The must-know and must-do rules for travel insurance

Travel insurance can be the shield that protects you and your family against the many uncertainties of traveling. However, you need to recognize certain dos and don'ts when you go around buying a policy to be able to get the best protection possible.


  • Know what insurance you currently have that can protect you when you travel. Not many consumers do this. Consequently, they end up paying for something that they already have. It is important you go over your regular health insurance policy and check even the protection provided when you use your credit cards. If you are traveling to a foreign country, you have to sure if your health insurance policy will provide you cover because many do not. Some policies do provide medical evacuation. By checking the amount of protection you currently have, you get to see the gaps and cover them with travel insurance.

  • Provide all the correct information required from you by the insurance company. Any error or mistake could render your policy invalid which can prevent you from making a claim. It is therefore important you double-check all the information you supply.

  • Take advantage of the 'free look' period. This is a time period where you can cancel or change the policy you bought from an insurer. During this fourteen-day time frame, go over meticulously the details of the policy so you get to understand better what you are buying.

  • Provide proper information about your medical condition. Many consumers think that they can save money by not being thorough in their declaration. However, this will work against them especially if they fall sick during their travel and the illness they have is related to a pre-existing health condition. By disclosing your health condition, you get proper coverage and you avoid the hassles and the possibility of being denied when making a claim.

  • Get vaccinated. If you are headed to a place you are unfamiliar with, it is best to get properly vaccinated. Do you research and know what vaccinations you and your family need to get before you head out to that dream destination. You can get this information from your travel agent. You may be held liable for all expenses you incur in another country if you happen to fall and you did not get yourself the right vaccination prior to your travel.

  • Provide the correct dates on which you will be traveling. Giving the wrong dates could render your coverage invalid. Also, check if the policy you are buying will cover the whole duration of your travel.

  • Be sure that holiday activities are covered. You need to do this if you intend to go kayaking or trekking on high altitudes during your trip. Better yet, check which holiday activities are covered or not and be aware of this when you are already at your destination.

  • Keep all of your travel-related receipts. These will come in handy when you need to file a claim.


  • Do not buy a policy at the last minute. If you are undertaking a long travel, it is best you plan ahead. When you book your trip, that is a good time to also purchase a policy. This way you get to be covered in case an airline strike takes place or the travel supplier goes bankrupt. This assumes your policy also includes Scheduled Airline Failure. You will not get covered if you buy a policy after these events are made public.

  • Do not be a party to illegal activities. It is always best to be aware of the laws of the land in the place you are heading to. Certain activities allowed in our country may be considered illegal in your travel destination. Examples: women are not allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia along with kissing and holding hands. In Singapore, it is illegal to chew gum. In Thailand, insulting the King can get you behind bars. If you hit a cow with a car in India, you can get a year's sentence. In Japan, you are required to carry an identification card at ALL TIMES. If you take part in an illegal activity, your insurance company will not provide you coverage.

  • Lastly, do not dismiss outright the value of travel insurance. When you are abroad and something happens to you, travel insurance can provide you the peace of mind you need. Just think of a bad situation where you are in another country and you are not sure if your regular health insurance can take care of that emergency room expenses, or, if the place you are going to gets devastated by a tropical typhoon and you need to cancel your trip - travel insurance can be of valuable help to you in these instances. To know which situations you will likely have a need for this policy, check our article, “Travel insurance, is it worth it?”

Have a question about insurance? Ask the experts