Travel insurance is usually not a priority during travel planning. You’re reminded of it only when the airline tries to sell you one as you book your flight, or when it’s required for your visa application.
You wonder: “Do I really have to buy travel insurance? Or is it just an unnecessary expense?”
Some travelers may need it more than others. And some people might find that the coverage may not be worth the cost.
To decide whether to get this type of insurance or not, it’s best to understand how travel insurance in the Philippines works and when it’s good to have one or not.
What is Travel Insurance?
Travel insurance is a type of insurance that provides protection against unforeseen inconveniences and mishaps during a trip. It covers events such as lost passport, lost or delayed baggage, trip cancellation, accident, medical expenses abroad, and death.
When Should You Buy Travel Insurance?
The reason travelers get this insurance coverage is to travel with peace of mind. Generally, getting travel insurance in the Philippines is a good idea because it reimburses non-refundable travel expenses.
Here are different situations when buying insurance is a must.
1. You Don’t Have Life or Health Insurance
Travel insurance is useful for travelers who have no life or health insurance coverage, especially those with dependents.
Even if the odds of illness or death while traveling are low, you’d want to have the kind of protection you don’t currently have, for when you need funds to cover your medical expenses until you return home.
2. For International Trips
You need to have insurance each time you’re traveling abroad. Although you already have a life or health insurance policy, your medical expenses might not be covered if you get hospitalized overseas. Only a few life insurance policies in the Philippines include coverage for hospitalization and medical treatments abroad.
Medical costs in foreign countries can be expensive, too. You might not have enough cash for out-of-pocket medical expenses. This is where travel insurance comes useful, as you won’t have to be burdened as much when paying for medical bills while you’re on an overseas trip.
3. For Schengen Visa Application
Filipinos traveling to Europe are required to buy a travel insurance policy before applying for a Schengen visa.
Travel insurance for Schengen visa application should cover the entire period of stay in all member-states of the Schengen Area, regardless of the purpose of visit (e.g., tourism, business, education, etc.), with a coverage of at least EUR 30,000 (approximately PHP 1.7 million) for medical emergencies, hospitalization, and repatriation in case of death.
Also, the insurance policy should come from an accredited Schengen-compliant insurance company in the Philippines.
4. For Expensive Trips with Prepaid and Non-Refundable Expenses
Do your prepaid and non-refundable travel expenses (airline tickets, tours, accommodations, etc.) cost higher than what you’re willing to lose? Are you worried about losing money the airline cancels your trip?
If so, then you get insurance before you leave, so you’ll be reimbursed for your travel-related bookings when your trip has to be canceled.
When is Travel Insurance Not Necessary?
Even though travel insurance is useful in many cases, it’s not always worth the extra cost. Here’s when you can skip the insurance for your trips.
1. You’re Traveling for Cheap (or Free)
If you’re just visiting your relatives in the province, you won’t likely have to pay for food, accommodation, and other travel costs because chances are, you’ll be staying with family members. Buying travel insurance, in this case, might not be a good idea.
Yes, there’s a risk of losing money, but the amount won’t be that much compared to an overseas trip. Purchasing insurance for every small trip may cost you more than the benefits you’d claim when the need arises.
2. For Domestic Trips
Do you have life or health insurance coverage? You probably don’t need insurance when traveling within the Philippines. Your existing life or health insurance may already cover medical expenses during an emergency.
Especially if you don’t book any expensive prepaid and non-refundable travel expenses, then insuring your trip may not be worth the cost.
3. Your Credit Card Provides Travel Insurance
Some credit cards in the Philippines offer free travel insurance as a benefit. Check your card if it has that type of insurance, as well as the specific coverage. You might be getting duplicate coverage if you get another insurance policy when your credit card has sufficient coverage for travel inconvenience and accident.
If you have a car insurance policy, check it also to see if its coverage includes theft protection and rental car collision benefits. You don’t want to pay extra for travel insurance when your existing car insurance already covers you for the unexpected.
Still confused about whether you should get travel insurance or not? Think of it this way (so you can decide more easily): If you can’t afford to lose the money you’ve spent for your trip, then you definitely need to buy insurance. Otherwise, if your travel expenses are minimal and you can afford to lose the money, just skip the insurance.