Don’t travel alone – why insurance is your best travel companion

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By Bassam Adib Chilmeran, Chief Executive Officer, AWNIC

Bassam Adib Chilmeran, Chief Executive Officer, AWNIC

With the widespread roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine and the opening of more and more foreign travel markets to visitors from the UAE, both residents and nationals are looking to take advantage of the summer slowdown to embark on an overseas holiday. This means that now more than ever, the importance of purchasing travel insurance as the first step in your journey cannot be overstated.

It’s easy to develop an ‘it won’t happen to me’ mentality and consider insurance as an unnecessary expense, especially as most of us have forgotten the sometimes-harsh realities of overseas travel and have become complacent regarding the range of risks. The following are five important reasons why you should consider Travel Insurance on your next trip, and a reminder that while unlikely, sudden turn of events can take place. 

1.     Loss of belongings (e.g. passport, baggage) – Losing your prized possessions such as your laptops, driving licences, clothing and other personal items while on holiday is one of the most common and probably one of the most frustrating situations to face while on vacation. For missing belongings, you can claim the cost (up to a pre-approved amount), while if your baggage gets delayed, you can claim for smaller personal items that you might have to buy in the meantime. In case you lose your passport, a travel insurance will reimburse the cost of obtaining a new one.

2.     Flight cancellations or delays – This is a lot more common than people think. Imagine, that upon arrival at the expected airport, you discover your flight has been delayed, or worse, will be cancelled. What are your options if this does occur? If you have purchased Travel Insurance, then you will be able to seek compensation for any money spent waiting for your delayed flight to resume. If your flight is totally cancelled, though it is a disappointment you will be refunded the full flight cost.

3.     Medical Emergencies / COVID-19 Cover – No matter how well planned your vacation is, certain unexpected events can take place and leave you feeling frustrated while aboard. Falling ill while on vacation is the worst thing to face along with having to deal with a hefty bill due to the medical expenses. Travel insurance is essential, especially with travellers being at risk of contracting COVID-19 whilst the pandemic is still at its prime. Buying a policy that offers coverage for medical emergencies on a cashless basis may not just save your life but will also cover your medical bills and quarantine expenses in case your PCR test result is positive.

Depending on the country, other medical care cases can be vastly more expensive than what we are used to in the UAE, and even a ‘minor’ ailment could result in crippling financial liabilities. Plus, if a medical condition requires you to be transported to the nearest hospital, the cost would be covered. If you are already admitted to a hospital and need transferring back to the UAE for further medical help or to be with your loved ones, your travel insurance policy will take care of that too.

4.     Mandatory legal requirement – There is no real way around this one – this means that you are travelling to a territory or country where a travel insurance policy is a legal requirement. You may be refused entry to the country at immigration, with all the untold expense and negative experience that such an action will entail. It is imperative to check that the country you are planning to visit has such a legal requirement, and to protect yourself accordingly.

5.     Personal Accident coverage: The worst thing that can happen while you are travelling is an unexpected accident that leads to any kind of physical disablement such as loss of vision, losing limbs or ending up in permanent total disablement. Having a travel insurance may not help soothe the psychological pain of the trauma but can definitely ease the financial burden of receiving medical intervention and compensation.