We look at travel insurance as a necessity when we travel abroad. It’s a non-negotiable for us.
Most people tend to look at travel insurance as just another expense that one can do without. Can you skip it? Should you skip it? Ultimately it is up to you, but please think twice of not getting one.
Why do I recommend that you get one and why do we get one for getaways out of the country?
- To have protection coverage.
- To be ready for emergency.
Medical and hospitalization expenses in other countries are more expensive compared here in the Philippines.
What if during your vacation you met an accident? What if you lose your travel documents? What if you encountered a pick pocket, a snatcher, a thief? What if you missed your connecting flight? What if you experience baggage lost or damage to baggage?
These are just some instances wherein a travel insurance can help bail you out.
*We don’t avail of travel insurance for domestic flights because (1) the flights are short, (2) in case of accident or medical emergency, we have an hmo coverage that can help-out, (3) we normally don’t bring extra-extra-cash for vacations within the country, (4) falls hope or not, but we feel secure navigating our islands and destinations.
But you can always purchase travel insurance even for domestic flights.
Travel insurance = Protection.
Where to Buy Travel Insurance?
Our first choice when it comes to travel insurance is to get it straight from the airline during booking if we are 100% certain we can make the flight.
Sometimes we book flights because they are on piso fare. Our thoughts during this ticket sales runs like… we book airfare now and try our best to save enough by the ticket’s travel dates, so we can push through with the trip, lol.
If we were not able to buy travel insurance via the airline, we buy it in SM business center. SM is offering travel insurance for different packages, number of days at differing rates. They called the product Safe Trip, backed by BDO and Pioneer.
We have bought 4 times from them since 2016, for trips to Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, then the most recent, for Vietnam. If we get approve for tourist visa to Japan, we will again buy the travel insurance from SM to cover the upcoming trip.
*There are lots of other companies specializing in travel insurance. You can also go to travel agency and buy via them.
SM travel insurance rates
Insure ME stands for Insurance Made Easy at SM. They offer Dengue Insurance, CTPL, and Travel Insurance.
Listed are the rates as of July 29, 2018 for their Safe Protect Travel Insurance.
The rates depend on the type of package 2.5M versus 1.5M and the travel duration. I’ll only be sharing the Worldwide packages and their corresponding rates.
|Travel Duration|| Worldwide
|1 to 4 days||₱ 599.00||₱ 449.00|
|5 to 7 days||₱ 899.00||₱ 649.00|
|8 to 10 days||₱ 1,099.00||₱ 749.00|
|11 to 15 days||₱ 1,499.00||₱ 1,049.00|
|16 to 21 days||₱ 1,699.00||₱ 1,549.00|
|22 to 31 days||₱ 1,799.00||₱ 1,749.00|
|32 to 62 days||₱ 1,999.00||₱ 2,749.00|
|63 to 92 days||₱ 4,999.00||₱ 3,749.00|
|93 to 123 days||₱ 5,999.00||₱ 5,049.00|
|124 to 153 days||₱ 7,999.00||₱ 6,549.00|
|154 to 184 days||₱ 9,999.00||₱ 8,549.00|
If you are travelling to European countries, you need the 2.5M coverage as it’s the one that meets the visa requirements for European states. This insurance package is accredited with the Schengen embassies in Manila.
Purchase Experiences at SM Business Center
We buy travel insurance from SM San Pablo Business Center, because that is the nearest SM from our place.
We were the very first customer who bought travel insurance from this branch in 2016. The front-liners didn’t know much about the product then, so processing took more than an hour. Seriously. Lol. But we expected that, SM San Pablo is small compared to the usual SM supermalls, and thus, transactions like what we wanted process is rare.
You may encounter slow processing if you will go to an SM branch that is small. Be ready to wait.
Our most recent purchase of SM travel insurance was just last week to cover our trip from Manila to Ho Chi Minch City and back to Manila this August. This time processing was just about 30 minutes, not the hour that we are used to. Unfortunately, the cashier made a mistake.
While in the process of paying, Titus, my husband kept insisting that the price for the six days worldwide 1.5M coverage is not 349 pesos (based on our previous purchase) but the cashier insisted that her quote of P349 is correct since they are implementing new rate.
So we left the business center with our receipts for 2 travel insurance covering 6 days for P349 each. A few hours after that, we got the confirmation of the travel insurance purchase as well as the coverage policy number and contract via email.
SM partners with BDO and PIONEER for the travel insurance products.
The following day we got a text message from the cashier saying that they collected an underpayment but that not to worry because they have reprocessed our travel insurance to the correct amount to avoid issues later on. Of course, we know that we have to go back to SM to pay the price difference, P300 each for my husband and I.
Going back to SM for just that is a hassle because we live far from San Pablo and are now busy with vacation preparations. But we have no choice but to go back and pay, since we can’t in good conscience let the cashier foot the bill even though it was her fault. Maybe it was the first time for the cashier to process a travel insurance transaction and was confused, thus the mistake.
Anyhow, these are just some examples of the inconveniences you might encounter when buying travel insurance from SM but why do I still recommend them?
For one they are more affordable versus the other travel insurance that we have checked and compared. It is also convenient to buy from them if you visit SM from time to time. Plus, you get the coverage contract a lot faster versus if you will buy via travel agency.
On processing delay / waiting time – I supposed the bigger SM Supermalls have front liners who are very familiar with the product and can process yours quickly.
However, we tried once to buy a multi-city plan and coverage from SM and they were not able to process it. We wanted to buy travel insurance to cover Manila – Hong Kong – Macau – Manila. The cashier said they can’t process a multi-city. Right now, I am not sure if they really can’t or the cashier that time (December 2017) doesn’t know how to process multi-city. So we ended up purchasing the travel insurance via a travel agency.
*Make sure to download and print your copy of the Safe Trip travel insurance contract. Bring this with you when you fly as part of your travel documents. It’s best to keep a soft copy on your mobile phone, too. Plus, we recommend giving a copy to a trusted friend or family member, just in case they will be the one who will file claims, etc.
If it is your first time abroad, are you required to get travel insurance? In general the answer is no unless you are going to Europe. You need an accredited insurance for Schengen visa.
*There may be some countries aside from those in Europe which may require a travel insurance. As part of your travel preparation, make sure to also research on the travel policies of the country you will be flying to. Arm yourself with knowledge.
List of Travel Insurance Benefits
As a summary, these are the medical benefits, cancellation and travel disruption benefits, and baggage, personal effects, and money benefits that can be claimed from the travel insurance policy. SM Insure ME Safe Travel actual benefit peso value differs depending on the plan you will get.
- Medical Treatment
- Emergency Dentistry
- Emergency Medical Evacuation
- Repatriation of Mortal Remains
- Hospital Income
- Compassionate Visit (if admitted for more than 5 days)
- Care of Minor Children (if admitted for more than 5 days)
- Emergency Trip Cancellation
- Emergency Trip Termination
- Flight Delay
- Missed Connecting Flight
- Baggage Delay (outbound only)
- Damage to Baggage
- Loss of Baggage
- Loss of Personal Money
- Loss of Travel Documents
- Personal Liability
- Personal Accident
For full details and terms of all packages, please contact SM Business Center, BDO, or Pioneer.
- PIONEER Insurance contact number is 02 750 5433
- BDO Insurance contact number is 02 838 2364
Is Travel Insurance Worth It? We strongly believe so. As I’ve said this product is protection.
If you want to read a review or feedback on the claiming process or how to file a claim, you will need to do further search. Because thankfully, there had not been an instance wherein we have to file a claim against our travel insurance policy. And we hope it remains that way for every travel now and in the future. Why? Because then it will only mean we did not encounter any medical emergency, accident, loss baggage, and other dire experiences while on a journey, that will force us to file a claim.
We want it to stay that way.
When to Buy Travel Insurance?
Oh, by the way, it’s recommended to buy your travel insurance at least a week before the flight date. There are travel insurance companies which no longer accepts applications if the flight is very near. I think this is because they are protecting themselves from fraudulent applications.
Example for a travel insurance fraud at application time is when the client is pregnant and knows that her doctor can or will give a certificate prohibiting her to travel and fly after a certain date. But our sample woman already booked and paid for the hotel and tours months ago, and now she wants to wiggle out of it, so she bought a travel insurance forward-thinking that she can file a claim on medical grounds. This is purchasing a travel insurance in bad fate. This is fraud. One can be persecuted for travel insurance fraud.
If you need a travel insurance for a flight that is only a day or two away, AXA Philippines offers a product that meet this need.
More on Travel Insurance Providers
Philippine Airliners travel insurance is provided by Philippine National Bank General Insurer’s group policy.
Cebu Pacific Air CEB TravelSure is provided by Malayan Insurance Company.
AirAsia has Tune Protect Travel is provided by Malayan Insurance Company.
Pacific Cross Travel Insurance (formerly Blue Cross)
AXA Philippines TravelWise / AXA – Schengen Travel Insurance
SM Insure ME – Pioneer Safe Trip
There are many more options out there with different plan coverage. If you want to get the best value, you can compare different coverages and rates from various travel insurance providers before you decide on what and where to purchase.
Travel Insurance is for your peace of mind while on the journey. Do consider getting one.
Have a safe and wonderful getaways and vacations!