Peace of mind is worth its weight in gold. Claire Ryan, head of travel and personal insurance at AIG UAE and AIG MEA Limited, answers common questions about travel insurance
What are the main benefits I should expect from a travel insurance policy?
Depending on the level of coverage you choose, it may offer you protection in case of travel inconvenience, such as trip cancellation, flight delay or lost luggage. More importantly, you may choose a plan covering emergency medical expenses, which can be very expensive in most situations.
Taking out travel insurance is like getting international health insurance too, right?
Travel insurance covers you against emergency medical expenses, which means surgical and hospital treatment if you become ill or injured during your trip. However, medical treatment required due to a pre-existing medical condition that you knew about at the time of taking out your insurance would, in most cases, not be covered.
If I buy my holiday on my credit card, I’m offered some protection. Do I need an extra policy on top?
Credit card insurance coverage is generally limited, and all travel bookings must be completely purchased using the respective card. You must check your policy schedule from the issuing bank to understand if all your needs are covered. In most cases, the limits are quite low so, for example, travelling to the US where medical costs are very expensive would most likely require you to purchase a more comprehensive travel insurance plan.
How can I ensure the cancellation policy covers all?
The travel insurance cancellation policy will not cover you for all reasons. It will cover you for the travel and accommodation costs, transfers, excursions and, in some cases, even the visa costs, but only if the cancellation is unavoidable and due to a set list of reasons, such as an illness that prevents you from travelling, or the death of a relative. What it won’t cover you for, in most cases, is you choosing not to travel.
I need coverage for my entire family, from our baby to our elderly grandparents who are joining us on our trip. Can I cover everyone with one policy?
The family travel insurance policy usually covers husband, wife and children. However, you may opt for a group travel insurance where you can add as many additional persons as required, including extended family and friends. You need to also check the age limitations, as in some travel insurance policies, the elderly have different rates or benefit limitations.
I travel a lot. Is it worth getting a multi-trip policy even if I’m yet to book all my trips for the year?
Absolutely. An annual multi-trip insurance will work out more cost effective if you’re a frequent traveller. Additionally, people tend to book their travel insurance after they’ve bought their flights and accommodation.
But if you have a yearly policy, for example, the trip cancellation benefit is on-going and you are covered from the moment you book even the first sector of your flight.
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