How to choose an insurance company and insurance policy
Travelers should bindingly select the insurance company, which will pay all expenses in case of emergency, director general of the Ukrainian Insurance Federation Galyna Tretyakova says. "We recommend selecting among companies - members of the Ukrainian Insurance Federation. Such companies work in Ukraine legally and pay out compensations, stipulated by the contract. It would not hurt to learn about general financial situation of a company (paying capacity), its experience on the market and reputation among consumers. If the matter concerns travelling insurance, it is desirable to learn about assisting firms your company cooperates with and about real insurance cases the company has dealt with."
Choosing an insurance policy, a traveler must pay attention to the level of coverage. "You can apply a simple rule - the more distant the country is from Ukraine, the bigger coverage should be. In any case, it is ill advised to take coverage less than 20 thousand dollars. Secondly, read attentively the list of insurance cases and exceptions from it. Remember that the size of the list of covered cases depends on the price you pay for the policy. The bigger the prices is, the more cases you company will cover," Galyna Tretyakova says.
According to her, the insurance policy must include two types of insurance: medical cost insurance and accident insurance. "Minimal list of services your policy must cover includes assistance and emergency medical cost, acute outpatient and in-patient treatment, acute oral medicine, medical and transportation costs, repatriation, provision of medicines and contact with the insurance company. If you plan on active vacation, like skiing, quad bike riding, scuba diving, rafting, rock climbing and similar activities, remember that it is a high-risk category, so make sure your insurance policy covers such cases. Besides, pay attention to the deductible - a part of the expense the insurer is not liable for," the expert recommends.
Travelers should choose an insurance policy basing on the tour itself and complications it might bring. As of today, Ukrainian insurance companies offer coverage of medical costs, repatriation of the body in the event of death, refund of prepaid sums in case of trip cancellation, coverage of legal expenses (in case of passport loss, etc.), refund of expenses in case of luggage loss, etc. "Other cases of insurance, like luggage insurance, third-party insurance, trip cancellation or delay insurance, are also useful for travelers. For example, cancellation coverage can be essential for trips to countries that require visas; for travelers with kids in case of their sudden medical problems before the trip; for expensive tours when the cruise is unexpectedly cancelled; for early booking tours," Galyna Tretyakova explains.
"Luggage insurance is essential for those who travel with changing or have several flights to take and the chances to lose the luggage are high. Third-party insurance may come in handy during a skiing vacation, when you accidently hurt a third person or damage rented equipment, for example. And this is not the full list of situations, when an insurance policy with proper coverage can help you to escape extra expenses," the expert notes.
Services of tour operators: minimal coverage
Buying a tour to some warm or snowy country, we usually seek the cheapest offer. Making necessary documents, managers of the tour provider also offer you to make also insurance. However, according to the director general of the Ukrainian Insurance Federation, tour companies must provide you with minimal package o make sure you already have the coverage. Moreover, a tour operator must explain you the conditions of the insurance policy.
"Managers of leading tour operators can do it professionally and answer all of you question. However, if you have any other questions regarding the insurance, go directly to the insurance company. Tour operators often include the insurance into the cost of the tour, and it is difficult to determine the cost of the insurance policy and its coverage. If you are not happy with the coverage, address the insurer about possible extended cover," she says.
Remember that a tour operator usually makes insurance basing on the type of the tour. "So if you order a one-week tour in a hotel on seashore, your insurance policy will hardly cover extreme sports. If you plan on quad bike riding, safari or scuba diving, warn the tour operator about your intentions," the expert recommends.
Entertainment on vacation: who pays?
"All hobbies must be specified in the insurance policy. If you plan on doing some high-risk hobby or sport, it must be discussed with the insurance company in advance. Such policy will cost you more. Usually, an insurance company has a list of such high-risk activities, which require special coverage (in case of diving, for example, the coverage includes provision of the decompression chamber, transportation helicopters, etc.). An insurance company cannot forbid a tourist, having an ordinary coverage, to do extreme sports, but in this case the tourist must understand that any accident or injury will not be covered by the company," the expert reminds.
It is also important to know whether your insurance company will provide coverage of an accident in intoxicated state. "In the majority of cases, it is considered an exception, but there are insurance companies which cover such cases. However, a tourist should not take risks even if he has coverage. Intoxicated state increases the risks, and insurers prefer not to cover such cases in order not to provoke tourists into drinking. If there is a cause-and-effect link between the accident and use of alcohol or drugs, the case will not be covered."
However, there are nuances. If you drove in intoxicated state and caused a car accident, the case will not be covered by the insurance, but if you were just a "merry passenger" of a car, caught up in an accident, and got injuries, the insurance company will cover the medical treatment.
"Any insurance company follows the legislation of Ukraine, in particular the Law on insurance, and the conditions of the agreement, concluded with the policyholder. The insurance company is not obliged to cover expenses not stipulated by the contract," Galyna Tretyakova reminds.
She also notes that traditional traveler's insurance covers the risks of sudden medical condition, accident or death. This type of insurance does not provide for coverage of medical costs for treatment of chronic disease or recurrent disease, as well as diseases the tourist new about before the trip. Tourist insurance usually covers emergency treatment in the country of temporary stay, and does not pay for treatment, which can wait until the return.
Moreover, in case you have to pay for the insurance case from your own pocket, the expert recommends taking all receipts and documents, proving the accident took place and costs you paid (medical report, bill, doctor's prescription, etc.) for the company to be able to refund the expenses.
We all want our vacations to go smoothly, but as the saying goes, Man proposes, but God disposes. If you happen to get into difficulties at the far end of the plant, contact immediately your insurance company or a department of the Ukraine's Foreign Ministry. And if your insurance company refuses to cover the case, search for a lawyer who will defend your interests in court.
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