Despite Southeast Asia becoming way more civilized over the past dozen years, travel in many parts of the region remains a considerable risk.
Injury, illness, or theft of your valuables, so far from home, may end up costing you far more than you bargained for, creating long-term financial burdens for you and your loved ones.
Before flying here, consider buying travel insurance. Accident, cancelled flights, or property loss may cost more than you could possibly afford. A good policy can save your life and your financial security.
What To Expect From Your Coverage
A good travel insurance policy takes care of four areas of concern:
- medical and health issues
- property theft or loss
- trip interruption or cancellation
- emergency medical evacuation
Check what your present insurance covers before paying for a new policy. Some homeowners’ insurance policies may cover you for property theft or loss for up to $500, even when you’re overseas.
Bank and charge accounts, as well as many credit cards, may also provide some travel cover. Same thing with many medical insurance policies.
Travel insurance may cost about $50 per week, while trip cancellation or interruption may be purchased separately at a rate of US$3-5 a day depending on length of stay. It pays to shop around for a policy that is tailored to your individual travel needs. Talk to the insurer to clarify any vague points on your policy.
Choosing a Policy
Check the limits in your policy – coverage is never, ever unlimited, and you’ll regret breezing over the details if you get into a jam and your insurance doesn’t actually cover it.
Check the excess clause on your policy – this is an amount you must pay to make a claim. Make sure you know the situations where the excess clause applies. Policies with higher premiums may remove the excess clause.
Get medical coverage that includes both hospital treatment and medical evacuation – the latter may cost at least $10,000, even more if you have to be evacuated from a remote location.
Get separate cover if you’re engaging in “extreme sports” like surfing or scuba diving. These risky activities are often classified as exclusions in most policies, and will require an additional premium.
When insuring your baggage, check that the per-article limit covers the cost of your most expensive baggage item.
Getting the Most Out of Your Policy: A Few Tips
The U.S. maintains embassies in all Southeast Asian countries. You can seek assistance from a U. S. consular officer to find the proper medical treatment, and inform your loved ones back home. The Department of State maintains an excellent FAQ on medical insurance coverage abroad, together with a list of international providers:
Keep the 24-hour medical emergency number of your insurance provider handy. You should try to contact your insurance provider before making any large payment for medical services.
Practice meticulous record-keeping. Write down a list of the personal effects and valuables you bring with you on the trip, and keep the list safely at home. Keep original receipts – these may come in handy when you need to make a claim. Make two copies of your policy, and leave one at home.
If something valuable gets stolen, get a copy of the police report immediately. Insurance providers need this to process your claim.