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 Three Philippine insurance companies and World Nomads 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.
Safe Trip by Pioneer Insurance and Surety
Safe Trip, the travel insurance product of Pioneer Insurance and Surety, is now available for purchase through their online store, InsureShop. I just bought a policy from them, and it was a pretty seamless process. Payment can be done through credit card, BancNet ATM card, or over-the-counter via ECPay.
Pioneer has been around for decades, and we personally know people who have filed successful claims with them for home insurance. As for their travel insurance, Pioneer posted on their Facebook page this successful claim experience by someone who suffered an inflight stroke en route to the US and spent more than a month at a New York City hospital:
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
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.
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 World Nomads. 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.
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.