As the world grows smaller and travel more affordable, the value of travel insurance has become priceless.
WHETHER you are a frequent or occasional traveller, here are six things you might want to know about travel insurance.
1. Travel insurance is super affordable: Many people assume that any form of insurance is costly, but a premium can start as low as RM24 per person, for the duration of up to five days. Considering the time and expense of planning a holiday â€“ from flights and hotels to meals and transportation, not to mention shopping â€“ travel insurance represents only a small percentage of what youâ€™re already spending on your trip.
2. Travel insurance can help you save money: While you canâ€™t get something for nothing, you can certainly avail yourself of many of the valuable benefits that come with a travel insurance policy, such as 24-hour Emergency Assistance and 24-hour interpreter assistance, in addition to the various medical expenses that may be incurred through accidents and illness, whether it involves only medication and out-patient treatment, or costly hospitalisation or medical evacuation.
3. It covers you even before you depart on your trip: One unforeseen aspect of travel is delay, whether itâ€™s due to bad weather, natural disasters, civil unrest or unexpected illness. This is exactly what a traveller experienced when he was hospitalised for dengue fever on the very day of his departure, forcing him to cancel his long-awaited trip to South Africa. Fortunately, his travel insurance plan included compensation for his situation.
4. Itâ€™s available for both domestic AND international travel: So is travel insurance even necessary when youâ€™re only travelling within the borders of your own country? The answer is a resounding â€œYesâ€?! After all, the unexpected can occur even when youâ€™re on home ground, whether itâ€™s an emergency cancellation, lost or delayed luggage, or loss of cash or valuables.
Hence it doesnâ€™t matter if your destination lies a few hoursâ€™ drive away or halfway across the planet â€“ a travel insurance policy provides valuable protection and peace of mind, be it for domestic or international travel.
5. Low premium, high returns: Even with a low premium, a travel insurance policy can still provide broad coverage, buffering you against unexpected â€“ and often costly â€“ occurrences such as loss of cash, valuables and travel documents.
For example, when a customerâ€™s handbag was snatched while she was on holiday in Cambodia, she lost her cash and passports. However, her travel insurance helped her get an embassy referral and replacement passport. This assistance was hers for a low premium of only RM35.
6. It can assist you in preparing for your trip: The benefits of a travel insurance policy include consultation with experienced travel consultants who can advise you on additional preparations and precautions which you may not have planned for, such as medical advisories and visa requirements particular to your destination.
Do I really need travel insurance?
JUST as you wouldnâ€™t go anywhere without an umbrella or some extra cash, â€œjust in caseâ€?, you shouldnâ€™t go on any trip, whether for work or leisure, without a travel insurance policy because itâ€™s not just about financial reimbursement but also about peace of mind.
Some insurance plans can cover medical expenses of up to RM10mil, but more than that, it provides medical advice and assistance on call, plus translation services, so that you can get the care you need, wherever you may be, whether itâ€™s a road accident in China or falling off a cliff in Greece, as some customers have experienced, which required immediate evacuation for emergency medical treatment and alternative travel arrangements to return home.
Travel is a complicated knot of interconnected schedules and involves many logistical challenges, hence even a small hiccup can have incredibly inconvenient consequences.
For example, one delay can cause you to miss a connecting flight, cruise liner or sold-out Broadway performance. Even lost luggage can be a major hassle, especially if youâ€™re travelling to attend a wedding or any other event requiring the formal wear you had carefully packed, or if youâ€™re travelling on business, with important equipment or materials to share with clients or shareholders.
? Source: Travel Guard Asia Pacific Pte Ltd (Malaysian branch office), is AIG Malaysia Insurance Berhadâ€™s business partner that provides travel, medical and claims service assistance. For more information on travel health insurance, log on to www.aig.my or www.travelguard.com/. Claims cases mentioned are actual events.