Besides an itinerary, the location you want to visit and the accommodation, there are things you need to consider before travelling abroad – travel insurance. Although it may seem trivial, most vacations don’t always go as planned. There is the possibility of uncontrollable situations such as cancelled flights, lost luggage, severe illness or most worryingly, accidents while travelling abroad.
What is travel insurance? Travel insurance is an insurance policy that offers financial compensation in the event that something unexpected affects your vacation plans. Depending on the coverage, it may include accidents that happen on your trip as well. This article will help you to understand the reasons why you need travel insurance to prevent your dream vacation with family or friends from turning into an unexpected nightmare.
1. Flight Delays
Most of you have probably faced your flights getting delayed while on vacation. Although it is a common situation, it is not a desirable vacation experience. If you have travel insurance, you are entitled to compensation in the event of a delay in the flight schedule due to certain problems such as mechanical issues, aircraft maintenance or weather factors. Some insurance companies offer an automated insurance claim process to make things easier. Although the compensation that may be received may not be equally compensated for the time wasted, it should be able to cover some of the additional expenses that are incurred during your waiting period such as meal prices. However, if you miss your flight due to your own error or negligence, it will not be covered by your travel insurance. You are therefore advised to plan your trip well to avoid such a situation.
2. Lost / Delayed / Damage Baggage
The process of waiting for your baggage after a long journey can add to your fatigue. It becomes even more frustrating if your baggage is missing or arriving later than scheduled. Although the probability of such a situation occurring is very slim, it does not mean that you should ignore the possibility that this problem could occur. Despite being able to claim lost or delayed baggage from the airline, it is a hassle for travellers because the claim process is usually long, complicated, and time consuming as compared to making travel insurance claims. This is another reason why it is important to get travel insurance as it could, at the very least, minimise the hassle should your baggage be damaged, lost or delayed during your trip.
3. Medical Emergencies
Emergency situations such as suddenly falling ill or being in a car accident are things you want to avoid while on vacation. Unfortunately, situations like these do occur and the expenses for medical treatments are often much higher when abroad. Travel insurance offers some solace with some cost coverage that includes consultation, room fees, diagnostic charges, and any other expenses related to hospitalisation. In the event of an untimely departure during your vacation, especially if it is abroad, a travel insurance coverage plan allows for the departed’s family members to claim death benefits without the complicated process.
4. Lost Documents, Money and Passport
There is also a chance that you could be a victim of theft or even lose personal items such as mobile phones, credit or debit cards, money or in the worst case, your passport, especially at tourist hot spots. These situations could occur either due to negligence such as being misplaced or stolen by pickpockets.
By having travel insurance, losses due to such situations can be minimised. Although travel insurance does not guarantee the safety of your belongings 100%, it can at least reduce the risk of loss if the items were lost or stolen. In the case of losing a passport, a travel insurance policy can help you financially while obtaining a temporary travel permit, covering any losses (that may occur) thus guaranteeing your safe return home. Usually the cost of transportation to the embassy, phone calls to the home country, and the printing of any important documents including accommodation throughout the process of obtaining a temporary permit until completion are covered by the insurance company.
That said, the insurance company has the right to reject the claims when the incident of lost goods occurs due to its own negligence. For example, the insurance company will not accept a claim if your mobile phone is lost because you left it on the table at a restaurant. While having travel insurance protects you from unexpected incidence during your travel, it does not mean you can be both carefree and careless.
5. Sudden Cancellation
Planning a trip and having to cancel it at the last minute can be a huge disappointment especially when you have to absorb the losses. Travel insurance has that covered. For example, if your travel partner or you suddenly fall ill on the day of travel, you may be entitled to a refund for all the expenses you have spent on booking airline tickets and hotel reservations.
Travel Insurance vs Medical Insurance and Personal Accident
You probably think that you no longer need to buy additional protection policies such as travel insurance before your trip abroad since you already have medical insurance or a personal medical card. However, medical insurance and travel insurance are two entirely different things.
Although personal insurance does cover some aspects such as death claims, injuries and so on, it does not cover some other aspects or risks related to your trip such as lost luggage, cancelled flights or accidents at the place of travel.
While medical insurance only covers you in the event of a health emergency within the country. Travel insurance acts as additional protection in the event of any risk such as an accident or injury while you are abroad that requires hospital treatment.
Easy Steps If Your Passport Is Lost While Travelling Abroad
Following are the steps to take if you are faced with a lost passport situation and need to get a temporary travel permit to return to your home country:
1. Report the incident to the police immediately;
2. Go to your nearest home country embassy and apply for a temporary travel permit;
3. Documents such as a birth certificate, a police report, and an identity card are among the documents that may be required;
4. The usual process of obtaining this permit usually takes three to five days. This means you have to extend your stay while waiting for the permit to be ready;
5. Upon completion, you can return to your home Immediately replace your passport to avoid problems in your future abroad travel.
Choosing the Best and Comprehensive Travel Insurance Plan
There are many things to consider before purchasing travel insurance that suits your needs and budget for your vacation abroad. Here are some factors that need to be emphasised before buying travel insurance:
1. Compare policies and take the necessary coverage according to your budget;
2. Understand the insurance terms in the insurance policy carefully to avoid misunderstandings – some insurance companies offer different coverage policies depending on the company’s policy;
3. Make sure the chosen insurance company has a good foreign cooperation network abroad. This is to make it easier for assistance to be provided in the event of any unwanted event or situation;
4. Choose an insurance company that offers or provides 24/7 emergency assistance services. This is because accidents or unforeseen situations can happen at any time;
5. Familiarise yourself with the things that are covered and can be claimed. This is important so that there are no misunderstandings when claiming.
Get travel insurance and financially safeguard yourself from unwanted incidents and mishaps. Don’t allow a thoroughly planned and supposedly memorable vacation to become a bitter experience.
> This article is written by Shafiq Wahab, Writer – Qoala Malaysia
If you are looking for the best insurance online, visit Qoala for more info. Qoala provides a range of insurance from travel insurance, car insurance, motorcycle insurance, home insurance, personal accident insurance and health insurance from various top insurance companies in Malaysia. With just a few simple steps, you can buy or renew insurance that suits your needs and budget.