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Whether you’re leaving on a business or holiday trip, either as a solo traveler or as a family, travel insurance is absolutely necessary to protect yourself and your loved ones from any unforeseen events during your journey.


While having some form of travel insurance is infinitely better than having none at all, knowing just how far your insurance coverage actually goes is crucial to making your journey go as smooth as possible.  The last thing you want is to find yourself stranded overseas with a coverage gap in your insurance policy preventing you from getting the assistance you need.


My credit card gives me travel perks such as travel insurance, is that enough? Do I need to hire extra travel insurance?


Even though nowadays health and life insurance for worldwide travelling can be easily obtained through credit card providers in Malaysia, depending on their own terms and conditions, these may be very limited in scope and actual coverage in comparison to ordinary travel insurance.


Keep in mind that this doesn’t necessarily mean that all complimentary travel coverage given to credit card holders pale in comparison to normal travel insurance, but that coverage levels from on card to the next may differ quite a lot, just as insurance company policies also differ from each other. For example: Citibank’s PremierLine travel card in Malaysia offers most of the coverage given by travel insurance companies, while others such as Maybank Malaysia’s credit card travel insurance doesn’t cover some emergencies such as flight delays.


In order to judge whether hiring extra insurance coverage for your holiday trip is necessary, you’ll have to weigh up the pros and cons of your credit card provider’s travel insurance, and determine whether there are some events you might want to be protected against.


Here are some things to take into account while weighing your options:


1. Does it cover cash expenses?


Depending on the policy in place, credit card travel insurance may only cover expenses paid fully with the credit card itself, meaning that in order to qualify for their benefits, the journey will have to be paid with the credit card.


2. What are the age limitations, and does it cover pre-existing conditions?


Credit card travel insurance may have many medical and age limitations set in place, for example Citibank of Malaysia’s complimentary travel insurance excludes any and all pre-existing health problems from being covered and sets an upper age limit of 75 years old for eligibility, with severe limitations in medical coverage for people above 70.


If this is the case, perhaps seeking out travel insurance companies that cover senior citizens is your best option.


3. How many days are covered?


Unlike long stay travel insurance plans, credit card travel coverage is usually limited to 90 days, meanwhile the former can extend itself up to a year or more depending on the insurance provider.


4. Is the coverage enough?


Actual events and amounts covered by credit card travel insurance can be very limiting, for example HSBC’s Premium cardholder travel insurance for Malaysia will compensate up to $300,000 for death or permanent disability, meanwhile Maybank from Malaysia will pay cardholders up to $1,000,000.


Regarding the events covered, some card providers such as Citibank from Malaysia will cover most emergencies and flight inconveniences, while others such as the Development Bank of Malaysia’s (DBS Bank) Altitude card won’t cover travel inconveniences at all, aside from medical expenses.


In order to obtain comprehensive coverage, seeking out travel insurance companies would be the best course of action.


I also have ordinary travel insurance, what other things should I be on the lookout regarding my coverage limitations and upgrade options?


• Regional coverage and travel destination


Not all travel insurance policies in Malaysia cover worldwide travelling. Some only cover ASEAN travels, while offering options to upgrade to Asia travelling and worldwide coverage.


• Adventure and winter sports


Most basic insurance policies won’t cover extreme sports; however, if you plan on enjoying these sports abroad, then travel insurance companies can offer you upgrade options so that they can cover these activities.


• Multi-trip insurance plans


If you’re planning on taking the occasional journey, then single trip insurance plans are more than enough; on the other hand, if you plan on going on multiple or extended trips, perhaps something like an annual multi-trip insurance plan would be more financially sound.


• Family coverage


If what you’re planning is a family trip, covering each family member individually can be very expensive. Instead, buying family travel insurance to cover your spouse and children would be much cheaper.


Travel insurance companies will always make available as many coverage options as needed, barring whatever’s included in their exclusions policy. So, if you’re looking for comprehensive insurance coverage, always remember that your best bet is to ask your travel insurance provider.