Travel insurance sold here is primarily for trips that originate from Hong Kong and end in Hong Kong, there are usually plans covering China only, Asia, or Worldwide. I am going to the U.S., Japan, and possibly Guam next month so I decided to investigate travel insurance options. So that you understand my background, normally I do not get travel insurance, since many times travel delay and baggage reimbursement is covered by the credit card used to purchase a airline ticket. Some personal health insurance policies will cover you, some will not. I currently don’t have any health insurance coverage. In case any major medical issue arises, I just want to be covered for hospital primarily in the U.S. (since it’s so expensive there.)
Basically there are three places to buy travel insurance in Hong Kong:
- Directly from insurance companies: I have found that if you buy directly from insurance companies, they’ll have good coverage, but almost never any discounts, or not as good as through the other channels. While you can certainly go through them, I don’t think they’ll have the best deals. I use them more for coverage comparison and policy wording.
- Banks: Banks I find to have the most deals and discounts for travel insurance. They’re a great marketer of services and most of them you can find all of the details and apply online. Different banks will partner with different large insurance firms, such as Zurich, Chartis, AXA, or MSIG and the policy will actually be written by large insurance firms, so you can almost be guaranteed any valid claims will be paid out. While of course the banks are getting a cut, I feel their cuts are less than the insurance brokers.
- Travel brokers :A lot of times for a simple insurance item I don’t want to be hassled and sold by an insurance broker, but the bigger one in HK is Kwiksure. They sell all types of insurance, but for travel insurance they were very competitive at all. I think for something simple like travel insurance you can probably skip a broker since their commissions will eat into the cost of the policy.
After looking around this week, I found a few good options for a month’s travel. I assume most people, including myself, will utilize the delayed trip/baggage, loss of documents/cash benefits as opposed to any death type benefits, so I’ve focused on those. But of course I still want major medical type benefits incase anything (knock on wood,) should happen.
Citibank HK is offering 40% off their travel insurance underwritten by Zurich Insurance Company. The basic plan is fairly low in limits, but still offers normal items such as travel delay, lost cash/documents, etc. I did see some slightly cheaper plans through other companies, but they didn’t offer some delay benefits.
Hang Seng offers 20% off their plan underwritten by QBE / AXA. The plan limits are higher than Citi and not much more expensive, $316. The only main thing I didn’t like was only $250 HKD for first 8 hours of delay, vs Citi’s $500 per 8 hours.
Blue Cross offers their Select plan for $364 and Premier plan for around $634 with their 35% discount for their SmartClub member, 30% off for general customers. The premier plan has high limits and benefits for delays start after 6 hours, $1000 for Premier, $500 for Select plans.
Of course you’ll have to take into account your own situation and budget when deciding, but since I am a relatively young solo traveler just wanting to have something for the absolute emergencies, I’m choosing the Citi plan. (Though I don’t want to give Citi my business for other reasons, most of the premium is going to Zurich Insurance anyway, lol.)