According to a 2016 survey by YouGov, more than half of UAE residents don’t buy travel insurance. However, 80 percent admit to having had a bad experience when traveling, with flight delays, illness and trip cancellation or postponement being the most common cases.
The recent Emirates Airlines incident led to hundreds of flights being delayed and many others being cancelled as a result. While it would be extremely frustrating to be the unlucky traveler on such a flight, flight delays can turn quite expensive too, when you consider the additional food and lodging expenses. But did you know that travel insurance can compensate you if your flight is delayed?
Not just that, travel insurance covers you against a range of risks that you’d be exposed to when traveling, from minor blips to full-blown catastrophes. Consider these scenarios that can become any traveler’s worst nightmare, and how travel insurance can save the day.
Are you covered for medical emergencies overseas?
Most travelers assume that they don’t need travel insurance to cover emergency medical expenses abroad, if they have a worldwide medical insurance plan, forgetting to check for any exclusions. Others may have a health insurance plan with local or regional coverage only. This makes it all the more important to get travel insurance before jetting off on your holiday.
Sarah, an expat living in the UAE shares her harrowing experience:
“My ‘Great American camping holiday’ turned into an ordeal, when I contracted a severe case of food poisoning. I was under the impression that my medical insurance plan back home provided me worldwide coverage. So I call my insurance provider’s international helpline, and what do I find out? My plan doesn’t cover the United States and Canada. Before I knew it, a visit to the physician and two days of hospitalization had already set me back by a few thousand dollars!”
The baggage that never arrived
Imagine being stranded abroad with no luggage! Steve, a British expat living in the UAE, had his travel tales turn sour with one such experience:
“After a 14-hour flight to Sydney, and being the last one left waiting for my suitcase at the baggage carousel, I was at my wits’ end! So I spoke to the airline staff and came to know that my bag never made it to the flight. They gave me a baggage tracking number and a number to call on to schedule delivery when it arrived. Though the wait for my bag lasted for over 48 hours, I was fortunately able to claim the replacement expenses for a number of basic personal items through my travel insurance provider.”
Travel insurance plans cover not just the delay in arrival of your baggage but the loss of or damage to it as well, up to a certain value. But be sure to check the conditions and exclusions stated in your policy document before you travel. For instance, insurance providers will not cover loss or theft of luggage if it is left unattended. If your baggage has been delayed, you will also be required to produce the receipts for the necessary replacement items purchased, among other conditions.
[Related: Avoid surprises with your travel insurance]
Forced to cancel your trip at short notice?
If you have to cancel your trip at short notice or cut it short due to unforeseen circumstances, wouldn’t you be worried about the non-refundable hotel bookings or heavy flight cancellation charges?
Alana, a UAE resident, tells us how travel insurance saved her quite a sum of money in such a situation:
“Last summer, I couldn’t wait to travel to Europe. With a month left to plan, I went ahead and booked my flights, hotel accommodation and a short cruise on the Mediterranean. But not all ends well in my story!…”
“I fell from the stairs and fractured my leg, leaving me bedridden and unable to travel. This was 3 days before my departure, and of course my hotel and cruise bookings could not be refunded any more. On top of that there was the flight cancellation charge too. Fortunately, I was able to recover a major chunk of the non-refundable expenses through my annual travel insurance.”
Convinced yet? Investing in a travel insurance plan is definitely a good idea, especially if it could potentially save you anywhere from a few hundred to thousands of Dirhams!