A few years ago, my cousin spent a year in the U.S., working as an au pair (live-in nanny), a popular thing to do for graduates in Germany. Another popular thing while doing this? Using your vacation time to travel the United States, of course! Some people road trip cross-country, others just hit up the beaches of California or get sucked into the nightlife of Miami.
My cousin had her family fly in from Germany – parents, siblings, grandparents and aunt & uncle, and they had planned an epic road trip through the South West, complete with RV rental, canyon climbing and river rafting. That trip ended much sooner than expected, when on a horseback riding trip one of the horses panicked (for no apparent reason), reared and threw my aunt off, finally landing on top of her. It was a horrible accident.
Her hip was broken in four places, her bones were even sticking out of her skin. Since they were in the middle of nowhere in the borderlands of Utah and Nevada, they had to wait hours for a rescue helicopter, while she couldn’t feel her legs at all. She had to stay in a hospital in Salt Lake City for weeks after the accident, undergo several complicated surgeries, and finally had a special air transport back to Germany arranged for her. Now imagine she would have had to pay for all that out of her own pocket. The medical bills were in the hundreds of thousands of dollars! I can’t stress enough how important it is to invest in travel insurance, and luckily there are fantastic options like multi-trip coverage, policies for the kind of vacation you’re going on (for example a cruise holiday), the activities you’re planning to do, and even certain age groups, with travel insurance offers for over 60s or under 20s.
The accident that shook up my entire family is just one example of what can happen to you – when you expect it the least! When Jess and I spent a couple of months road tripping around the South and visiting friends in Chicago in 2011, she got so terribly sick that we had to go to the emergency room on a Saturday night. A five-minute examination by the doctor came to just under $1000. Now imagine we would’ve needed more than just that.
If you need to be flown home or rescued with a helicopter because you got lost on your hiking trip, you don’t want to pay that out of your own pocket. In fact, people can get in huge debt because they were too cheap to invest $50 in travel insurance. That’s the thing – travel insurance is not expensive! It will run you around £40 per month for a long-term trip, or £30 for a two-week vacation, which is really not a lot. But by investing this little extra cash, you can save thousands of dollars if really something happens to you.
I got into two bicycle accidents here in New York in the span of two weeks. Just this morning, I collided with a super speedy cyclist when I was crossing the street. We were both incredibly lucky that we got away without any major injuries. Last week when the passenger door of a car opened unexpectedly and I couldn’t hit the breaks in time – I crashed straight into the door with my bike. Luckily I got away with some minor wounds and bruises, but moments like this make you just realize how important it is to have this feeling of a ‘safety net’ in the back of your head – knowing that if something happens, you have an insurance that takes care of you.
Which travel insurance to use
World Nomads is the travel insurance of my choice. Why? Because you can buy it when you’re already traveling – important for me who’s been on the road for years now. It also offers some of the best insurance coverage in the market and offers excellent value for money. Get a quote for your trip now:
Do you but travel insurance when you go on a trip? And more importantly – did you ever have to use it?