Planning a trip to Europe, USA, or other parts of Asia? We’ve done the legwork to suss out the best travel insurance plans for you.
March school holidays are just round the corner and the June term break is barely three months away. For most Singaporean families, it means one thing: it’s time to gear up for travel.
This year, we have a choice of travel-shopping at two major fairs: the biannual NATAS Travel Fair, which is happening this weekend at Singapore Expo Hall 8, and the new Outbound Travel Fair, which will be held three weeks later from 27 to 29 March at The Sands Expo and Convention Centre. The latter is organised by a breakaway group of travel agencies including the industry’s “Big Four” – Chan Brothers, CTC Travel, Dynasty Travel and SA Tours.
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|Top 10 popular travel destinations for Singaporeans|
[Source: 2014 survey by the National Association of Travel Agents Singapore]
Going by past year trends, it is likely that you may be planning a trip to Italy, Finland or Eastern Europe, or possibly a relaxing cruise journey around the region.
Regardless of where you’re headed to, you should definitely look into buying a travel insurance plan for peace of mind and to keep yourself protected against any unexpected circumstances. So many things can potentially go wrong in a foreign land – be it losing your baggage, encountering theft, or falling sick – that it is better to pay a small insurance premium than to lose the entire sum you’ve invested into the trip.
However, we know that choosing and comparing the prices and benefits of travel insurance policies from different insurers can be a very tedious process, so we’ve simplified it here for you. Just click on the link for the region you’re travelling to to see the price comparison chart.
Here are some tips to consider when deciding on the right travel insurance plan for you:
Check the coverage limits thoroughly. The amount of coverage varies from insurer to insurer. The most important thing is to check that your selected plan has a high coverage limit on overseas medical expenses. This is important because if you fall sick or get injured and need to seek professional care, you’ll want your hospital bills to be covered. Also, not all travel policies cover sports or high-risk adventures like skiing. If you’re planning such activities, double check to see if you’ll be covered or if you’ll have to top up the insurance premium. Don’t forget to disclose any medical conditions in advance to the insurer.
Save the 24-hour emergency hotline on speed dial. When you’re stuck alone in a foreign country where you may not know what to do in an emergency, having access to a 24-hour hotline can be a literal lifesaver. Check that your plan provides round-the-clock emergency evacuation and help services. You don’t want to call and be told to call back later.
Buy your travel insurance early. Don’t leave buying travel insurance till the last minute. Many travellers buy travel insurance within three days of departure, or worse still, on the day itself. In reality, you should get yourself covered as soon as you’ve booked your flight tickets and hotel accommodation – which are likely to be the most expensive expenditure for your trip. Getting yourself covered early will come in handy should you need to change or cancel your travel plans. As an added bonus, you may even enjoy special early-bird promotions, which are periodically offered by some insurers.
Consider getting an annual plan. If you travel often, especially with your family, it may be more cost-effective to invest in an annual insurance plan. This also saves you the hassle of buying a new policy every time you travel.
Keep your receipts in case you need to file a claim. In an ideal scenario, your trip would have gone smoothly and you would not need to file any claims. But just in case something does happen, you’ll want to make sure you have a copy of any documentation needed for claims purposes, such as flight tickets, shopping invoices, medical certificates or even police reports. To cut down on the hassle, you may wish to consolidate all your purchases on one credit card so as to easily retrieve the receipts in future.