The necessity of travel insurance
You can just skip this section if you already know how important it is to get travel insurance. For those who are still skeptical, read on.
There are things that could happen on the road, or even before you hit the road, to any one, in any country or territory and at any time. Following are some of the most popular scenarios: someone from your family gets sick and you need to cancel your non-refundable packaged tour; a sudden typhoon swept through the tropical island, making your flight and hotels cancel; get caught in the hospital for an injury (and in Vietnam, hospitals for foreigners usually charge an outrageous amount of money) and have to pour all of your previous savings into one treatment.
This is not to say Vietnam is an unsafe place to visit, but that anything can happen and it is better you get yourself prepared. Getting insurance sometimes will save you thousands of dollars, but in the least it gives you peace of mind. You know you are protected to a certain extent.
What types of travel insurance there are?
Thanks to Vietnam’s readily available tourism activities, you will find yourself anywhere from flying, taking cruise trips, staying at a high end resort, going kayaking on the bay or even simply crossing the streets. Fun as they may sound, some may be more prone to risk than others.
Currently in the insurance market, there is both individual and comprehensive plan for you to choose from: flight and trip cancellation insurance, travel health insurance, medical evacuation insurance, baggage coverage insurance, excess valuation, to name a few. Depending on your particular trip and preference, you may find one that best suits your interest.
How much your insurance will cost you will depend on the number of days you travel, the destination you will be travelling (Vietnam is generally listed as a safer place, and costing less money for insurance, some other countries), and the types that you choose.
Below is a closer look at the different types of insurance:
Trip cancellation: If you book your flight with, Expedia or Orbitz or even directly from the airlines website such as Air Asia, chances are that you will be asked whether you want to purchase a flight or trip cancellation insurance. Unless you are 100% sure that you will make it for the trip, it may be wise to purchase one. This flight cancellation insurance starts from $13 and will be an excellent deal in case your flight or trip gets cancelled.
Flight Insurance: Flight insurance will help only in the case the plane crashed which is unheard of the history of flights to Vietnam. Plus you can always combine this insurance type with the comprehensive plan mentioned below.
Baggage Insurance: You won’t be a happy traveller as you land and find out that you lost your baggage or your 2 trolleys were totally damaged. Most airlines will provide only hefty reimbursement in case of lost luggage. Baggage insurance will be necessary if you travel long distance.
Travel Health insurance: Your national health care insurance will not cover your trip to Vietnam in particular. The Australian Reciprocal Medicare Agreement only entitle Australian nationals to get discounted treatment while in the UK, New Zealand, Sweden, Italy, among others, but Vietnam is not currently on the list. Canadians with OHIP coverage will too bear the full cost of medical expense while abroad. For US citizens, some private health insurance may cover basic needs for your travel but no company will assist you to evacuate or repatriate back to the homeland with your existing plan. With the evacuation or medication pack, you will be aided in case of injury or death and flown back to your home country. The annual premium starts from $250.
Other insurances available for your consideration are: Adventure travel, Credit card coverage, extreme sports insurance, to name a few.
Instead of going with individual coverage you may also purchase insurance plan:
Vacation plan: this is the most popular type of all travel insurance. Vacation plan includes trip cancellation or interruption, medical emergencies, loss or delays of luggage, and some over coverage depending on the insurance providers.
Specialty plan: this includes evacuation plans, accident plans, which cover the emergency evacuation and often-sold on annual basis. The insurance will cover transport and any emergency medial costs associated with the occurrence while you are abroad.
Travel medical plan: Travel medical insurance will focus on your health only so do not expect them to cover your baggage loss or trip cancellation. The coverage under this plan will include your medical expenses while abroad and emergency evacuations.
When to get your travel insurance?
It is best to get your travel insurance as you start your booking process: reserving a flight ticket, making deposit for a package tour to Vietnam or paying for your cruise trips.
Where to start looking for travel insurance?
Below are some of the more prestigious travel insurance providers by countries:
Canada: Travel Guard, Kanetix (www.kanetix.ca), Manu Life (www.manulife.ca), RBC (http://www.rbcinsurance.com/travelinsurance/index.html)
US: Travel Guard, (http://www.travelguard.com)
UK: travel guard, Tesco Bank, Barclay (www.barclays.co.uk)
Australia: Travel guard, World Nomad, Travel Insurance Cover (www.travelinsurancecover.com.au)