Filipinos: Easily buy affordable travel insurance online

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Travel insurance (Source: Telegraph.co.uk)

A few years ago, I came across the saga of Thomas Hunt, an American who got “stranded” in a hospital in the Philippines because he didn’t have any money to pay the bills. (There’s more to it, including a philandering Pinay wife who abandoned him and took him to the cleaners, but that’s another story altogether.) What I remember most from his ordeal was reading a comment about how Mr Hunt could’ve avoided his situation, had he only gotten some travel insurance beforehand.

Before that, I’ve never given any thought to travel insurance, much less bought any. But Mr Hunt’s story served as a cautionary tale and made me think, “What if the same were to happen to me?”

Since then, I’ve made it a point to buy travel insurance before traveling overseas. You never know what will happen; better safe than sorry. Two Philippine insurance companies, Blue Cross Insurance and Malayan Insurance Company, have made it very easy for local travelers to buy travel insurance online on their websites, so there’s no excuse. Personally, for the peace of mind alone, travel insurance is worth it.

Don’t own a credit card to pay for online purchases? Don’t fret! Simply get a prepaid or debit Visa or MasterCard. It’s a breeze to get one; you can even apply online. I personally have BPI’s My ePrepaid MasterCard and UnionBank’s EON Visa Electron.

Travelsafe by Blue Cross Insurance

Blue Cross’s travel insurance product is called Travelsafe, which can easily be purchased online here. I’ve bought this more than a dozen times for myself and my family. Premiums can be as low as PHP 303 only for 4-day international coverage.

Travel Master by Malayan Insurance Company

Malayan’s travel insurance product is called Travel Master, which can easily be purchased online here. I have yet to buy from Malayan, as they’ve only recently started to sell online. One advantage they have over Blue Cross is that they accept payment through BancNet ATM cards, which is convenient for folks who don’t own credit cards.

WorldNomads.com

Blue Cross and Malayan’s online products are adequate enough for most international travel, but unfortunately they don’t cover all countries. For our trip to Nepal last February, I had to look elsewhere, and found WorldNomads.com. World Nomads is an online insurance company based in Australia that is highly recommended by travelers around the globe. Their premiums are 2-3x more expensive than the two aforementioned Philippine-based companies, but like I said, better safe than sorry — there was no way we were going to Nepal without travel insurance.

While I never fail to buy travel insurance for international travel, I’ve never actually bought one for local travel within the Philippines. I figured since I have health insurance and my support system — my family and friends — is within easy reach, I can do without. However, the recent deadly Mountain Province bus crash have certainly made me rethink this, especially if extensive land travel is involved.

Now, the real test of an insurance company is during claims time. Fortunately, I’ve never been in an accident or gotten sick while abroad, and I hope it stays that way. If you have successfully made claims on any of these companies, do leave a comment! We’d love to hear it.

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