Insurance: Is travel insurance worth it?

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Kita Mo
Kita Mo
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Travel insurance is generally availed by people who want to be insured for a vast array of possible circumstances. Travel insurance typically includes medical services if you get sick while traveling, need to repatriate due to unforeseen externalities, have some of your possessions stolen, need to cancel your trip or hotel bookings, and even being rescued by helicopter if need be (evacuation), especially if your itinerary involves outdoor activities.

Of course, these may vary according to the insurance provider, but in general, these are some of the available perks.

On the other hand, most plans don’t cover the following

  • Accidents committed while doing extreme adventure activities such as hang gliding, paragliding, or bungee jumping (unless you pay for extra coverage)
  • Alcohol or drug-related incidents
  • Carelessness in handling your possessions and baggage
  • Any scenario that the insurance company deems as “reckless” (the definition varies across different companies)
  • Pre-existing conditions. For example, the cost of buying more insulin if you have diabetes or general check-ups that involve you seeing a doctor
  • Lost or stolen cash
  • The terms pertaining to pilferage don’t apply if you left something in plain sight or unattended

The obvious advantage of being insured in your travels is having that sense of security: “If something goes wrong, I’ll be reimbursed.” However, one needs to be doubly sure and familiarize themselves completely with the terms of their package, since this may not cover everything you expect. Typical insurance plans would have a “Covered Reasons” and “Plan Exclusions” section, or the like. 

Other than these two sections, you must also pay attention to the terms and conditions. Keep in mind that although insurance plans lessen the financial risk, they do not eliminate them. As such, there’s all the more reason to pay more attention to the fine print, or in other words, spot the loopholes.

With regards to COVID-19, a travel insurance jargon comes to mind: Cancel For Any Reason, or simply, CFAR. CFAR allows travelers to cancel pre-booked flights and hotel stays. Having a CFAR plan gives you the flexibility to cancel a trip and recover a large portion of the amount you paid in case something unexpected comes up. Be mindful that CFAR plans usually do not recompense you with 100 percent of what you paid for, and usually just covers 75 or 50 percent, depending on the plan you availed.

Moreover, there are two types of travel insurance options when it comes to coronavirus contingencies: trip cancellation insurance, and travel medical insurance. From the term itself, trip cancellation covers situations like a trip interruption, emergency medical evacuation, repatriation of remains, and lost baggage among others. It covers prepaid trip costs if you need to suddenly cancel your trip. Travel medical insurance more or less entitles you to similar benefits like the ones for trip cancellation. The only difference is that travel medical insurance is more focused on providing short-term medical insurance. 

Last October 16, CNN Philippines reported on the IATF’s directive to now permit non-essential travel, to take effect on October 21. Considering just the benefits, it’s easy to see that travel insurance may be a necessity for those itching to go on vacation at the current time. But in the end, it’s still subject to one’s capability and confidence in keeping themselves safe and secure.

Ervin Delas Peñas

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