Overseas medical coverage – Why you should still get travel insurance even if you have a personal accident plan
Personal Accident Policies
When considering insurance, one of the policies that you might want to look at is a personal accident plan. With a personal accident plan, you'll be covered for the medical expenses and also the potential loss of income if you happen to get into any accidents – traffic accidents, workplace and sports injuries, or even just twisting your ankle as you walk down the stairs.
The low premiums of a personal accident plan (around $100–$200 a year for the cheapest tier) make it affordable, especially if your lifestyle or work puts you at higher risk of accidents e.g. you drive to and fro work every day, or you play sports every weekend.
Your personal accident policy also covers for accidents that happen overseas. So if you incur get injured while on holiday, your overseas medical expenses can be covered up to the insured limit. And yes, overseas medical cover is also one of the coverage if you were to get a travel insurance policy. So how does having two policies covering the same incident work?
Travel Insurance Policies
Travel insurance covers the medical bills, or travel inconveniences, and unexpected travel incidents that can arise because of your holiday. For example, if you fall sick and have to visit a doctor, or if your flight and accommodation are cancelled and you have to pay extra charges for alternative arrangements – travel insurance will reimburse you for these costs.
With travel insurance, you're covered for more than just accidents. That is to say, for almost any travel-related incidents where you incur unexpected expenses, you can most likely get reimbursed if you've purchased a travel insurance plan.
Overlaps in Personal Accident and Travel Insurance coverage
Given that personal accident covers for medical expenses incurred from accidents while overseas, and travel insurance also have a similar medical cover for injuries sustained overseas, you may feel that you do not need two policies. Does this mean that you shouldn't buy a travel insurance plan if you already have a personal accident plan?
To start off, both policies serve different purposes – one covers specifically for accidents. Say you've got a minor fever and decide to go to a doctor, your personal accident plan will not cover your medical bill. But if you're skiing and fracture your foot accidentally, you're covered with either policy.
So if you do get into an accident overseas, can you claim from both sides?
Many people will ask the above the question if they have both travel insurance and personal accident cover, and the answer is both yes, and no.
You can claim from both policies because there is an insured limit on each of them. When you hit your insured limit on one policy, you can claim the remainder from the other one. For example, if your insured limit is $50,000 on both policies, and your bill amounts to $60,000, you can claim $50,000 from one, and the remaining $10,000 from another.
On another hand, you will NOT be able to make the same claim twice. Say your medical expense is $10,000, and you can claim the full sum from your travel policy, you will not be able to make the same claim from your personal accident plan.
When you make each claim, you're required to make a declaration as to whether you've submitted a claim with another insurer. And you probably should answer honestly, lest your actions become fraudulent and you get denied of all claims from both policies.
To sum it up, personal accident and travel insurance policies have their unique scope of cover. There are overlaps in coverage but that should not be a deciding factor as to whether or not to get travel insurance.
Get a personal accident plan if your lifestyle puts you in situations where you're likely to get injured and the injury can affect your lifestyle or livelihood.
On another hand, get travel insurance to protect yourself while abroad, and that is a policy that can cover your before and after your holiday. Travel insurance covers beyond just accidents – it covers your incidental costs that arise because of travel inconvenience, thefts, and other unexpected travel-related incidents. The key is to get the relevant cover for your activity and lifestyle.