When Does Travel Insurance Really Pay Off?

For some trips it may not just save you money...but your life

Kilimanjaro Summit
The Summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa. Kraig Becker

Many people don't want to buy travel insurance because they think it's an unnecessary expense, and the trip is already pricey enough, but when it comes to those big exciting voyages, it can have surprisingly big payoffs.Not only can the right policy protect you from lost luggage, missed flights, or even trip cancellation, it can also pay for medical expenses or unexpected emergencies like evacuation from troubled areas should the need arise. Those aren't  things that most travelers necessarily worry about, but if you're embarking on a trip that involves one of travel's 3 big Rs--risk, remoteness, rescue--perhaps you should give it some serious thought.

 

One of the best travel insurance providers is a company called Ripcord because it is staffed by a group of highly trained professionals, their prices are very affordable, and they offer coverage that most other companies don't. For instance, Ripcord will insure climbers going above 5,000 meters (16,404 ft.), which is important if you're considering something like taking on Kilimanjaro or even planning an expedition to Everest.

Ripcord also has a proven track record of standing by their clients, even in some extremely difficult and dangerous situations.Evacuating clients from Kilimanjaro is just one of the things the provider can actually claim, but the company's Facebook page contains a steady stream of examples of how Ripcord has come to the aid of its customers. 

For instance, one traveler was recently visiting Costa Rica when he decided to go off-roading on an ATV. While riding downhill, he hit the brakes a bit too quickly and ended up flying over the handlebars and winding up on the ground. The traveler thoujght he would be okay and after taking a bit of time to rest up and rally, he proceeded on with the rest  of his ride. Once he was back at his hotel, however, he started to suffer serious pain, and upon checking himself into a local hospital, discovered he had broken three ribs.

Ripcord not only conferred with the ATV victim's doctors about how to help treat his injuries, they also consulted with their client about the right kind of medications he should take once he returned home. Most other travel insurance companies would simply have checked to see if their customer was all right, cut him a check for medical expenses, and moved on to the next case. Ripcord, literally, went the distance.

An ATV accident is not an uncommon incident, but even in the most unusual circumstances, you may find that travel insurance can stand you in good stead. Another Ripcord client, for instance, was on safari in the Central African Republic with his guide, when the two came under attack from members of the Lord's Resistance Army--the same guerrilla organization headed by the notorious Ugandan rebel Joseph Kony. Both men were able to escape with their lives as bullets flew past them, and upon contacting Ripcord, the client was evacuated from this very dangerous area.

 

Ripcord's highly trained staff also put together a rescue plan for a 22-year old client who was traveling in Turkey during an attempted coup against President Recep Erdogan. The young woman was visiting a quiet part of the country that was located far from the fighting, but there was general fear that the violence could escalate and potentially close off exit routes for those looking to leave. A plan was formed to send a ground team to evacuate the traveler and her friends, but fortunately it never had to be put into action because the unrest subsided not long after and the woman was able to leave safely on her own.

 

Finally, another customer had a more typical reason for using Ripcord that most of us can relate to  more easily than dodging bullets and attempted coups. A 60-year old client had to cancel his trip to Africa because he had to undergo knee surgery. Since he had already bought a planet ticket to Johannesburg and put down a deposit on the trip, you can imagine how disappointed he was to find out he would be unable to go. The safari operator, however, arranged to refund parts of the trip, and Ripcord came through with the rest.

This meant the man wound up not having to pay at all, and now will be more likely to be able to afford to go again once he's back on his feet. 

Ripcord is just one of the many providers, of course, who offer this kind of service, and with a little bit of research, you should be able to come up with a number others who are just as reliable. The important thing to remember is that these are all actual examples of how travel insurance--for those big exciting adventures--could not only save you money but potentially save your life. Sure, it's an added cost to what is probably already an expensive vacation, but the piece of mind and security that it brings may more than make up for in the end.

So, as the slogan goes, the next time you're planning a big trip--like your passport, credit cards or a stack of traveler's checks--don't leave home without it.