If you’re asking yourself how to get travel insurance, you’re not alone. Even I’ve asked this question! Albeit, I was already traveling and sitting with a view from a castle in Scotland somewhere, but I had all the questions. Fast forward to 2022 and who knows, right?
The pandemic has changed the face of travel. Whether those changes remain permanent or not, only time will tell.
But for now, booking and organizing a trip abroad, even where you are permitted to do so, is a very different experience from what it once was. There are certainly a lot more hoops to jump through, things like entry requirements, testing, vaccinations, quarantine periods, and so on.
One aspect of planning a trip overseas that has certainly changed is travel insurance. Before the pandemic, you could probably sum up most people’s attitude to travel insurance as follows – find the cheapest coverage with the minimum of fuss possible, and hopefully forget all about it.
This galactic hiccup in travel history has left many wondering how to get travel insurance as trends that had shaped the travel insurance market for a decade or more quickly went rouge.
For many people, comparison sites were the go-to channel for finding and buying travel coverage, because it was so easy to find the cheapest deals that way.
It also encouraged new entrants to dip into the travel insurance market, high street retailers, banks, and other outfits that could strike cheap deals with underwriters to sell basic policies at budget prices, and still make a tidy profit doing so.
Third, we had also seen considerable growth in the number of banks and credit card providers offering travel insurance as part and parcel of premium accounts, bundled in with other extras for a monthly fee.
In these cases, banks offer annual policies that cover customers for multiple trips each year. It’s super convenient for the customer and there’s a considerable cost saving compared to buying such policies separately.
But again, as with the budget insurance which retail entrants into the market have tended to focus on, these annual policies offered as part of bank accounts are mostly basic and generic in their scope.
And there lies the rub. Post 2020, is ‘basic’ travel insurance really what any traveler wants anymore? And moreover, we’re also wondering how to get travel insurance now that travel as we know it has changed.
Things Have Changed
The way we get travel insurance is the same. Online comparison, shopping around, referrals from friends, family, and travel experts like myself are all typical ways to steer the course.
The “how” is not as important as are the changes that have evolved from a changing market since your last spring break to Cancun.
Important Things to Know Before You Get Travel Insurance
Travelers Are More Risk-aware Now
The pandemic has shifted the whole mindset around travel insurance, and understandably so. For a start, travelers are far, far more conscious about the risks of catching the virus and falling ill abroad.
Medical coverage has always been an integral part of travel insurance because the costs of medical treatment for foreign nationals and non-residents in nearly all countries are extremely high.
But before 2020, how often did the average person check the details of the medical coverage they bought, what was and was not included, the maximum pay-out amounts, and so on?
Now all of a sudden, people planning trips abroad are pouring over the levels of protection in case they fall ill from the virus. They want reassurance over and above what the run-of-the-mill budget policies so popular just a couple of years ago would offer.
Researching how to get travel insurance post 2020 means knowing that higher risk awareness means higher demand. And where there’s demand, there’s capitalism.
Factoring In Cancellations
Secondly, everyone knows that their travel plans are subject to all sorts of possible disruptions caused by the current health crisis, from testing positive last minute to renewed travel restrictions.
Every trip booked right now is a shot in the dark to a greater or lesser extent. As a result, the cancelation coverage included has come to the fore.
Travel insurance providers have beefed up their cancellation policies in response, adding specific COVID-related clauses.
It is still rare to find anyone willing to cover some things – the cancellation of travel due to government restrictions, for example – but there are plenty who will cover you for positive COVID tests, for having to self-isolate because you came into contact with someone who has the virus, for having to change your travel plans home because you test positive and so on.
All of this is available, but often at a price over and above what many people have always been prepared to pay for travel insurance. And I digress, capitalism.
Providers Take a Different Approach Now
Understanding how to get travel insurance requires that you are aware that the shift in demand has created a new approach taken by many providers.
Cut-price budget deals have been sidelined in favor of comprehensive policies with a big push for any and all COVID-friendly clauses.
So how do the non-specialists fare in such a different market? And how does one get travel insurance when there are so many non-specialists in the market?
Well, providing robust levels of coverage with water-tight protections for specific contingencies wasn’t what non-specialists really entered the market for. Plus, consumers are more likely to go for the added assurance of a well-known specialist brand with a reputation and track record for paying out when customers need it most.
For that reason, it would be no surprise if more and more retailers started to exit the travel insurance market, following the lead of the likes of John Lewis and Tesco who have already departed.
For more information about alternatives to retailer travel insurance, visit this website.
Not only have prices changed in the travel industry across all verticals, but the companies that sell have changed too. And while you might feel confident when you get travel insurance from your bank, retail giant, or savings club, it’s important to acknowledge that they were never the pros and probably never will be.
It’s still mindful to shop around to get travel insurance, compare prices, and ask friends. Safe travels! And don’t forget to subscribe to The Fairytale Traveler for more awesome travel tips.