Travel Protection: Is It Really Necessary?

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Travel protection has always been a bit of a contentious issue in my opinion. I find that there are many people who don’t feel the need to protect themselves before travelling. Clearly, they are an elite class of people who feel completely invincible.

These individuals obviously have superhero powers that help them to predict what will take place on each trip they take. They are the individuals who believe that nothing untoward will take place whilst they are away, whether in their own country or further afield. After all, how many people get sick when travelling from the U.S. to India, for example? Surely Delhi belly and dysentery are made up illnesses that “real travellers” never suffer. Right?

According to ABTA, only one in four travellers now obtains full travel protection. Those who don’t cite the cost as reason not to purchase a protection plan. Brits in particular consider it a non-necessary cost whilst travelling within Europe because they believe they are now automatically covered under the EHIC European Health Card. However, this is not a substitute for travel insurance and does not protect you fully.

Do you travel without your passport? Would you hire a car and then forget to take your driving license with you? So why do people feel that is okay to book a trip and then fail to protect themselves fully?

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#1 We Are Never Sick

There are some very fortunate people out there who do seem to be healthier than others. It’s also a fact that once you’ve removed yourself from the pressures of work and begin to relax, your immune system also relaxes. That’s when little germs seem to invade. Whilst a common cold may only require you to spend a few pounds on tablets, what happens if you are rushed into the hospital with stomach cramps, only to find out that your appendix is fit to burst? Could you afford the high cost of surgery?

#2 I Always Keep Money and Passports on Me

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Unless you’re wearing a money belt 24 hours a day, I would love to know how you feel that you can protect yourself at all times. What happens when the hotel you’ve booked requests to keep hold of your passport until checkout and accidentally loses it? Most travel protection policies allow you to pick up the phone and request an emergency document to be sent directly to where you are staying. If you don’t have this safeguard, you could spend many stressful hours sitting in a passport office somewhere hoping that they can reissue it for you.

To put this is to a bit of perspective for you, I currently live in Northern Italy. In order to have an English passport reissued to me, I would need to visit the embassy in Rome, which is about five hours away.

#3 I Have Never Used It, so Why Keep Paying for It?

For me, this is always a dangerous statement to make. You never really know what’s going to happen, so you shouldn’t leave yourself wide open.

We all have mishaps. I remember travelling to Mexico a few years ago. We booked an all-inclusive resort thinking that we only wanted to spend time relaxing, but a fall resulted in me badly damaging my leg. I wasn’t doing anything stupid, and I hadn’t signed up for anything extreme. I was simply walking from my room to the pool and slipped on wet steps. Can you say that this wouldn’t happen to you on holiday? Could you afford to pay the medical bills for a broken leg?

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#4 We Have Never Been Subjected to a Flight Delay

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Clearly, you must think that flight delays don’t happen very often. Believe me, this isn’t the case.

If you were to take a look at the statistics for both delayed and cancelled flights, you would see that in the last 30 days alone, according to FlightStats, more than 560,000 flights around the world have been late. An additional 22,000 have been cancelled. Are you really sure you want to take that risk?

#5 Your Electronic Goods Are in Safe Hands

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Of course they are. They’re yours, so there’s no doubt that you’re going to take good care of them. But what happens if someone breaks into your hotel room? What happens if you accidentally drop your phone whilst trying to take a selfie on top of the mountain you’ve just climbed? What happens if you accidentally drop your camera overboard whilst trying to take a fantastic family holiday snap? None of these things will happen to you, so you don’t need protection, right?

#6 We Don’t Plan on Dying Abroad

I don’t think anyone would like to die whilst away, but, unfortunately this does happen. People fall ill so quickly that sometimes the unspeakable happens. Instead of an enjoyable holiday to remember, it becomes a nightmare.

Let’s not consider age the only risk factor here. You also need to think about those who hire cars or mopeds, those who enjoy watersports, and those who are simply going about their daily lives in a foreign country and have an accident along the way.  Unfortunately none of us will live for an eternity, and most people can’t predict their own deaths. Therefore, can you really afford the costs involved with repatriating a loved one?

#7 Travel Protection Cannot Help Insure Us Against Acts of God or Terrorism

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That is correct. If you opt to spend a couple of weeks at Disney World in Florida or you wish to spend two weeks sunning yourself on a sandy Caribbean beach during hurricane season, then you only have yourself to blame. No travel protection I know of will evacuate people out of this situation. Likewise, if you happen to be caught up in an act of terrorism, insurance companies can’t provide assistance straight away.

But should this be the only reason not to protect yourself and your family against other things that companies will insure you against? If this really is the sticking point for you, perhaps you need to consider MedjetAssist, a company that will assist you in times of crisis whilst also providing you with other membership benefits that include specialised hospital transfers and cash advances for medical assistance.

Ultimately, whether or not you choose to travel with or without protection, you need to be aware of the benefits gained from such a policy.  It may seem like you’re throwing money away on something you hope you will never have to use, but are you as flippant when it comes to insuring your home or your car? No, because these are legal requirements. Surely, insuring and protecting yourself and your loved ones is just as important, if not more so. No one can tell me that bricks and mortar are more important than family members, can they?

Are you a person who opts not to take out travel protection? Perhaps you’re an individual who insists on it no matter where you’re heading. We would love to hear your thoughts on whether you feel protection is a worthwhile investment.

4 Comments

  • I’m one of those travelers who has ignored the importance of taking a travel protection till now, because of one or two of the reasons that you have mentioned! I think I should start taking it seriously now!

  • There certainly are a lot of reasons to pick up travel insurance – but for some reason or another, I never have. What I can think of right now, is that I feel like I have NO idea what’s a good travel insurance plan, what it should cost, what it should cover, and who should be offering it. That’s a little too much for many people to think about when they’re planning their trips.

    But for things like health and valuables, it does make sense. However, is this a fact? “It’s also a fact that once you’ve removed yourself from the pressures of work and begin to relax, your immune system also relaxes.” I have never heard that before! There are plenty of valid reasons to get health insurance through travel insurance for going abroad, like your broken leg example.

    • Hi Tom, the idea that you become sick when you are on holiday relates to something called ‘let-down effect’ (http://www.marcschoen.com/the-let-down-effect.html) which then leads to illness which is why some people tend to suffer with sickness when relaxing on a trip for example.

      In terms of insurance and protection plans I think that there are so many out there, getting recommendations from others that have similar travel styles to you are important. There is no point getting a standard policy if you enjoy more adventurous activities for example if then plan then becomes null and void if you have an accident whilst do something more extremely than laying on a sunbed.

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