TLDR: Buy travel insurance as soon as you have booked your travel tickets and accommodation!
If your company’s dinner budget is $10, would you buy: A) Egg fried rice ($4.50) with a can of Pokka green tea ($1.50) or B) Double McSpicy Meal with an extra slice of cheese ($10)?
Obviously, option A right!? (Unless you’re on a Keto diet.) The point is that all of us want to maximise our money for its worth. The concept applies similarly to travel insurance. Ironically, most people tend to delay the buying of insurance to the last few days before travelling. However, a better practice to buy travel insurance as soon as we have booked our air tickets and accommodation should be adopted. It makes sense (cents too) to be covered for as much time as possible before we start travelling. Why buy a plate of fried rice when you can get a double McSpicy meal? Why wait to cover your trip until the week before you leave?
By buying travel insurance sooner than later, we gain the most benefit from cancellation cover. Cancellation cover allows us to claim our prepaid cost if we need to cancel our trip prior to departure. In most cases, we can claim lost funds related to cancelled, non-refundable flights, accommodation, tours, activities, travel agency fees and other related travel bookings. Here are 3 scenarios you may be familiar with:
Scenario 1: My Wife Fell Sick
Xiao Ming booked his wife and himself on a month-long backpacking trip to Europe but decided to leave their travel insurance arrangements until a week before they left. However, his wife suddenly became very ill and the couple ended up cancelling the trip. Both the airlines and hotels had a non-refundable booking policy and this means that Xiao Ming is not entitled to any refund of the money he had already paid. Since the couple isn’t covered by travel insurance, they are unable to make a cancellation claim.
In the end, not only did they miss a holiday, they will probably miss their money too. If Xiao Ming had bought their travel insurance as early as right after they have booked their Europe trip, he could have used the money he claimed to re-book a trip later on when his wife recovers from her illness.
Scenario 2: My Travel Agency Shutted Down
Xiao Hua decided to book a family trip to Japan with a travel agency to witness the cherry blossoms. She heard from her friends that there will be an upcoming travel fair which will likely feature certain promotions on travel insurance, so she waited. A few weeks flew by, and she received an email from her travel agency announcing that they are declaring bankruptcy. As the travel agency is shutting down for good, Xiao Hua is not entitled to any refund of the money she had already paid. Since she and her family aren’t covered by travel insurance, they are unable to make a claim. In the end, she wasted all her money. If Xiao Hua had bought the travel insurance as early as right after the agency has booked the Japan trip, she could have used the money she claimed to re-book a trip with another travel agency.
Scenario 3: My Trip Was Ruined by Natural Disaster
Xiao Qiang finally decided that it was time to visit Santorini. What could be more romantic than watching the sunset over Santorini’s famous Caldera view? The answer is glaringly obvious. Watching the sunset over Santorini’s famous Caldera view with your lover, but we shall leave the debate of “Solo Travel Vs Couple Travel” for another day. Since there is still a couple of months until he takes off, he was interested in waiting for an online discount for travel insurance. What is the rush, anyway? Two months went by, and he has yet to buy travel insurance. One night, he was scrolling through his Facebook page only to discover that Santorini has been invaded by mighty Godzilla.
He wanted to cancel his flight and accommodation, but that would mean wasting 3 months of his life pay. He hesitates between befriending Godzilla or losing his money. If Xiao Qiang had bought the travel insurance as early as right after he has booked his Santorini trip, he could have used the money he claimed to re-book a trip to a different country.
Buy It Before You Need It
As Justin Bieber once sang, “never say never”. Life is unpredictable. What can go wrong, very possibly might go wrong. Not everything always goes as planned. Of course, we don’t want these mishaps to happen, however, we can’t deny that there is a possibility for any of the aforementioned scenarios to occur. If travel insurance is purchased after such incidents have happened, the trip cancellation will not be covered. We’ll lose any non-refundable fares or costs that we have already paid. Why should we only learn till we run into unforeseen circumstances that dig deep into the folds of our wallet?
If you’re travelling so often that the pages of your passport look like the scribblings of a child’s colouring book, you should check out PolicyPal. Via our app, you can now purchase a policy, view your documents and file a claim-all with just a few taps. This is great for reporting an incident or simply viewing your coverage. Everything is right at your fingertips. Did we also mention that you’ll earn 5% cashback from your payment? Sign up as a user and purchase your next travel insurance through PolicyPal!
Read also: You Can’t Control a Flight Delay but You Can Control How You Are Compensated