Want to get the most mileage out of your travel insurance policy? Here are five lesser-known tips that can help you supercharge your travel insurance coverage on your next holiday.
Seasoned travellers already know that travel insurance offers a cost-effective way to obtain important coverage against common risks one may encounter when taking a trip.
To help you get even more mileage from your travel insurance plans, here are five lesser-known tips about travel insurance that even avid travellers may not know about.
Tip 1: Don’t buy directly from airlines or travel agents
When buying plane tickets, or booking a holiday package with a travel agent, you’ll commonly be offered a travel insurance add-on to go with your order. This is often promoted as a convenient way to get the coverage you need.
But hold up. You know how they always keep candy bars and mints at the supermarket checkout counter? Well, they’re placed there for people to grab them at the last minute, even if they didn’t originally plan on getting any.
It’s the same idea here. By offering a travel insurance plan just before you check out your basket, the airline or travel agent is betting that you’ll click “yes” and just add it to your purchase.
Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with these travel insurance policies, but unless you’re familiar with insurance jargon and can quickly understand what exactly you’re buying, you may end up paying for a plan that may not give you the entire suite of cover you may need.
Also, you may be paying a higher premium when purchasing a travel insurance plan this way, because you’re unlikely to suspend your ticket booking just to go check and compare travel insurance plans.
Which brings us to our next tip.
Tip 2: Don’t rush when buying your travel insurance plan
A travel insurance plan is only useful if it offers the coverage you need – both in terms of scope, and the limits you can claim.
As such, it is a good idea to plan out your itinerary, which will help you determine what type of coverage you require from your travel insurance policy, and to what extent.
For instance, if the highlight of your winter escapade is the Radio City Christmas Spectacular in Manhattan, New York, you’d probably want a policy that offers reimbursement of your tickets if you somehow missed your show.
Therefore, you should purchase your travel insurance only after you have a thorough idea of your itinerary. This will help prevent you having to go without coverage for important activities or events.
Tip 3: Some travel insurance plans cover pre-existing conditions
Travel insurance offers medical coverage that will help pay for hospitalisation and treatment costs overseas (and to a lesser extent, follow-up treatment upon your return to Singapore).
However, this benefit does not cover pre-existing conditions, so if you suffer an asthma attack while taking in the breathtaking sights of Mt Fuji, you’ll have to pay for your treatment out of your own pocket.
Thankfully, there are travel insurance plans that come with cover for pre-existing conditions, so those planning to travel while nursing a health issue should prioritise these types of plans. Otherwise, the only alternative is to sign up for a global cover health insurance plan, which is much costlier and designed to meet long-term needs.
Be sure to check the eligibility requirements for medical coverage of pre-existing health conditions – having a terminal prognosis with life expectancy of less than 12 months may render someone ineligible, for example.
Tip 4: You may already have (some) coverage
Besides a standalone travel insurance policy, did you know that there are three other ways in which you may already be covered for your trip?
Firstly, your personal accident plan may contain a clause that extends your accident cover to overseas locations, or even worldwide. This means that you and your loved ones can claim personal accident benefits even for accidental injury occurring in a foreign country.
Secondly, your home insurance policy may also offer coverage for your personal belongings on a global basis, which means if you lose your iPad in Paris, you can claim for reimbursement.
And thirdly, several credit cards provide complimentary travel insurance cover that is automatically applied when you pay for your tickets. But, note that these are group insurance policies that typically offer no customisations or add-ons.
These insurance benefits can help to fill in gaps in your standalone travel insurance plan, allowing you to purchase a more basic policy that is less costly. On the other hand, some may find it difficult to track multiple plans for different benefits, and may prefer to cover all their needs using one single travel plan.
Tip 5: Consider adventure or extreme sports cover
Your definition of “extreme sport” may differ from that of your insurer’s, which could leave you without recourse if an unruly horse happens to throw you off the saddle, causing you to sprain your elbow.
The point is, check carefully what activities or events are considered high risk, and therefore ineligible for cover under a standard travel policy. You should consider purchasing an adventure or extreme sports add-on to protect yourself if you’re planning on going, say, whitewater rafting.
Note that the activity organiser may also offer stand alone insurance for participants. While this may be less costly, the cover will only be for that specific activity and location. So, if you’re planning on participating in several such activities throughout your trip, an adventure benefit that covers your entire trip is probably the better choice.
This also extends to your sporting equipment. Standard personal belongings cover may not be high enough for your expensive golf clubs, or may even exclude these sort of high-value items altogether.
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