad does that for me’. Or the other popular response ‘I don’t really need it, it’s not likely to happen and I haven’t got anything worth very much’. Maybe true, but you should still insure it, and yourself!
Until now I’ve been lazy with insurance while I’ve been at university and until now I’ve been lucky too. But assuming I’m taking my laptop abroad that’s already enough reason to get some insurance, before I even consider that this is a trip where I might need, you know, bodily insurance. I was a bit clueless and so I went for a comparison website to see where I could get the best deal.
That was the BEST idea ever. I don’t recommend a specific comparison website because I just went to the first one I found but it just broke everything down into a simple set of figures I could understand. I attacked the comparison website with a budget of £50 in mind, which suited me (in theory purely in my head) since my whole luggage will still come to well under the value of £1000 and I’m not planning any extreme sports while I’m there. Give yourself a rough budget, if you find you can’t keep under it even using a comparison website, you might be calculating too low – go away, ask a few more people for advice and input, and have a rethink about whether you can spend more on your insurance. My insurance came to £23 in the end.
Okay, to de-confuse you all a bit. There are several categories that will appear on any insurance or comparison website.
The actual price; you can work this one out yourselves.
The ‘medical’ cover; this seemed like it was always a huge number to me, but think about it, if they’re offering you £10million medical cover, it’s probably because you might need £10million. Medical cover could/should/is expected to probably cover things like flying you home if your very ill, possibly evacuation/rescue (some insurers have separate amounts for this though), your hospital bills (which may be very high in your country), any medication, which you mostly pay a lot for outside of UK etc. I would just get as high as they offer within your budget.
Then there may also be a separate section for in case of abduction – not a pleasant thought I know – if that’s offered then aim on the higher side, although this is hopefully a lot less likely to be needed than, say, you getting some extra injections and an overnight stay at the hospital.
There should also be ‘cancellation’ protection, and for this it’s worth reading any small print that may be lying around. Other than that, head for something that is over the cost of your trip (obvious huh?), it doesn’t need to be a million pounds over though.
The same with ‘baggage’ insurance, this is for if everything in your bag, including the bag went missing. I think this covers you if your baggage items get stolen during your stay, for some companies, for others there is sometimes a separate ‘theft’ clause, which is pretty self-explanatory. To calculate how much mine was worth I counted the big expensive things, chucked in the cost of my passport and visa just in case, then made a guess-timate for things like clothes and extras. Then I would head for a couple of hundred pounds over your estimate value. If someone knifes into your bag in transit and only takes the laptop, then that’s fine, you’re laptop should cost less than what you’ve calculated.
And now we hit the only bit that might confuse or intimidate you – but trust me, it’s not that hard at all. This is ‘excess’. Go for a ratio of as low an excess value, to as high other values, as is available in your budget. Excess is what you pay – if it’s £300 and your camera is worth £300, then you pay to replace your own camera (shoot me down if I have a flawed understanding of life, there’s every possibility 😉 let me know below…). But if the excess is only £150, you pay half and the insurers (should) pay half for your camera. I have never had to claim to try any of this out though so…
Good to remember; the word UNLIMITED is great when looking at insurance, but somewhere, hidden there may be a clause. I looked for the maximum amount of boxes with unlimited that I could find, and then double checked the policy in detail once I was 90% sure I’d chosen a good one. Also worth knowing is, I really don’t think you can do this too early. As soon as you start booking injections you can start comparing insurance. It’s something so many people put off because you’ve got to commit to sitting and trawling through a website for a few hours – but it doesn’t really take that long at all, one evening (certainly not a full one) and you can have this ticked off the list and out of the way. It was such a relief when I got mine. I’m not sure if there’s a cut off for how early you can book (there isn’t really one for late, since there are special sites for last minute insurance) but I would say you’re safe anything less than a year in advance. From what I’ve seen, the prices haven’t changed as I’ve got closer to my holiday date.
Happy Searching! If you’ve got any insurers you particularly recommend (or particularly don’t!) let me know down below!