Covering my Ass….and the rest of me!

As I prepare for this trip, my only real concern is protecting myself in the event of an emergency. I’ve purchased travel insurance in the past and while I’ve never had an emergency while traveling, I’ve heard tons of stories from travelers that have and the stories always play out quite differently for those that aren’t insured.

The most important reason to buy insurance is to make sure that in the event of a serious medical emergency, that I will be covered and protected while overseas and can receive the best medical care available without worrying about cost. There are myriad different companies that offer travel insurance, but I’ve chosen World Nomads as my primary insurer for medical, evacuation, and any baggage problems that may arise. Their policy will cost me $297USD for the first 6 months and will be extended (for a lesser amount) in April to cover me for the whole year.

Secondly, since I’ll be diving frequently and may try and work as a divemaster, I want to make sure that I’m covered if anything occurs while diving as World Nomads, like most companies, consider this an extreme sport and won’t cover any problems arising from these activities.  This is critical as dive emergencies can be very costly; think recompression chamber followed by a lengthy hospitalization with a possible evacuation and/or repatriation. For diving, DAN insurance is the only way to go.  $140USD gets me their platinum coverage and comes with a number of benefits, but basically means I don’t have to worry about anything that happens on or under the water.

Lastly, while World Nomads does cover basic baggage loss, they only cover up to $500 for my electronics and such and since I’ll be taking a laptop, a camera, and a few other expensive items, I was concerned the most expensive things weren’t adequately protected in the event of damage or more importantly, theft.

After tons of research, I found that no travel insurance company covers the expensive things such as computers, camera equipment, etc.  In my opinion, this is a serious gap within the travel insurance industry and leaves many travelers out in the cold when it comes to protecting some of the more increasingly common, and expensive, items carried by travelers. All these things add up and replacing them would be quite costly and I wouldn’t be able to afford to replace them if something were to happen to them on my trip.

After spending quite a bit of time on the phone with different insurance companies, and getting nowhere, I noticed a State Farm agency while driving and decided to stop in. I introduced myself and explained my dilemma to Agent Jim and the problems I’ve encountered while trying to purchase insurance for this trip. Agent Jim thought for a while before tapping away at his computer, asking me the items I wanted to insure and their values. After a few minutes, he said “$81.”

A bit incredulous, I responded, “What? $81 is it? $81 will insure my camera, laptop against any loss, theft or damage? Overseas?”

“Yep. It’s called single item insurance.”

“So, let me just make sure, if I’m in a remote region of Papua New Guinea and the local tribesman throws my laptop in the river to appease the Gods, that’s covered?”

“Yep, just shoot me an email and I’ll start a claim.”

“Sold! What do I need to do?”

We chatted a bit more, but basically I just needed to bring in each item and the receipts for them (if possible) and they’ll insure them.

$518USD is what it cost me to fully insure myself while traveling overseas. I’m sure there are some that might say that this is overkill and they may be right, but I’m not a kid anymore and in the event of an emergency or trouble I’m covered. Completely. I don’t have to worry or fret about what to do, I’ve got someone watching my back.