Singaporeans love to buy a travel insurance policy when planning an overseas business trip or a holiday. For a relatively small amount of money, you can get insurance coverage for a medical emergency, cancellation of your trip, and a host of other events that you can't plan ahead for. However, although you may feel secure just because you purchase a policy, there are things that even it won't cover. People forget that buying an insurance policy is not just about getting the lowest price.
In order to clarify what you can be covered for, the best thing you can do is to comb through the insurance policy's terms & conditions and read through its fine prints. However, most people pay very little attention to this document and simply assume that the insurer will pay them for any mishap that occurs on their trip. Nothing could be further from the truth. An insurance claim is payable only if it is explicitly allowed by the terms of the policy. Below, we list a few situations where you may be ineligible to get reimbursed even though you may think that your claim is absolutely valid.
1. Medical treatment when you are back in Singapore is covered, but not always
One of the primary reasons for buying travel insurance is the fear of falling seriously ill when you are on a holiday. For certain illnesses in some countries, medical expenses can add up very quickly and you could have end up owing thousands of dollars before you know it. Not only that, in some cases, you may need to continue your medical treatment even when you return to Singapore. Most policies will provide coverage for this kind of occurrences. However, there is one caveat. Usually, many policies require you to visit a doctor in Singapore within a number of days of your return. A failure to make this visit within the stipulated time frame could result in the rejection of your claim.
2. You are not covered in certain countries
What do Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Liberia, Congo, Sudan, and Syria have in common? Your insurer may think that these countries are too dangerous to visit. Each insurer will have a list of nations where your travel insurance policy is invalid. Intrepid travellers who risk going to the countries on the insurer’s blacklist will have a tough time trying to find a travel insurance policy to provide coverage for them.
3. Why your claim for a cancelled trip could be rejected
It is important to understand that the insurer will reimburse you for your claim only if the reason for cancellation is covered in the insurance contract. For example, if you get serious injuries or illnesses during your trip, you should be able to get proportional reimbursements for your medical expenses. The insurer may also accept your claim for a cancelled trip if your travel agency goes bankrupt before you embark on your trip.
However, there are instances where your claim for a "valid" event can be rejected under circumstances. For example, a travel insurance policy will usually has a list of “general exceptions.” In layman’s language, this means that the insurer will not bear the loss that arises from any of the conditions listed under this rule. Although each insurer would have a different list, the reasons for rejecting a claim under this clause would include a visit to a restricted country or a situation where the insured deliberately causes a loss to his own possessions.
One notable of these exceptions is being injured while being under the influence of alcohol and drugs. If you fall and hurt yourself when you are under the influence of alcohol, you may not be eligible for the reimbursement of your medical expenses. Therefore, if your insurance claim is very obviously a result of being intoxicated, the insurer would probably be within its rights to refuse to pay you.
4. Look out for the co-payment clause
Your policy should provide details of your co-payment or excess obligations. What exactly does this mean? If there is a co-payment clause for some of the risks that are covered, you would be required to bear part of the loss. Say, you have incurred expenses of S$1,000 for cancelling your trip. If the policy specifies 50% co-payment, your claim would be approved only for S$500. Although this is a standard clause in many travel insurance policies, it often comes as a shock to consumers.
Read your policy document carefully
When you purchase travel insurance, it’s not enough to simply scan through the brochures that the insurer prints. If you want to understand the benefits that a travel insurance policy can provide, it is necessary to take out the time to study the contract that you will be entering into with the insurer. By doing this, you will be better prepared if it is necessary to make a claim. You are also less likely to get an unpleasant surprise if your claim is not passed.