In 5 years of travel, I have experimented with just about every possible configuration of travel insurance, including traveling with no insurance at all – never a good idea, and I will explain why in a moment.
When I first started traveling, I did not know how long I would be gone for. I left with a limited amount of money in my bank account, and I was ready to get the most out of my budget. My trip ended up lasting close to 6 months. Since I did not know how long I would be traveling for, I opted to pay for travel insurance on a monthly basis. This ended up being more expensive in the long run, but the lack of a concrete end-point forced my hand.
When I returned home, I spent several months without insurance of any kind. When I re-started traveling – I started doing a variety of web work in order to continue my trip – I still did not have insurance. This was not a good idea. Medical care is relatively cheap in West Africa. If I need to go to the doctor for a check-up, or even if I have a case of malaria, I won’t find a hefty bill. In fact, a consultation and a course of malaria treatment will be less than $20.
However, if I find myself in a car accident, for example, with serious injuries, care becomes much more expensive. Also, the care is often inadequate locally, which means that I would need medical transport to get to a first world hospital, where care is substantially more expensive. We are already talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars, which would be a life time of debt without proper insurance.
I was lucky to avoid an incident during this period without insurance. Now I have changed my approach entirely, insuring myself on an annual basis. As I am still semi-nomadic, I needed a multi-trip policy that would cover me in multiple destinations. Enter annual multi-trip travel insurance. Now I have a policy that has wide ranging coverage with complete flexibility. I can rearrange my itinerary at a moment’s notice without having to worry about any unintended consequences regarding my travel insurance.
I cannot stress enough the importance of annual travel insurance. If you are a long-term traveler, or you know that you will be taking multiple trips throughout the year, this is a cost-effective option that will offer you peace of mind.