Vietnam’s tourism and people in general suffered shocking news at the end of 2018 as a roadside bomb detonated near a bus as it crossed Al-Haram district, close to the well-known pyramids in Giza. The explosion killed three Vietnamese people and their Egyptian guide, while another 12 inflicted severe injuries.
Shortly after the incident, Saigontourist Travel Service Company, the agency operating the Egypt tour, immediately worked with Bao Viet Insurance Corporation on the insurance benefits of the tourists. As announced by Bao Viet, those killed in the bomb attack will receive the maximum life insurance coverage amount of VND2.4 billion ($104,350), while the company will also support expenditure to complete procedures to take the bodies of the three victims home and organise funeral services.
For the injured people receiving treatment in the North African country, the company will continue working with Egyptian hospitals to return them home as soon as possible. Each will be granted the maximum medical fee of VND2.4 billion ($104,350), and return tickets to Egypt will also be provided to the families of injured tourists staying at an Egyptian hospital.
The tragedy has contributed to raising the awareness of travellers and tour operators in terms of safety and security. Despite being a compulsory policy when going to a number of countries, travel insurance seems to be unfamiliar to the majority of travellers, especially those who are on a self-planned tour. A week after the bomb attack, more and more tourists have been showing interest in travel insurance, and the benefits.
|Travellers are paying more attention to insurance cover|
The second passport
Considering its importance, if a passport is compulsory to start any journey, travel insurance can act as a so-called second passport to ensure one’s security. It is often called the amulet of globetrotters when any unfortunate incident occurs.
Travel insurance is intended to cover medical expenses, trip cancellations, lost luggage, flight accidents and other losses incurred while travelling. In accordance with the Travel Law, all travel abroad through agencies is required to ensure global travel insurance throughout the trip.
For individuals or organisations travelling on their own, insurance is not compulsory but follows the regulations of each country. However the perception of tourists, especially Vietnamese tourists is still limited. Most Vietnamese tourists only buy travel insurance to meet visa requirements or for elderly people on tour. According to research by insurance companies, currently, only about 30 per cent of Vietnamese people buy travel insurance, with the remainder not doing so because they are not aware of the benefits or simply want to cut down on expenses, even though insurance purchase accounts for around only one per cent of the total cost of the trip.
Some travel companies only organise insurance for their tourists at a minimum, and therefore travellers are not fully supported with many things excluded that ensures compensation is not a large amount. In line with the GoBear comparison website, the average daily cost of travel abroad is about VND40,000-80,000 ($1.7-3.4) per person, depending on the value of insurance package and the benefits. For domestic tours, the lowest insurance for an individual costs only VND1,500 ($0.06) a day but they can receive the maximum compensation when an accident occurs of VND10 million ($435). Higher levels of insurance such as VND3,000 ($0.12) or VND 4,500 ($0.19) per person per day will offer higher compensation. Overseas tours require higher and different travel insurance fees depending on the destination and travel time.
Nguyen Hong Van, director of Viet Image Inter Travel Co., Ltd. in Lao Cai province said that in the process of organising Vietnam tours for the main customers, usually Chinese people, companies always include the travel insurance package into the tour as a mandatory requirement with a value of VND6,000 ($0.26) per person per day. When there is any unexpected problems arising, visitors will receive the compensation of VND30 million ($1,304).
Van also recommends that visitors should carefully read the insurance regulations and limits, asking questions if they do not fully understand. Being well aware of the importance of travel insurance, many travellers are now preparing themselves for the self-security by buying voluntary travel insurance for their self-planned tours.
Que Chi from Hanoi, said that every time she prepares to go abroad, even if it is a short trip, she will buy travel insurance to prevent unexpected events. “Insurance costs are not expensive, only for a few hundred more, but in return, I am buying safety for myself,” Que Chi said.
According to a survey by Saigontourist about the demands of visitors, until now, one of the top five issues that tourists are concerned about when travelling is insurance. Understanding this, a series of travel firms such as Saigontourist, Ben Thanh Tourist, TST Tourist, and Vietnam Tourism Media have continuously harnessed insurance services to attract tourists and improve the practical value of the tour itinerary. These insurance packages will be well advised by the staff when booking tours with insurance benefit limits ranging from several dollars to thousands of dollars per person, depending on the travel agency.
“Tourists should book a tour at a big-name travel agency to ensure that their trip is reliable. In case of a self-planned tour, you can look for reference information directly from domestic and international insurance brands to be instructed to buy individual packages for only about VND300,000-500,000 ($13-21.7) per person, while the benefits they grant is up to some thousands of dollars,” tourism expert Dang Thanh Nhi said.
Pham Thu Huong – Senior product consultant, Eviva Tour Vietnam
Eviva Tour Vietnam often works with visitors from foreign travel agencies, but even when travellers come to us to buy tours, they have bought insurance in their country before going to Vietnam in case of any risks.
In Vietnam, we will buy insurance for guests involved in particularly risky tours organised by local suppliers and in that tour it is mandatory to buy insurance in accordance with state regulations. For adventurous travel, insurance is mandatory. As for normal travel, we will always check with customers and advise them to buy insurance when going to Vietnam.
Maria Madero & Marcos Almada – Mexican tourists
We have been travelling for months and we wanted to be more secure and safe. Our insurance will support us in any countries we visit, even in our own country, as long as we are at least seventy-five kilometres away from home.
We are guaranteed the medical insurance, or in some cases we lose connection with flights, they will help us with the procedures. In case of emergency that we need to go back to our country, they will help us to go back.
Furthermore, if we have any kind of sickness abroad, the hospital there will provide us free treatment, and even fly us home for the treatment if necessary. We chose a six-month package and need to pay $20 per month. For us, it is reasonable to ensure our safety.
Nguyen Hong Dai – President and CEO, APT Travel
All of our tourists, especially from Europe or companies who bring tourists to Vietnam, must buy insurance before coming to Vietnam to ensure security. We always comply with the provisions of Vietnamese law. Each group that buys travel insurance for guests with different levels of compensation must reach the minimum level as prescribed.
Normally, the cost of buying for visitors corresponds from one to five per cent of the tour price depending on the tour location. Tourists are not required to buy it, because the travel companies have to buy it but in fact the tour price includes the minimum insurance cost or visitors can choose insurance packages with greater value.
Cez Krol – Polish tourist
I got my insurance on SafetyWing, a travel insurance site for digital nomads. So, if you are working online and do not come back to your own country for a long time, you can get it there pretty cheap and it will cover you in a basic fashion with some medical cover. The monthly fee to maintain it is around $37.
They will not support you too much but if I fall sick it will cover me up to $10,000 for some emergencies. It is nothing great but it is not too bad for me. However, in my current circumstances, as I am a world travel blogger and cannot go back to my home country every six months or two months, I always stay abroad, so I cannot take any other insurance right now.
Phi Thi Thu Khuyen – Deputy head of Marketing and Communications, Vietrantour Co., Ltd.
All international and domestic tours provided by Vietrantour include an insurance package from American International Group (AIG).
For those international tourists to Vietnam, Vietrantour’s partners in foreign markets are required to buy insurance packages from AIG in their countries for their local customers.
If they wish to purchase additional packages, Vietrantour’s overseas partner will connect with the insurance unit to purchase additionals as demanded.
Especially based on the health condition and requirements of customers, our staff will consult them the most suitable package of travel insurance.
In addition to those available in the tour, most international tourists now are highly aware of insurance issues and often have purchased many different packages such as life, finance or body-part human insurance.
If clients want to buy additional or more expensive versions, they will be supported by our partners for the purchase.
Larisa Bührer – German tourist
I bought my travel insurance in Cambodia since I travel a lot and don’t stay in my country so often.
It is an outbound insurance, when I am in any countries it will support me to have a flight back home if necessary, or in case I am injured, I will receive the proper treatment at a hospital there.
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