Be vigilant in checking the fine print in travel insurance

With Singaporeans travelling more frequently these days, it is important for people to exercise due diligence in checking the fine print of their travel insurance.
With Singaporeans travelling more frequently these days, it is important for people to exercise due diligence in checking the fine print of their travel insurance.ST PHOTO: JOSEPH CHUA

I want to caution readers to be more vigilant in checking the fine print of their travel insurance, so they are not misled like I was.

I recently fell while in Cambodia, which resulted in bruising on my ribs, wrist and bottom area. As I was able to move well, I did not think of consulting a doctor until arriving in Singapore the following day.

The diagnosis was a rib fracture. But despite the comprehensive travel insurance I had, and my agent's best efforts to assist, my claim was repeatedly rejected.

The reason: I did not see a doctor within three hours of landing in Singapore.

I find this baffling.

A small fracture, for example, requires an X-ray (and by extension, a scheduled specialist appointment) to diagnose.

Even with Singapore's robust healthcare infrastructure, a wait at the accident and emergency department can easily take more than three hours.

Additionally, most people are unable to accurately determine the extent of their injuries, and therefore know how urgently they might require medical attention. For example, I did not think the bruise was urgent enough to rush directly from the airport to the hospital.

My doctor also advised me that symptoms of small fractures may take longer than a day to fully manifest.

Perhaps a seven-day window is the fairer, more reasonable option?

With Singaporeans travelling more frequently, I'd urge all policy holders not to be deceived by words like "comprehensive coverage'', and exercise due diligence.

The devil is always in the details.

Sylvia Lee Swee Pheng (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 03, 2019, with the headline 'Be vigilant in checking the fine print in travel insurance'. Print Edition | Subscribe