Travel insurance is intended to cover for medical expenses, trip cancellation, medical evacuation, accident and disability incurred during your travel. Travel insurance is by nature a short time insurance, limited in time (usually max 12 months). It is a must for any persons traveling outside of his country of residence, especially if his local medical insurance or local social security system does not cover for medical expenses overseas.
What does it cover?
Travel insurance can be very comprehensive, but the basis is always to cover the medical expenses, medical evacuation and death/disability that may incur while traveling. Other options like loss of luggage, baggage delays, flight cancellation and many other issues that may arise while traveling could potentially be covered in your travel policy. Each contract has usually a long list of benefits. Travel insurance will also cover most injury related to sport done oversea as long as sport is not performed as a professional practice. However, there are usually exclusions for dangerous sports like rock climbing or high mountain trekking. Always check the policy wording before taking any purchase decision.
How much does it cost?
Price of travel insurance will vary according to age of traveler, but the price is mainly depending on number of day coverage. The type of country visited is usually not impacting premium, through each insurer will have a list of excluding countries.
If you travel often during the year, it will be cheaper to buy an annual travel plan instead of single policy each time: annual travel will automatically cover all your outbound travel during the year, as long as your respect the limitations of plan (usually, no more than 30 or 60 days per trip).
What are the differences between travel insurance and international medical insurance?
Though travel insurance may cover the same medical expenses as an international medical insurance, the key difference between the two contract is its limitation in time and geographic area: a travel insurance will only cover your medical expenses while travelling and until you are back in your home country: most of medical expenses occurred in your home country will be excluded. An international medical insurance does not have such restrictions.
Is travel insurance compulsory?
Many countries will require you a proof of coverage when applying for visa. If this is the case, a certain level of coverage will be requested in order to cover possible medical expenses incurred while traveling the country. Check local visa requirement before traveling.