A Short History of Travel Insurance  
 
 

A Short History of Travel Insurance

Insurance has a long history, ever since there were financial structures and issues of risk and loss, people have taken steps to avoid ruin and limit their losses by as much as possible. Nowadays almost everyone has some kind of insurance. Life insurance, for instance was an idea that was developed by the Greeks round about the third century because of the cost of burying someone well and efficiently. In most countries of the world people will have some form of health insurance and they will insure their homes and contents. If you drive a car then you need to be insured against the chance of an accident and this would have to cover any damage your vehicle may do to another or to someone’s property. Most people also like to ensure their cars against theft. The modern world takes risk very seriously and we are careful about keeping up our insurance premiums.

In this day and age most of us like to travel outside of our immediate neighborhood and city and an increasing number of us now travel abroad. Traveling to another country is a risk in itself because you might have an accident enroute to your destination. You could get ill in another country where your current medical insurance is of no use, if you go abroad to play certain sports where accidents sometimes occur, then the costs could be exorbitant. This is why people should have travel insurance, although figures tend to suggest that many of us are not nearly so careful about obtaining travel insurance as we are other forms of insurance – this could be because in many countries having such insurance is not mandatory.

The travel insurance industry has actually been around for quite some time, more than a hundred years in fact. The idea of travel insurance was first brought to fruition in the United States. On April the first 1864, a man called James Batterson opened the doors of the world’s first travel insurance agency. The name of that business was The Traveler’s Insurance Company and its task was to ensure travelers against accidents and theft while they were traveling. Since that time the face of the travel insurance industry has changed dramatically and there are all kinds of risks against which you can take out insurance.

Most important is a policy which has health insurance because medical expenses can be very expensive and large numbers of people have found themselves in unexpected debt, simply because they did not have travel insurance. Similarly if you choose to go on a sporting holiday then you should insure against the risks involved in that. Depending on your sport of choice this could involve a stay in hospital and repatriation because of an accident. If you are caught in a blizzard at the top of a ski slope it could also include the cost of a rescue team and airlift. You can also insure your sports equipment, against cancellation of lessons already paid for, and against site closure where you cannot enjoy your sport. There are so many different aspects to modern day travel insurance that one has to wonder whether James Batterson would even recognize the industry that he began almost a hundred and fifty years ago.



 

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