Do you really need it?
YES. Travel insurance shouldn’t be neglected especially if you’re planning for a long term backpacking trip. Why? Mainly because it can save you a lot of trouble and a LOT of money. Picture that: you’re hiking in the Himalayas where suddenly you trip and break your leg. No nearby hospitals. The only way to get access for medical assistance is by helicopter which costs around 20.000$. If you’re not covered, such a simple accident will cause some serious financial damage not to mention the hassle of knowing who to call and how to ask for help whereas when you’re insured all you have to do is contact the emergency center and your insurance company will take care of the rest.
What to look for in a travel insurance policy?
It may seem an easy task since we have a million and one insurances that are all willing to take new customers but it’s only when you start asking that you find out how hard it is especially if you’re backpacking.
Lebanese travel insurance policies usually cover you for up to a 3 months period. Which means that you’ll have to cut your trip short just to come back and renew it.
Look for companies who have annual coverage packages. This will narrow down your options considerably.
Medical emergency coverage
One major indicator between insurance plans is the emergency medical expenses rates. At this stage it’s up to you to choose which formula works best for your trip. Are medical expenses relatively expensive in the countries you plan to visit? Are there any high epidemic risks?
Fast and direct evacuation is crucial when accidents occur in isolated areas. You will need to reach a medical facility as soon as possible and might need aerial transportation if you’re in the middle on nowhere.
Usually the airline company takes care of this part. The insurance company will cover up the rest up to a certain amount, which can come in real handy for valuable possessions.
Obviously cancelations may occur during your trip, so This comes in handy if your flight gets canceled for some legit reason and not because you had went out yesterday and over slept
In case of any damage caused to a third-party the travel insurance company will cover the expenses. Just make sure to give all the necessary information and avoid making any promises or offers before consulting your insurance company. Your claim might get rejected due to that.
Just make sure to choose the right package for you to have coverage in the countries you’re planning to visit. Normally, you’ll find worldwide packages that include or exclude developed countries such as US, Canada, Japan and Australia. Obviously the difference will be expressed in terms of cost. Not to forget that some countries are not covered at all such as Cuba.
What not to expect from Lebanese travel insurance?
While worldwide travel insurance companies such as world nomads provide maximum coverage, Lebanese companies remain reluctant considering the high budget required v/s low demand for such packages. Hence, you won’t find any coverage for:
- Electronic devices (Laptops, Cameras, Cellphones…)
- Stolen possessions
- Extreme sports (skydiving, scuba-diving…) except for skiing and snowboarding as long as you don’t go off-piste.
We are not asking you to get paranoid over every move you make. But we are asking you to keep record of everything. As you know the insurance company won’t pay a dime before undertaking a thorough investigation expecting you to answer all questions with back-up evidence.
So in case of emergency, you have to contact the emergency center as soon as possible (you’ll have a window of 48hours max.) or your claim might be rejected.
Plus, make sure to have efficient evidence to back up your claim:
- Keep copies of everything (airline tickets, receipts, baggage references…)
- Save contacts and addresses (accommodations, restaurant, car rental agencies…)
- Visual evidence (pictures, videos, voice recordings…)
Perfect scenario: Never contact your insurance company
Ideally and what you should hope for is to never use your travel insurance, so be extra careful:
- Keep alert for safety signs: You won’t get covered for a shark bite if you swam in a shark-infested area.
- Ask around before venturing in unknown territories: ask locals, check with tourism offices…
- Check: 20 ways to stay safe and prevent theft while travelling
–Swan International Assistance (Our Favorite)