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Covering the Risks of Christmas Holiday Travel

Published on: 5 December 2013 by Michael Lamb

Winter Travel Insurance for Snow StormsWith the recent announcement that the Hong Kong government has placed a travel advisory on Thailand due to the country’s current political situation,* a timely reminder is provided that Travel Insurance can be a vital solution for the many problems that can accompany a trip overseas.

With many people choosing to return to their home countries for holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Chinese New Year, it is important to realize that these are periods of heightened travel and often come with a number of risks. If snowstorms hit the United Kingdom or United States, or a natural disaster (such as Iceland’s 2011 exploding volcano) occurs then flights and transport across the world can be delayed, or even cancelled – leading to missed connections, ruined vacations, and serious disappointment.

And while the experience of missing a connection with your loved ones cannot come with a price tag, the non-refundable deposits you have paid, medical bills you incur on the journey, and lost bags that get delayed in another country, can be remedied – providing you peace of mind that you might be delayed, but you’re not paying for the privilege of being so.

Delay of Journey and Trip Cancellation or Curtailment

Travel Insurance for Flight CancellationsOne of the major benefits of a quality travel insurance policy is that it can provide protection against delayed trips or vacations that have to be cancelled by returning your pre-paid deposits in the event of a wide range of unforeseen situations.

For example, AXA offers up to HK$50,000 in coverage in the event that your trip is cancelled, or curtailed due to riots, civil unrest, or terrorism. Furthermore, this same AXA policy will cover for cancellations and curtailments in the event of a serious sickness or death within your family – or serious damage which is caused by a flood, fire, or burglary to your home in Hong Kong, which requires your immediate attention.

A trip curtailment benefit on a travel insurance policy would mean that all the individuals which the Hong Kong government is currently flying home were eligible to receive some form of compensation if they were cutting their trip short.

By choosing a travel insurance policy which includes a Delay of Journey benefit, you can receive indemnification in the event that you are delayed in getting to your final destination. You are also able to receive assistance in re-booking/re-routing the journey, as well as obtaining a residential allowance which would enable you to stay in a hotel, rather than the airport. Such a benefit would be of immense value to any travellers who may get caught up in the common snow storms which have snared transport routes across north America in recent years – sleeping in the airport whilst waiting for a connection is never a fun time.

Baggage and Personal Possessions

One of the biggest problems of traveling during the holiday season is the sheer fact that everything (and it really is everything) is under a great deal of stress.

The volume of passengers trying to get to their destinations overwhelms the international air, land and sea transit routes which often leads to a large degree of confusion. Let’s face it, you hear about someone’s bags getting lost, or sent to another destination, never thinking that such a thing could happen to you; certainly not in this day and age with destination scans and excellent logistics technology… until, it does and your bags don’t show up, or they get sent to Aruba while you’re at Heathrow.

Additionally, the Holiday Season is traditionally the time when pickpockets and thieves are at their most brazen – with plenty of opportunity to snatch valuables like wallets and passports from pockets at busy shopping malls while unsuspecting tourists are making some last-minute purchases.

Travel insurance plans can provide peace-of-mind through an array of benefits which offer coverage for your baggage and personal belongings. With cash compensation for each hour that your bags are delayed by, through to covering the cost of replacing travel documents and stolen credit cards, a travel insurance plan which offers comprehensive baggage and personal possession coverage is probably a good idea for your winter vacation this year.

Protecting Yourself; Medical and Personal Accident Coverage

No matter how good your Baggage, Delay of Travel, or Trip curtailment protection on this winter’s travel insurance plan, it won’t mean much if you get hit with a serious medical bill while in a foreign country, or a country where you no longer possesses medical insurance coverage or qualify for the national healthcare system.

In fact, with the increasing prevalence of “Christmas Coronary” and “New Year Heart Attack,” enjoying a proper English or American Christmas dinner at home with the relatives can present a serious risk to individuals with sedentary lifestyles. If you’re only visiting your family in your home country for a short period over the winter holidays then going to the hospital would be bad enough, but being lumped with the bill for a Christmas-associated medical condition would be even worse!

There are a range of excellent travel insurance options which offer comprehensive medical insurance coverage, but if this is the benefit you’re really concerned about (and it should be given the cost of modern healthcare) then the policy which really stands-out is one from IHI-Bupa.

The IHI-Bupa Travel Insurance plan includes no maximum difference on the policy’s medical coverage, and does not require the payment of a deductible. This makes the IHI-Bupa plan a great deal more comprehensive than the options available from a local Hong Kong insurance provider, but also means that the coverage comes at a suitably inflated cost over local travel insurance products. This is not to disparage the medical insurance coverage available under travel insurance plans provided by Hong Kong companies (many local travel plans will provide medical coverage up to HK$1,000,000), but IHI-Bupa does have the highest medical coverage in the industry.

Added to this is the fact that the IHI-Bupa travel insurance policy will also allow for the coverage of pregnant women up until the 32 week of pregnancy. While this is not a maternity insurance substitute (you’re not getting a Matilda Birth on a travel insurance policy) it will ensure that costs relating to a medical emergency involving the pregnancy, such as a miscarriage, will be covered under the plan. With the stress that often accompanies the holidays, such coverage may not be a bad idea!

Travel Insurance for the Winter Holidays

There are a large number of risks associated with travelling over the winter holidays and seeing loved ones for Christmas. However, many of these risks can be covered through a comprehensive travel insurance policy. If you know what risks you might face during your trip, whether it is delay of journey, trip cancellation, or even the risk of a broken leg whilst you are on your skiing vacation, then the team at CCW can help you to select the perfect policy.

We’ll also use our extensive travel insurance knowledge to help suggest additional coverage options which may be suitable to your needs. Just remember that while travel insurance isn’t generally very expensive, the policy premium is normally calculated based on the length of time you will be away – so the longer the vacation, the more expensive the policy will be. That being said, you can get a 5% premium discount when purchasing IHI-Bupa travel insurance plans on the CCW-Global.com website – click here for more information.

And if you’ve left your travel insurance purchase until the last minute, don’t worry – the dedicated team at CCW will help to expedite your application ahead of your flight!

Happy Holidays and safe travels!

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Author: Michael Lamb

Michael is an insurance industry professional with many years of experience within the Hong Kong Insurance market. Focusing on APAC coverage issues, Michael is able to provide extensive analysis and insight to a range of pressing topics. Previously, Michael provided insurance broker Globalsurance.com with their most highly valued articles and was a key influence in the development of all the content on Pacificprime.com, Michael has a passion for insurance matched by few others in the region.

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