If you’re going away for a short getaway or a long holiday, the question of travel insurance will be on your mind! You’ll want to know what kind of coverage to take out and what to look for when buying travel insurance.
These days the smart traveller will buy travel insurance; the question of whether to buy is no longer really an issue. We read too many travel horror stories including travel agents and airlines going bust, lost baggage, civil unrest in the region and not to mention the fallout caused from hurricanes, ash clouds and the like. The question remains, though, what should you look out for when buying travel insurance?
Reasons to buy travel insurance
- Your flight has been cancelled.
- Your bags are lost and your medication is in it. You need to have an emergency prescription filled.
- Your passport and wallet are stolen, and you need emergency cash and a replacement passport.
- You’re involved in an accident and adequate medical treatment is not available. You need medical evacuation.
- You need to cancel your trip due to illness.
- Your cruise line, airline or tour operator goes bankrupt. You need your non-refundable expenses covered and to get to your destination.
- You have a medical emergency in a foreign country.
- A terrorist incident occurs in the city where you’re planning to visit and you want to cancel your trip.
- A hurricane forces you to evacuate your resort, hotel or cruise.
Here are the basic types of insurance details you should be looking out for in your policy:
Trip cancellation and interruption insurance
Make sure your policy includes this. If you get sick, or miss your trip, or the travel provider (airline, cruise line, bus transfer company) goes out of business, you’re not left high and dry and that you are covered. It’s better to buy direct from a licensed travel insurer who offers trip cancellation and interruption insurance as part of their standard package.
Health and medical care insurance
This is perhaps the most confusing area. Most people think they are covered if they already have existing health care insurance. This is a big IF. And in most cases, even if you are covered for basic emergency care overseas, your current health insurance does NOT cover you to evacuate you and repatriate you back to Singapore. This is where “Medical Evacuation and Repatriation” insurance comes into play. This is essential for anyone who travels. If you get very sick or seriously injured overseas the policy will get you treated, stabilized and flown back to Singapore. There are a number of good companies that provide this type of plan and will fly you back to Singapore in an emergency from around the world. And then there’s another reason for getting this coverage: If you’re in a foreign country, particularly a developing country, many hospitals will admit you without caring about coverage, but they won’t let you leave until you pay. Travel insurance can help facilitate payment, and act as an advocate so that you’re not overcharged because you’re a foreigner.
Many trip cancellation and interruption policies also provide coverage for lost, damaged, delayed or stolen bags…and this is especially necessary if you’re flying overseas and checking in bags.
Adventure/extreme sports travel
In most cases, there are exclusions on basic travel insurance when it comes to adventure travel. So check the small print if you’re going to be involved in any adventure/extreme sports.
Read the policy wording carefully. If war breaks out, or there is a terrorist act, are there clauses that essentially void your policy? Very few policies cover trip cancellation for reasons of any kind. Many policies only cover you for your trip if an act of terrorism occurs in the specific country you’re travelling to or from. And they set limits on how close an attack has to be to your destination before it goes into effect. You generally must buy the policy before violence erupts to be covered. But almost all policies will not cover any losses caused by war or threat of war.
Finally, call and talk to the insurance company personally, ask them the specific questions you have before your trip and put your mind at ease!!