Travel Insurance is a low cost, very mundane type of insurance policy. We usually buy Travel Insurance for peace of mind and do not think much more of it… until a real emergency strike. This story is about how Travel Insurance saved me SGD 26,800 from my last China trip.
For me, Travel Insurance took on a special meaning a few years ago when I received a phone call from a friend who had been posted overseas in China. She told me that she was not feeling well. More troubling, she was not able to open her right eye anymore.
My Friend’s Overseas Health Scare
My friend has been working overseas for the past few years and had purchased an annual Travel Insurance plan for peace of mind. The next day, I received a phone call from her supervisor who told me that she was found unable to move altogether and had been brought to the hospital for emergency treatment!
There were a million things to be taken care of including a whirlwind of calls to her parents, siblings and her insurance company. The insurer took care of all the administration and financial obligations at the hospital for us. Since her family members were unable to make the trip to see her, I made the trip on their behalf. My friend was transported from Shenzhen to a Hong Kong hospital, where she underwent an operation. She had suffered a rupture of a brain aneurysm. It was very scary. She could have died. Miraculously, she survived.
Travel Insurance Smoothened Recovery Process
When she had sufficiently recovered and the surgeon had signed off on her taking the flight home, her insurer arranged for her brother to fly over to Hong Kong to accompany her. Subsequently, she had numerous post-hospitalisation follow-ups with a neurosurgeon in Singapore over the following months. The Hong Kong surgeon saved my friend’s life but she was still unable to open her right eye. For that, she consulted a TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) practitioner at Singapore General Hospital. The acupuncture treatments helped her eye to open again and restored her vision to almost original level.
My friend’s harrowing experience was of course much easier to handle with the help from her insurer, from the overseas hospitalisation and surgery to bring her home for post hospitalisation treatments. Everything was reimbursed. In addition, the insurance company’s representative helped to reassure the hospital that all the medical expenses would be settled by the insurer by the time of her discharge. Even her brother’s trip to Hong Kong was arranged by the insurer as was my airfare. All the costs of her follow-up appointments with her neurosurgeon and TCM physician within 30 days of her return to Singapore were also reimbursed.
In total, the estimated HK hospital stay was HKD150,000 (SGD 26,800). The rest of claims was S$4000 to S$5000 for airfares, post-hospital expenses. As I have personally experienced this whole process, I believe every traveller should purchase good Travel Insurance for every trip. Do not leave home without it, don’t go cheap and don’t wait until health emergency strikes!
To compare, find and buy the best Travel Insurance for your overseas trip, you can go to the Insurance Market’s Travel Insurance platform.
Photo: by Aotaro