I firmly believe in getting a travel insurance whenever I travel – be it for a short or long trip, since you never know what may happen to you before, during or after the trip. To make things easy, I purchased an annual travel insurance plan once I started travelling. Many years ago, it was under ACE insurance when I bought it during a credit card promotion, and continued it even when it was subsequently branded as Chubbs. I’ve never had any problems during my trips and never had to claim from it since the first day I’ve purchased it and of course, never read the terms and conditions that was mailed out when I first signed up for it.
However, during my recent trip, my luggage was delayed when I was in Europe. Thankfully it arrived after 30 hours, but the TSA lock was broken, the inner netting was spoilt, and I lost an item in my luggage (not sure if it was stolen anywhere from the airport down to the hotel). I was glad I bought travel insurance since I could finally make my claims for delayed luggage and damaged luggage + lost item, but after corresponding with the insurance agent, I realised that there embedded in the terms and conditions were the terms “mutually exclusive”.
For me, I was trying to claim under Section 14 – loss/damage of personal baggage and Section 16 – baggage delay. And little did I know that the insurance company purposely excluded these 2 sections! It wasn’t that great a deal for me since my luggage was delivered to me eventually. But imagine if it were lost – all the items in the luggage! Not to mention that the claims for lost luggage is capped at $150 for any one article or computer!!!
After this negative experience, I started asking around for recommendations for travel insurance, and one name came out quite frequently – FWD. I’ve never heard of the company before, so I googled and this is what I found from Straits Times:
“FWD Insurance Singapore is part of FWD Group, the insurance arm of investment group Pacific Century Group chaired by Hong Kong businessman Richard Li. The Hong Kong-based insurer acquired a 90 per cent stake in Shenton Insurance in April, and has 120 staff here, with plans to grow headcount by 50 per cent over the next five years.”
In the article, it was mentioned that you can WhatsApp your boarding pass if your flight is delayed:
“…FWD Insurance to give its travel insurance policyholders the option of submitting claims using WhatsApp.
“If your flight’s delayed, you can take a photo of your boarding pass and send it to us on WhatsApp, and we’ll process your claim,” said Mr Bhatia.
As always, before you make a commitment to purchase something, you should always make a comparison, and Gobear is the place to go and compare your plans. So I compared the 3 cheapest plans for my upcoming trip and this is the comparison table:
As you can see in the table above, the FWD Policy is not the cheapest, but I like what it offered that other policies do not cover:
- Delays or cancellation due to haze – I think that’s pretty important during certain times of the year when the haze comes in to Singapore from our neighbouring countries
- Terrorism coverage – This is absolutely important in today’s uncertain climate since bombings or shootouts have become so common – be it Bangkok, Turkey or Orlando. You can never predict when and where this may happen.
- Dangerous activities (scuba diving, sky diving, bungee jumping, skiing, hiking) – It’s not that uncommon that young people like us try out these activities. And honestly, you never know when a mishap may happen.
And I read through the terms and conditions pretty carefully this time – definitely no mutually exclusive terms!
Of course, no plan is perfect, so for this basic plan, the only flaw is that the payout for delayed luggage is pretty low – capped at $200 or max 6 hours. There are some plans that pay $100 per 6 hours, so this is not the worst. Also the payout for lost passport and other important documents is capped at $300, which is lower than what you see on the left column. However, do note that this is the most basic plan for FWD, so if you go to the FWD site and check out, there are 3 different types of plans that you can choose from – premium, business or first:
Looking at the difference in premium between the cheapest and middle tier, I would rather fork out the extra $10 for the extra piece of mind in case anything really happens! For a limited time only, use the following link to get 5% off the quoted price, and fill up a simple quiz while you are checking out the quotation to get an additional 5%, so that’s 5+5% off!
FWD also offers car insurance, and according to Investmentmoats, they have a 50% lifetime NCD guarantee, and their rates are the cheapest in the market. During this CNY period, they have 18% off, so that’s worth checking out too!
In summary, always get a travel insurance plan when you travel, and get it early since it kicks in once you purchase, and if you are unable to travel due to personal illness or in the family, you are covered. Always look through the terms and conditions to see if the policy you have suits that particular trip you are going for. Annual trips may be good for those people who travel regularly but do remember that certain activities may be excluded, even for those high end plans. Lastly, check out FWD, who is a new player in the market and has a hassle free claims policy, so says a friend who had similar luggage delay situation as me.