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Going on a trip soon? Here’s why you should get travel insurance

By John Patrick Magno Ranara Published Mar 27, 2024 5:34 pm

There are a lot of things to keep in mind if you're thinking of packing your suitcases and going on an out-of-town trip, especially if it's an international one.

Steps such as preparing your travel documents, researching your destination, addressing your expenses, and more are all important matters that you must anticipate to ensure a safe and secure trip. But there's also one other travel essential that you may want to keep handy in case things go south, and that's the travel insurance.

For Filipino traveler Ronnel Agulto, who went on a trip to South Korea with his family back in August last year, having travel insurance got him out of a pickle when his luggage was damaged after getting back to the Philippines.

“When we arrived at Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3, [I] found out na ‘yung luggage ko na pinaka-ingat ingatan is nasira. As in sira ang handle at sira ang zipper, it seems na pinwersa or kung ano mang object ang tinusok,” Agulto detailed in a post he published in a Facebook group.

“I decided to report in the airport… then bigla ko naalala yung insurance ko. Parang may part dun ng lost or damage coverage [ng luggage] and voilà, kasama nga sa coverage,” he added.

When he got in touch with his travel insurance agent, he took the necessary steps for reimbursement. After a few days, Agulto managed to successfully claim the check that covered the amount of his damaged luggage from his insurance provider.

“Wag na wag kayo magdalawang isip na kumuha ng travel insurance before you leave the country kasi we really don't know what will happen during our trip,” Agulto urged.

“Wag mo panghinayangan ang fee dahil travel insurance is real talaga. Sana i-consider niyo palagi ang safety niyo kapag magta-travel,” he added.

What's travel insurance and how does it work?

In case you're unfamiliar with it, travel insurance covers your financial losses associated with going on trips, which can help you with all kinds of travel mishap costs.

According to travel platform Klook, a standard policy can cover several types of surprise circumstances.

One covering for medical emergencies that may occur while you're traveling, allowing you to pay for the costs of your treatment. You can also use it to reimburse non-refundable trip expenses in case you need to cancel your trip due to illnesses, injuries, and the like.

Travel insurance also guarantees that your luggage or personal belongings will be protected if they get lost, stolen, or damaged during your trip, as well as having a 24/7 hotline to answer your queries.

Keep in mind though that a person based abroad cannot buy a travel insurance policy if their trip does not begin in the Philippines, as stressed by insurance company Travel Insurance Philippines.

You also cannot "cancel for any reason" once you've availed the policy, unlike in other countries, but there are single-trip travel insurance policies you can choose from in favor of a one-year contract.

If you're a frequent traveler, you may want to go for the multi-trip travel insurance plan instead, which covers an unlimited number of trips. In this case, it's better if you already have a definitive list of destinations you want to go to in the coming months.

Tips to keep in mind

In a short chat with PhilSTAR L!fe, Agulto recalled that he was prompted to get travel insurance as he and his family would frequently find themselves in troubling situations during their trip.

“We usually like to travel with family locally and internationally, and based on our experiences with hassles like delayed flights, damaged baggage, etc., we decided to avail of travel insurance since this kind of accident cannot really be avoided. So it's like having peace of mind when traveling,” Agulto said.

One of the first things he considers when getting an insurance policy for his trips is the coverage. 

“Like how much is covered for an accident or if there is a flight delay, what are the coverages in case of an emergency, and I am really detailed on the additional benefits, like damage to baggage or loss of baggage, because we can't deny what we see on the news, like damaged suitcases and the like,” he explained.

With lots of insurance companies to choose from that all have varying amounts of claims depending on the trip, it's important to conduct proper research first before finalizing your decision.

“You must conduct research to determine which travel insurance firms are credible. Check the claims history to discover how straightforward the process is or if there are any complaints about claiming at travel insurance providers, so you know which ones to avoid,” Agulto said.

“It is recommended that you evaluate their benefit claim process to determine not only which one gives the lowest price, but also which one is the most trustworthy if you need to claim benefits,” he added.

Some social media users in the Facebook travel group “Hangout Buddies” also gave their own tips and suggestions when it comes to availing travel insurance.

According to one member who is a claims specialist, it’s important to read the terms and conditions carefully, which is usually five pages long.

“Doon nakalagay ang actual na coverage ng plan. Naka-detail doon kung ano lang ang mga reason kung kailan ka lang makaka-claim,” they stressed.

They also noted that if the insurance plan has a maximum benefit limit, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will get the full amount as the company will evaluate what you need.

“Travel insurance companies want to pay the least amount possible, unless medical emergency ang claims. Kailangan din makita ng nagpa-process ng claims na you did your due diligence, meaning you exerted effort to communicate with the airline, travel agency, [and] tour operator to get a refund or compensation from them,” they stated.

Another thing to keep in mind is the difference between trip cancellation and flight cancellation. 

“Trip cancellation for almost all travel insurance companies means completely na-cancel ang trip niyo. Hindi covered dito ang flight delays. As in kailangan completely hindi niyo na tinuloy ang buong trip niyo for reasons,” the user said, adding that you must have an acceptable reason to get your claims such as a death in the family.

Flight cancellations are meanwhile categorized as trip delay, and the amount you can claim depends on how many hours your travel time was pushed back.

Where to get travel insurance

If you’re set on availing travel insurance, but have no clue what your options are, the Insurance Commission has a list on its official website of licensed insurance companies offering policies for travel. There are also options from banks and mobile payment services that you may be interested in

Here are some of the leading providers:

Malayan Insurance

Malayan Insurance offers two types of travel insurance: the more expensive Travel Master, which covers unprovoked assault, COVID-19, unused travel expenses, emergency medical treatment, personal liability, and other travel inconveniences; and the cheaper Travel Lite, which only protects you from personal accidents, unused travel costs, medical expenses, and other inconveniences.

Pacific Cross Insurance

Formerly Blue Cross Insurance, this provider has options for domestic travel and overseas destinations within Asia and Oceania. The benefits include protection against lost or damaged belongings, loss of gadgets and travel documents, theft of cash, trip cancellations, medical emergencies, and more.

Standard Insurance

You can avail Standard Insurance’s policy through GCash. Their Travel Protect Saver Plus covers all medical and surgical fees, hospital and emergency dental expenses, covered illnesses, as well as trip cancellation, curtailment, and other inconveniences for trips within the Philippines and Southeast Asian countries. 

Starr Insurance

Another leading provider, this company has travel insurance for both international and domestic travel. Their policy guarantees coverage on accidental death and disablement, medical expenses, trip cancellations, personal baggage, and more.


AXA has four different types of travel insurance: Elite, Classic, and Essential for international travel, and Domestic travel insurance. Their main benefits include 24/7 emergency travel assistance, coverage on medical expenses and personal accidents, protection for personal belongings, and refunds for aborted plans, with varying amounts for the claim.

The cost of travel insurance can vary for each provider as they would have to take into consideration several factors, such as the destinations you’re traveling to, and the duration of your trip, among others.

For instance, when we got a quote from Malayan Insurance’s Travel Master for an international trip to Singapore for four days, the price was estimated to be P258 for the Essential Plan, P468 for the Plus Plan, and P705 for the Premium Plan. Standard Insurance’s plan on GCash, on the other hand, is priced for as low as P103 and has coverage up to P750,000.

In any case, it’s best to request a quote from the official websites of the providers and negotiate with their agents.