Why buy travel insurance even for short trips
It seems more worth it to buy travel insurance for exotic or “riskier” destinations. After all, the cost averages out across more days. Furthermore, one might always think “what could happen to me on short trips or in “safer” countries”?
However, getting travel insurance protection makes sense even for short trips. Here’s why:
1. Your trip may get cancelled
When planning for a holiday, it’s difficult to imagine cancelling or postponing it. But anything could happen, and bad luck has nothing to do with it.
The government may warn against unnecessary travel to your destination if there’s a natural disaster or terror threat. Or a deadly infectious disease might have broken out. Or you or your travel buddies fall sick or have a personal emergency before or during the trip.
In such cases, travel insurance policies can cover you for the non-refundable fees that you have already paid.
Pro-tip: Check that your policy provides cover for trip cancellations, and loss of advance travel payments (e.g. deposits) due to insolvency or bankruptcy of the travel agency.
2. You may need to see the doctor
Being on holiday provides a reason to try new things. For example, walking 14 km in a day on rough paths; or visiting ancient ruins; or trying local delicacies in a back alley.
You might have hours of fun. Or you might sprain an ankle and get an upset stomach. Travel insurance can reimburse you for the medical expenses made overseas and extend to follow-up treatment when you return home.
What’s more, some policies even have a referral list for medical service providers and interpreters. So, you can be assured of the quality of medical care, and know exactly what the doctors are telling you.
Pro-tip: Buy your travel insurance in advance, as some policies provide coverage for journey cancellations or postponements 30 days before your trip.
3. You may need medical evacuation
This is important if you are headed for a remote location, or an area that doesn’t have the health care facilities you need.
Take national parks in Indonesia for instance. Their volcanic crater lakes are picturesque, but the spot you’re at may not have the facilities to deal with extreme altitude sickness, or averse respiratory reactions to the strong sulphur smell.
Emergency transport to a suitable medical facility with proper medical care can be incredibly expensive, reaching five or six figures in many cases. Medical evacuation coverage will allow you to arrange for this emergency transportation without incurring a hefty bill.
Pro-tip: Save your insurer’s contact number (complete with the +65-country code) in your phone, so you have it ready
4. You may lose your luggage
Imagine reaching your destination only to find out that your luggage hasn’t arrived, or that it rolls out on the conveyer belt with a broken zip or even a missing wheel. Or imagine losing your wallet or backpack to thieves in a foreign land.
Travel insurance can allow you to make claims on the lost contents, and sometimes even the clothes, innerwear and toiletries that you purchase to tide you over the trip.
Pro-tip: Take along photocopies of your important documents in case they get stolen. Also, keep all related receipts and reports so you’ll have a smoother experience when making insurance claims. (Want more travel tips? Read our travel insurance here.)
5. You plan on diving, hot-air ballooning, or taking a helicopter ride
Never assume that an activity is covered by a standard travel insurance. Even though hot-air balloons and helicopter rides are not strenuous, they are considered to be “adventure sports”. This puts them in the same league as diving, canoeing, paragliding and skydiving.
Pro-tip: Check if your travel insurance covers you for any possible injuries in the course of enjoying these adventures.
Travel insurance should not be an afterthought
Insurance is something that we hope not to use, but helpful to have when things go wrong. As there are many things involved in choosing the right travel insurance for your trip, it is important not to rush the decision.
So never forget about travel insurance. It could mean the difference between holi-yays and holi-nays!