At first thought, the two biggest decisions you’ll have to make when booking a trip are either – figuring out how to reach your destination and your place of stay.
Purchasing travel insurance will usually be the least of your concerns, as most of the time – your journeys abroad will go without a hitch; you won’t be severely ill or injured in a foreign country. But life is always unpredictable and if you actually do experience anything remotely close to an illness or grave medical emergency – then the last thing you want is to not have the financial means for an air ambulance or basic medical recuperations.
So, when is it really the right time to get travel insurance? Below, we have listed different case scenarios or reasons why you should get – or not get it.
Potential risks of not taking travel insurance
Before making a decision to purchase – or not purchase travel insurance, here’s a list of possible risks that may occur without buying travel insurance.
- Trip cancellation due to sickness or terrorist activities at your destination
- Sudden evacuation from the hotel as a result of natural disasters like a hurricane or tsunami
- Unanticipated flight cancellation
- Stolen wallet and/or passport
- Medical emergency in a foreign country
- An urgent need for your prescribed medication
- Loss of luggage
Skip buying travel insurance
A late purchase
It’s best to get travel insurance within 10 to 15 days of booking your trip, as after this duration – you’ll have to pay a lot more or end up with a reduced policy. For example, certain coverages which require you to buy early include:
- Financial default coverage
- Work conflict coverage
- “Cancel for any kind of reason” coverage
- “Cancel for work reasons” coverage
- Hurricane coverage
- Pre-existing medical illnesses coverage
A low-cost trip abroad
If you’re only planning to visit the neighbouring country, to the point that you’re only going to take a couple of hours drive via the Johor-Singapore Causeway – travel insurance isn’t a need.
As most probably, you’re likely to only lose a couple hundred dollars in non-refundable expenses instead of several thousand. While losses still remain as losses, if you look at the bigger picture – purchasing insurance for every small trip can amount up to more than the payout benefits which you’re entailed to when you actually file a claim.
Meanwhile, if your sole expenses are hotel accommodation and plane tickets – the carrier might offer credit or reimburse. Usually, travel insurance reimbursement only occurs when the travel provider doesn’t provide reimbursement in the first place.
A fully-protected trip
At times, all you need to do is check carefully before purchasing travel insurance as your travel credit card may already offer theft protection and the like. If you buy travel insurance, you’re only paying additional expenses for marginal perks – which is money you could be used up for your trip.
So, besides checking your insurance benefits guide and existing credit card – look through the travel provider’s cancellation policy as well. See how they manage inclement weather cancellations and get a look at their personal reason cancellation policies too. One such benefit is being entitled to a one-year credit to rebook your trip.
Do buy travel insurance
Without a doubt, typical travel insurance coverage covers protection for unanticipated sickness or accidental injuries abroad. But that isn’t only the only benefit to it.
Scan through the travel insurance policies carefully, and you may even find one which offers protection against pre-existing medical conditions that customers have. This presents a two-in-one package, meaning that you don’t have to buy two separate insurance coverage for travel and medical purposes.
In any case, whether your luggage or personal belongings are lost, stolen or damaged, purchasing the appropriate coverage will ensure you’re reimbursed for new personal items and clothes. The policy may even cover reimbursements for a new suitcase so you can pack your belongings into the new luggage.
The same applies to passports, if you look for a policy that offers such coverage – you’ll receive help for expediting the procedure of replacing and buying a new passport.
Specific travel insurance packages
Usually, a one-size-fits-all travel insurance package doesn’t exist – unless you have enough budget to factor in all kinds of coverages in one. Otherwise, you may need to carefully look through various policies instead to discover the most suitable package for yourself. For instance, if your trip is full of extreme sports activities – find a travel insurance plan that covers potential injuries as a result of such events.
Sometimes, you may even have to look towards premium policies, which will definitely cost more – but they also provide more medical coverage abroad and even unlimited coverage for emergency medical evacuation. This allows you to be prepared for any severe medical illnesses or incidents in a foreign country.
If you’re always moving around and travelling from country to country – it goes without saying that an annual travel insurance plan is the best option, instead of a single trip coverage plan.
Convenience and budget aside, in the long run, it also offers peace of mind all year long as you’re fully covered – even if it’s just last-minute trips to Johor Bahru.
Just like any other purchase you make throughout the course of your life, travel insurance requires a lot of careful thinking before you decide to go for it. So, don’t just hastily buy a plan – make sure you’ve read through the policies carefully, so you know you’ve secured the best possible coverage for yourself.