Why Most Insurance Sucks (And How To Get Around It)

Travel insurance is used to provide financial security while abroad, and probably originated as a tool by the Spanish Inquisition to make heretics beg for death*. If you’ve never had to use travel insurance before, then you are a fortunate soul indeed. But it may happen some day, so we at ezbuy would like to tell you what to look out for:

*Slight exaggeration.

The sucky things about travel insurance that you should know

The main things to note are as follows:

–    The claims process may require ridiculous documentation

–    The payouts are not the maximum coverage that’s often advertised

–    The medical evacuation costs can be very limited

–    The payout may take months to get to you

1. The claims process may require ridiculous documentation

Before you click on the cheapest travel insurance, always call and ask how to make a claim. What most people don’t realise is how absurd the trail of paperwork gets. Here’s an example:

Say you put your laptop in your luggage, because you don’t want to have to take it out at customs. A baggage handler transfers your belongings in the usual way (they pass it to rabies-afflicted orang utans, who hurl it into the plane’s cargo hold with the care and precision of a rusted World War II cannon).

The laptop breaks, and you want to claim it from your travel insurance. Sure. All you need is the original receipt for the laptop, so they can check the price. Oh, you don’t have that, because you’re like the 99.9 per cent of all people who threw that away a year ago? Enjoy buying yourself a new one!

We’re really not kidding about this: some travel insurers will require receipts for everything you want to make a claim on, and that’s obviously meant to be inconvenient.

Or how about crimes and medical reports? Some insurers will want a police report if you get mugged, or something is stolen. Now do think for a minute, about the country you’ll be in. We hate to be rude, but not all countries have first world police standards, alright?

Even assuming you get past the language barrier, a signed police report may be more troublesome to obtain than you imagine. Enjoy spending five hours in a police station, waiting for a piece of paper.

To avoid all this, check the claims process. Some insurers have much easier, hassle-free systems; and it’s worth paying a bit more for those.

If you’re worried about losing stuff you buy while overseas, then maybe consider buying the pricier items on We have a tens of thousands of products listed, so we may have the exact same thing you’re eyeing/

We also have a Prime service that will ship you anything, no matter how heavy or bulky, for a flat rate of $2.99.

2. The payouts are not the maximum coverage that’s often advertised

Belongings insured for up to $10 gazillion dollars! Yeah, right. Forget that part, and always look at the exact breakdown.

Often, the maximum payout for lost cash is $250. Even if you lost $10,000. The maximum pay out for electronics, like laptops, is typically $500. For watches and jewellery, you may not be able to claim anything at all.

So look up the specifics of what’s covered, and make sure it covers what goes into your luggage.

3. The medical evacuation costs may be limited

Medical evacuation refers to two things. One is the cost of getting you to the hospital. If you fall in the hotel lobby or something that’s not an issue; but if you’re climbing Mount Matterhorn or something and break a leg, you’ll need a helicopter evacuation. That’s typically followed by a bowel evacuation when you see the bill.

(By rough estimates, an air ambulance rescue can run up to USD$20,000 or $30,000, depending on which part of the world you’re in).

The other kind of medical evacuation is when you need to be flown back to Singapore. If you’re a volunteer worker in a conflict country, the most advanced medical facility may just be the least exploded tent. That may mean you need to be flown back home for treatment, and a $5,000 pay out is not going to cover that.

(Incidentally, your insurer may not cover you if you’re a volunteer worker in a dangerous situation, or taking part in extreme sports such as skydiving and shopping at Walmart on Black Friday. We’re not suggesting that you…accidentally fail to disclose this kind of thing).

Anyway, if you have reason to suspect you may need it, look for an insurer with unlimited medical evacuation. It may cost a little more, but it’s safer.

4. The payout may take months to get to you

Ask how quick the payout is. A confident, professional insurer won’t shut up about how fast they are. A crap insurer will give you an evasive answer, like “it really depends”.

This is obviously an issue, as a slow payout often means you’ll need to take loans to cover your costs. That means an interest rate, and paying more than you should for an emergency (considering you’re properly insured).

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