When planning your trip, the question always comes up as to whether or not you will purchase travel insurance, listing the pros and cons deciding if you want to spend the extra money.

Many have seen it as an unnecessary commodity and take the chance, saving money by hoping nothing happens. It isn’t until something arises that you truly realize the importance and necessity of travel insurance.

As the world continues to unexpectedly change month by month sometimes — even week by week — it isn’t something you want to gamble your health and hard-earned dollars on.

Travel to Costa Rica

When traveling to Costa Rica, the decision of whether or not to purchase travel insurance is made for you: It’s one of the requirements for entry prior to your days on the country’s tropical beaches sipping on a cold pipa. As of November 1, 2020, the country requires you to purchase travel insurance with several important specifications that are strictly followed.

Upon entry, you must show proof that in the event of needing to quarantine for COVID-19 you have coverage of lodging expenses in the amount of $2,000 USD.

If purchasing an international travel insurance policy, it must indicate a minimum of $50,000 USD for medical expense coverage including that of COVID-19; however, if through an approved Costa Rican insurance company, the minimum coverage is $20,000 USD. In addition, it is extremely vital to note your travel insurance must cover the entire length of your stay matching your entry and exit dates.

When looking at your travel insurance package details and options it is important to consider all aspects as unforeseen events can quickly happen. As many can recall Costa Rica’s borders closed to foreigners and non-residents in mid-March 2020 with endless flight cancellations.

Airlines and Travel Insurance

US law says passengers are entitled to a refund if an airline cancels a flight, regardless of the reason. However, some non-US airlines have been stingy with refunds, and others try to offer vouchers or miles instead of true refunds.

As the economy faces many hardships, this isn’t typically how you want to receive your refund. Having to sit patiently waiting for flights to be rescheduled or the country’s borders to reopen in order to reschedule your well-planned and long-awaited vacation isn’t usually one’s first choice.

This could mean not getting the chance to use your voucher or travel miles for months at a time or even at all depending on the country you reside in and their current restrictions, losing your money on the risk that you took.

Unless you have bought a refundable ticket, which typically costs quite a bit more at the time of purchase, you may not see your money returned for missed flight connections or missing your flight entirely. During Costa Rica’s rainy season roads can become washed out with rivers overflowing onto the lowland roads and driving can become quite dangerous from the intense rains in certain areas of the country.

The heavy rains

As the COVID-19 pandemic began to surge across the country and more people became ill from the virus, many states decided to shut down all non-essential businesses and close their borders. Among the first states to do so was California — declaring a state of emergency and shutdown on March 4, 2020.

disneyland park gates closed
Credit: Inside the Magic Rebekah B.

While it was one of the first states to shut down, it was also one of the last to reopen — which did not happen fully until June 15, 2021. However, now that California has finally reopened, its massive tourism industry can once again begin to thrive. One of the largest tourist destinations in the state is the Happiest Place on Earth, Disneyland Resort.

disneyland sleeping beauty castle
Credit: Inside the Magic

California Governor Gavin Newsom recently spoke to Good Times Santa Cruz about tourism finally coming back to the state, what it means for the state, and the role that Disneyland plays in bringing the California economy back. When asked what travel to California meant to the state, Newsom said:

“This was a $145-billion-a-year industry. No other state comes close, including Florida. So there’s no state that has more to gain, in terms of fully reopening. The vast majority, overwhelming majority of the state has been operating, but with some limitations. This just removes the final limitations, in terms of physical distancing and capacity.

The tourism industry is part of the spirit and pride of the state. What makes California such a special place is the incredible diversification of options and opportunities for experiences, for magical moments.”

Disneyland ticket
Credit: Inside the Magic

Speaking of magical moments, Disneyland Resort is one of the ultimate places where magical moments happen every single day. California’s June 15 reopening meant massive changes for the theme park — from mask requirements being relaxed to capacity limits being completely lifted. It also meant that Guests from all over the country would once again be able to experience that magic.

king arthur carrousel disneyland
Credit: Inside the Magic

Governor Newsom shared the following regarding Disneyland’s importance to California’s recovery:

“It’s emblematic. It’s a proxy for the rest of the state. Disneyland is of such iconic status that it’s a confidence boost, perhaps more than anything else. It has a very substantial regional economic impact, which is important.”

While Disneyland doesn’t need anything extra to bring in the visitors, it has an incredible new addition to Disney California Adventure that is sure to make Disneyland Resort a top tourist destination this summer — the opening of Avengers Campus. The new area is a perfect addition to the theme park and is a vacation destination for the world’s Marvel fans.

avengers campus entry 1
Credit: Inside the Magic Krysten S.

In 2019, The Orange County Register reported that Disneyland Resort was responsible for generating almost $9 billion for the southern California economy — and that was before Avengers Campus was even open! With people being unable to travel due to shutdowns and being unable to visit Disneyland for over 400 days, the theme

W

hether you’re planning a sightseeing break in New York or a beach holiday in the Maldives, if you’re travelling beyond Europe, worldwide travel insurance should be an essential element of your trip.

Having a comprehensive travel insurance policy in place will offer you the peace of mind that you’re financially protected should something unexpected go wrong during, or in the run-up, to your trip.

Here’s what you need to know when buying worldwide travel insurance.

What is worldwide travel insurance?

When you’re taking out travel insurance, you’ll be asked where you’re travelling to and whether you’d like a UK, worldwide or European policy.

If you’re travelling outside of Europe, you’re likely to need a worldwide policy, although always check an insurer’s definition of Europe. Some countries, such as Egypt, might be included under a European policy.

Generally speaking, there are two types of worldwide travel insurance:

  • Policies that include cover for travel to the USA, Canada and the Caribbean.
  • Policies that exclude travel to the USA, Canada and the Caribbean.

As with European policies, always check the geographical cover of a worldwide policy as some insurers might have different exclusions. As an example, under its “Region 3” worldwide travel insurance, the provider Staysure excludes travel to: Bermuda; Canada; the islands of the Caribbean; China; Hong Kong; Mexico; Thailand; and the USA.

Policies that do cover travel to the USA, Canada and the Caribbean are likely to be more expensive due to the cost of healthcare in these destinations.

Worldwide travel insurance can be taken out as a single-trip policy or an annual policy, depending on your travel plans over the next 12 months. If you’re going on an extended trip, you could also take out a worldwide backpacker policy.

You can buy worldwide travel insurance policies to cover individual travellers, couples, or for an entire family.

Do I really need worldwide travel insurance?

No one likes to imagine things going wrong while they are away but, unfortunately, they can. It’s not a legal requirement to take out travel insurance, but having a comprehensive policy in place will remove the financial worry in the event of an accident, stolen belongings, or an unexpected cancellation.

Medical expenses could run into thousands while overseas, so it’s essential that you take out a worldwide policy with adequate medical protection. On its page about foreign travel insurance, the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) estimates a potential cost of £100,000 for a stomach bug or infection being treated in the USA with return flights.

What does worldwide travel insurance cover?

While individual travel insurance policies will vary, a comprehensive worldwide policy should cover you for:

  • Medical expenses – if you fall ill, have a medical emergency, or an accident while you’re away.
  • Repatriation – to get you back to the UK.
  • Cancellation, curtailment and missed departure.
  • Travel delays – your insurer is likely to stipulate a certain length of time after which this will apply.
  • Personal belongings, baggage and money – if they are

Some of the most common claims on LV=GI travel insurance are for cancellations and curtailment, as well as lost or stolen baggage/money, and accidental damage or injury to people or property.

UK holiday company Cottages.com has reported a 134-per-cent increase in 2021 bookings, in comparison to the same point in 2019 when Brits were booking for 2020; and recent LV=GI claims examples highlight the importance of purchasing travel Insurance as soon as you book, even when travelling in the UK.

One LV=GI policyholder, while on a photography holiday in North Devon, was taking pictures on the coast and by mistake dropped their camera and lens in the sea. Their travel insurance covered them for £500 towards a new camera. Another policyholder needed new accommodation in the Lake District, as rising water levels and flooding meant they couldn’t get back to their original accommodation after a day trip. The subsequent travel insurance claim paid out £400. Additionally, one customer had to cut short their four-day canal trip as the boat’s rudder was damaged – they were able to claim £488 for unused nights.

LV=GI travel insurance covers staycations

LV=GI travel insurance customers are covered for trips of 25 miles or more when staying away from home in pre-booked accommodation for a minimum of one night.

Martin Milliner, Claims Director at LV=GI, said: “Despite common misconceptions, even if you are holidaying in the UK, it’s still important to get travel insurance as soon as you book your trip. Some staycations can end up being as expensive as holidays abroad, particularly at the moment, so it’s important to prepare for the unexpected. 

“This could include your holiday being cancelled, your baggage being stolen, or your hotel going out of business. And if you get ill and you’re too unwell to get home, your travel insurance can help pay for additional travel or accommodation costs.”

Only 13 per cent of Brits would be keen to travel overseas this year, while two-thirds are planning staycation trips, finds new research from GoCompare Travel Insurance.

As we wait for the UK’s roadmap for international travel to be finalised, and with news that there could be opposing travel guidelines from the UK Global Travel Taskforce and the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, it seems that Brits are putting their passports aside and opting for staycations for the remainder of 2021.

Indeed, two-thirds of UK adults are planning a staycation in the UK this year; and topping the list of staycations are those in hotels and B&Bs (25 per cent), and self-catering accommodation (21 per cent).

Spain is the overseas holiday destination of choice

And if you wondered where those 13 per cent of Brits that are keen to go overseas were headed, then you’ll most likely find them in the sunny climes of Spain – according to new data from travel health experts Practio, more than 16.9 million Brits (about 11 per cent of the UK’s population) plan to jet off overseas to Spain once travel restrictions lift. This intel comes following announcements that Spain is set to be included on the UK’s ‘green list’ when its travel traffic light system is announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson later this month. 

Further to that, Practio’s data predicts that the amount Brits are due to spend in Spain in 2021 will be over £10,882,093,347; with holidays mostly cancelled in 2020, that number could be significantly higher if Spain presses ahead with plans to allow Brits entry ahead of other countries, Practio says. And with holidaymakers expected to spend an average of £645 per visit, travel insurance could well see an uptick in policy purchases.

Commenting on the research, Dr Jonas Nilsen, Managing Director and co-Founder of Practio, said: “By predicting future trends, we can better equip travellers and businesses that thrive off tourism by helping them to prepare for what’s to come and how they can make the most of Brits’ travel habits.”

He added: “It’s also been great to see some of the emerging trends and how travel is changing; we’re seeing the go-to destinations start to change with more money being spent in countries further afield, which should be a good sign for the future of the travel industry beyond the pandemic.”

Even domestic trips need adequate financial protection

Back on UK soil, however, it seems that travel insurers have some work to do to get the vast majority of travellers that are planning to vacation domestically this year to consider the risks of domestic vacations, as 71 per cent of those holidaying in the UK have asserted that they don’t plan to protect their staycation with travel insurance. Data from GoCompare also highlights that one-third of respondents don’t think it’s worth buying travel insurance cover for their staycations, while 12 per cent don’t believe travel insurance provides any cover for UK holidays. 

As just under one-quarter of respondents (23 per cent) identified Covid as the reason they were foregoing overseas travel in 2021 (with 31 per cent reasoning that they are worried about