No Wrong Turns: Insurance for a Road Trip

Before we left on this trip, I just about had a nervous breakdown when it seemed like no insurance company would cover us. Most places won’t insure for more than 6 months at a time and when I mentioned we were driving to South America the usual response was silence followed by an incredulous “You’re driving?”
Turned out the insurance options are quite limited for a long road trip…who knew?

The company we chose, or I guess I should say they chose us since they agreed to insure us, is STA Travel. Unlike the average insurance company, they are focused on the backpacking set and they offer travel insurance for up to 13 months. STA offers assistance to backpackers in numerous countries.

I chatted with a very helpful customer service agent who walked me though their standard plan. Not only will they cover up to $1500 of lost or stolen baggage but, if you upgrade your plan for a measly $5.50, you can apply this chunk of cash to electronics such as laptops, ipods, cameras, etc. The majority of travel insurance companies refuse to cover these types of items at all. But if you have homeowners insurance your personal computer is covered under it and American citizens can insure their computers with a company called Safeware.

STA also offers Adventure Sports Coverage, a great option for those into extreme sports. Thrill-seekers should be sure to read the fine print as not all adventure sports are covered. According to Justin, my STA buddy, one stipulation is that you must be attached to the ground. For instance, if you bungee jump you are covered because technically you are attached to the ground but, if you want to skydive (why you’d jump out of a plane at 13,000 feet is beyond me) you would be out of luck since you are hurtling towards the ground rather than being attached to it. Either way it is imperative that travelers fully understand what their insurance plans will cover-no one wants to end up in a foreign hospital with a shwackload of medical bills to pay. On that note you can also upgrade your medical coverage, again for a mere $5.50, to provide emergency evacuation.

Since we live in a rather precarious time with terrorist acts becoming more common, I inquired about coverage related to terrorism should something unpredictable happen. Apparently, you can purchase the Protection Plan, which covers your evacuation costs if this type of incident occurred. But any trouble due to an “act of war” is not covered. So if you see tanks rolling in my suggestion would be to roll yourself right out of there.

“No Wrong Turns” chronicles Kelsey and her husband’s road trip — in real time — from Canada to the southern tip of South America in their trusty red VW Golf named Marlin.