So you’ve finally bought that ticket to your dream getaway. For many of us, purchasing travel insurance isn’t always top of mind, but it’s a crucial step to ensure a worry-free vacation. Here are 5 things to consider when it comes to purchasing travel insurance.
1. Not all polices are created equal
While price is the key factor travelers tend to rely on, picking the cheapest policy is not always the best way to go. The types of benefits, exclusions and claim limits offered by each plan vary widely, so take a pause to consider the following factors before hitting the ‘buy’ button to ensure that you’re going with the travel policy that not just fits your budget, but also your travel needs.
Type of Trip: Heading off for an adventure-packed vacation? Many policies do not cover ‘hazardous’ sports such as white-water rafting or mountain climbing, so you’ll want to make sure this is not excluded from your insurance plan.
Trip destination: Certain policies do not cover travel to high-risk areas, so if this your itinerary, it’s always a good idea to look for a plan that offers full terrorism cover for chemical, nuclear and biological terrorism.
Personal health: Some of us suffer from common ailments such as asthma and eczema, but did you know that these are typically excluded from travel plans? If you have any pre-existing conditions that will require medical attention, ensure that your plan has sufficient and the right coverage so that you won’t have to bear any out-of-pocket expenses for treatment while overseas.
Trip duration: If you’re going off-the-grid for longer than usual, you’ll need a policy that not limit coverage by time. For example some policies, annual trip, provide cover up to 120 days per trip.
2. The early bird catches the worm
It might not be the most pleasant thing to consider, but many things could go wrong before you even set foot out of the country. This is why it's smart to be on-the-ball about buying travel insurance as soon as you can.
Flight delays, trip postponement or cancellation are all common occurrences that could happen to any of us. Locking a good policy in place will give you the peace of mind that pre-trip costs can be recovered, even if your weekend plans have been dashed.
After all, waiting until the day of travel (or worse, after you've crossed into international waters) to purchase a plan is not only more expensive and inconvenient, but also typically would not offer full coverage for your trip. So, there's really no downside to crossing this early off your checklist.
3. Annual Plan or Single Trip?
It might have made sense to purchase single trip insurance back when the annual family holiday was the only travel treat we'd get to enjoy. However, with budget flights now readily available and cheaper than ever, travel is becoming more frequent than before.
If you're going to be travelling more than three times a year, even if it's just a short weekend getaway to Singapore or Hong Kong, you might want to consider an Annual Plan instead.
It not only works out to be more convenient (no need to worry about purchasing a bunch of different plans!), but also might make more sense to your wallet.
4. Reputation matters
Choosing the right insurer to buy your policy from is as important, if not more important, than choosing the right travel insurance plan. It might not seem so now, but when there's a need to file a claim, you'll definitely appreciate working with an insurer that provides 24-hour worldwide assistance, has crisis-response capabilities, and is able to process claims quickly and with minimum fuss.
5. Travel insurance is not a substitute for health insurance
While most travel insurance plans would include a medical component for sudden illness or accidents, this is not meant to be a substitute for a full health insurance policy. To be on the safe side, you should always ensure that you have a full health policy which can cover hospitalization costs in your home country.
If you require more comprehensive coverage while on holiday, look for travel plans which offer emergency medical evacuation. This could cost up to hundreds or thousands of dollars depending on where you're travelling to, so there's never any harm to have this included as a benefit of your policy.