One Way Travel Insurance
If you're going to be teaching in Japan one way travel insurance is something you should consider from the get-go.
When it comes to buying travel coverage, a couple things come to mind. The calculus of opposites and splitting hairs. Often you'll read prepare for things that may go wrong. Often it is more like what won't go wrong.
However most people reading this article are generally interested in teaching ESL abroad somewhere or teaching in Japan. So given this, we will approach the travel insurance angle from the perspective of a typical English teacher who preps for his/her trip abroad by buying some insurance.
Picking Insurance: What kind do you need? One Way Travel Insurance or Multi-Trip ?
Save Some Bucks With One Way Travel Insurance
Basically a one way travel insurance plan only protects you for a single trip. A trip can be as short as 1 day up to a maximum of 180 days.
You only pay for the exact amount of days you will be travelling and for the specific countries that you travel to. Generally speaking many are for a single day or two. After all when you arrive at the school and sign up for the National Health Plan they take care of things from there.
- So for example, If you get an English teaching job slated to start in spring and you intend to stay a year and return when your contract is finished, the next year in spring, buying a one way travel insurance policy is much cheaper.
- It may depend but even if you plan to return for Christmas and then fly back to finish your contract, purchasing a single policies may still be cheaper. It's all in the PDS.
- Annual plans are designed for people who are travelling several times a year and are staying for longer periods of time. And if you are a typical ESL teacher this probably isn't the case so one way travel insurance is the way to go.
One Way Travel Insurance - So What is Covered in a Typical Single Policy?
Check Your Policy Disclosure Statement (PDS)
Note there are limits to all parts of the PDS. But a good carrier will carefully and plainly state what is covered in the policy in an almost FAQ style format.
- You or a traveling companion is in a traffic accident on the way to your point of departure, and you or the traveling companion need medical attention or the car needs to be repaired because it's not safe to drive. You are usually covered.
- A natural disaster renders your home or your destination uninhabitable. Natural calamities like a hurricane or tsunami that damages your destination will be covered. As badly as most insurance companies want to get away from this "fist of God" type claim they can't or don't.
- You or a traveling companion legally separate or divorce after your insurance effective date but before your scheduled departure date.
- If you are required by work or called for jury duty this will be covered.
- You get sick and cancel your trip but don't submit paperwork regarding it. Or what they determine to be adequate proof. Again we are going right back to the PDS. Do you see a trend building?
- If you cancel your trip for a reason that is covered by your PDS that occurs before your trip. So for example you buy travel insurance. Done. Then you get bit by a rabid dog and get rabies. The PDS covers this and the bite took place after you bought insurance. So you are covered.
One of the most common misconceptions about travel insurance is that it covers every single risk you may face while traveling. It doesn’t. If it did, everyone and their neighbor who did something wrong, got what was coming to them or was in the wrong place at the wrong time would be covered.
Travel Insurance and Pre-existing Conditions
We could go on and on… but instead, we advise simply reading your policy. That way, you’ll know which covered reasons are named in your specific plan.
Make sure you understand all the definitions, too. For instance, “immediate family member” and “family member” mean different things. And a pet is not considered a family member, although a service animal is.
So insurance companies interpret "family members in different ways. For some companies it can include nieces, nephews, in laws (mother, father, sister, brother) etc. Sometimes even business partners and paid live-in care givers. So again all roads lead to reading the bible - the PDS. The USTIA is the authority on interpretation of the entire industry. Check them out if you have questions.
The big takeaway on this page is READ YOUR POLICY DISCLOSURE STATEMENT!
There are so many mitigating factors that it will make your head spin. But reading your Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) is where it all starts. Nonetheless a few basic things can be said whether you bought one way travel insurance or multi-trip. You get what you pay for so more expensive policies will cover more claims than cheaper ones.
- Cheaper policies won't cover someone over the age of 65.
- Most policies don't cover pre-existing conditions. Note: we said "most" not all. Each provider is different. For example Budget Travel cover 27 pre-existing conditions. Again the mantra here is "READ YOUR PDS".
- If you are travelling against the advice of a doctor or were not upfront about your condition your claim will be rejected.
- Engaging in reckless or risky activities beyond normal measures of judgement culminates in rejection. Especially if they are alcohol and drug fueled. Meaning if you jumped off the second story balcony to get down to street level when you could have used the elevator this just screams impaired judgement along with a healthy portion of claim rejection.
- Cancellations. It depends on the reason for the cancellation. If it is sickness death of you, a travel companion or family member, it is covered. But watch yourself here, usually there is a sub-clause. It covers immediate family. So if it is uncle Joe who is sick - your claim will be denied. Oh... and Rover your dog, along with uncle Joe is not covered. No pets. No exceptions. It's kind of like "No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service" signs you see on the door of the diner.
- Airline industry strikes. Airline failures are not covered. Also other minor things like getting a flat tire or car failure resulting in you not getting to the airport are also not covered. Even things that are beyond your control are not covered so if there is a massive 200 car pile-up on the interstate causing you to miss the plane, you're out of luck.
- If you travel to a "Do NOT Travel to" destination, you're not covered.
To make a painfully long story short - if a situation is not named, it’s not covered.
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