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Travel insurance for Jamaica
Compare the best Jamaica travel insurance in 2021.
Visitors to Jamaica are drawn to its many natural wonders, resorts and nightlife destinations as well as its reputation as the birthplace of reggae. There’s a lot to see and do, but the country isn’t without hazards, so it’s a good idea to pick up comprehensive travel insurance for Jamaica to keep you — and your bank account — safe on your vacation.
What's changed in 2021?
Be aware that most travel insurance policies don’t offer COVID-19 coverage. To find one that does, have a look at travel insurance policies that cover the coronavirus.
How to compare travel insurance for Jamaica
Keep in mind how long you’ll be away, when you’re going, what you plan on doing while you’re there and how many of you are traveling. You have numerous options to get yourself covered while you’re away.
Medical. This is coverage everyone should have, regardless of your age or level of health. You never know when illness can strike, and injuries can happen in the most unexpected places. Private facilities in Jamaica require upfront payment, so look for a travel insurance policy that can pay up front. The alternative to this is to pay any costs yourself and then claim back what you can later.
Trip cancellation and luggage loss. If there’s a delay for any reason — snowstorms stateside, or hurricanes closer to your destination — the travel portion of your expenses are covered. Your belongings will also be protected if your luggage ends up on another island, or even if you get pickpocketed while touring around.
Activity. For adrenaline junkies, it’s a good idea to take out a little extra coverage. Some more specific activity coverage to consider can include:
- Paragliding and parasailing. The stunning beaches are one of Jamaica’s main attractions, and aerial activities are a popular way of taking them in. Local equipment and instructor standards can vary, so make sure you have travel insurance if you want to take to the skies.
- Nature walks. Jamaica’s natural scenery means there are an abundance of nature walks to take in around the country. Remember that even guided and packaged hikes are still not without risk, and medical evacuation might turn out to be a costly necessity — especially if you’re in a remote area.
- Photographing the scenery. If you’re bringing expensive camera equipment, check if the limit for replacing lost or stolen belongings on your policy is high enough to replace it. If not, consider taking out extra coverage.
Evacuation. Repatriation or evacuation insurance is also a fair consideration if you’re planning on some extreme excursions or are staying in more remote areas and experience serious medical emergencies that require you to return to the mainland USA for treatment.
Group. Attending a wedding with family? Going away for a family reunion? Get everyone covered similarly under a single policy.
Multitrip. Love Jamaica so much, you’ll be back before you know it? Cover all your travels back and forth with multitrip coverage.
Comprehensive. If you’re keeping the door wide open for all kinds of experiences, get everything covered under one policy.
Compare travel insurance for Jamaica
What doesn’t travel insurance cover?
Some other exclusions to watch out for in a travel insurance policy include:
- Failure to obey signs and warnings. If your failure to obey posted signs or warnings has directly or indirectly led to a claim, then your insurer may reserve the right to not pay out.
- Pre-existing conditions. If you get sick due to a pre-existing condition not listed on your policy, your insurer can refuse to pay the claim. Declare any pre-existing conditions to your insurer before purchasing a policy and find out if you can get coverage.
- Irresponsible behavior. This can range from leaving your belongings unattended in a public place to hurting yourself after a few too many drinks. If an incident occurs when an insurer could argue that you were behaving irresponsibly, they might not pay out.
- Traveling to an unsafe area. If you travel to an area that the US Department of State has declared unsafe, your insurer can refuse to pay for any claims that occur while you’re there.
How to stay safe in Jamaica
With millions of tourists flocking to its beaches each year, Jamaica is a fairly safe place to visit. However, no destination is risk-free, which is why it’s a good idea to have travel insurance in case something goes wrong. Concerns to be aware of in the country include:
- Crime. Avoid traveling alone when possible, particularly at night. Firearms are common, so avoid carrying valuables when possible. If you’re confronted, don’t fight your assailants — it’s better to file a claim for your stolen wallet than for your medical bills.
- Natural disasters. Jamaica is often impacted by hurricanes, as it was by Hurricane Matthew in 2016. Hurricane season is from June to November, and can result in landslides, flooding and essential service disruptions, particularly in mountainous or more isolated areas. Check local weather reports before leaving and cancel your trip if there’s a hurricane forecast.
- Road travel. Poorly maintained roads, drivers traveling at excessive speeds and the presence of vendors and other pedestrian hazards make traveling the roads in Jamaica risky. If you have to rent a car to get around, stay alert and drive defensively. Avoid using Mountain View Avenue to get to and from Norman Manley International Airport, particularly at night, due to a high risk of crime.
- Civil unrest. Civil unrest, such as demonstrations and protests, can occur spontaneously and cause travel delays. Monitor local news for any unrest occurring at your time of travel, particularly the day before and day of your return flight.
- Local laws. You should obey local laws and customs while in Jamaica and be aware that penalties — including arrest and imprisonment — are often imposed on travelers who violate laws.
- It’s illegal to buy, sell or wear camouflage-style clothing in Jamaica.
- Penalties for drug offenses are severe. Possession of a small amount of marijuana is punishable by imprisonment.
- Jamaica isn’t LGBTQ-friendly, with penalties of up to 10 years’ imprisonment and hard labor. Overall public perception towards LGBTQ individuals is extremely unfavorable.
- Public nudity in non-designated areas, and even indecent language, can lead to arrest.
Who do I contact if something goes wrong?
In the event of an emergency, useful contacts include:
- Your insurer. Call their 24/7 helpline, which should be clearly written on your policy, for help and advice. They can help you find a local doctor, get in touch with the nearest embassy or file a claim.
- Police. Dial 119 to reach police.
- Fire and ambulance. Dial 110 to reach the fire department or ambulance dispatch.
- US embassy. If you lost your passport, get into legal trouble or if there’s a countrywide emergency, contact the US embassy.
Home to Bob Marley, really good coffee and even better rum, Jamaica is one of the world’s favorite vacation locales. Whether you’re looking for a chance to take the world’s longest nap on the beach or to be a little more adventurous with an off-the-grid hike, Jamaica has it all. It also has its risks, like anywhere else in the world, so before you pack your bags, pack a copy of your travel insurance policy to keep yourself safe on your Jamaican getaway.
Frequently asked questions
When should I purchase a policy?
Purchase your travel insurance for Jamaica when you buy your plane ticket. That way, you’re covered if you have to cancel your trip.
How much Jamaican rum can I bring back to the US?
As long as you’re staying in the country for more than 48 hours, you can bring back up to one liter of alcohol in your checked baggage. You’re also allowed to bring up to 100 Jamaican cigars and a total of $800 worth of tax-free goods.
Which credit cards work in Jamaica?
Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted in the country, although Discover cards might not work in all shops. Read our guide to learn more about using your credit card in Jamaica.
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