It would not exactly be off-brand for ITIJ to suggest that travel insurance is an essential purchase for every trip – but for an increasing number of destinations, travellers are now required to show proof of coverage before they can enter.
Yonder Travel Insurance in the US has published an update, showing that Ecuador is the latest country to mandate proof of travel insurance as an element of visa requirements. It is a trend that seems set to continue, as countries seek new ways to relieve themselves of the financial burden of medical bills left unpaid by tourists, whether that is travellers taking advantage of free healthcare or simply making a swift exit without paying their bills.
Other countries that require compulsory travel insurance include Austria, Belgium, Cuba, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Lithuania, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Qatar, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey (though this list is by no means exhaustive).
And while not all countries will insist on proof of coverage before allowing a tourist to enter, many will insist that visitors purchase travel insurance from a local provider once they have arrived; as this could result in higher premiums, it makes sense for travellers to purchase coverage well in advance.
It has been argued that forcing travellers to purchase travel insurance is an infringement on their civil liberties. As champions of both individual freedom and the travel insurance industry, ITIJ must remain on the fence on the matter.
Actually, on second thoughts, no. Everybody should be made to buy it.