In February, the 2020 Economic Stimulus Package was announced in order to mitigate the effect of the COVID-19 outbreak on the Malaysian tourism industry, with tax relief and additional cash aid and subsidies introduced to promote domestic tourism. The desired impact, of course, is to encourage Malaysians to make travel plans within the country (and to boost the numbers)—but amidst the usual preparations for vacations, many disregard the importance of travel insurance.
However, Aspirasi, a “digital financing platform” that also offers micro insurance services, recently talked about some of the misconceptions surrounding domestic travel insurance, with Manzur Rahman, Director of Marketing, Customer Experience and Innovation, sharing his thoughts. Among them, of course, is the notion that everything will be okay, and that it isn’t worth the extra cost.
Aren’t we already covered by personal insurance in Malaysia?
One of the main reasons to skimp on travel insurance, at least for domestic travels, is the fact that many of us already have personal insurance—your health, life, car insurance, and so on. However, Rahman refutes this, explaining that travel insurance is a different thing altogether.
“For example, travel insurance protects you against inconveniences such as lost luggage, flight delay compensation, and even the cost for emergency medical evacuation and repatriation.”
For example, personal insurance doesn’t really cover anyone other than yourself—hence, the personal nature of the coverage. But let’s say you’re taking a roadtrip with a group of friends, and something unforeseen happens. Depending on your choice of travel insurance, the group may actually be covered by your provider.
Additionally, being covered by a separate insurance plan means that you can avoid claiming from your life and medical insurance, thereby avoiding any potential premium hikes.
Is it worth the additional cost?
Like all things insurance, this is one of those things that people are bound to disagree over. Yes, if nothing bad happens, the cost of the travel insurance certainly becomes a sunk cost. But hindsight, as they say, is always 20-20—which basically means that you don’t know what could happen in the future.
It’s also important to understand that travel insurance isn’t necessarily expensive. Most providers offer a variety of packages: some with more coverage and higher payouts (if anything bad happens), some with coverage for families and groups, and other customisable options. Rahman says that some of these policies can be as affordable as two cups of coffee from Starbucks—something like RM25 for a return trip.
Overall, it’s important to understand that travel insurance, just like any form of insurance, is a safety net. Its importance only becomes apparent once things have started to go sideways—and depending on your travel plans, it may not actually cost you that much. Insurance for domestic travels, meanwhile, offers much of the same thing. While many only purchase travel insurance for international trips, it’s certainly something worth considering.