More Chinese buy travel insurance

Ctrip International, one of China’s largest online travel agencies was the source of new data that gives a breakdown of the payouts from insurance firms for various claim categories.

Almost half (46%) of insurance claims were linked to travel schedule changes, followed by 35% for travel delays and 15% for medical expenses.

Travel insurance uptake was linked to buying trends. Travellers are booking more exotic destinations, they are buying more expensive items such as gadgets that they pack in their luggage, while more senior citizens are travelling and they are keen on medical cover.

“Tropical islands usually face frequent flight delays, as they are easily impacted by typhoons and rainstorms, and some charter flights on islands often change schedules,” Ctrip’s director travel insurance business Huang Qing told China Daily. “Also, flying from China to some overseas destinations further afield, such as the US, might require connecting flights. Schedule changes on connecting flights can also result in delays.

Travel to destinations such as the US, Canada, Japan, and Europe can result in higher medical fees in some instances 30 times more expensive than in China, the report said.

Uninsured tourists could be exposed to huge medical bills if they encounter a health issue during a trip to Europe.

But medical costs for foreigners at so-called international hospitals in Thailand, a top destination choice for Chinese, are bordering on exorbitant.

Thailand’s Ministry of Tourism and Sports is considering a plan to make travel insurance compulsory for all visitors to Thailand to reduce the burden on government hospitals

Essentially, it would require travellers to show proof of travel insurance cover when arriving in the country, or require them to buy an insurance package on site at the airport.