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Choosing Travel Insurance – the five Cs

February 16, 20157 minute read
travel insurance,travel insurance claim,Typhoon Mangkhut

UPDATE: Your choice of travel insurance has probably changed because of the massive changes brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic. However, these general points are still basically relevant. You may also wonder if it’s worth the cost? especially in times post-covid, when there are many extra costs to consider. We’ve also got a new update HERE which helps you navigate post-covid travel insurance.

When people travel, they consider taking travel insurance to cover any eventualities. This may be the default travel insurance offered by your airline, or one you have selected yourself. Sometimes it’s easier just to accept the default product offered particularly if you are flying a low cost airline. Please note that there are usually more restrictive in their inclusions, covering only this provider’s part of your trip.

Choosing your travel insurance

For the purpose of this article, we have reviewed four of the larger insurance companies offering Travel Insurance in Malaysia to compare offerings and costs. If you are setting off from another country and these particular companies don’t offer policies there, you can still use the five ‘C’s here to use as a starting point for comparison of what to look for in your home base. If you need to make a claim on your policy, we have some tips here.

1. Companies

  • Tokio Marine The Tokio Marine website only lists one level of policy in Malaysia which is quite comprehensive. Their FAQ page gives and overview and has downloadable brochures and forms to make application easier. If you are in Australia, you may want to check out their product offered in Australia, World2Cover.
  • Allianz  The FAQ page gives an overview of the different policies available and also the cost for each. They also have a Hotline number 60376283919 and for Travel Assistance and Service, you can call 1300881028.
  • AXA  The AXA website will let you buy online and you can view the products on offer from the tabs on their website. The page also offers a downloadable brochure. They will not cover travel to Iran, Syria, Belarus, Burma (Myanmar), Cuba, Democratic Republic of Congo, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan or Zimbabwe.
  • AIG  Their FAQ page gives an overview of what the company will cover. However, when you want to get the details, of the policies on offer, you need to key in the details of what you want and they will give you a quote. This page is rather slow, but will come up eventually. This means you don’t get a breakdown of the costs / per week/5 days etc or what it would cost if you extend your trip before you buy.

2. Customers

  • If you’re between eighteen and seventy years old, you should be able to purchase an individual policy.
  • Couples need to buy one each, but most companies offer a Family option as well which will cover two adults and varying numbers of children under eighteen years old. Please note that there is a limit on the total payout for claims in the family policy that limits the total if all members are affected, that doesn’t necessarily match an individual amount. ( Claimable amounts are noted as per adult/child, with a total family claim amount)
  • Theft and Loss must be supported by police reports for claims to be accepted.
  • If you need to purchase an individual policy for a child (under 18 years old) this may be possible but the policy will be in the name of the parent / guardian and generally the premium will be the same as that of an adult individual.
  • Certain companies will cover children and those over seventy with certain conditions or if they are accompanying family members within the 18-70 age range.

3. Coverage

  • Most policies won’t cover dental work or pregnancy related conditions, unless they are direct consequences of an accident.
  • Likewise, strikes or events due to an act of war, assertion of sovereignty, insurrection, revolution and use of military power are generally excluded unless they are specifically included in the policy.
    • However, there is usually provision in the policy for cancellation if something of this nature happens before you leave and it would be unsafe for you to go.
  • Pre-existing medical conditions are not covered.
  • Most policies exclude risky activities like skydiving or bungee jumping.
    • They will also expect that you have a licence for the vehicle if you rent a bike or car.
    • If you don’t, expect any claim to be rejected.
  • Read the conditions carefully to make sure you are covered if your trip is cancelled.
    • Not all insurance companies will honour a policy affected by civil unrest, natural disasters or pandemics.
    • Some policies have ambiguous wording that they use to refuse a claim. (e.g. government regulations)

4. Comparisons

  • When you are making your choice, balance the cost against what you need.
  • If you don’t need coverage for things like missed connections or delayed flights and you are staying with friends or relatives, you may be comfortable opting for the Basic cover offered by AXA (Classic) or AIG (Standard). They are considerably less expensive than the VIP or Deluxe option.
  • Given that different companies focus on different aspects you need to read the fine print. For example Tokio Marine and AXA VIP will cover hijacking, but this is specifically excluded by AIG.

5. Cost

While most companies divide the policy offer into Home Country/Worldwide it seems to be common for the Worldwide classification to be broken down into three general regions. For the purpose of this article, we have used the classifications used by Tokio Marine, which seem to be pretty standard. We have used Area 2 for the purpose of cost comparison.

  • AREA 1:
    • Australia,
    • Brunei,
    • Cambodia,
    • China,
    • Hong Kong,
    • India,
    • Indonesia,
    • Japan,
    • Korea,
    • Laos,
    • Macau,
    • Malaysia (from Peninsular Malaysia to East Malaysia or vice versa),
    • Myanmar,
    • New Zealand,
    • Pakistan,
    • Philippines,
    • Singapore,
    • Sri Lanka
    • Thailand and
    • Vietnam.
    • Excludied are Tibet, Nepal and Mongolia.
  • AREA 2:  Worldwide, excluding
    • USA,
    • Canada,
    • Tibet,
    • Nepal and
    • Mongolia
  • AREA 3: Worldwide including
    • USA,
    • Canada,
    • Tibet,
    • Nepal and
    • Mongolia
  • When choosing the policy area, you should choose the one which includes furthest country that you will visit.
  • Select whether you wish to purchase an individual or Family policy
  • Check that the coverage points you need are all included and whether you need those that are extras and balance these against the cost of the policy
  • Ask around your friends to see if they have had positive experiences
  • Decide whether you need a yearly or single trip policy
  • Make your choice, apply for the policy and enjoy your trip!

From the information available online, we found that :

  • The most comprehensive and cost effective coverage was offered by Tokio Marine. This is not an endorsement of the company, as each traveller will have their own requirements and not all information may be available online.
  • The least expensive is the AXA Classic Plan, but there are lots of Exclusions. If you don’t need them, this seems a good buy.
  • Based on the quote given the most expensive was the AIG Deluxe plan, but even their Standard plan was expensive, based on the exclusions listed.
  • Policies will attract a Stamping Fee of MYR10.

*** Remember – this is intended as a guide and not an endorsement of any of the companies mentioned. There may be others which will give you a better product and there are also Takaful products available as well.

Other companies you might like to look at include:

Insurance Companies:

ACE Insurance (get an immediate quote online), 

Etiqa World Travel (Senior Citizen plan available for those between 71 and 80 years), 

Kurnia Travel Supreme (up to 80 years old),

Lonpac Insurance Easy Travel , (includes hijacking)

Travel related:

Berjaya Travel Care (downloadable brochures), 

Expedia Travel Insurance (you can book your accommodation at the same time),

Tune Insurance Insure AirAsia  (previously AirAsia Insure),

Banks:  (this might be a good deal if you have an account with the bank)

Citibank Smart Traveller (annual plan available and you can apply online or over the phone),

HSBC Travel Safe (exclusively for HSBC Malaysia credit card or HSBC Amanah credit card-i cardholders only),

Hong Leong Mach Travel Insurance (flexible plans available with no upper age limit),

Maybank Travel Protection (premiums from MYR30 for 5 days travel, Flexible payments via direct debit from Maybank Savings/Current account or any Credit Card),

RHB Insurance Berhad Travel Protector (regardless of destination),

Uni.Asia Travel Star (all countries, annual plan available).

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  1. I always took travel insurance when travelling with the family. The most unexpecting coverage that I am grateful is the car rental excess. I booked my car rental via with the minimum coverage for CDW (Collision Damage Waiver) and theft but with rental excess of AUD1200. I took VIP AXA package for family with the RM3000 maximum coverage. My windscreen was hit by rock and the rental company charge me the AUD 370 for it which is part of the deposit. Came back to Malaysia, I just filled up the form with all the required documents, No further evidence asked, my claim with the exchange rate plus the GST imposed are approved. The total travel premiums for past 4 years way less than what they paid. Suddenly I am grateful

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