From The Straits Times    |

Always protect yourself from the unexpected when you travel by buying insurance. Cheryl Leong spoke to Singapore insurance experts from Great Eastern and NTUC Income to find out more.

Travel insurance
Travel insurance: When to buy and the policy details to look out for. Image: Getty Images

When should I buy insurance?
As soon as you confirm your travel plans. If you need to cancel your trip due to a serious injury or illness, the policy will reimburse you for what you have paid to travel agencies, airlines and hotels that you are unable to get a refund from.

Should I buy more than one insurance policy?
If you are able to claim the full amount from one policy, you are not entitled to claim from another. Some credit cards provide free minimal travel coverage. If you go for these, you may want to get another insurance policy to provide coverage for the areas that are not insured.

Can I claim for medical expenses after I’ve returned from a trip?
Yes, if you fall sick within five days of returning from your trip. Even though this is hard to prove, the insurance company usually pays.

For traditional Chinese medicine treatment claims, is there a registered list of practitioners that I can visit?
Practitioners are required to be licensed by the Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners Board. Refer to content/hprof/tcmpb/en.html for registered TCM practitioners. For overseas TCM practitioners, check the different policies for what they cover and what they do not, as clauses vary.

If I cancel my trip, what reasons are acceptable for claim?
If you cancel your trip within 30 days before departure, these reasons are acceptable:

  • Death of your relative or travel companion
  • Serious injury or illness
  • Unexpected strike or civil commotion at the planned destination
  • Serious damage of your home due to a natural disaster a week before departure
  • Your travel agency goes bankrupt
  • You are summoned to appear in court as a witness

 If you buy your insurance after news of a natural disaster or unrest at your destination breaks, you are unable to make a claim for cancelling your trip.

If I’ve lost my belongings overseas, what documents do I need to produce to make my claim?
A police report made in the country you visited. You can claim for items that were stolen from you or those which were lost in a natural disaster.

What does the term “rental vehicle excess” mean?
When renting vehicles abroad, rental companies require you to buy insurance. Should you get into an accident, their insurance company will pay up to a certain amount. The excess will be borne by your insurance company.

*Specific conditions for individual insurance companies apply. Make sure you read the policy wordings carefully.

This article was originally published in Simply Her Apr 2012.