Travel insurance (or holiday insurance) is important if you want to make sure you’ll be able to afford medical care when you’re abroad.
Many travellers in Southeast Asia hold a perception that as basic medical care is relatively cheap, there’s little need for travel insurance. While it is true that basic healthcare in Southeast Asia can be cheap, the emphasis should be on the word basic — not cheap. We’ve seen the inside of Cambodian hospitals and believe us, you want to spend as little time as possible in one.
True, Thailand, VietNam and Singapore, and to a lesser extent Malaysia, have a higher standard of medical care, but bear in mind this care is often in private hospitals. Anything more than a few nights in hospital gets expensive fast and the medical bills associated with longer stays can easily run into the tens of thousands of dollars — and higher.
In buying travel insurance, you’re not only securing something that will assist should you find yourself in need, you’re also buying some peace of mind — both for you, while you travel, but also for your family and friends back home.
Why take out travel insurance?
- Getting medical care on holiday could cost you thousands of dollars.
- Other insurance – like credit card accident cover and private health insurance – doesn’t cover most travel emergencies.
- Without insurance, you may have to cover emergency expenses on your own.
- Travel insurance that covers getting you home and medical expenses is essential.
Who we recommend
We believe World Nomads policies are designed with independent travellers in mind and that the coverage they offer is a good deal for the price. Being an entirely web-based undertaking, it’s easy to buy insurance, make a claim and even extend a policy online — great news if you’re having such a terrific trip you’ve decided to extend your trip.
At the end of the day, buying travel insurance is a personal decision. The vast majority of travellers will have trouble-free trips throughout Southeast Asia. Accidents do, however, happen and while having insurance won’t just make the problems go away, it does make them easier to deal with.
What does travel insurance cover?Did You Know? One in three claims on travel insurance is for medical treatment. Most policies include cover for:
- Emergency medical expenses
- Personal liability, in case you’re sued for damaging property or causing injury
- Lost or stolen bags
- The costs of cancelling, delaying or cutting short your trip
What isn’t covered by travel insurance?
While you’re battling your way through the small print, keep in mind the following potential pitfalls.
* Dangerous activities
Many insurers consider motorcycling, diving, parachuting, hot-air ballooning and many other largely safe activities as hugely dangerous pursuits. Falling off your motorbike, breaking your arm and spending a few days in hospital will only be more painful if your insurer tells you the bill is all yours.
* Country exclusions
There’s no point in having travel insurance for your trip to Laos if it doesn’t cover Laos.
* Working exclusions
Will you be working during your trip? If so, check that pouring those drinks in a bar on Ko Phi Phi won’t void your travel insurance.
* Maximum amount per item
You don’t want your $1,500 camera stolen only to find out your insurer has a maximum payout per item of $250.
* Excessive excess
The excess is the amount you have to pay to lodge a travel insurance claim. If the stolen goods part of your policy has an excess of $100 and you have a camera worth $120 stolen, you must pay the first $100. Some travel policies have excesses so high it is hardly ever worth claiming.
* Got a ticket home?
Most travel insurers, including World Nomads, work on the assumption that you have a ticket home. If you don’t have one, be sure to read the small print carefully.
Travel tips from World Nomads
Here are a few things to consider when choosing your insurance to make sure that you will be covered on your adventure:
It’s no fun if you fall ill before you leave and cannot go on your trip. To claim though, you have to buy your insurance policy when you buy your trip. Not all insurance policies cover cancellation, so please read the policy wording relevant to you carefully
Lost or stolen gear:
Most travel insurance policies have a per-item value limit — make sure it’s high enough to cover your gear or choose a policy that allows you to increase the limit.
Medical expenses over and above evacuation:
Check that your cover includes emergency treatment while away and transport to bring you home — remembering that insurance providers will usually insist on getting you home as soon as you are fit enough to travel.
Look carefully at what your policy covers. You may find that you are not covered to do all of the adventurous activities that you are planning while you’re away.
Accidents happen. If it’s found to be your fault and someone decides to sue you, you want to be covered.
Five things you should know about World Nomads
How do I make a claim?
With World Nomads Travel Insurance you can claim online even if you are still travelling. And if you don’t entirely trust insurance companies, have a look at how World Nomads have helped some of their travellers.
Who can buy it?
World Nomads Travel Insurance is available to residents of more than 150 countries.
Extend your cover
Had a change of travel plans? Unlike other policies, World Nomads allows you to extend your policy indefinitely. Because it’s online, you can do it 24/7 from anywhere in the world.
What can I do?
While coverage may attract a premium, World Nomads cover most adventure sports from bungee jumping in New Zealand to white-water rafting in Colorado.
How do I buy it?
You can only buy World Nomads policies online using a credit card.