Travel Insurance…Surfboard v Face!

I’ve been on the road for a few years now and one of the things I get asked a lot about is my travel insurance.

Chris_StevensIn my mind as a professional traveller – and having worked in the travel industry for a couple of years prior – is that travel insurance should be the biggest waste of money of your whole adventure.

Sounds bizzare doesn’t it?

Well if travel insurance turns out to be a waste of money that means you’ve returned home in one piece and haven’t had to use it – which. lets face it, is the best outcome!

However, if you ever need to claim on the road you’ll sure as hell be stoked that you outlayed the dollar and don’t have to worry about any extra costs (minus the excess of course).

What Travel Insurance Do I Use?

For my cover I use STA Travel. I will admit now that I’m slightly bias towards their insurance as I used to work for them – but being on the other side of the industry I learnt how good their cover is and how quickly and professionally they deal with claims.

One of my customers had an allergic reaction to a spider bite whilst on the other side of the world – once she was stable enough to be flown home the under writers called out branch, asked us to find the next available flat bed seat back to the UK and booked it for them. No price negotiations, no extra quotes – just BOOM lets get that person back ASAP.

You couldn’t have asked for better service than that in my opinion!

As a backpacker who is always seeking out new thrills and spills the level of travel insurance I opted for was the top end of the scale – and set me back around £300 for a 12 month policy.

Sure you can get cheaper deals – but this policy covers me for all the random things I can be stupid enough to do on the road. Diving to 30m – check, bamboo rafting in Thailand – check, skydiving – check, search and rescue – check.

The list of included and covered activities is pretty vast and it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Surfboard v Face – Surfboard Wins!

travel insuranceLuckily for me I’ve only had to use it once on the road – but I was stoked to have it. The incident in question was whilst in Australia. I’m an avid surfer and I was kicking back in Byron Bay, enjoying a life of surfing all day and partying all night (but that’s another story!) and whilst making the most of a good size swell and sunshine I was unlucky enough to head butt my 9 foot longboard – promptly breaking my nose and cheekbone…and leaving me looking like I’d just been in a pub brawl!

Knowing the costs of private healthcare abroad I immediately got my buddies to locate my policy details (I’d emailed them to myself and stored them in a folder labelled GAP YEAR for ease of use – something I recommend you all do alongside documents like flight tickets and a scan of your passport), the hospital dropped them a call, I gave over my details – I received treatment over the next few weeks (which included stitches, pain killers and a couple xrays) and hey presto nothing to worry about!

I’d even shelled out the excess waiver fee when I bought it so I literally had to outlay nothing during the whole thing – which was amazeballs as I was so off my face on painkillers and lack of sleep that I really wouldn’t have been able to sort anything of importance! haha!

Highly Recommended

Given my personal experience and the fact I now know how they operate on both sides of the equations I’d happily recommend them to anyone – and I have done. I’ve just returned to the UK after 2 years on the road to drop off some stuff and catch up with family/friends and have just bought a new policy for my next adventure.

The guys at STA will happily run you through what it covers, excesses and anything you need to know or you can hit them up online too. It doesn’t take long either, which means even if you leave it until you’re about to board your plane you can sit back and relax knowing you can chuck yourself into any crazy opportunities that come your way!

Also – and something a lot of people don’t know about – is if you sort your travel insurance alongside any tour or flight bookings you’re usually covered for any pre travel incidents too. For example if you were to break your leg before a trip and had to cancel flights or anything booked on the ground you’ve got that covered too. It’s not every policy though so have a read through and make sure you know what you’re signing up for.

Bottom line is – insure the crap out of your trip! If you’re shelling out thousands on a trip of a lifetime why risk turning it into a lifetime nightmare paying back medical expenses when you could have spent a couple hundred covering everything?!

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