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Travel

I’ve ditched buying travel insurance, thoughts?

The more I’ve traveled the more my opinion on travel insurance has soured, and now I just don’t buy it anymore. I do buy some cheap, high deductible travel medical insurance though.

I’m mid thirties, have healthy savings, spend 3-6 months every year on the road, favor long term, somewhat spontaneous style backpacking trips, generally in cheaper countries. I rarely book accommodation more than a few days in advance and flights more than a few weeks in advance. It feels like most of the stuff that travel insurance would cover, flight issues, trip interruption or cancellation, recovering expensive pre-booked hotels and excursions, most of that doesn’t really help me.

For medical care, I’ve always gone to local hospitals and clinics and the cost of care in the vast majority of places is just so incredibly cheap, especially compared to the US. Sometimes its even free. I feel like most people have greatly inflated perceptions of what it actually costs to get basic care abroad, just paying cash at a your local clinics. You do have to avoid the scammy tourist clinics in some places though. Normally if I have a health issue I actually prefer to be abroad so I don’t have to pay the ridiculous US health care costs and navigate through all the BS. When I’m outside the US I do pay for disaster medical insurance with a $5,000 deductible, so I’m covered in case something really horrific happens

Also there are so many ways for travel insurance to not pay out. In my 20’s when I had good travel insurance I had so many bad experiences.

Stolen Camera – couldn’t get paid because I bought it on craigslist, ie didn’t have a receipt for what it cost.

Monsoon stranded me on an island in Thailand making me miss an expensive flight – couldn’t get paid out because I couldn’t come up with enough proof it happened. It was a Thai military ship that got us off the island, obv I didn’t get a ticket + receipt for that.

Had an infected scrape on my foot, went to a tourist health clinic, they called my travel insurance company telling them it was an emergency to get instant coverage which they agreed, and then that clinic sent them some insane bill, which ultimately the insurance company tried to make me pay and I had to get a lawyer.

Anyway, I think travel insurance kinda sucks and too many people seem to talk about it like it’s this must-have thing. Way overrated imo. I do think it’s a good idea to get some amount of medical insurance when traveling though.