Scuba diving has always been on my to-do list. So, when the opportunity came up while traveling through Southeast Asia, I took it! Adventure always appeals to me and for a good amount of my life I never really thought about possible consequences. Like most people, I thought the extra cost of travel insurance was daunting and unnecessary but my mother insisted that I get it. And boy, am I lucky that I did!
The scuba company we were diving with spent a day training us in a swimming pool. They were very thorough and I felt prepared for my first dive. The beauty of our dive was indescribable but as soon as I began my ascent I felt a strange amount of pressure in my ears. About 3 hours after we returned to shore I began feeling extremely nauseous and light headed. My heart was racing and my thoughts were fuzzy. My friends took me to the hospital and I was immediately admitted for what they call the bends or decompression sickness. This happens when you descend or ascend too quickly and some amount of nitrogen from the air dissolves in your body. The bends can be very painful and even lethal. My specific case was one of the worst that the Thai doctors had seen. I spent two weeks hospitalized and received over 15 sessions of decompression chamber therapy. Luckily I came out of it okay but the amount of medical bills that I had racked up was enough to bring anyone to their knees. My mom was working diligently with the travel insurance company and thankfully they came through! I honestly don’t know what we would have done had I not taken the insurance!
So, needless to say, I am a big fan and suggest travel insurance to all my friends and family. The thing is, you don’t have to have a super emergency for it to be worthwhile. Insurance has a broad range of coverage and most of it is summed up into the following three categories:
1) The money used to purchase the trip- So, once your trip is paid in full, it is usually non-refundable. If, for some reason, you need to cancel due to medical reasons (or any of the other qualified reasons) then your trip will be refunded back to you.
2) Medical Expenses- A lot of medical insurance companies don’t cover you outside of the U.S. So, with insurance you have coverage wherever you go.
3) Trip Interruption- Coverage for unforeseen situations like flight cancellations, weather problems, accidents, etc.
All in all, travel insurance isn’t for “paranoid people” but for people that know life and travel come with complications!
Travel safely! 🙂