Insurer: Before the coronavirus, only a third of insured people opted for travel interruption insurance, while nowadays it is rare to travel without it[Marit Raag | 14.02]
Estonians are travelling more than ever. The travel insurance market has grown by 25% compared to the pre-coronavirus period and airline strikes and unexpected illnesses have considerably boosted the number of people who additionally choose an extended travel interruption cover.
“Before the coronavirus put travel on pause for a while, people were taking out travel insurance mainly for receiving medical care abroad while only a third of people taking out insurance opted for additional travel interruption insurance. Today, however, as many as 73% of insured travellers have purchased travel interruption insurance," says Marit Raag, Travel Insurance Product Manager of Seesam.
According to the insurer, the travel interruption cover has been most helpful in the event of illness, flight delays and weather-related disruptions. For example, you will be reimbursed for the cost of your trip if you fall ill before departure and for additional costs in the event of flight disruptions during the trip. The latter are covered up to the sum insured, which means that before you go on a trip, you should think about whether the selected sum insured is enough to cover, for example, new airline tickets and other possible costs if something should happen.
“With airlines constantly on strike and people losing income in an uncertain economic environment, opting for extended travel interruption cover is also becoming increasingly popular. This includes cover for terrorism, airline strikes, insolvency and natural disasters.
All it takes is one airline strike and the damage can amount to several thousand euros, as people often use connecting flights," explained the insurer.
Medical care in Turkey is now even more expensive
In addition to transport and accommodation, rising global prices have also caused a significant increase in the costs of medical care. "For example, Turkey, which is a popular destination among Estonians, is experiencing its highest inflation in 25 years, which means that medical care in Turkey, already known for high medical costs, is now even more expensive," said Raag. The insurer recommends selecting a cover based on prices in the country of destination. In the European Union, hospital bills can be lower, especially if the patient has a European health insurance card. In America, Canada and even Australia, it is not unusual for a hospital to charge you tens of thousands of euros for a very small procedure. Therefore, outside Europe, the sum insured should be at least 200,000 or preferably even more.
“In addition to the direct costs of medical care related to falling ill during a trip, you may also incur additional costs when returning home. Even if your illness can be treated with over-the-counter medicines available in pharmacies, air travel may be impossible in the case of, for example, severe food poisoning or stomach flu. If such a simple illness strikes someone on the day of their return flight, they will incur considerable expenses for extra nights spent and new flight tickets," Raag stressed. Recently, the insurer settled a case where there was no major medical problem, but the return home was delayed for several days and the resulting costs ran into thousands of euros.
To get the most out of insurance, insurers recommend taking out travel insurance immediately after purchasing a trip and ensuring that it is valid throughout the travel period from the day you leave Estonia until the day you return home. If you leave it to the last minute, the event that cancels your trip may have already happened. For example, a traveller has fallen ill or a long-rumbling volcano has finally erupted. It is important to sign a contract early, as insurance does not cover damage that occurs before it takes effect.