One of the many items on our pre-trip checklist was securing travel insurance for the voyage. First we asked ourselves “do we really need travel insurance?” After all, the insurance is just one more cost. And we’re healthy folks who can handle just about anything, right? After researching and talking with others, it turns out that the answer is an unequivocal resounding “Yes.” For the endless number of possible scenarios that could turn an easy going day in Buenos Aires to a long night in an Argentine hospital, insurance is a must have.
Hunting for the right insurance plan was a whole process in itself. There are dozens of plans that cover hundreds of scenarios. Travel Guard Chartis, CSA Travel Protection and The Divers Alert Network (DAN) are three well regarded and well-reviewed companies we found. We had success using the Travel Insurance aggregate site Squaremouth to sort through the plans.
The particular package that we ended up purchasing has similar coverage as those offered by most other plans. Practical offerings that should keep us covered in a handful of relatively likely scenarios: Travel Delay, Baggage Delay, Personal Items Loss, Life Insurance and 24-Hour Assistance Service. But the biggest coverage for us, the one that is more important than all others combined, is the Emergency Medical Insurance and Medical Evacuation & Repatriation. A lost bag we can deal with. Needing to get back to America ASAP due to an unexpected, horrific and terrifying emergency medical condition is where we would likely need a big helping hand.
We ended up choosing the Travel Guard Platinum from Chartis primarily because they’ve earned top marks on taking care of everything when a medical situation arrives after your day has taken a dramatic turn for the worse. No hospital co-pay, all paperwork covered and if something crazy happens where you need to be flown back home (Repatriation), they handle every single step. Most standard healthcare insurance plans offered by companies do NOT include the repatriation part and can be hit or miss with health care coverage abroad.
We recommend scouring through the plans, fine print and costs to find one that is tailored for your specific trip needs. For example, we had absolutely no need for “Employment Layoff” coverage, but the “Missed Connection” might come in handy to pay for a night in a hotel if needed. We also got a kick out of reading some of the disclaimers. Such as the horrifying yet humorous details on what percentage of your life insurance you’ll be compensated for losing just one leg or a finger & a thumb on a flight. Another example, you may receive compensation if your trip is interrupted by a Hurricane or Tropical storm, but only IF that storm has already been named. Also, we are NOT covered if we need insurance because we were inciting a riot in another country or competing in a professional sporting contest abroad. Oh, insurance people. You know us so well.