In preparation for my trip through Africa I spent a lot of time looking into travel insurance. I thought I’d be done in no time but all that small print proved to be a problem. The info below is aimed at my own trip, but just maybe its of some help to others. I will try to add to this information as my research continues.
What do I need from a long term insurance policy?
- It needs to cover my whole trip, 18-24 months.
- I’m cancelling my medical insurance and wont be travelling in a E111 country so will need medical cover.
- Insuring my bike and bagage would be nice too.
- Cover using my bike as primary means of transport (sounds funny but alot of companies don’t allow it).
- Do they actually pay out when it all goes wrong?
- What is the nasty small print?
1. Obvious, but most insurers only give cover for a maximum of 1 year as single trip.
2. Because I’m travelling through Africa, the chances of a) finding a good hospital and b) it being very expensive are pretty unlikely. So the important thing for me is a policy that covers repatriation to Europe should I really have problems (read broken neck or serious sickness), fixing broken bones etc in Africa costs less than the excess on most insurance policies.
3. At some point during this trip there’s a very good chance that I’ll be held up at gun/knife point and asked to donate my bike and gear to the local economy(which of course I’ll do willingly because I believe in supporting local economies—-I’m especially economic with my own life too), or stuff will get stolen out of my room or tent. So, should this occur it maybe nice to receive some cash to help get more gear to continue my trip or to buy a big white towel to throw in the ring.
4. This maybe tricky, and will rule out a lot of companies.
5. This is a tricky one, this is very dependent on hearing other peoples experiences.
6. There is some nasty small print out there!
7. I’m not worried about delays and damage to baggage during flying, I recently put a claim in with KLM when the lost my bike for 3 days and damaged it, they paid me €270 for the inconvenience, extra costs and depreciation in value of my bike, so why would I insure this…..
Which companies are left over?
Here is a list of companies that have made it to the short list and cover most of my needs, the ones with a stripe through their name don’t cover above 12 months or are crap for some other reason.
Worldwideinsure: For UK residents/ EU. Cover up to 18 months, renewal during trip possible. It seems to be a “no thrills” policy with various levels of cover that covers the essentials with small print like “report theft within 24 hours” “all unattended baggage is excluded”.
Worldescapade (promo code SC29L): Good insurance but only extendable up to 12 months.
Insurefortravel: For UK residents departing and returning to the UK. Seems like a fairly standard package with various levels of cover. Small print “police report required with 48 hours” “sporting activities that are the sole purpose of the trip unless agreed by us in writing”.
BMC: For UK residents departing from the UK, recently changed to max 12 months.
American express: Recently changed to max 12 months.
World Nomads: Recommended by the Lonely planet but it has different prices, cover and max duration depending on which country your a resident of. Uk max 18months, NL max 12 months…..strange.
Media travel insurance: A cheap flexible policy, but once again max 12 months.
The Dutch policies are generally more expensive because of the private health system here. On the other hand their cover in other departments is generally better too. Most policies also cover 1 or more trips back to europe for family emergencies.
De goudse: Good cover but their cover is on top of normal health insurance which make an expensive combination max 2 years. It does give discount if more people take it.
De Europeesche “lang op reis”: Also great cover at a price! Max cover 720 days. Baggage and health cover are options.
Joho Isis special: Another serious package the “all in ” version also fully covers medical costs abroad.
Mondial Assistance: Has the option to fully cover medical costs abroad. Max 24 months.
In general the NL policies are are 3-4 times more expensive than the UK ones. In the coming days I’ll be looking for more companies, reading the small print and comparing prices for my 2 year trip….
This week I finally got round to contacting the companies on the short list, let them know exactly what I’m doing and got quotes for 18 months.
Duinsure – Don’t give personal accident or liability cover if you’re cycle touring.
World Nomads: Initial quote was around 800 GBP but you need grade 2 sport cover for cycle touring which adds another 400 pound.
Worldwideinsure: I looked at their middle package which was about 400 GBP but it turns out that they also want extra cover for cycle touring this added another 370 pound for Class A sport. I also asked them about the 24 hour rule, the answer was that this is a guide line and means ” as quick as possible” which seems fair.
I’m not too amused with any of the companies, they all gave an initial cover which seemed ok but then add 50/100% to the price because travelling by bike is ooh so dangerous. I suspect that your average backpacker has more chance of getting killed in a bus in Africa than a cyclist but they dont pay extra grrrrhhh.
So…..drum roll……I’m going for Worldwideinsure. The policy seems simple, fair, covers the basics and is the cheapest 18 month policy. The emails responses where also really quick when I was asking them questions which also gives me faith in their customer support. So as of next week I’ll be insured for my trip and almost 800 quid poorer.
So thats it. Your wishes and needs maybe different so check out all these sites yourself and get a quote, just maybe you’ll find something better or cheaper, expecially if your trip is 12 months or less!!