Travel insurance is one of the least exciting (but absolutely neccesary) parts of making a trip abroad. With numerous policy information and clauses, it can be tempting to overlook the finer details. But this can come at a cost, and to avoid forking out much more than you budgeted, here are eight important consideration to look out for before making your travel insurance purchase:
1. Price isn’t everything
Price shouldn’t be the main factor of consideration when you’re getting travel insurance. You’ll need to look up on the benefits and coverage that are relevant to you, and consider any exclusions and claim limits for each benefit.
This is particularly important if you have pre-existing medical conditions, like high cholesterol or asthma – conditions that are usually not covered in travel plans. And if you’re planning on undertaking adventure sports, do check that the insurance provides coverage for these activities.
2. Medical expenses: How much is the coverage?
Plans with higher medical coverage are recommended for trips to countries in Europe or the US – where medical treatment costs are typically higher. For these trips, it’s important to check that the policy sufficiently covers medical evacuation costs back home, or to a different hospital that is equipped to offer a better level of care.
And thinking that higher-level medical coverage isn’t necessary while travelling in Southeast Asia is a common misconception among vacationers. In case of medical emergencies, you’ll likely opt for foreign-run clinics and hospitals – and treatments at these places will likely cost many times more compared to a similar procedure at a public medical facility, due to the better quality of care offered. The costs of treatments here can add up t a hefty sum, so you’ll want to consider plans that provide adequate coverage for possible expenses incurred at private clinics or hospitals.
3. Trip cancellations: Check that your losses are covered
If you need to cancel out on your trip for reasons such as family emergencies or sickness, or if the trip is cancelled by your airline or tour operator, a standard policy will cover the losses you incur due to your cancellation. If there’s an outbreak in the destination of your choice, do check if the policy covers trip postponement or cancellation should policyholders contract the disease.
4. Are all members of your travelling party covered in the policy?
Ensure that the policy provides coverage for all members of your travelling party – from young children, to the elderly or individuals with special needs. Do note that certain policies don’t provide coverage for senior citizens above the age of 75.
5. Purchase travel insurance as soon as you book your trip
Don’t leave purchasing your insurance to the last minute – it’s best to make your purchase as soon as your trip is confirmed, or when flight tickets and accommodations are reserved. This ensures that you’ll be covered for trip cancellations arising out of unforeseen circumstances, such as the death or serious illness of travelling companions or family members, or unexpected closure of travel operators you’ve booked with.
Most travellers aren’t aware that a travel policy typically includes coverage for 60 days prior to the commencement of the trip – so it makes sense to purchase the policy as soon as your trip details are confirmed, in order to reap the full benefits of the coverage.
6. Single-trip VS Annual policies
Jetting off repeatedly through the year? Consider purchasing an annual policy that covers unlimited trips within a year, rather than getting a single-trip policy each time.
And you’ll need to consider that duration of each trip. If you’re planning a lengthier trip – say, one that exceeds 90 days – do check that the annual policy you’re getting will cover the entire duration of your trip. Certain policies have a restriction on the number of days of coverage for each trip, so keep an eye out for any limitations, and check with your insurance provider about possibilities for trip extensions beyond the stated maximum duration per trip.
7. Ensure that all important documents are well-kept
Keep all receipts, medical bills and medical reports handed out by the hospitals or clinics upon payment for your treatment. In cases of cancellations by your travel service provider, make sure you obtain a written record or keep a record of phone conversations if needed. If you’re purchasing baggage insurance, take a picture of your belongings before you embark on your trip. Store these images in a cloud-based platform like Google Drive so your documents can be easily retrieved.
8. Follow claims procedures to a T
Ensure that you’re following the right claim procedures, like visiting the doctor before cancelling out on travel activities, and filing police reports on time in cases of theft. If you aren’t sure, it’s best to give your insurance provider or agent a call; most have a 24-hour hotline so you can get in touch to clarify any uncertainties you have.
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