Clearing Up The Confusion Around Travel Insurance: A Hitlist
You are booking a flight and are directed to the part of the checkout page that prompts you to buy travel insurance for a few extra ringgit. “Nah,” you think. “What could possibly happen on this trip anyway? I’ve already got this flight for cheap and don’t want to spend a single extra sen on this site!”
While it’s tempting to ignore the travel insurance bit so that you can move on with that flight purchase, it should be remembered that having this is super crucial when going on a trip anywhere. This small amount of money spent can save you A LOT of inconvenience and worry, in the event you fall sick or get injured while on holiday.
“But what’s the difference between travel insurance, and the normal life or health insurance that most of us already have?” you ask. “Am I not already covered under my current policy? Why the need to buy another extra plan? If nothing happens to me while traveling, then isn’t it a waste?”
Let us answer the burning questions you’ve always had about travel insurance.
Disclaimer: While this article makes general recommendations and pointers around travel insurance, it should be noted that every policy is different. You should always find out specific details from your insurance provider, or better still, easily compare different policies for yourself with
What’s so special about travel insurance?
It has your back whenever anything that could go wrong, actually goes wrong! Travel insurance provides comprehensive coverage for the length of your trip, and typically includes delayed or cancelled flights, lost luggage, medical emergencies (plus instances where you need to be flown home) and damage to personal property or rented equipment.
But how is it different from medical insurance?
Your current medical insurance policy is usually a long-term plan for life, and isn’t likely to cover accidents and emergencies that happen overseas. Even if you try to make a claim, you might be reimbursed only a fraction of the amount or face a lot of difficulty in getting the claim approved.
For an in-depth understanding of the differences between travel insurance and medical insurance, click here.
What are some specific items not covered?
While it seems to be comprehensive, travel insurance does not cover unforeseeable situations such as war, suicide, insanity, motivated murder, childbirth, risky sports (unless you opt for sufficient coverage to include extreme sports) and HIV/AIDS-related diseases. Be sure to fully note the exclusions in any policy you are considering.
It also doesn’t cover situations where you do unwise things, like getting drunk and falling down or crashing your vehicle while speeding downhill.
What if an earthquake happens, or I get kidnapped, or my flight gets hijacked?
For natural disasters, it depends on whether the event took place before or after you leave home. If you haven’t left home and want to cancel, your policy benefits could be paid out to you. If you are already within the site of the disaster, you could be covered for relocation travel and accommodation costs. Medical, emergency and repatriation costs may also be included depending on your policy.
Some insurance packages also account for kidnap ransom fees and compensation if your flight gets hijacked. Always carefully read through the list of benefits available in your policy, and then decide the extent of the coverage you wish to have for that trip.
If I currently already have an illness, can I still get treatment for it?
Just like many other policies, your travel insurance plan will likely not cover any pre-existing illnesses that you have. So if you’re currently undergoing any treatment or taking medication for a condition you already have, the new policy will not cover it.
Fair enough. So how do I activate this insurance when I actually need it?
Where it is a massive emergency requiring you to be hospitalised overnight, you (or another trusted person) can contact your insurer’s emergency team. They will be able to assist with the procedures and associated cost. For other instances, you can make a claim for reimbursement from your insurer.
Some examples of these personal accidents might include food poisoning, leg injuries from a fall, bodily burns or contracting an infectious disease such as Zika or avian influenza.
Remember to keep all receipts, photos of accidents or injuries, and documents from police reports (if any) so that insurance companies can approve your claim!
Is there a difference between flight insurance and travel insurance?
Traditionally, flight insurance covers only the situations related to airline travel such as cancellations, interruptions, baggage loss and emergency medical interventions onboard. Today, however, many policies include both flight and travel insurance in one package for the ease of consumers. These are offered by both airline operators and insurers, sometimes in partnership with one another.
Again, the degree of protection you want from your insurance is entirely up to you, based on the specifications of each plan.
Would my travel insurance also have coverage in Malaysia?
This depends on the list of available protections in your plan. Tune Protect, for example, insures up to RM1,000 for theft or damage to your home in Malaysia.
How can I find out more about different packages and what should I look out for?
Your choice of policy should really be tailored to what you’ll be doing while traveling. For example, if you’re going to rent a car to drive about, you may want to consider a plan that covers theft or damage to rented vehicles.
A quick and easy way to compare policies is by using the travel insurance comparison tool on Qompanion.my. An affordable plan with decent coverage is the Hong Leong MSIG Takaful Elite, which has a basic premium of RM27 per trip and includes a good range of travel and accident emergencies.
To spare yourself from unnecessary grief and inconvenience, make sure you purchase travel insurance before going on your next holiday!