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Most of us know the importance of travel insurance and won’t depart from Changi Airport without first buying travel insurance.
However, because travel insurance is such a familiar type of insurance policy, we might take it for granted and neglect going into details when choosing a travel insurance policy, perhaps simply choosing the cheapest available option.
A good travel insurance policy will help cover you for more unpleasant situations than just lost baggage or delayed flights. In this article, we’ll discuss 5 important factors to take note of before getting a travel insurance policy to ensure you get the best coverage.
#1 Pre-Existing Conditions
A pre-existing condition is a long-term or chronic medical condition that has occurred before taking up an insurance plan (or in this case before the trip). It could be an asthma that you have since childhood, or high blood pressure that you have been managing for over a year.
It is important to note that a number of travel policies do not cover claims resulting from pre-existing medical conditions while overseas.
There was a case in 2017 involving a Singaporean man who suffered a cardiac arrest while holidaying in Japan, and fell into coma subsequently. While the family purchased a travel insurance policy prior to the trip, his pre-existing condition – a heart failure that he suffered in 2012 – was excluded from the policy, and his medical claim was rejected.
You might be interested to know that MSIG insurance offers the TravelEasy Pre-Ex, a travel insurance policy for individuals with pre-existing conditions. The policy is available to travellers of all ages with stable and controlled pre-existing medical conditions and provides coverage for overseas hospitalisation expenses related to pre-existing medical conditions for up to S$150,000 with no excess or co-payment required.
Other travel insurance policies on the market that cover pre-existing conditions include Tiq Insurance’s Pre-Ex and NTUC Income’s Enhanced PreX plans. Travellers with pre-existing chronic illness should check with the insurers to confirm if their illness is covered by the policy before making a purchase and ensure that the coverage is sufficient to cover any medical expenses and evacuation costs arising from the illness.
#2 High-Risk Activities
Some of us seek thrills by participating in adrenaline-pumping activities overseas, such as bungee jumping, skiing or even skydiving, while others may want to compete in international marathons or sporting events.
However, do not be surprised if some insurers do not cover activities or action sports that involve a high degree of risk in their travel insurance policy.
If you are planning to participate in any sporting event or adventurous activities on your trip, be sure to check that the policy you intend to purchase covers such activities or events.
For instance, POSB’s TravellerShield Plus Premier and Platinum plans provide coverage for adventurous activities such as bungee jumping, skiing and scuba diving. Another option you can look out for is DirectAsia Insurance’s Extreme Sports and Activities optional benefit on their annual policy. The optional benefit covers adventurous sports, as well as organised races including triathlon, cycling and obstacle races, and martial arts such as boxing, just to name a few.
#3 Ensure Your Destination Country Is Covered
If you are intending to visit more than one country, be sure to check that your travel insurance policy covers every country you will be visiting. In many cases, the coverage of the policy is tiered according to the region it covers.
If you are visiting two or more countries in your trip, you will usually be asked to pay for the highest tier between the two countries to ensure complete coverage. For example, if you are travelling to Kuala Lumpur, which is covered under Tier A, and then to New York, which is covered under Tier D, you will be asked to pay for Tier D, as it covers both your itineraries in Kuala Lumpur and New York.
In addition, do also check with your insurer for any countries that are excluded from coverage. Currently, countries that are issued with Travel Advisory by the Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs, such as Afghanistan, Cuba and Congo, are often excluded from coverage.
Hong Kong, another popular travel destination, is likely to be excluded from coverage from occurrences such as cancellation, trip disruption and missed connection, due to the ongoing riots, since it is considered a known event.
#4 Get Your Dates Right
If there are miscalculations on the travelling dates on your side, and the dates do not correspond with your travel insurance policy, it may render your policy invalid.
To avoid such mistake, many insurers have designed their website in a way to allow you to put in the date you depart and the date you return. Just make sure you enter the actual date you depart and land at home. If you are flying over different time zones, do check for the time and date of arrival at home on your ticket.
In the event you mixed the dates up, be sure to contact your insurer immediately to make any corrections.
#5 When Is The Best Time To Buy Travel Insurance
Some people will purchase their travel insurance policy at the eleventh hour, but that is a bad idea.
Firstly, if you were to leave the purchase to the very last moment, you are most likely either to forget about buying the policy, or getting the information wrong while trying to rush through the purchase, rendering your policy invalid. There is also no incentive for you to get your policy when you arrive at your destination country, as your application is most likely to be rejected.
Secondly, travel insurance doesn’t just cover the duration of your travel and post-trip. It also provides protection before your trip from cancellation due to unforeseen circumstances and loss of deposit.
That means if the travel agency that you engage to plan your trip arrangement has collapsed before you can fly, or if you or your family members were to suffer from an unexpected illness, causing a disruption to your travel plans, you can submit claims for your loss, subject to the terms and conditions of your policy.
This is why you should make a habit to get a travel insurance immediately upon confirming your travel plans.
Insurance Should Be Part Of Your Travel Checklist
You won’t leave key items on your travel itinerary to chance and would probably use a service like Klook to arrange for transportation, tickets and even activities beforehand.
Likewise, use the pointers above to select the most appropriate travel insurance for your trip so you can dampen the financial impact arising from unforeseen events or disruptions. Bon voyage!
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