A driving holiday can be so much fun – the flexibility of heading off to whatever place you want, at whatever time you want. Before you go, you’ll need to sort out your vehicle, your route and your accommodation, but you’ll likely have some questions relating to travel insurance too – starting with the basics: “Am I covered when driving overseas?” and “Is the car insurance provided by rental companies sufficient?” Here, the team from Pacific Prime answers these and more, and provides some useful tips.
Driving in a foreign country
As confident as you may be in your driving skills, there are always risks when driving abroad. Do some research on the specific country and be aware of these general pointers before getting behind the wheel.
- Driving conditions in another country can be very different from what you’re used to in Singapore or your home country. Besides which side of the road you drive on (right-hand or left-hand drive), traffic rules often vary, such as speed limits and safety signs.
- If you’re used to driving on expressways, ‘pretty windy roads’ in the country also mean sharp corners and possibly coming across wildlife. Be aware of this different driving style and drive defensively.
- Never take risks when overtaking.
- In certain countries, roads are poorly constructed and uneven, increasing the chances of accidents if you’re not extra careful. It helps to drive slower than you’re normally used to.
- Extreme weather conditions, such as strong crosswinds, sleet or snow that cause slippery road surfaces and low visibility, can catch you unaware. If you don’t feel comfortable, stop and stay a night somewhere rather than risk driving in unfamiliar conditions.
- Road trips often involve driving for long distances and can easily lead to driver fatigue. This significantly reduces your reaction time, awareness of potential hazards and ability to keep focused on the road. Stop for a coffee, ramp up the music or help keep the driver engaged if they’re looking a bit sleepy.
Does travel insurance cover driving overseas?
Nobody wants their holiday ending due to an accident, which is why it’s important to safeguard yourself against possible road mishaps. But be prepared for anything: What sort of insurance should I purchase? Does travel insurance provide enough coverage, or should I secure a standalone motor insurance policy?
In principle, travel insurance protects you against travel-related mishaps such as flight delays and lost luggage. So, if you get into a traffic accident while driving abroad, travel insurance will most likely cover the cost of your personal injury. However, there is a grey area when it comes to third-party liability and injuries. Some travel insurance plans cover third-party liability while others exclude to cover it if it’s caused by car accidents. Ensure you check carefully if your policy covers traffic accidents and if the coverage limit is enough to address any potential costs.
When you rent a car, the vehicle typically comes with standard insurance policy. In the event of damage or loss, you’ll be required to pay an excess amount before the rental company covers the rest. Some travel insurance policies include cover for this car hire insurance excess. Although coverage limits are usually rather low, it’s still a good-to-have benefit.
Further advice on heading overseas
Beyond insurance for your rental car, taking care of your personal medical coverage is also key. If you’d like to ensure that you’ll get quality medical care at your preferred medical facility should anything go wrong while overseas, an international private medical insurance plan is the best option. As its name suggests, this type of insurance offers healthcare services virtually anywhere in the world (some exclude the US). It’s the perfect health insurance plan for globetrotters.
Contact the insurance specialists at Pacific Prime Singapore for questions about travel insurance, international private medical insurance and more.