Insights + interviews

How Important Is Travel Insurance?

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Do you purchase travel insurance for your holidays? Find out why it’s important and which travel insurance policies best fit your travel needs.

The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) recently conducted a survey on travel insurance, and found some interesting insights. Over 400 respondents aged 25 to 55 took part in the survey.

Here are some of the top insights from the survey:

High proportion of consumers surveyed are aware of travel insurance and act on it

  • 9 in 10 consumers are aware of travel insurance
  • Of these, 93 percent had purchased travel insurance before

Main reasons for insuring themselves:

  • Protect against unexpected events
  • General peace of mind
  • Cover potential accidents/medical expenses

Main reasons for NOT insuring themselves:

  • Most common reason cited was due to short duration of trip
  • Do not believe in travel insurance
  • Already covered
  • Destination is perceived to be low risk

Age groups that are more likely to be affected by travel agent insolvency:

  • Those aged 25 to 34 and those 55 and above are less likely to look for travel agent insolvency coverage
  • 1 in 2 consumers are not aware of travel agent insolvency coverage

Main reason for not purchasing travel agent insolvency coverage:

  • Majority felt that the risk of travel agencies closing down was small

The statistics also revealed some contradictions where more feel that insolvency coverage is important/very important, despite low awareness and purchase. Older consumers in particular, saw insolvency coverage as the most important, even though they were the least aware about it.

So how important exactly is it to purchase travel insurance? We invite Khim Lim (KL), Managing Director of financial advisor company, GenRiver Financial Pte Ltd to comment on this:

KL: Travel insurance can cover unexpected financial expenses that may arise before, during or after one’s travel. The scope can include but is not limited to medical expenses due to illnesses contracted during the trip, non-reimbursable travel expenses for a cancelled trip due to family members being hospitalised, flight delays due to poor weather conditions, car rental excess due to accidents whilst overseas, claims against travel agent insolvency and luggage damages. Hence, it gives travellers a peace of mind when they travel and protects them against the cost of unexpected events.

However, with so many different travel insurance policies, it can get a little tricky to decide which one best suits our travel needs. We got Khim Lim to break it down for us:

KL: When selecting a travel insurance plan, it would be wise to consider the health conditions of the person who is travelling, crime rates at the destination and the types of activities that are planned during the trip as these plans vary widely in terms of coverage, benefits and costs.

Travellers who are older or have complex health histories might want to note that most travel insurance policies will not pay in the event that the losses are triggered as a result of pre-existing conditions. Those who are afraid that their current health issues might result in travel inconveniences and would like to be covered for that should consider an insurer that covers pre-existing health conditions.

Those who are going to places where pick-pocketing is rampant and where general petty crime rates are higher, a plan with higher limits of coverage for loss of items due to these reasons would be more suitable.

Travellers planning on adventurous outdoor activities during their trips such as white water rafting, diving, skiing and mountain hiking, should make sure that there is sufficient accident coverage and overseas hospital treatment coverage.

Those planning a self-drive holiday may also like to look out for rental car excess coverage should any accidents take place while they are overseas.  Excess expenses charged by the rental company can be claimed from the insurer along with personal accident medical expenses.

As for infectious diseases, some policies may not cover for that so it would be wise to check the fine details before making a purchase.

Travellers can also request for a contract specimen to find out more about the fine print terms and conditions of their travel insurance packages. It is important for travellers to know exactly what they have paid for so that they are informed and protected in the event of unfortunate situations. This way they can also get the necessary documents to facilitate claims in the event of financial losses.

For more information about GenRiver and its services, visit genriver.com.

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