Public unaware of vital role of travel insurance

DUBAI — The general public lacks awareness on the importance of having a travel insurance, particularly at times of untoward circumstances such as those recently experienced by the commercial aviation industry, an insurance expert told Khaleej Times.

By Criselda E. Diala

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Published: Tue 22 Aug 2006, 9:54 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 6:15 PM

“There is a common misconception that a travel insurance policy is expensive so people opt to travel without it, unless the host countries, like most in Europe, would require them to have one during the visa application process. Contrary to that belief, an insurance is not actually costly,” said M. Musa Al Shawahin, manager of Life of National General Insurance.

For Dh120 to Dh150, said Shawahin, a traveller is already insured for the duration of a one-month trip, while Dh500 would cover a traveller for one year. “We cannot stop people from travelling.

The travel industry is an increasingly growing sector, especially in an aviation hub and cosmopolitan state like Dubai.

However, there is still a lack of public awareness on the importance of having a travel insurance, even if one is travelling to his home country,” Shawahin said.

He explained that insurance companies compensate insured travellers in situations like loss of deposit, baggage or passport; personal accidents; medical expenses; legal expenses; delayed, cancelled, or missed flights.

“Even repatriation and evacuation are covered by insurance. Bottom line is: travellers should consider a travel insurance as a friend in need. When difficult situations arise and they are not insured, they would really feel alone,” the insurance manager added.

Shawahin said that travellers, whether on business or leisure, should be encouraged to avail of a travel insurance policy for their own protection.

“The government should take a lead in requiring insurance companies to create an awareness campaign on the importance of all types of insurance. This is because the insurance companies themselves will not take any step unless they receive a mandatory order from the government,” he pointed out.

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