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Travel Insurance – is it worth it?

A personal story…

Traveling costs money  and by the time you buy your tickets, buy new luggage, book places to stay, pay for tours and souvenirs, the costs can spiral pretty fast.

In my early twenties, just before I quit my job and an income, I took out an American Express card – to give me an emergency source of funds, just in case I needed money fast or to pay for a flight home. I never used it as I travelled the world at that time, but it was there just in case.

These days, Travel Insurance is one of the things you might or might not spend money on, and hopefully you won't have to make a claim. Taking out a Policy however lets you rest a little easier when you travel, knowing that it is there 'just in case'.

Many parts of the world are cheap when it comes to paying for a dentist or doctor but other places are very expensive – such as the USA.

A couple of years ago, I had a really bad toothache on a Saturday morning in Chicago. The hotel suggested that the best way for me was to walk a short distance to a hospital Emergency room.  At the hospital a series of nurses/doctors asked me how bad was the toothache, sat me in a room and told me that they didn't have any dentist there, but gave me a Tylenol (pain killer tablet) and a scrip to take to a Pharmacy. Fine, "just see accounts on the way out".

I then received the itemised bill US$ 1101, with the Tylenol tablet being US$ 1 and the rest of the bill being for the room and 'Professional service'!  What a rip-off! Luckily, Emergency dentistry was covered under the Travel Insurance policy I took out.

More recently, also in the USA my wife fell over in the Redwood Forest in California, knocking herself out. A 911 call brought an ambulance to take her to the nearest hospital and the cost of just the ambulance was over US$2000. The hospital costs were even more – again covered by Travel Insurance.

My view is always to 'Take out travel insurance' just in case. t will give you peace of mind when you travel – not just for health, but also to cover lost luggage, theft and delayed flights. Hopefully you will not need to make a claim, but then if you do, at least the costs are covered by the insurance.

You should also read all the fine print too – and carry the Travel Insurance Policy number and contact details with you too.

Happy travels

Geoff Stuart

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