Would you go on holiday without Travel Insurance?
It is very important to travel with travel insurance, not only for your piece of mind but also for your family. It doesn't really cost that much compared to the situation when unexpected incidents such as stolen money, loss of luggage, car accidents etc.
How many stories I have heard from my close ones or happened to myself when holiday went wrong?
1. Skiing in Japan
When my friends fell down to the slope when she went skiing in Japan during her family trip, she broke some bones. S
2. Handbag was snatched in Italy
My friend was walking along the tourists site with her friends in Rome Italy, her handbag was snatched by a motorist. She had to report to police, Embassy etc without money and passports.
3. Stolen handbags in Brazil
My friend went to a club with her friends in Brazil. She realized her wallet was stolen and her watch went missing after dancing with a stranger in the club. Not only that, her friend's handbag was gone when she went back to the table.
4. Pick Pocket in France
Another classic case, my friend went to the subway but someone went past him and he felt weird out of a sudden. He then quickly checked his suit's inner pocket for his passport and his hip pocket for his wallet - all was gone...
5. Luggage Delayed in New Zealand
When we traveled to New Zealand from Melbourne, our backpacks were delayed for 24 - 48 hours. It was a 4 days 3 nights hiking trip to Milfred Sound Trek (walked from one end and finished at the other end of the mountains - unless the airline uses helicopter to drop off our backpack or else we couldn't wait for the luggage to arrive) and hence we had no choice but to purchased every single items from the local shop - yes, including underwear! Costed us closed to AUD800 per person to rent backpacks & sleeping bags while buying everything brand new.
More stories? There are always more stories but I shall leave it for now. After experiencing it myself and also heard all the real stories happened to my friends, I wouldn't hesitate to purchase travel insurance at all.
It really helps when things go wrong.
How to choose the insurance package?
There are too many topics to be covered under insurance package, I will just highlight those that I perceive as very important to me - please check with your travel agency to choose your desired package.
1. Accident & Illness
* Medical & Dental Expenses Oversea
Oversea medical and dental expenses are very expensive, countries such as United States or Japan have always been famous for the expensive bills. Please take note that not all travel insurance cover the dental expenses. My friend's sister had a skiing accident and broke her front teeths with blood everywhere, it involved an emergency helicopter ride to send her to nearby hospital. Dental coverage is very important when this kind of accident happens.
2. Emergency Assistance
* Emergency Medical Evacuation
* Emergency Medical Repatriation
* 24 hours worldwide travel assist hotline
Having a 24/7 emergency contact number has made my trips a lot safer as you would never know when things go wrong at the wee hours. I still remember a food poisoning incident happened during wee hour during one of the scuba diving trips in a remote island on a Sunday (when every clinics closed). The emergency speed boat was like equivalent to AUD200 per trip and I was looking for a faster solution as the process of getting a speed boat and land transfer would take too long. I was lucky to have found a doctor in the resort and he turned out to be one of the guest divers, or else I would definitely use the 24/7 emergency hotline.
3. Things go wrong
* Loss of Luggage/ Important document such as passport
* Trip Cancellation/ Delayed/ Interrupted/ Missed Connection
* Car Rental Excess Protection
As I mentioned earlier for the New Zealand trip, the luggage delayed was indeed a pain when we had to start our journey the next morning. In that case, we managed to get the compensation from the airline for the delay and the rest of the purchases from the Insurance company. I can't imagine traveling without insurance, that trip would have costed us AUD1,000 per person (winter jacket, woolen long johns, layers of clothes, socks, trekking sticks, hiking meals for 4 days 3 nights, medical kits, backpack & sleeping bag rental etc)
Having the protection for the trip cancellation, travel agent insolvency etc really help to protect your money that has already been spent but non-refundable such as air-tickets, hotels, entrance tickets etc.
If you constantly rent a car when you travel, car rental excess protection will be beneficial. I enjoy road trip, hence this coverage really is something I would like to include in the insurance package.
4. Your favourate avtivities
- Skiing/ Scuba Diving/ Trekking/ Sky Diving/ Bungee Jumping ...
Whenever you come to those adventurous sports/ activities, there is always chances of getting hurt. Sports such as Scuba diving requires insurance coverage before you are allowed to dive with the dive center. Make sure you read the fine print for the details, many travel insurance covers the licensed divers up to 30 meters while some may not even cover that.
5. Fine Prints/ Terms & Conditions
Last but not least, please clarify with your insurance company for all these fine print, terms and conditions of your insurance coverage. Many travelers lodged in their claims and realized they misread some contents or they didn't follow the right procedures etc hence the claims were rejected.
Q: Your credit card company has travel insurance coverage for you automatically if you paid your holiday purchases by using their cards?
A. Yes & No.
Make sure you contact the credit card companies to get the exact policy number, emergency contact and your coverage detail.
I called some credit card companies and found out they only cover for the flight, in other words - they cover anything happens during the flight such as if I fell and injured myself on the plane etc. I was told they wouldn't cover my entire holiday but only during the flight - uh huh ~ That was the catch! I went straight to the Travel Insurance Company to purchase mine immediately.
Please note that not all credit card companies are like mine, but I just emphasize you should clarify if you are actually covered for what you need.
Q: What should you do when something happened such as car accident/ pick pocket/ sick during your travel?
A: Remain calm and contact below parties:
1. Travel Insurance Emergency Hotline
You will need to provide your insurance policy number, your legal names etc to them, then get their assistance for your situation. Make sure you note down their names, the exact procedures and what documents do you need to retain during the process.
2. Embassy from your country
If you are feeling helpless in other countries when things go wrong and you maynot able to speak their language or do not know your right, contact your embassy to get their assistance. I always make sure I have the embassy details in the country that I visit, it is very handy to call all these numbers in case of emergency. You can check on my travel check list for your reference.
* Retain Evidence
No matter if you were in a car accident, lost of passport, luggage delayed, medical situation etc, please make sure you retain all the documents such as police report, receipts, the car registration details, airline delayed message/letter etc.
If you still have time after doing all the above, please take photos of the evidence such as the car accident (with the background to show who's right/ wrong/ location/ injury etc), the broken luggage at the baggage collection area, or the flight delayed signage etc.
All these eventually may play an important role in future when an explanation is needed.
Just to share my personal view of how important travel insurance is to me, hope you find it useful.
I would strongly recommend to contact your travel insurance companies in your countries to get professional advice on which package is suitable for you.
Travel changes life and it changes my perspective in many ways, so keep travelling!