Fly Worry-Free – Ensure Peace of Mind!

The UAE is a great gateway for international travel and with so many globe-trotting packages on offer, every resident looks forward to at least one trip overseas be it Europe, Asia or the Americas. No one really wants to deal with unpleasant travel surprises, and there can be many! David Harris, Director- Distribution at RSA shares his insights on how to make sure your trip goes as planned and what to take into consideration when choosing your travel insurance policy.


Most travelers tend to avoid the extra insurance cost especially for what they would classify as ‘small mishaps’ that are manageable; and think that extreme cases like hurricanes and epidemics seem rather ‘unlikely’. However, this additional cost often turns out to be their wisest investment. In fact, travel insurance can minimize considerable financial risks of traveling; be it from accidents, illness, missed flights, canceled tours, lost baggage and theft, , and emergency evacuation among others.


Despite its importance, a substantial number of UAE residents often travel without purchasing any form of insurance. Indicative of this attitude, travel insurance continues to be one of the most under-subscribed segments in the country. According to a recent survey by YouGov, 58% of residents said they never purchase travel insurance for their trips. Only 11% of residents said they always purchase travel insurance when going abroad, which indicates a low penetration level when compared to more mature markets like the US, Canada and Australia with a 60-70% penetration rate. Within our total customer base, we see a 25% penetration on travel insurance.


Deciding on what insurance cover is needed is strictly related to the benefits. As a rule of thumb, you should not just go about it by comparing policies on websites and choosing the cheapest one. Instead, reflect on how willing you are to take risks and how much peace of mind is worth to you. You will soon realize that it is priceless when it comes to your own security or your family’s safety. So, which kind of travel insurance is right for you? Here are some insurance basics you cannot disregard when planning your next trip:


1.Dismiss nothing: As much as you are diligent with regard to researching the country you are visiting, there are some incidents you just cannot factor in. Therefore, do not dismiss how convenient travel insurance is, especially that it comes at a very competitive cost, which is as little as AED 50 for a 5 day Schengen travel policy.


2.Tailor your insurance policy to your destination: You should never assume that the activity you wish to undertake is covered under the standard policy. Instead, always check the terms and conditions and inquire about additional cover if you need to. Insurance companies usually provide extra options that can be added on top of the standard policy depending on whether you are skiing down the slopes of Switzerland or diving in Arabian Sea.  


3.Make sure you have access to 24-hour emergency medical assistance: When traveling abroad, it is critical to know that you and/or your family have access to a round-the-clock medical helpline and expert advice wherever you are in the world. Additionally, getting cover for medical evacuation and repatriation, in case you cannot fly home on a commercial flight or without a medical professional, is wise. This is especially the case if you are involved in winter sports or other dangerous activities which could lead to serious injury like trekking.


4.Consider the option of getting annual cover: Being in the UAE, it is likely that you would make more than one trip per year. Although the annual and single-trips policies are identical, you can still enjoy the benefits without having to notify your insurance provider. Therefore, it is definitely the most cost-efficient package for frequent travelers. At RSA, our customers insurance are covered for a maximum of 62 days under single-trip and annual policies.


5.Look after your passport: In fact, your passport may be the single most valuable item traveling with you. For those who find themselves in rather unfortunate events, the passport service assistance is invaluable. In such situations, you may want to have an external party taking care of your extra travel and accommodation costs until you arrange a new passport and head back home.


6.It is all about the reputation: We cannot stress enough how valuable the insurance provider’s reputation is with regard to their claim services. When you find yourself in a difficult and challenging situation, you want to be assured that your insurance company is not only customer service-orientated but is keen on going the extra mile as to ensure you and your family are safe and secure. Also, you want to be sure that you will receive support to replace some of the essentials as quickly as possible in the event of lost luggage.


 About David Harris

David Harris is Director – Distribution, UAE & Bahrain at RSA Insurance. In his current role, he is responsible for overseeing development and growth strategies for the UAE and Bahrain.

With a career spanning over 30 years across various leadership roles, David brings with him a breadth of experience in general management, financial and commercial insight, and strategic leadership skills.

Throughout his career, David has worked with topnotch companies including AA Commercial Insurance Brokers, Lloyds Bank Insurance Services, Royal Bank of Scotland and NCCI, to name a few. 


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