Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Travel insurance is a must even if it is not mandatory

You may regularly skip buying a travel insurance for your short holidays to a nearby South East Asia wonder from Singapore. You are not alone, many Singaporeans as well as foreigners do not buy it too. You do not have to buy an insurance to go to SEA countries from Singapore. And also many Singaporeans think if something happens, they do not need to worry because hospitals in South East Asian countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia are cheap. Well this perception is wrong! If you have to spend more than a few nights in an hospital, it can get expensive really fast and you can face tens of thousands of dollars of hospital bill if an accident keeps you hospitalized in these countries. And if the worst happens and you need to be transported back to Singapore by an ambulance flight, do you think your embassy will pay the cost?

Even if you are going out of Singapore for a short trip never fail to buy a travel insurance. Many airliners, especially the budget ones, offer travel insurances when you are buying your ticket online. But check the policy rules and the coverage before buying an insurance, there are many companies out there competing to sell you travel insurance, use the competition to your advantage.

Even if you are traveling for a short time (i.e. weekend) do not fail to buy a travel insurance. There are basic plans to cover at least 100,000 SGD of medical expenses incurred overseas. For example, NTUC Income and DBS Travel Shield covers up to 500,000 SGD of your medical expenses if something goes terribly wrong. It is better to pay 50 SGD upfront instead of facing tens of thousands of hospital bills later.

What else should be covered? British Foreign and Commonwealth office offers a check list for UK citizens and most of these items apply to any traveller:

A good insurance policy will cover you for cancelling or cutting a trip short. Check carefully to see exactly what you’re covered for:

  • accident
  • illness
  • pregnancy (unknown when you buy the policy)
  • jury service or witness summons
  • home emergency: fire, storm or flood, burglary redundancy strikes
  • bad weather – affects the departure of flights and ships.
Did you buy a travel insurance?

If you are going to a holiday for adventure like Skuba diving or mountaineering try to find an insurance which covers them. Yes there are companies out there who will insure you like World Nomads Travel Insurance so be careful to check whether your adrenalin pumper activity is covered so you can risk your life peacefully. But some adventures will never be covered. Probably no one will cover you to ride a motorbike without a valid driving licence in Vietnam (it can easily be considered suicidal behavior!)

Att least buy something which covers overseas medical costs up to half a million SGD, pays full cost of travel back to Singapore (dead or alive), protects you against theft, damage and cancellations. You will slightly regret paying money to it after you safely return from your trip but you would deeply regret not taking out travel insurance if something goes wrong.

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