An overseas 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 related to travel insurance, too – starting with what travel insurance covers. You may be asking, “Do I need travel insurance for driving abroad?,” “Do I need to secure an international health insurance plan?” and “Is the motor insurance provided by rental companies sufficient?” Here, the team from Pacific Prime answers these and more, and provides some useful tips when driving in another country – plus helpful tips when driving into Malaysia from Singapore.
Do you need travel insurance for driving internationally?
Nobody wants their holiday ending due to an accident, so it’s important to safeguard yourself against possible road mishaps. You are probably wondering, “What sort of insurance should I purchase?”, “Does travel insurance provide enough coverage, or should I secure a standalone motor insurance policy?”
What travel insurance covers
In principle, travel insurance protects you against travel-related mishaps such as flight delays, lost luggage and emergency medical treatment. So, travel insurance will most likely cover the cost of your injury or injuries if you get into a traffic accident while driving abroad. However, there is a grey area regarding third-party liability and injuries. Some travel insurance plans cover third-party liability, while others may exclude it if caused by car accidents.
Fully understand the terms and conditions of your travel insurance coverage
Ensure you check carefully if your policy covers traffic accidents and if the coverage limit is enough to address any potential costs. You can find the minute details and clauses in your policy document. If unsure, contact your insurance agent, advisor or broker for a review. Pacific Prime Singapore is a leading insurance brokerage that can help you with all your insurance needs.
Which is the best travel insurance for driving abroad or driving into Malaysia?
If you’re planning on driving abroad, it’s important to know the following when it comes to insurance coverage and peace of mind.
Motor insurance is a must!
When you rent a car, it typically comes with a standard (basic) 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. You may also want to secure comprehensive motor insurance, which will provide more coverage than the basic plan.
International health insurance
Besides insurance for your rental car, taking care of your medical coverage is also a key priority. If you’d like to ensure that you’ll get quality medical care at your preferred medical facility should anything go wrong, an international private medical insurance plan is the best option while travelling overseas. 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.
Do you need international health insurance if you already have travel coverage?
Although travel insurance also includes medical coverage, the benefits available can be limited and may only cover you partially. As a reminder, most travel insurance plans are designed for holidaymakers to cover emergency medical treatment. So, while travel insurance is vital for short-term and one-off trips, it might not be ideal for a longer trip to visit family overseas.
International health insurance is designed to cover inpatient treatment, outpatient check-ups and ongoing treatment of chronic conditions abroad. So before you head abroad, check with your insurer and assess what you want insurance protection for.
6 tips for driving in another country
As confident as you may be in your driving skills, there are always risks when driving in a foreign country. Do some research on the specific country and be aware of these six general pointers before getting behind the wheel when driving in another country.
#1 Learn what the road traffic signs and regulations are at your destination
Driving conditions in another country can differ greatly 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, such as speed limits and safety signs, often vary.
#2 Study the route before you get going
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.
#3 Observation first, before overtaking
Look ahead for oncoming traffic. Ensure you have enough distance before deciding to overtake. Timing is important too.
#4 Slow your driving on uneven roads and terrains
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.
#5 Check the weather forecast before you drive
Extreme weather conditions, such as strong crosswinds, sleet or snow that cause slippery road surfaces and low visibility, can catch you unaware. If you aren’t comfortable, stop and stay a night somewhere rather than risk driving in unfamiliar conditions.
#6 Take regular breaks on long distance journeys
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 focus on the road. Stop for a coffee, ramp up the music or help keep the driver engaged if they’re sleepy.
Driving into Malaysia?
If you’re driving into Malaysia, here is a checklist to follow for a safe and secure trip:
- Secure motor insurance in case of any unforeseen event; this is a good idea whether you’re driving into Malaysia with your own care or a rental car;
- Check your headlights;
- Make sure the tires are in good condition and not worn out;
- Check to see if the windscreen wipers are functioning properly;
- Make sure the brakes and other internal accessories are working;
- Remember to lock your car every time you step away;
- Remove any valuables from the car, including passports and electronics;
- Choose well-lit and often travelled roads, especially at night; and
- Know the Emergency Response Service number in Malaysia: 999
Contact the insurance specialists at Pacific Prime Singapore for questions about travel insurance, international health insurance and more.
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