Purchasing travel insurance for friends and family visiting Hong Kong
The Mid Autumn holiday is almost upon us in Hong Kong, with many people planning to take advantage of the public leave days and head overseas. For many others, however, the experience of the Lantern Festival is one not to be missed; and definitely one to be shared with family and friends. The extra days off can be a great time to entice loved ones to visit you in Hong Kong to explore and take part in the holiday festivities. As you prepare to play host, you should also consider whether your guests need to think about purchasing travel insurance.
This week, we’re discussing travel insurance for visitors; who can buy it, why people need it, and what should they do if they need to use it?
Can I purchase travel insurance for visitors to Hong Kong?
The short answer is: yes, you can. While other types of insurance may only be purchased by the person who will hold the policy (or their dependents), travel insurance can be bought by anyone for the benefit of someone else. You can even buy it as a gift for someone coming to visit you. Generally, the basic information you will need for purchasing travel insurance for another party is their name, age, gender, address, birthdates, and travel information (such as passport numbers and flight details).
The first thing you need to understand is that the travel insurance policy you purchase must be bought in the country in which your visitors are departing from. Purchasing a Hong Kong travel insurance policy will only apply to people leaving Hong Kong. For example, if your friends or family are coming from Canada, you’ll need to purchase a Canadian-based travel insurance policy. These policies are generally much cheaper than other forms of insurance, and include travel-related benefits such as lost baggage and flight disruption coverage.
Where you might find trouble is where payment is concerned; not all insurers or banks will allow overseas credit cards to pay for local plans. The best advice is to check with the insurer you’re purchasing travel insurance from as to whether they’ll accept a Hong Kong credit card. If they don’t, they may have other ways for you to arrange payment.
Who needs travel insurance in Hong Kong?
Travel insurance isn’t an absolute necessity, however it’s a smart idea to secure it before travelling. The risk you take when not opting to secure coverage can be huge. On the smaller end of financial inconveniences, lost luggage or delayed flights can all be covered by purchasing travel insurance. If something unfortunate happens, travel policies can include coverage for trip cancellation. This can be for disrupted flights that don’t make their destination, or if your visitors need to cancel the trip before they leave.
Health benefits are also a key feature of travel insurance for visitors. Hong Kong is, according to our Cost of International Health Insurance Report 2017, the second most expensive country in the world for health insurance, driven largely by the cost of healthcare in the SAR. Everything can pose a risk to visitors; the heat, typhoons and cyclones, food-related illnesses, and traffic accidents. While the health benefits of travel plans can pale in comparison to standard health insurance policies, falling sick or injured in Hong Kong with travel insurance can make getting better easier and more affordable.
If your visitors will have more complex medical needs during their visit to Hong Kong, we’d suggest instead looking at international health insurance plans that offer better benefits and can cover you anywhere around the world.
What if my guests need to use their travel insurance?
For travel related claims, each insurer will have a specific process for the type of claim you need to make. In the instance of a trip cancellation, the process can be as simple as filling out a claim form and providing supporting evidence to the insurer. Claims for lost, stolen, or damaged items or luggage will also need supporting documents, such as a police report or a statement from your hotel, for the claim to be approved. Also keep receipts of any emergency items that you have purchased to replace lost, stolen, or damaged items, as you may be able to claim their cost back.
In the event your guests need medical attention, your insurer should be one of the first people you contact. If the incident is an emergency, ensure that you prioritize the health and safety of your visitors first before contacting the insurer. The company you purchased your travel insurance from will have advice on how and where to get treatment, and will be able to talk you through the claims process then if appropriate. Generally, travelers are expected to pay the costs of medical treatment out-of-pocket first, and then apply for reimbursement later.
Again, keep all reports and receipts related to the medical care received as evidence for a later claim.
What should we be aware of when it comes to purchasing travel insurance?
Things you need to be aware of when it comes to claiming against your travel insurance are:
- Ensure you understand the time limits as most plans require a claim be filed within a certain number of days or weeks of the incident occurring.
- Check the policy wording to be clear that certain treatments are covered; there may be some exclusions for pre-existing conditions, or some policies might make things like injuries sustained via professional-level sports or dangerous activities exempt.
- Understand the fine print in your policy, which includes how much the excess may be, whether or not certain hospitals are covered, or whether an insurer will replace “new for old”, or simply deduct money from claims based on wear and tear.
Understanding the elements of travel insurance for visitors is essential to guaranteeing that any claims that need to be made can be done so smoothly and without delay.
Where can I find travel insurance for visitors?
Purchasing travel insurance is super easy. Most major airlines will offer travel insurance when tickets are purchased, as will almost all travel agents. It’s also possible to buy policies directly from the insurers, but one of the cheaper ways to find the best travel insurance is to use an experienced, international broker.
Pacific Prime Hong Kong has been providing insurance solutions to locals, expats, and visitors to Asia for almost 20 years. Our experienced team of advisors can work with you to find the best coverage for your visitors this Mid Autumn Festival, or any time you might be playing host to overseas visitors. We offer a range of travel and health insurance options for Hong Kong, the wider Asia region, and the world, and provide an exceptional claims support service to clients should they need it.
For a free quote, contact the team at Pacific Prime Hong Kong today!