The Less Your Travel Budget, the More You Need Travel Insurance
I just settled in after an almost 3 week vacation in the USA which was immediately followed by a week in Baguio due to work. Needless to say, I've had enough of long-haul flights and long car rides for the time being and would love nothing more than to just go back to my boring, humdrum life with hours of Netflix bingeing thrown in for good measure.
Even though the trip to the US was as budget as they come, it was still not the wisest thing for my finances since there were 1001 other things that needed to take precedence over a costly vacation (i.e. extra mortgage payments, upcoming tuition fee payment etc). Nevertheless, nandyan na eh and I'll just have to make the numbers make sense again, one way or another and be more disciplined moving forward.
I took the trip with two of my favorite cousins and despite our limited budget, we were able to take in a Broadway play, tour a palatial summer home in Newport Rhode Island, see the Niagara Falls up close, take part in the Boston Tea Party and follow the Freedom Trail, marvel at fabulous jewels and the Hope Diamond at the Natural History Museum and ended up being familiar with New York's subway and north train in the process.
Despite our third world budget, my Pinoy cousins and I did not think twice about purchasing travel insurance before embarking on our trip. I charged my US ticket to my RCBC Bankard credit card and so this came with free travel insurance (FYI, most, if not all, credit card companies provide a similar travel insurance if you charge your airline ticket with them). To avail of RCBC Bankard's Travel Plus Lite Insurance, you only need to call RCBC at 888-1-888 with your flight details. However, when I received my confirmation of coverage, I was disappointed with the coverage provided, as it did not include hospitalization and it merely provided a token amount for what it did cover. Oh well, you get what you pay for. And in this case, since it's a freebie you get almost nothing.
So I searched some more and remembered that my friend had recently transferred to Pioneer Insurance (Hi Rizza!). I messaged her and she confirmed that Pioneer Insurance did indeed carry travel insurance. She then recommended Pioneer's Safe Trip insurance which had two types of plans: Worldwide 1M and Worldwide 2.5M. Premium payment for each was Php1,549 and Php1,699, respectively. The application process was pretty straightforward: First, you fill out an application form; Second, you deposit the payment in Banco De Oro; Third, send a copy of the application form and deposit slip to Pioneer; and finally, wait for your certification of coverage to be emailed to you.
I availed of the Worldwide 2.5M Plan and that included, among others, in-patient hospitalization expenses up to Php2,500,000.00; compassionate visit (i.e. Pioneer will cover the cost of flying in a family member in the event I got hospitalized); emergency trip cancellation or termination; loss or delay of baggage and loss of travel documents. Pioneer Safe Trip also covers other travel related incidents, but those I enumerated were the ones that were particularly important to me.
Thankfully, we never had to make use of our travel insurance while we were abroad. But the peace of mind that comes with knowing that we were covered by a reputable insurance company was priceless and gave us the confidence to create unforgettable memories with beloved family members.