I’m currently spending a little time away from Canada, traveling for the next five or so months in Asia, mostly in South Korea. My girlfriend got a job teaching English there, and I was not about to pass up the opportunity to join her.
Although just about all of Asia has very reasonable health care costs -- U.S. citizens will often travel to the region to get cheap medical care -- I opted to take out travel insurance. I wanted peace of mind knowing that I would be covered if something bad happened to me, like if North Korea found out I watched The Interview.
Of course, I also wanted to do so in the cheapest way possible. Here’s how I saved more than $200 on travel insurance.
The power of the internet
When I went online to take a look at my car insurance
, I was pretty sure I’d save some cash buying travel insurance online too.
But first, I decided to give my local insurance broker a shot. I come from a small town in Alberta, and I’ve dealt with this broker often enough that I know everyone who works there. It’s a small business just trying to make ends meet.
So I wandered in one afternoon and described my trip. After about ten minutes worth of small talk, I had a quote in my hands for $381. This quote came with some interesting perks, like no deductible and up to $10,000,000 worth of coverage.
That’s a lot of boo-boos.
I told the nice insurance lady I’d let her know if I decided to go with it, and promptly called up the company that has my auto insurance. They did such a nice job saving me money when I switched in the first place that I had high expectations.
After a 15 minute phone conversation (ten minutes of which was the agent trying to get his computer to work), I had a second quote in my arsenal. Unfortunately, this one wasn’t very good. It came in at $488, which was about 30% higher than my original quote.
Finally, it was time to try the internet. I fired up my laptop and headed to the LowestRates.ca travel insurance page
. After spending approximately 5 minutes filling out all my information, I had a page with four different options on it.
I’ll save you all the different amounts and go straight to the good stuff. By getting my travel insurance online, I paid $287 for my coverage to Asia. Although it wasn’t quite as good in terms of perks as the other two options, I still have $2,000,000 worth of coverage with only a $250 deductible. I thought it was pretty unlikely I’d surpass $2,000,000 worth of medical expenses, so I went ahead and purchased the policy.
Total time invested: about ten minutes.
Looking back on it, three out of the four offers I got from shopping online beat the quote I got from my insurance broker back home. The fourth offer was a tie, because it came from the exact same provider. At least I know the pricing is consistent.
It kills me to take my business away from hard working folks like those who work at my local insurance broker. But ultimately, if I can get the same coverage for hundreds of dollars less, I'm going to do it. I suggest you do the same. It's one of the easiest ways you'll find to save money.