It’s a common belief that travel insurance is just another scheme of airlines, banks, and travel agencies to extract some more cash from you. But you are wrong if you assume so.
It’s always advisable to insure your travel, both domestic and international ones, to protect you and your family from any unforeseen calamity during your trip.
Having said that, it’s critical to clearly understand what exactly a travel insurance plan covers, and what it does not, before you apply for one. Travel insurance policies vary greatly in their scope of coverage, and you must make a note of them.
Let’s begin by understanding what is travel insurance and what it can cover.
To put it simply, travel insurance safeguards you financially against various difficulties that you might face during a trip. These can be high costs incurred due to mishaps, inconveniences or even loss of life. Travel insurance can cover the damages when you experience flight delays and cancellations, luggage misplacements, passport loss, emergency medical expenses, emergency evacuations, etc. during your trip.
A comprehensive travel insurance plan can also protect your interests if your trip is impacted by a natural disaster.
So now let’s focus on the different types of travel insurance offered in Malaysia.
There are roughly four types of travel insurances available in our country:
- Single Trip Travel Insurance: These cover you for just one return trip. Insurance providers have some mandatory rules for this cover such as the insured trip should not exceed 30 days, and it should start and end in Malaysia.
- Annual Trip Travel Insurance: These cater to the frequent travellers who make multiple trips across the country and overseas in a given year.
- Family Travel Insurance: These generally cover you and your immediate family members like spouse and minor children. Some providers put a cap on the number of members you can attach.
- Group Travel Insurance: These cover you and your group of friends or colleagues with whom you are travelling.
That’s good. But do I still really need travel insurance?
Yes you do, because you’ll be naive to assume that nothing could go wrong during your trip. Moreover, things can really go out of hands if you encounter problems in a foreign country where you’re not aware of the language or the procedures.
Imagine certain scenarios:
What if your flight got delayed as a result of which you missed your transit flight and now face a terrible situation where you need to pay a huge sum to purchase new tickets?
What if you fall sick in a foreign country and require expensive medical attention? Medical treatment overseas will surely burn a deep hole in your pocket because it’s not necessary your health insurer would cover hospitalisation charges outside Malaysia.
What if you lose or someone steals your passport during an international travel, and you’re unable to board your return flight?
What if you had to cancel your flight and hotel bookings at the last moment for some reason?
And what if your airline misplaced your precious luggage?
These are only a few difficult scenarios (believe us, there could be many more) and that’s the reason why it’s always advisable to keep a travel insurance plan in place before you embark on a journey, especially to a foreign country.
In fact, a lot of countries around the globe like most Schengen countries, Cuba, UAE, Turkey and even Thailand have made travel health insurance mandatory for its visitors.
Yes, it will cost you a little extra, but it would help you a great deal in trying to overcome a problematic situation in an alien land.
Convinced? Now let’s see how to go about it
You can purchase travel insurance from various insurance providers, however, it’s advised that you make a comparative study (like this) before choosing one. You must keep in mind that your chosen travel insurance plan must cover your trip requirements.
It should cover your family members if you’re travelling with them, your destination must be listed, the insurance provider must have an emergency hotline and it should cover the entire duration of your trip.
Ok. But how can I file a claim against my travel insurance?
Different insurance providers have their own claim procedures and processes. First, learn what your insurance cover provides, and your specific insurance provider’s procedure for a claim.
In case you are unclear about some information, it’s advisable to call up an insurance representative to get answers to all your questions.
The usual step is to notify your claim to the insurance provider within a specific period of time after you return from the trip. You will have to submit a claim form. You will also have to produce additional documents along with your claim form, which can include medical bills, invoices, delay reports or receipts.
There are different methods to claim on your travel insurance. You can make a claim online or can personally visit a branch to make the claim depending on your insurance provider.
So does a travel insurance policy cover for everything that might go wrong during a trip?
No, it doesn’t. Most travel insurance plans have certain conditions that do not qualify for a claim settlement. The common exclusions include medical expenses in case of an existing medical condition, wilful damages, or any injury or illness caused by alcohol or drug abuse.
There are some insurers who do not cover losses incurred due to a war or terrorist incident in a foreign land. And there are others who do not cover damages caused by participating in some risky adventure sports. It’s advisable to ensure your travel insurance policy covers adventure sports in case you plan to participate in them.
Whether you travel solo or with your family, for work or for pleasure, you would not want unanticipated troubles to jeopardise your trip.
Getting travel insurance will definitely shield you and your loved ones when you step out of the comforts of your home. But it’s equally important that you carefully choose a travel insurance plan that meets all your requirements.
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