You're planning a trip to Ecuador, either on holiday or a business trip. Before setting off you're tour operator asks you whether or not you have considered buying travel insurance. On reflection you realize this has not yet occurred to you. If this should be the case, what should you be looking for in the travel insurance package you purchase?
Travel Insurance Coverage
The first thing you need to consider, before deciding to buy any travel insurance, is whether or not you may already have travel insurance coverage under any of your other insurance policies. Here, most travel operators fail to bring it to your attention that that most home and life insurance policies already cover a certain level of travel insurance. You may also find that your current health insurance policy covers you for certain overseas medical expenses. Finally, if you pay for your travel on your credit card, you may find that your credit card has a policy that allows you to claim for limited reimbursement if your trip gets cancelled at the last minute. Bunch all of these existing policies up, and there is a chance that you may not need to buy the travel insurance policy so kindly offered to you by the tour operator.
Where You Go Does Matter
On the other hand, where you are traveling to, and what you plan to do when you get there, will have an affect on whether or not any of your existing policies will help you out in your hour of need. For example, if you're traveling to Ecuador on business, and you happen to fall ill (especially if your illness causes you to be unconscious for any period of time), it is unlikely that you are going to want to mess around looking for coverage under some obscure existing policy. It would be far better to have your travel insurance to hand to simply pass this over. Likewise, if you are going on an adventure tour climbing in Ecuador or diving in Ecuador, there's a very good chance that your existing policy will not cover any unfortunate event that may result. So think carefully about where you are going and what you want to do when you get there before deciding that you may already be covered under any existing insurance policy.
One final issue you need to consider before deciding whether or not to go ahead with purchasing travel insurance is what you believe the likelihood is of you needing emergency assistance. Keep-in-mind that is not limited to emergency medical assistance, but could be something as mundane as emergency monetary assistance (for example, if your bags got lost on the way). Here, you should note that most pre-existing policies you have, such as you home and life insurance policies, are unlikely to have 24-hour manned help-lines. As such, you would need to contact them during regular domestic working hours - something you may not find very useful when you are in Ecuador. Conversely, most insurance policies that are specific to travel situations do man 24-hour help-lines. As such, you are far more likely to receive a faster response if you claim on this insurance policy than if you try and claim on your existing policy.