Travel is indeed a favourite Singaporean pastime. A national sport, if you would. Buying Travel insurance for your trip however, is not often thought about as much.
As the year end draws close, many of us have probably made plans for travel. Its what keeps us going – the very anticipation of a glorious beach holiday, a new adventure, or simply precious time with our loved ones.
Nothing quite dampens a long-awaited trip like missing a connecting flight before your holiday even begins, having all your cash stolen, or getting into a medical situation while far away from home. Not to mention inconveniences like baggage or flight delays; or more remote circumstances like an outbreak of war at your holiday destination, getting kidnapped… the possibilities are endless!
Which is why buying travel insurance is highly recommended. But how many of us actually know how to go about buying a good travel insurance that is suitable for our needs? Here are some common mistakes to avoid:
1. Buying the Most ‘Convenient’ Travel Insurance
Is your approach to travel insurance just another item on your checklist? Do you only rely on the coverage provided by your credit card? Or check the travel insurance button somewhere between selecting your meal type and seat options when buying flight tickets online?
It is important to read the details of the coverage provided to see if they are adequate for your needs or to cover the risks of the destination you’re travelling to. Some of these may not include medical coverage while overseas or provide too low a cap for claims like loss of personal effects (i.e. cash, mobile phones, tablets).
2. Buying Travel Insurance At the Last Minute
Do you often buy your travel insurance when waiting to board your flight or while making your way to the airport?
Yes, better late than never. However, you should be aware that some of the benefits of the travel insurance are applicable if you buy travel insurance ahead of your trip. For example:
- Flight cancellation due to natural disasters like typhoon or tsunami, or an epidemic at your destination (which aren’t all that remote these days).
- Travel postponement or trip disruption due to serious sickness or injury, or a strike by airline staff or a closed airport due to weather conditions.
- Your travel agency becoming insolvent and no longer able to fulfil the travel plans which you have already paid for.
Such events will not be covered if you purchase your travel insurance too late. It would be best to buy travel insurance soon after your travel plans have been confirmed.
3. Forgetting to Cater for the Full Length of Your Trip
Should you purchase travel insurance only for the period you are actually overseas? It would be advisable to cover the full period of your trip, including flights to and from your holiday destination. So that in the event of baggage delays, loss or damage, or overbooking of flights, you would be able to make a claim.
For long haul trips, do remember to cater for the +1 or +2 days that it takes for your flight to reach Singapore.
4. Not Reading Your Travel Insurance Policy
Not all travel insurances are created the same. In fact, the policy document and terms of coverage makes for rather interesting reading.
Do read through the policy document for what’s included and excluded, the limits of claims and what must be done in order to make a claim.
Often, the policy is where you will terms like the following stipulated:
- Having to file a police report while overseas for any loss cash, travel documents or personal effects
- What types of medical expenses are covered, the documents to obtain if seeking treatment overseas; and for how many days after your return to Singapore that you may seek medical treatment
- Whether emergency phone calls while overseas are covered
These are best read when you are not in the midst of an emergency. Importantly, remember to bring the phone number along in case you need to reach your travel insurer while overseas.
5. Thinking That One Size Fits All
If your holiday includes adventurous elements like skydiving or scuba diving, check to ensure that the travel insurance you are considering covers these activities. Or check to ensure that adventurous activities are not excluded from the claims.
If your holiday involves golfing, a cover for golfing equipment and hole-in-one should come in handy.
If you are going to climb the Himalayan mountains, its probably a good idea to get a travel insurance with adequate emergency medical evacuation. And bring the phone number along with you.
We hope you will avoid these common mistakes when it comes to purchasing travel insurance and that you have the time of your life on your holdiays!