Myth-Busting Common Travel Insurance Misconceptions

travel insurance tips

Travel insurance is often an unsung hero of many peoples’ trips. It provides a whole range of helpful coverage that can give you a peace of mind while you are travelling, but there is a lot about travel insurance that gets misinterpreted.

When you start planning your next trip and you start researching what travel insurance plan is right for you, you will likely come to realise that there are a number of myths prevalent around it. These myths can often confuse you, and deter you from making an informed choice.

Here are a couple of common travel insurance myths that come up frequently and the truths behind them.

Travel insurance is just another type of medical insurance

While travel insurance most definitely covers medical bills under certain conditions, it is far from being true medical insurance. The most common forms of trip cancellation or interruption insurance tend to only cover medical emergencies. These are very helpful in the event you break a leg during a ski trip on a snowy mountain, but it won’t cover you if you catch a flu.

If you want to ensure coverage for non-emergency medical expenses while abroad, you have several options:

One is to add on coverage for international travel. These add-ons can be worth your while, especially if you are a frequent traveller, be it for leisure or business.

Another option is to purchase international travel health insurance. Many major insurance companies offer health insurance that can cover treatment both in your home country and worldwide for both emergencies and more predictable treatment. Things such as ​​maternity, dental and wellness checkups should all be included in such insurance policies.

Travel insurance is not worth the price

Chances are, you will likely not need to claim your travel insurance on most trips. However, it is a small price to pay compared to the potential financial losses and inconveniences accrued in the event something does go wrong on your trip. The cost of travel insurance varies depending on factors such as trip duration, coverage limits, age of travellers, and destination. 

For the most part, travel insurance costs are reasonable and will often represent a small fraction of the cost of your entire trip. The benefits however, have the potential to outweigh the cost of the policy. For example, the Allianz Travel Easy policy can get as low as RM100 per adult for up to five days coverage worldwide, with domestic policies costing even less.

Travel insurance is most useful for extreme sports junkies

This might make sense at first glance, but is actually quite the opposite. In fact, the vast majority of travel insurance claims come from travel delays, lost baggage, cancellations, and medical costs. Many travel insurance policies out there actually won’t cover you for certain high-risk activities such as scuba diving, mountain climbing, bungee jumping, skydiving, etc. Usually, there will be a completely separate policy or an add-on for thrillseekers who are looking for a more extreme trip.

If you look around, you will likely be able to find a policy or add-on that covers all outdoor and indoor activities. However, in some rarer cases, you might be able to find more that covers air activities such as skydiving, hang gliding, and bungee jumping; or alternatively, one specific for water sports such as watercrafting, scuba diving and deep-sea fishing. Sometimes, these benefits can be found under a personal accident policy.

If you are not sure where to start, you could check out iMoney’s personal accident insurance directory.

Travel insurance is best for people with medical issues

If you are afflicted with pre-existing medical conditions, don’t expect your travel insurance to be on hand for every situation to help you if said condition ever interferes with your trip. Many policies explicitly do not cover pre-existing conditions or travel that is done against the advice of a physician.

Do note that the definition of a pre-existing condition can be very broad. For example, If you were previously diagnosed with hypertension, and you suffer a mild heart attack while climbing up the stairs of the Colosseum in Rome, your policy provider might have to look over your claim with more scrutiny, and may even deny it outright. To ensure coverage, consider a more comprehensive policy that includes pre-existing conditions.

Travel insurance can be bought any time before your trip

It is ultimately for the best that your travel insurance comes in early in your trip planning process. There are quite a few policies out there that come with time-sensitive benefits. Some of these include things such as pre-existing medical condition coverage, trip cancellation protection, and “cancel for any reason” coverage, which may have specific time limitations for eligibility. This is why you should purchase travel insurance as soon as possible once you have confirmed when you will be leaving for your trip. This ensures that you have maximum coverage and benefits.

While you can purchase travel insurance after your trip begins, it is highly advisable that you do not do this. Waiting until after your trip starts may result in very limited or no coverage for incidents that may occur.

Travel insurance is only meant for international travel

Travel insurance brings value in both international and domestic travel. Unexpected events can happen at any time, be it overseas, or at home, though international travel may involve more complicated considerations such as medical evacuation. The right travel insurance policy can provide coverage for you regardless of whether you are abroad or travelling domestically. It is essential to assess your travel needs and consider travel insurance as a means of protection, regardless of your destination.

If you remain unconvinced, we have an article that dives deeper into the importance of domestic travel insurance.

All travel insurance policies are the same

This is simply untrue. Travel insurance policies vary widely in terms of coverage, limits, exclusions, and benefits. This is why research is very important. You will need to consider many factors such as  trip cancellation and interruption coverage, emergency medical coverage, lost luggage coverage, and 24/7 travel assistance services, in order to find the right policy for you. It is absolutely crucial to read the policy details and understand the coverage before making a decision.

Differences in travel insurance policies

ProviderMedical Coverage (RM)Evacuation & Repatriation (RM)Trip Cancellation (RM)Lost Luggage (RM)
Berjaya Sompo150,000250,000--
Tune Protect200,000200,00010,000750

*Benefits listed are based on basic insurance packages

So before your next adventure, it is imperative to do your research and thoroughly understand the facts before committing to your trip. Instead of believing myths and misconceptions, it is far better to be well informed, so that you may enjoy your trip without having to worry every now and then.

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