Planning on travelling overseas? Here are some common oversights of travellers who start regretting or panicking only after getting into an accident overseas.

1. Skipping on travel insurance altogether

One of the worst mistakes of all might be skipping on travel insurance. When the chances of travel or medical related assistance while you're overseas average at about 20–25%, not having travel insurance to back you up is a risk that might cost you more than what you've saved.

Losing a belonging or getting mugged may be minor but if you run into a medical emergency whilst overseas, you might not be ready to pay that cost. For instance, having to check into a hospital while overseas can easily rack up a medical bill of thousands of dollars – an unreasonable expense that could have been avoided with a simple travel insurance plan.

On a side note, some people rely on the complimentary travel insurance that is given when you book your trips with particular credit cards. Many of these complimentary travel insurance plans are limited in coverage but is still a form of coverage nonetheless. The choice to extend the scope of insurance coverage is entirely up to you.

2. Not reading the fine prints

We can’t stress this enough – read the fine prints. Then, reread it again afterwards.

Your insurance policy’s terms and conditions document holds all the information relevant to your coverage, such as the payout limits, the situations you’re actually covered for (and their requirements), the policy’s exclusion list, as well as the procedures you’ll have to follow in order to successfully make a claim.

By reading your policy carefully on time, you won’t ever get caught off-guard when faced with those emergency situations. Also, if your policy's documentation isn't clear, remember that you can always check for additional information on the insurer's website or contact their agents to get a more thorough explanation.

3. Not getting the relevant coverage

A common mistake made by travellers is to engage in activities that are excluded from their insurance coverage. For example, you might be partaking in activities deemed dangerous and therefore excluded from your insurance policy, such as extreme sports, winter sports and illegal activities. Drinking and/or consuming narcotics are also grounds to get your coverage terminated.

Travel insurance companies in Singapore expect travellers to behave responsibly by taking the least amount of risk and adhering to the policy guidelines. Also, look for travel insurance plans that cover specific high-risk activities like bungee jumping, skiing, and snowboarding if you're planning an adventure trip. Skydiving is excluded from most travel insurance plans.

Another instance to look out for is if you're going on a cruise. While most insurers have cruise insurance coverage, it may be an add-on for some travel insurance plans. Be sure to check out the extent of your insurance coverage before your trip and know when to upgrade your travel insurance plans.

4. Buying insurance after the trip commences

Some travellers wait until the last minute to get their insurance, often times when they’re already at the airport, or even when they’ve arrived at their holiday destination. Although buying your travel insurance right before you fly is generally acceptable, getting your insurance once you’re abroad may be complicated.

Post-departure coverage can be tricky to find since most travel insurance companies in Singapore will outrightly refuse to cover a trip after it has already begun. For those that do, they usually charge a higher premium, as well as extra excess fees, and include a waiting period of about 3 days before the coverage can actually start so as to prevent fraud. This means that any claim that arises during that time-lapse (and prior to it) will not be covered. 

Another drawback of buying your insurance late is that you’ll be missing out on a large part of the pre-departure coverage. For example, if your trip gets cancelled due to a traffic accident or illness, or if your travel destination suddenly gets plunged into an unexpected natural disaster, civil unrest or even war, you’ll not be covered for the costs of having to cancel or delay the trip.

To avoid this, your best bet would be to get your travel insurance as soon as you’ve booked your trip. Alternatively, you can consider getting an annual travel insurance plan if you fly frequently or if you’re the type who takes spontaneous trips.

5. Not taking the necessary precautions

Similar to the high-risk activities, travel insurance companies in Singapore expect travelers to take all the necessary precautions so that nothing will put them in jeopardy. This includes situations such as declaring any pre-existing medical conditions, keeping a close eye on your personal belongings and documents, getting all the necessary vaccination when travelling to exotic countries, and also following the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ (MFA) travel notices and warnings.

As an added step of precaution, do check out the travel advisories to various countries on MFA’s website, and eRegister your trip especially if you’re headed to countries with political unrest.

Have you faced any of the above complications because you forgot to buy your travel insurance? If you are currently planning your next trip, take a look at some of the travel insurance plans we have on offer on our site.

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Zhi Han

Zhi Han

He specialises in writing on investing and finance topics and is a long-time supporter of cryptocurrencies.