Budget travel is supposed to be cheap, right? But just like you wouldn’t skimp on your accommodations by booking yourself a room in a dimly lit “hotel” just because it’s “cheap”, you wouldn’t (and shouldn’t) skimp on buying travel insurance either. Here are 5 things you need to know before you buy travel insurance.
1. Price is not the only factor – look at other aspects of the policy
Buying travel insurance is not like buying a “warehouse sale” LV bag in Chatuchak Market. You don’t just shop around and look for the stall owner with the weakest bargaining skills. When it comes to travel insurance, price should not be the only determining factor. Especially since cheap insurance policies often mean significantly less coverage.
There are many other factors to consider when choosing the best travel insurance other than price. For example, we’ll discuss later about how much coverage you’re eligible for. There’s also how quickly your claims can be processed. No sane insurance company will publicly claim to have a 24-hour turnaround time for claim processing, but do make sure that you don’t have to wait till the next blue moon before you can see the results of your claims.
2. Getting your travel policy as early as possible is a good thing
There are many, many things that can go wrong when you’re travelling. Half of these things could happen even before you leave the country! Waiting to buy your travel insurance policy on the day you travel (or worse, after you’ve already crossed into international waters) puts you at risk for travel inconveniences big and small like delays or postponement. A good travel insurance policy also covers you for your entire trip being cancelled unexpectedly.
As a result, getting your travel policy as early as possible does not make you “kiasu”. It makes you smart. But not every insurance company allows you to buy your travel insurance policy more than 30 days before the start of your trip. On the other hand, applying for HL Assurance’s Travel Insurance policy, for example, allows you to purchase travel insurance up to 182 days before your departure date. For you “Type A” personalities, that’s definitely something to take note of.
3. There’s more to an Annual Plan than just costing more than a single trip plan
In the past, it made more sense to buy single trip travel insurance plans when you leave Singapore. That’s because in the past, most people only travel once or twice a year. With the greater prominence of ridiculously cheap budget airline tickets and the growing culture of leaving the country every time there’s a long weekend, though? It might actually be more convenient to buy an Annual Plan for your travel insurance.
A good gauge to determine whether to choose between a single trip plan and an annual plan is to ask yourself if you’re going to be travelling more than three times a year. And we’re not just talking about weekend getaways either! Whether you’re just going across the Causeway or travelling further overseas for work, an annual plan definitely makes more sense to your wallet.
4. Emergency Medical Evacuation coverage
One important component when choosing a travel insurance policy is emergency medical evacuation. Depending on where and when you might need it, an emergency evacuation could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. So make sure your travel insurance coverage is sufficient.
For example, HL Assurance covers you for an unlimited amount for emergency medical evacuation, even on their cheapest policy. If you’re stung by a horde of jellyfish while freediving in a remote area without breathing apparatus, for example, you’d be glad you don’t need to worry about the cost of an emergency medical evacuation.
5. Applying for your travel insurance policy online
It’s 2015, so no one should need to have any kind of human contact when buying travel insurance any longer. The best way is to buy your travel insurance policy online, and you can find the best travel insurance by comparing their premium prices and coverage.
Buying travel insurance online is nothing new, but not all insurance companies have an equally efficient and high-tech follow-through. Just the other day, my colleague received his insurance certificate for his travel policy – after he’d returned from his trip!
Companies like HL Assurance provide quick convenience by SMSing you the policy confirmation and providing your certificate online. After all, this is the kind of service you should expect in the 21st century.
Do you have any other tips to share before buying travel insurance? Let us know.
This article is brought to you by Hong Leong Assurance.