Making an average of 5.2 overseas trips a year, Singaporeans are a well-travelled bunch.
In the shadow of every enjoyable holiday are the potential perils of overseas travel, such as flight delays, theft, illness, and even personal liability.
Travel insurance gives you peace of mind and protects you the financial loss to remedy unforeseen situations on your trip, including booking new plane tickets, getting a hotel room at the last minute, or soothing the loss of your luggage.
While travel insurance is one of the simplest (and cheapest) forms of insurance, there are a bewildering array of choices in the market and important considerations you need to make. Choosing the cheapest policy isn’t necessarily better, nor is buying the most expensive plan.
Here’s what you need to know to choose the best travel insurance policy for you.
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When Is The Best Time To Buy Travel Insurance?
In order to maximise the coverage you receive, you should buy your travel insurance as soon as you booked your air tickets and accommodation.
This is because once you purchased the policy, you’ll be able to make claims if your trip is cancelled or postponed due to recognised reasons covered by your policy, such as the airport closing or your travel agency shutting down and leaving you high and dry.
Single Trip Or Annual Travel Insurance?
You can purchase travel insurance for a single trip or buy an annual policy that is valid for trips over a one year period that originate and conclude in Singapore. Annual travel policies also typically have a cap on the length of each trip.
If you’re a frequent traveller making trips that are similar, annual travel cover could make sense for financial and convenience reasons.
However, if you have some trips to countries that are close by for leisure and other trips that are further away and more adventurous in nature, an annual policy might not make as much financial sense. This is because you’ll either be paying a premium for more comprehensive coverage on trips that don’t really require it, or be under-insured on your epic vacations.
Individual Or Family Travel Insurance Plan?
As the name suggests, an individual travel policy covers a single person, while a family plan covers the policyholder and their immediate family members.
Family plans are cheaper than buying policies individually, though insurers will usually place a cap on the maximum number of people covered under a family plan.
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Comparing Travel Insurance: Benefits And Exclusions
Coverage amount and benefits differ among insurers and individual products. Most comprehensive travel insurance policies have benefits in the areas of personal accident, medical costs, travel delay, trip cancellation, and loss of personal artefacts.
You should think about the appropriate amount of coverage you need, rather than paying more for a higher amount thinking it is ‘better’. For instance, on a trip to Malaysia, you’re probably not going to bring a huge amount of valuables, and the cost of making alternative transportation and lodging arrangements will not be very expensive. Getting a more ‘high end’ policy that covers you for hundreds of thousands of dollars more isn’t necessary and you’ll just be wasting money.
As important as the benefits your insurance policy are, the exclusions that will not be covered is perhaps even more critical. The last thing you want is to think you’re covered, only to realise you’re not.
Exclusions mean that the insurer will not cover claims caused by or arising from these events. These include carelessness/self-inflicted loss, travelling to countries in an excluded list, engaging in hazardous activities, or pre-existing conditions.
Ensure you’re familiar with the exclusions, and keep that in mind during your holiday. If a ride in unlicensed taxi services are not covered by your policy, then you probably shouldn’t ride in it, or risk not being protected.
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How To Buy Travel Insurance?
These days, you can buy travel insurance online directly from the insurance company, or through financial advisers, your travel agency, or comparison websites like Insurance Market.
The benefit of using comparison websites like Insurance Market is that it allows you to quickly filter and sort policies across insurers based on the criteria you need. This provides you with a convenient shortlist to research further.
With that shortlist, visit the product page of each of the travel plans and look at the terms and conditions carefully before deciding on which policy is best for you, based on coverage amount, benefits and exclusions.
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Before Flying Off For Your Trip
Now that you purchased the best travel insurance, be sure to note the following information before your trip:
– Your policy reference number
– Claims procedure, including deadlines and documentation required
– Emergency hotline to contact your insurer, especially if your policy provides for emergency evacuation
Now all that’s left is to enjoy your holiday. Bon voyage!
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