World wide travel insurance has got to be at the top of the list when it comes to getting prepped to finding a job in Japan. Picking a English school to work for is pretty complex thing all by itself.
Then picking the country you want to try to work in is another. Then if you have settled on teaching in Japan you have to weigh the pros and cons of the city you want to teach in, the company you want to work for and the list goes on. Complex stuff.
Part of what this site is about is not only giving advice about teaching in Japan but also about getting you there in good shape and a solid state of mind so you can get off to a good start. And when you start I was always told to start at the beginning and so we shall with a basic prep step before you get on the jet. Travel Insurance.
Gosh there's not enough on your plate to deal with so let's stack more on. Picking worldwide travel insurance is yet another. And a serious one to consider at that.
Many skip travel insurance because they think nothing will happen to them but it does. We at All About Teaching English in Japan call it O.P.S. (Other People's Syndrome). We made the word up. It's the little thought in the back of your head that whispers this won't happen to me.
But things really can and do happen to everyone, every day . You have car insurance right? Homeowner insurance right? Usually health insurance too. So if you put yourself in one of the most difficult positions possible in terms of the stuff that can go wrong why on earth would you not get some type of insurance, even if it is bare bones cheap travel insurance.
The #1 travel insurance claim is lost and stolen baggage. Most think it is injury but it isn't. It's all that precious stuff you put in your bag. It's an extremely common problem.
People actually track this kind of stuff. Research from SITA, they made the World Tracer System and crank out annual reports on the state of baggage handling worldwide, found that 21.6 million bags were mishandled (lost or temporarily mislaid) in 2016. Well I guess we now know that millions weren't that lucky. So it is a very real thing.
Whether your bag was lost by the airline, accidentally picked up by someone with a similar bag or just flat-out ripped off, being the last one standing at the baggage carousel isn't exactly the greatest feeling in the world.
Beyond just mere inconvenience, if your bag has things of sentimental value or invaluable stuff like data on your i-pad that isn't backed up it can be a real set back. Making sure that your travel insurance covers baggage losses is indispensable in choosing a package. Something else to consider is as to whether or not your home insurance policy covers travel losses. If so, you won't need this.
Some things you can do to minimize this risk is to pick a bag that really stands out. Don't buy a black one like everyone else. Get a real eye grabber. Or tie a red bandanna to the handle.
Really folks, how many people have an Eiffel Tower on their checked luggage (besides of course all the ESL teachers who are going to France to teach English. Or how about this next one. A bit more for the ladies perhaps but really...
how could you possibly make a mistake and grab this one thinking it was yours. Unless you spent too much time in the Sky Lounge throwing back the beers like there was a fire you were trying to put out.
Also as soon as you get off the plane make a bee line to the carousel and get your bags as soon as they come out. This minimizes the risk of someone else ripping it off or taking your bag by mistake. After all 21.6 million bags can't be wrong.
Something that is not covered in your insurance policy is non-attended baggage (thus the reason to get to the carousel lickity split.
Also baggage contents often have to be considered. For example cash and travelers check aren't covered. So in other words if you've got these kind of liquid assets in your checked baggage you're out of luck.
Also make sure to report or make your claim within the time allowed on the insurance contract. As soon as your bag doesn't turn up within one might say a reasonable period of time.
What's reasonable? It depends on your policy disclosure statement. If you're standing there by yourself when everyone else who was on the same fight as you are already through immigration and heading on, go the baggage claim department and file. Not doing this can get cause a claim to be denied as they deem the bag was unattended.
And a word to the wise, if you claim some high-end gadgetry like a slick cam recorder was in your bag, your insurance company might ask you to prove it. Got your receipt??? It might be a good idea to keep them if you intend to get some pics or video footage of Mt. Fuji or your students and adventures while teaching in Japan.
Another common snag when traveling abroad is credit card theft. Whether your pocket got picked or your numbers got lifted from the guy behind you at the ATM machine it happens a lot.
In 2017 alone in a Identity Fraud Study, released by Javelin Strategy & Research, found that $16 billion was stolen from 15.4 million U.S. consumers in 2016.
I guess O.P.S strikes again. Millions more not so lucky. But luckily most basic travel insurance plans cover this kind of theft.
Some Things you can do to protect yourself are:
If this does happen to you check your travel insurance policy to make sure you are covered they will often advise you on what steps to take like cancelling the card, reporting it stolen or missing etc. The most important thing is to act quickly to limit the amount of damage done.
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