Why Travel Insurance is Important

Malaysia Travel Insurance
One of the things that I overlooked on my regular travels was getting the right insurance plan. In early 2012, I was on a diving trip to Mantanani Island in Sabah Borneo and I was involved in an accident there. Strangely it was a diving related accident but not underwater.

Yes, I broke a leg while jumping on to the dive boat before heading out for some diving and it is times like these where I wish I had got myself some travel insurance as it would have taken care of many unforeseen issues and complications.

Why Travel Insurance is important?

Imagine the inconveniences I had to endure - I was on an island, no clinic or hospital and luckily it was not that serious. I had to wait for a boat to send me back to the mainland before traveling another couple of hours to a hospital only to find that I had to go to another medical facility due to a shortage on doctors.

But if I had bought some travel insurance prior to this incident, it would have been much smoother in many ways as they would have assisted me immediately at the right hospital without wasting time and money.

Malaysia Handicap Travel
That's me taking pictures on crutches along the Kuching Waterfront in Sarawak

Traveling Handicapped in Malaysia

After the accident, I had initially thought that I would be taking a break from traveling, staying home and doing some writing during my two months of recovery. I was wrong.

On one morning, I received call from Tourism Malaysia asking me if I was available to visit Sarawak for a special trip to introduce the Gawai Package.

I had told them that I was in a plaster cast and moving around in crutches and assumed that they would have just let me recover and ask someone else. Surprisingly, they asked me to travel there on a different angle - a handicapped one.

I thought about it carefully and told myself, why not? I had never done this before and the opportunity came. So, without much thought, I agreed within 5 minutes of the call.

When I arrived at KLIA for my special trip, the first thing I looked for was the handicapped area which sadly, there were no signs when driving into the departures area.

You must know that there are two roads at the departures, the most inner being closed for unknown reasons therefore everyone drops off passengers on the outer lane.

Finding a spot to park, I had my medium sized bag with me and if I was alone, I would not have managed to lug it into the main terminal building with crutches.

Therefore, lesson number one I learned was to have someone send you there so that he or she can help you with your luggage to the check in counter. 
 Special Handling Service Malaysia Airlines
Malaysia Airlines Special Handling Service
Using a Wheelchair at Airports in Malaysia

Checking in was a breeze as after meeting everyone there, they had arranged a wheelchair service for me. One of the orderlies wheeled me to a special disabled check in counter which was relatively fast. After getting my boarding pass, the orderly asked me where I wanted to go next as he was dedicated to send me all the way to the plane.

As there was little time left, I asked him to send me to my boarding gate. Going through the airport security scanner was quick and hassle free as when we arrived there, the security immediately made way and let us through. But I still had to get everything including my crutches scanned in the x-ray machine.

The next step was clearing immigration and when I reached the immigration section, the orderly wheeled me straight to an Orang Kurang Keupayaan (OKU) counter where immediately I was attended too and speedily sent through giving this another plus point. The next stop was my boarding gate.

Upon arriving here, the orderly parked me right up front and simply stood by before the boarding announcement was made. I was the first to go in getting wheeled all the way to the plan door. From there, the welcoming stewardess assisted me with my bag while I made my way on crutches to my seat. Sadly, there were no special disabled seats on board.

I have to say, the disabled service offered by both airports here in Kuala Lumpur and in Kuching International Airport was very up to standard and impressive. One thing is for sure, you need to arrange for this at the check in or information center at the airport.

From there on, they will arrange an orderly to move you around. If you have any other special assistance, please clarify with them by calling them ahead.

Travelling Handicap
Me fully geared and Zari, another travel journalist at the Sarawak Cultural Village

Why everyone should get travel insurance


Due to my last incident, I have resorted to getting travel insurance for many reasons. Recently, I had a chat with a good friend of mine where he had a bad experience with lost luggage at the airport. But since he already bought the insurance, he was compensated on this in a very short time.

He informed me that AIG’s travel plan was quite interesting as it had covered many other areas apart from travel. One of the most frequent issues travellers face is flight delays which can cost you lots of additional money.

There is also one unique travel insurance plan where the minute you leave your home for your travels, even your house is protected for home burglary! How neat is that?

On reading more information from AIG, the plan also covers anything that happens on the way to the airport. For example, if your taxi or train gets into an accident on the way to the airport or even bus terminal, you are also covered by this.

Left: Making my way down stairs, Right: Posing with an Iban Warrior

Are you insured?

I know a lot of travellers are not insured and how do I know this? After my little diving accident, I personally talked to a number of travel bloggers and friends asking them if they had travel insurance, unfortunately 7 out of 10 did not have any.

It was shocking to know this and since then, I am now fully insured therefore I can travel a lot safer knowing that I am covered in many areas including my journey and home.

Just a reminder to all travellers, do not do silly things when you are traveling as you do not want to end up like me breaking a leg on my trip. You can never predict what will happen therefore it would be wise to take up a plan.

That is why travel insurance is important for anyone traveling via flight, rail, road or sea. Even when you are on foot, anything can happen and in some countries, medical expenses can be double or triple which will hurt your pockets.

If you would like to know more, please look up AIG’s Travel Insurance Program and if you are interested in something different, you can try your luck with the AIG Facebook Photo Contest to win some exciting prizes.

‘This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of AIG Malaysia Insurance Berhad. The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of AIG Malaysia Insurance Berhad.’

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