Ecuador and South Americas Travel Insurance on the Go
It should go without saying that one should prepare for the unexpected while traveling. When you think of all the things to pack, travel insurance should be a key component. Robberies happen. Accidents happen. Lost luggage, missed flight connection, a broken tooth—going skeet shooting—you could shoot your eye out, kid. So why not cover for this? In the next couple months, I’ll be running a series of articles covering travel insurance, expat insurance, and what to do if something should happen here in Ecuador.
Travel insurances vary from all inclusive full coverage to basics. Basic components of insurance include trip delay/cancellation, baggage loss/delay, medical/dental, and accidental death and dismemberment. Some plans let you opt for different components and some are all inclusive. Obviously there are different factors that should be considered when choosing. Length of stay, where you go, cost of the trip, activities undertaken, and how much you are willing to fork out for a coverage are going to factor into any choice.
Personally, I don’t think that cost should ever be a factor when choosing insurance. Think of the 50$ spent on coverage compared to three weeks in a hospital after a motorbike accident and a couple of surgeries on a your leg to sew it all back up—which is more expensive you think?.
First let’s break down what is included in a typical plan. Trip delay and cancellation covers you for any changes in flight plans due to work plans changing, airlines going bankrupt, acts of war, etc. Any reason that you can reasonably come up with (I don’t know if sleeping off hangovers count) to explain why you weren’t on the plane—your plan will reimburse you for your flight and any other expenses incurred. If your bags get stolen or lost by your carrier—you’ll want this to replace all your belongings. Break your leg skiing?
Fall over and break your front teeth—anything can happen while traveling. Medical coverage will even pay for an emergency evacuation to a suitable place for treatment should you find yourself far from a decent hospital. And, heaven forbid, tragedy occurs and you lose an arm or even your life, wouldn’t you want your loved ones looked after in case of your loss or inability to work? The great thing about insurance is that it covers such a broad range of categories wrapped into one coverage. These are all things you need.
So who to choose? If you do a search for travel insurance on Google you’ll come up with 44,600,000 results. Well, I have dealt consistently over the years with two carriers: STA Travel and World Nomads- both are reasonably priced, reliable and offer extremely helpful service. First the cost. For one week STA comes out at 48$ compared to 65$ for World Nomads, but head up to 3 months and you have $240 vs. $200.
So both are about the same cost wise—effective coverage varies though and one should consult each policy very carefully to see what and for how much one is covered for. But one will be covered well. Expect at least a $100,000 for medical, $2000 for luggage loss, and $10,000 for trip cancellation—very ample in most cases. What’s most important is that both offer excellent service, underwritten by large insurance companies and financial institutions—all info is public access and you can rest assured that they will pay out. Both have long standing histories and are well recommended by all.
While STA provides slightly higher coverage, I found World Nomads to be easier to work with. Firstly, World Nomads is the only insurance out there that allows you to pick up coverage AFTER your trip has begun.
Normally with insurance companies, you must order your insurance a day before you leave your home destination. But World Nomads lifted this limitations. So if you forgot that one little thing before you left, World Nomads won’t penalize you for this. Secondly, World Nomads allows you to make claims online and check the status of a particular claim online with their easy to use customer profile interface. Quite helpful when you are playing the waiting game for money reimbursements, one can see their paperwork has been received and processed and then if their claim is approved or denied. This saves you having to spend long hours on hold on the phone trying to speak to a customer rep.
Any inquiries can be sent via messages via your profile page and problem are usually resolved within 24 hours. With STA you must make phone inquiries to check the status of a claim which consumed painful hours on hold sometimes. I quite like checking in and seeing how things are going and knowing the instant that something comes up.
But don’t take my word for it. Check online and view all the ins and outs:
Travel Insurance with Star Travel
Want more information on how to travel safely in Ecuador check out this post.