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Why Purchase Travel Insurance Online?

Feb 13, 2008
It's a question that always comes up when planning and budgeting for a trip. Is the extra expense necessary? Why not save on that premium and spend it on something fun instead? Sure, you could do that, but remember that the cost of purchasing travel insurance is miniscule compared with potentially catastrophic financial losses you could sustain if things go awry. For instance, if you were to break your leg skiing in the U.S. you could face a bill of anything from $5,000 to $50,000 (2,500-25,000) depending on how serious the break is and where you are treated.

California Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, did break his leg skiing and was in hospital for five days at a rate of anything from $6,000-$9,000 per day - just for a room and the basics. Add to that the x-rays, tests, medications, physical therapy and crutches. That's all before paying for the expertise of a surgeon and anesthetist. The total bill could be anything from $10,000 to $16,000 per day! (5,000-8,000). There would be follow-up visits as well, but hopefully by then you would have been repatriated to the UK. Do you carry that sort of money in your back pocket - or would you prefer to have the peace of mind of travel insurance with winter sports coverage?

When the President of the United States travels he has an advance team of Secret Service agents to check everything he might come into contact with for security issues. They work out worst case scenarios, potential hazards, and emergency and evacuation plans. Unless you are someone very important you won't have the benefit of your own personal advance team!

Schools these days send out 'advance teams' of teachers to do security checks of accommodations and locations to be visited by children on school trips. Many children are being deprived of fun, educational and enlightening trips because teachers are scared to death of the liability and would rather avoid it. What if someone stubs their toe, or is emotionally traumatized when a bully brandishes a spider?

There are many crazy reasons why you have to get insurance these days. Pancake Races were canceled in several towns in the UK this year. For centuries people have simply grabbed a frying pan and run through their high streets tossing pancakes to the finish line. They even did it over cobble stone streets! Nowadays someone has to be liable if things go wrong... There have to be risk assessments, fees paid to local governments and paid medical personnel on hand - just in case.

To see some ridiculous instances of lack of personal responsibility look at the Stella Awards - which are given for the most frivolous lawsuits filed in the U.S. They were named after Stella Leibeck, the woman who famously sued McDonalds after she spilled hot coffee in her lap and sustained third degree burns. No mention that maybe it was a little, um, 'careless' to place scalding hot coffee between her legs in the first place. Her lawyers won a pay out of close to three million dollars, but a judge later restored a degree of sanity and reduced the amount to around $650,000. Another benefit of travel insurance is that, depending on the policy, it may carry liability benefits of up to 2 million for accidental injury to third parties and property.

It's the accidents and unforeseen events we can't avoid that make travel insurance essential. Bags do get lost, people get sick and valuables are lost or stolen. You wouldn't dream of leaving your house or car uninsured, so why would you go on holiday without travel insurance?

Maybe we should enjoy our travels while we still can... If health and safety issues continue to shut down all our avenues of pleasure we may end up living inside bubbles and no longer have any need for travel insurance!
About the Author
Jean Andrews is a freelance writer living in the UK. She regularly contributes articles for TIA Ltd who offer quotes and travel insurance.
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