Buy insurance, travellers advised

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysians who travel overseas have been advised to buy travel insurance so that they will be covered in the event of any mishap or medical crisis while abroad.

”Not many Malaysian travellers buy additional insurance protection as they mistakenly assume that their existing insurance policies will protect them when they are overseas,” said Malaysian Association for Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) president Ngiam Foon.

“There have been many incidents when Malaysians travelling overseas were involved in accidents or were robbed but left high and dry as they were not insured.”

In addition, Ngiam also said many Malaysians mistakenly assume that credit card purchases of airline tickets will automatically provide complete insurance protection for them.

This is not accurate as credit card companies provide limited coverage only, depending on the companies.

For example, they may cover only the cardholder exclusively, leaving his or her travelling companions uncovered.

Special arrangements may have to be made with the credit card company to extend the coverage beyond the cardholder.

“All travellers should get a proper, separate and complete travel insurance policy which will cover medical emergencies, robberies and accidents, among others,” Ngiam said.

Many Malaysians are unaware that there are many protection products in the market at a low cost, he added.

“In some countries, it is vital to have the option of getting access to evacuation services should an emergency occur. With minimal payment, travellers can also obtain 24-hour emergency services in many parts of the world.”

Medical services are prohibitively expensive in many developed countries and have left Malaysian travellers traumatised and distressed in the past as they faced financial difficulties as a result of not having adequate insurance protection.

Ngiam explained that a lot of insurance companies offer inexpensive travel insurance policies that can protect travellers in a variety of circumstances.

Some travel and tour agents also have tie-ups with insurance companies, offering insurance products or facilities on their premises for the convenience of consumers.

However, he stressed that travellers should check with their licensed travel and tour agents for more information on these insurance products, as they would have the pertinent information needed to help consumers make informed choices.

According to Ngiam, Matta is also discussing with several insurance companies to provide a “cashless” insurance policy whereby a traveller in need of medical services need only show evidence of insurance coverage.

With the evidence, the insurance company will then settle the treatment bill directly and the traveller need not fork out cash to foot the bill. This service is expected to be available soon.

Matta is the country’s largest travel agents and tour operators association with some 2,100 members.


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