Have you ever wondered what would happen if you didn’t buy travel insurance? Would you suddenly be able to see ghosts or would the world become bathed in psychedelic colours? Well to be honest, most of the time, nothing will happen. But if you’re really unlucky, here are five situations that will have you shaking your fist at the sky.
1. Delayed baggage
You might have painstakingly packed the chicest outfits you own for your debut on the streets of Paris, but all of that goes to the dogs if your luggage gets delayed or, worse, lost.
Sure, it’s not a life or death situation, but when you’re stuck in a foreign destination with only one set of underwear, it’s going to feel like the end of the world. Especially when you consider that insurance payouts for delayed baggage can be quite generous.
A few years back, my luggage got delayed by half a day when I was on the way back to Singapore. It was no biggie to me, since I had everything I needed at home anyway.
But thanks to my travel insurance, I got somewhere in the region of $500. I would have kicked myself for not buying insurance purely because I would have lost the chance to earn $500 for doing absolutely nothing.
2. Dental emergency
If you come down with the flu, a bit of downtime at the hotel can be the best cure. But when it comes to dental emergencies, whether you’re suffering from a broken tooth or a toothache, not seeing a dentist asap could either mean ruining your trip completely or looking like crap in all your holiday photos.
Every time I fly to another country, I always buy travel insurance. Except this one time when I was in Jakarta and I walked into a glass panel and chipped a tooth (true story, unfortunately).
Don’t ask me how it’s possible but between getting my leave approved and packing for a last minute trip, I completely forgot to buy insurance That. One. Time.
It wasn’t a serious accident so I waited till I was back in Singapore two days later to visit the dentist. It cost me $200 to get the tooth filled, money that I could have claimed from the insurance company if only I’d remembered to buy insurance. I’m still kicking myself because I’ve been buying travel insurance for years but the one time I forgot I could actually have used it.
3. Missing your connecting flight
If you’re a frugal traveller, I’m willing to bet you’ve found yourself trying to sleep at an airport at least once in your life thanks to the inconvenient layover on the discount air ticket you booked. It’s not fun.
Miss your connecting flight due to a prior delayed flight and your holiday might turn into a nightmare at the airport.
You can get quite a generous sum of money for suffering a missed connecting flight. The travel insurance company will usually cover the cost of accommodation and meals as you await the next available flight. This can add up to a few hundred dollars.
Sure, it’s not a matter of life and death. But when your fellow passengers are checking into a cushy hotel for the night and you’re stuck trying to make a bed out of the cold, hard airport floor, don’t say we didn’t warn you
4. Getting pickpocketed
If you aren’t exactly the most street-smart of travellers, you might need travel insurance in case you get robbed or pickpocketed.
About a decade ago, I went to Spain with three friends. As four clueless Singaporean teenagers running around excitedly, we were sitting ducks. One friend got pickpocketed within 5 seconds of arriving in Madrid, the other lost a few hundred Euro thanks to a wily conman masquerading as a police officer.
Travel insurance usually covers you for theft, not only of money or personal belongings but also travel documents such as passports. It’s especially important that you be insured for loss of your passport, as it can cost a lot of money and extra hotel stays to get a new one.
5. Medical emergency
I’m actually glad I don’t know anyone who had a really serious medical emergency abroad and didn’t have travel insurance, even if it means I would have a good example to stick on here.
Most of the time, especially for those who travel a lot, we think we’re not far enough away from home to really be in danger.
Activities like SCUBA diving, hiking and even swimming in the ocean carry risk of injury, and because you’re likely to be doing so in remote areas, access to medical care may mean you’ll have to be transported or evacuated.
All of which can cost a ton of money and will have you gnashing your teeth in regret if you don’t have an insurance policy to fall back on.
If you think that all travel insurance packages are the same (how many of you have ever asked an insurance agent what your policy covers?), there are a ton of different things to consider. We had the same problem, so we came up with a comparison site so that you can make a better decision. No more excuses for not getting travel insurance at the best price possible, so check out MoneySmart’s Travel Insurance Comparison Page before you travel!
Have you ever made a claim using your travel insurance policy? Tell us about your experiences in the comments!