Is travel insurance worth buying?

I travel pretty often, and almost every time I plan a trip with others, someone is bound to ask me. Do I have travel insurance or should they buy one?

I understand that people want to make full use of their budget for their holiday expenditures. Travel Insurance can be seen as unnecessary should nothing go wrong on your trip. However, in my personal opinion, nothing and nowhere is truly safe these days. Have you heard about the possible volcano eruption in Bali or the recent mad driver in Melbourne? An emergency evacuation can cost up to $100,000!

Even if acts of nature or terrorism are accepted risks, anything can go wrong while you are in a foreign land. Petty crimes are prevalent in most touristy places, and flight delays are pretty commonplace too.

Like most insurance, you would think it’s unnecessary, but when something happens, you would wish you’ve bought one. I like the peace of mind that I’m covered should something go amiss.

In fact, over the years, I’ve have amassed quite a few travel stories which might have resulted in a painful experience had I not always bought travel insurance. I’ve missed flights in China and Europe; lost my mobile in Taiwan, got robbed in Malaysia; had my baggage delayed in Finland ( during winter when the temperature was -10C) and fell ill in America, Japan, and Australia. The issues eventually resolved, leaving me with memorable travel stories. Most importantly, I did not end up with a financial catastrophe.

When my usual annual travel insurance plan expired, I decided to give AXA@Post’s ‘SmartTraveller’ a try. I bought a single trip plan for my trip to Bangkok (where the photos in this post were taken), and I have to say I’m extremely impressed. I had a wonderful trip cafe hopping and shopping at the various markets with friends. Even though I didn’t have to claim for anything, just knowing that I’m ready for anything unexpected is a relief

Other than the usual personal accident coverage, Smart Traveller covers up to S$600,000 for medical expenses while overseas and up to S$300 for emergency personal mobile phone charges. I’m not sure if most of you know about this but if you feel sick post-trip, any medical expenses within five days are covered.

Receive up to S$10,000 for lost personal effects and reimbursement to replace the essential items.

If you are travelling with others, travel insurance is handy should your trip be cancelled when your travel companions pull out at the last minute, and you decide not to go ahead. I have a personal story of a journey that started with five girls and ended up with me as a solo traveller who still forged ahead because my tickets and accommodations were already booked. But that is a long story for another time. With SmartTraveller, I will no longer have to worry about trip cancellations, delays, overbooked flights, or even the collapse of the travel agency.

While most of what I’ve mentioned is covered in most travel insurance policies, but these are the extra factors that pushed me in favour of SmartTraveller.

I’m quite the adventurer when it comes to trying out new experiences. Hence, I am so glad that SmartTraveller has an adventure cover. It will cover when I go hiking or mountaineering (up to 3,500m and does not require the use of specific climbing equipment/ropes) like I did in Ijen, scuba diving (no deeper than 30 m deep with a qualified diving instructor; or diving with a buddy – both must be PADI certified) and white water rafting (up to grade 3.) SmartTraveller even covers leisure amateur sports such as bungee jumping, parachuting, and skydiving! All you have to do is view my New Zealand video to know how much adrenaline rush I can get on one trip.

IIn this mad age, we don’t know which lunatic will decide to bomb a concert or drive through crowds. Touristy attractions are probably one of the most dangerous places to be in, but we can’t always avoid them when we are on holiday. It’s attractive to me that SmartTraveller covers for full terrorism including the use of nuclear, chemical and biological substances.

What I love are the super useful (and pretty affordable in my opinion) add-ons you can load into your policy. I’m a pet owner, so for just a couple of dollars more, I chose to upgrade my plan with Pet Care. This add-on will cover pet hotel late charges up to $1,500 if my scheduled return to Singapore is delayed. Also for a couple of dollars, you can add-on Rental Car Excess which will cover damage excess for a rental vehicle up to S$2,000.

For those who would like to know, I usually purchase the annual travel insurance policy as I travel a lot, so it works out to be cheaper for me. I also hate the hassle of buying single trip policies since at times I do fly on a whim. I’m not sponsored, but I’ve just purchased my annual travel insurance with AXA’s@Post SmartTraveller after learning how much more coverage I’ll be getting compared to my previous one. Don’t say I didn’t share. Here’s the link to SmartTraveller!

I’m sure by now you can see how I feel that travel insurance is a worthwhile purchase. What about you? Share your thoughts with me.


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