Compare Malaysia’s Best Travel Insurance

More on Travel Insurance

What is travel insurance?

You grabbed a great deal on your flight tickets and found an affordable Airbnb in a prime location. You land at the airport and can’t wait to kick off your holiday... only to find out that the airline has somehow lost all your luggage.

It’s a nightmare situation no one wants to be presented with, but unfortunate incidents can happen to anyone. Travel insurance is a type of insurance policy which offers compensation in the event that you are faced with any travel-related setbacks or accidents. The most common ones include:

  1. trip cancellations
  2. medical expenses 
  3. damaged or lost personal items

How does travel insurance in Malaysia work?

Travel insurance works the same way most other insurance policies do. After choosing which travel insurance plan is most suitable for you, the insurer will assess certain risk factors to determine the premium you pay. This premium is paid periodically, usually monthly. The greater the risk, the more expensive the premium will be. 

For instance, a traveler heading to Paris for a luxury shopping spree is likely to spend more on accommodation, flights and goods (and therefore be at risk of losing more) compared to a traveler headed to Bali for a yoga retreat. Hence, the traveler headed to Paris will most likely be quoted a higher premium than the traveler destined for Bali.

Travel insurance works on a claims and reimbursement basis. After experiencing any travel mishaps you would like to file a claim for, the insurer will first review the proof presented to verify the incident. Once your claim is approved, you will receive financial reimbursement by the insurer according to the coverage you have paid for. This is also why having documented proof is so important.

Why is it important that I get travel insurance? 

Travel insurance acts as a precautionary measure. If you were to come across any travel mishaps and be faced with significant loss, the reimbursement you claim from your insurer will help to lessen both its financial and emotional impact. With travel insurance as your safety net, you can rest assured that you will be fully or at least partially reimbursed for your losses. 

Unlike car insurance in Malaysia, travel insurance isn’t compulsory. Hence, many travelers choose not to opt for travel insurance as they believe nothing unfortunate will befall them. However, the fact is that traveling puts you at even more risk due to all the factors outside of your control. 

Without travel insurance, incidents like missed flights and trip cancellations can end up costing you a small fortune - we all know how expensive last minute flights and hotel bookings can be. 

Picture booking a trip to the Maldives inclusive of hotel accomodation, round-trip flight tickets, tours and activities. You severely fracture your ankle right before the flight, rendering the entire trip cancelled. That figure will most definitely go into the thousands if you’re booking a trip for the entire family. If none of the bookings you’ve made are refundable and you have no travel insurance to begin with, that’s a painful few thousand ringgit burned for nothing. 

As the saying goes “If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel.” 

Choosing travel insurance

Which travel insurance plan is the right one for me? 

Not all travel insurance plans are the same. These are the five ways they can differ, so be sure to know what you’ll be needing and what your particular plan entails. 

Differences in Malaysian Travel Insurance plans
When? - Single Trip or Annual
2 Where? - Domestic or Overseas
3 Who? - Individual or Family
4 How? - Conventional or Takaful
5 What? - Covered or Not Covered

1. When? - Single Trip or Annual

You can choose to buy travel insurance to cover you for a single trip alone, or for multiple trips within a year. If you aren’t a frequent traveler or are embarking on a particularly risky trip, single trip travel insurance can be a good option. On the other hand, frequent travelers will usually be better off investing in an annual travel insurance, sometimes referred to as multi-trip travel insurance. 

Do note that annual travel insurance policies aren’t always the cheaper option. Whether or not it will be more worth it to get the annual plan will depend on the specifics of your respective trips. Among other things, this includes the destination of your trip and length of stay. 

For example, you might purchase an annual travel insurance plan which covers mountaineering, despite only mountaineering once during the six trips you made that year. In that case, it would make more financial sense to purchase a separate single trip plan for the higher-risk and higher-premium mountaineering trip.

Single Trip Travel Insurance Annual (Multi Trip) Travel Insurance
Pros Coverage for a specific trip of your choice. Ability to pay in accordance to the length and specifics of stay. More cost-effective if travelling multiple times within a year. No limit to the number of trips you can take within a year.
Cons Required to get new policy before each trip. More expensive per trip. Usually has a maximum trip duration (e.g. 180 days). May not cover all trips.

2. Where? - Domestic or Overseas

Another thing to take into account is the destination of your trip (or trips). Most insurers will have different premiums for different regions. 

As a rule, higher risk countries will come with higher premiums. Most insurers also won’t provide coverage for high-risk countries like Cuba, North Korea and the Russian Federation.

The Tune Protect Travel Easy Plan for example, has different prices for:

  1. Domestic
  2. Asia Pacific
  3. Worldwide excluding a specified list of countries
  4. Worldwide including a specified list of countries

With this plan, for example, the Individual premium for domestic travel within Malaysia for 6-10 days is RM15, while the premium for overseas travel to New Zealand for the same duration costs more at RM42. If you’re considering getting an annual travel insurance plan, don’t forget to take this into account as well. 

3. Who? - Individual or Family

Another thing to know is whether or not you will be buying coverage for yourself or the entire family. You might wonder - what constitutes a family? 2 adults and 3 children? What if my children are working adults? What if I’m a single parent?

To qualify for a family plan, insurers typically look for at least 1 adult aged above 18, and any number of children below 18. Of course, this will differ according to your provider. 

Family plans are almost always the cheaper option. As the risk is lower when everyone travels together, insurers are able to offer lower premiums. 

Individual Travel Insurance Family Travel Insurance
Requirements One adult (18+) traveling alone At least one adult (18+) and one child (depending on provider)
Pros Ability to pay in accordance to specific trip details. More customizable premiums. More cost-effective for larger families. May come with better coverage
Cons Less convenient to purchase new policy for each family member. May not be applicable for certain family arrangements (e.g. if children live separately)

4. How? - Conventional or Takaful

One aspect of travel insurance not typically addressed in Malaysia is Takaful travel insurance. Whether or not you are of Muslim faith, Takaful insurance is an alternative option if you’d prefer your travel insurance to be Shariah-compliant. 

Below are a few of the biggest differences between Conventional vs Takaful travel insurance: 

Conventional Travel Insurance Takaful Travel Insurance
Premiums are paid to the insurer Premiums are donated into a pooled contribution fund
Contains elements of interest (riba), uncertainty (gharar) and gambling (maysir) Operates on elements of trust and cooperation
Positive returns paid to policyholder as dividends Positive returns shared equally among policyholders

While there aren’t as many options for Takaful travel insurance as compared to Conventional ones, plans such as the Zurich Z-Travel Takaful may be attractive for those of the Muslim faith thanks to certain additional benefits. 

5. What? - Covered or Not Covered

Many are skeptical about travel insurance not only due to the risk, but also the worry that they won’t even be able to claim for the misfortunes that befall them.

While many providers will be happy to quote you a specific premium for your requirements, there are some common coverage and exclusions that you can expect from most travel insurance plans in Malaysia.

Common travel insurance coverage Common travel insurance exclusions
Medical expenses Pre-existing medical conditions
Accidental death and disablement Pregnancy-related complications
Emergency evacuation and repatriation Sexually Transmitted diseases (STDs)
Trip cancellation Acts of war
Travel disruptions or curtailment Mental health disorders
Home care Extreme sports and activities
Natural disasters Unattended baggage

What does travel insurance cover?

1. Medical expenses

Whether it’s dengue in Indonesia, a broken rib or a bad case of food poisoning, travel insurance can help ease the financial pain of medical fees overseas. Medical expenses that are covered include outpatient fees, dental fees, hospitalisation, surgical fees, and sometimes even daily allowances too. 

And if you’d rather opt for alternative treatment such as acupuncture or traditional chinese medicine? Good news! Plans such as Z-Travel Insurance (International) by Zurich offers coverage up to RM1,000 just for alternative medicine.

2. Accidental death and disablement

It’s a tough topic to bring up, but death and disablement are very real incidents that can happen to anyone. In the event of accidental death (not deliberate suicide), most providers will cover 100% of the sum insured. 

If you find yourself permanently disabled as a result of an accident that happened while you were traveling, your coverage amount will usually depend on the severity of the disability. Here’s an example using AXA SmartTraveller Annual policy:

Scale of Compensation Percentage of Sum Insured (%)
Accidental Death 100%
Permanent Total Disablement 100%
Loss of Limb 100%
Total Loss of Sight of one eye or both eyes 100%
Loss of lens of eye 50%
Permanent and Total Loss of hearing - both ears 75%
Permanent and Total Loss of hearing - one ear 15%
Permanent and Total Loss of Speech 50%

3. Emergency evacuation and repatriation

Not all countries have the wealth and luxury of top-notch medical care. If you’re a traveler who often travels to destinations with less than ideal medical facilities but find yourself in a serious accident, you may have to be transported to somewhere else for appropriate treatment.

This section provides coverage for emergency transportation required for medical purposes. Say, a helicopter ride to air-lift you from a hiking trip gone wrong or a flight to a neighboring country for treatment.

4. Trip cancellation

Making future travel plans can be a big commitment. No one can know for sure that everything will run smoothly before departure, or even during the trip itself.

During times when you absolutely have to cancel your trip at the last minute, you’d be glad to know most travel insurance plans will reimburse you as long as the reason for cancelling is valid and amongst their list of covered reasons. Check out the table below for some commonly accepted reasons, and some that usually aren’t.

Reasons for trip cancellation
Usually Covered
Not Usually Covered
Injury or illness Business and work obligations
Hospitalization or death of family member Traveler feels it is unsafe
Natural disasters at the destination country Pregnancy-related reasons

5. Travel disruptions or curtailment

Say you didn’t have to resort to cancelling your trip entirely, great! But don’t jump for joy yet, there’s still a lot that can go wrong. 

Travel disruptions can mean a flight that’s overbooked, delayed or cancelled among other things. Curtailment on the other hand, refers to you having to cut short your trip and return to Malaysia. 

Just as with trip cancellations, each policy will have its respective reasons that are covered and not covered. For most policies, you can expect the covered reasons to be the same as those in the table above.

6. Home care

Home care is a cover offered by some insurers which reimburse you if there was a fire or your property was burglarized while you were away. 

Not many take into account that their travels overseas can be met with all sorts of unfortunate incidents - and even less consider what could happen to their own home!

Of course, it goes without saying that your provider will not compensate you if these incidents were a result of negligence on your part such as forgetting to lock the door. Other properties such as motor vehicles are usually not covered as well.

7. Natural disasters 

Coverage for natural disasters like bushfires, typhoons and floods can mean either:

  1. An unexpected natural disaster occured at your destination country after you bought your flight ticket
  2. An unexpected natural disaster caused serious damage to your home while you were away 

You might also be able to claim for loss or extra costs necessary as a result of a natural disaster. Some travel insurance policies may also not cover all types of natural disasters, so read the policy wording to make sure.

What doesn’t travel insurance cover?

No one likes a surprise when they try to file a claim, so it’s important to know what your policy will not cover. While most insurers will refuse to provide coverage for the same circumstances which we detail below, it’s still important that you read the policy wording to find out what your specific plan excludes.

1. Pre-existing medical conditions

You can expect most travel insurance plans to automatically exclude pre-existing medical conditions from their list of coverages. A pre-existing medical condition usually includes: 

  1. Heart conditions
  2. Respiratory conditions
  3. Cancer
  4. Diabetes
  5. HIV
  6. Arthritis
  7. Diagnosed pregnancy complications

Even if you’re not taking any medication for your illness anymore, most providers will still require you to declare any illnesses you’ve been treated for within the past 2 years at the very least. To be safe, it’s best to declare all serious illnesses you’ve been diagnosed with in the past. 

2. Pregnancy-related complications

As there are many complications that may arise from traveling pregnant, most travel insurance plans in Malaysia will not cover any matters related to pregnancy. This includes:

  1. Miscarriage complications
  2. Abortion
  3. Childbirth complications 
  4. Cesarean operation

In some cases however, some insurers such as Chubb and AXA Affin will cover miscarriages, but only if  they’re a direct result of an accident.

3. Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)

If you’re diagnosed with an STD such as AIDS or HIV during your travels, no travel insurance will be willing to provide coverage for any related expenses. Stay safe!

4. Acts of war 

Any unrest of political, civil or military nature is usually not covered by most travel insurance plans. This includes:

  1. Riots and protests 
  2. Hostilities
  3. Rebellions and revolutions

One area in which there is a little more leeway is terrorism. Many travel insurance plans in Malaysia actually do cover terrorism. If for instance, a terrorist incident occurred at your destination country and you have to cancel your trip, many plans will still reimburse you for the costs of your cancelled trip - provided the terrorist incident occurred after you bought the plan. 

However, if there had been a terrorist incident before you booked your travel plans, many plans will not cover you. The same goes if you made your plans despite official announcements cautioning travelers to refrain from travel to the country. 

5. Mental health disorders 

Travelers who have been diagnosed with psychological or mental health conditions are considered high-risk individuals to insurers. Disorders like depression and PTSD are usually classified as pre-existing medical conditions and should also be declared. 

Hence, any trip cancellations or medical fees which arise as a result of these disorders will not be accepted by most providers. This goes for attempted suicide and self-inflicted injury as well. 

6. Extreme sports and activities

In general, most hazardous sports and activities get the red light from insurers. However, there are some travel insurance plans on the market specifically catered for you adrenaline junkies out there for a higher premium. For such plans, coverage is typically provided for: 

  1. equipment damage
  2. injuries
  3. disabilities 
  4. accidental death

Despite this, it’s still very important that you read the fine print to know whether or not the plan of your choice provides coverage for the activity you will be embarking on, and to what extent. 

7. Unattended baggage

You left your luggage outside the airport bathroom for a couple minutes to use the restroom, but there’s a long queue. You decide that the airport is a safe and guarded area, so you take the risk of leaving it there - not the smartest choice. 

You emerge from the restroom to find your luggage gone. Good thing you bought travel insurance before your trip, right? Wrong!

Yes, travel insurance will usually cover theft, loss and damage to your luggage - but only if you weren't being irresponsible in the first place. If your provider can prove that you were negligent, it’s highly likely your losses will not be covered.

What are some of the best travel insurance companies to buy from?

Now that you know how travel insurance plans differ and what to look for in a plan, another question comes to mind. With all the providers on the market, which should you go to to get yours?

Below are just 7 of some of the top travel insurance companies in Malaysia to consider.

  1. Allianz Travel Insurance
  2. AmGeneral Travel Insurance
  3. AXA Affin Travel Insurance
  4. Berjaya Sompo Travel Insurance
  5. Chubb Travel Insurance
  6. Tune Protect Travel Insurance
  7. Zurich Takaful Travel Insurance

Allianz Travel Insurance

Allianz Travel Insurance

Specialising in personal accident insurance for travel protection, Allianz offers a simple yet holistic plan for travellers alike. Stay protected from mishaps that are as minor as baggage or flight delays and damage to personal luggage, to major issues such as accidental death and permanent disablement due to accident. The company also offers coverage for high-risk sports as well as a unique reimbursement scheme when it comes to luggage delay where travellers can be compensated based on the reasonable essential items such as toiletries and clothing.

AmGeneral Travel Insurance 

AmGeneral Travel Insurance

Kurnia offers a wide variety of versatile travel insurance policies that are ideal for family vacations at an affordable rate. Keep your family members insured with plans like Kurnia Travel Supreme Plan A and Kurnia Travel Supreme Plan B. Stay protected against the common travelling related accidents and emergencies such as accidental death and permanent disablement, flight delays, missed flights, loss of travel deposits, baggage delays and more. This provider also offers coverage for elderly travellers of up to 80 years old. 

AXA Affin Travel Insurance 

AXA Affin Travel Insurance

AXA Affin has been long associated with travel insurance. Known for the AXA Affin SmartTravel insurance plan, the policies are designed to deliver a well-rounded travel protection with areas of coverage such as travel delay, emergency medical expenses, baggage delay, trip cancellation, unlimited emergency medical transportation, car rental excess cover up and more.

Berjaya Sompo Travel Insurance 

Berjaya Sompo Travel Insurance 

Known to have some of the cheaper options on the market, Berjaya Sompo offers policies for travellers on a budget but still want to stay protected. From as low as RM18, the Travel Plus Basic covers only the essentials including accidental death or permanent total disablement, medical expenses, child care benefit, and emergency medical evacuations. 

 Chubb Travel Insurance 

Chubb Travel Insurance 

Chubb travel insurance specialises in creating a simple solution to your travel coverage. The prices are on the higher end, but proves to be of value with benefits such as follow-up medical expenses, alternative treatment, child guard, claim for golf hole-in-one, home inconvenience allowance, pet care and more. 

Tune Protect Travel Insurance

Tune Protect Travel Insurance

Designed specially to suit the needs of all travellers, Tune Protect offers an all-inclusive travel insurance with the Travel Easy plan. It comes equipped with major benefits that covers medical emergencies, loss of personal belongings, travel inconvenience and 24/7 Worldwide Travel Assistance. Some of the newer addition among the 26 benefits includes alternative medicine, mortal remains repatriation, home care benefit, child care benefit and more. 

Zurich Travel Insurance

Zurich Takaful Travel Insurance

Zurich offers a comprehensive travel plan for business travelers, ensuring all liabilities are covered at home and abroad. The Travel Safe plan is a Shariah-compliant product which provides travel coverage for overseas trip(s).

Buying travel insurance

How much does travel insurance cost in Malaysia?

The cost of travel insurance varies according to many factors - the biggest ones being the destination you’re headed to, the length of your stay, the travel insurance company you buy from and how comprehensive your coverage is. 

One of the cheaper options on the market is Berjaya Sompo’s Travel Plus (Basic), where the premium for a solo trip to Taiwan for 1 - 5 days costs just RM18. On the other end of the spectrum are the more pricier premiums, which usually entails exclusive coverage for extreme sports or even certain pre-existing medical conditions.

A good ballpark range for how much you can expect to pay for a regular travel insurance as an individual (for a week-long trip) is between RM 25 - 75. The higher the premium you pay, the more you can claim - and the more reasons you can claim for.

Where do I go to get travel insurance from? 

There are generally 4 sources you can get your travel insurance from: 

1. Online

Simply search and compare which travel insurance is best for you. After choosing, go to the provider’s site and enter your particulars to get a quote.

2. In person 

You can head on over to any branch of the travel insurance company you want to purchase from and buy from them in person.

3. From a licensed insurance agent 

Buying from a licensed insurance agent can be a little more expensive, but can be more customizable and offer more support than buying directly from the provider’s site.

4. Air miles credit cards

Did you know that certain credit cards offer basic travel protection too? While they’re not usually very comprehensive, cards such as the Ambank Visa Signature can offer up to RM1 million in insurance coverage.

When is the best time to get travel insurance?

What travel insurance plan you choose is just as important as when you buy it. The best time to buy travel insurance is as early as possible - right after you make any deposit including hotel bookings and flight tickets.

While you technically can purchase travel insurance as late as the day before your trip begins, it definitely isn’t recommended. To be safe, make your purchase at least 14 days before your trip to make the most of your trip cancellation coverage. 

Purchasing early also benefits you with a bigger coverage window, and depending on the plan and provider, you may even qualify for bonus coverage at no additional cost.

When does my travel insurance coverage start?

Another important thing to know is when exactly your coverage will commence. Trip cancellation coverage typically starts from 24 hours after or on 12:01am the day after the policy is purchased. Other inconveniences and trip interruptions may start on the day of the trip itself.

So if in January you purchased a policy on the 1st for a trip on the 20th, trip cancellation coverage might start on 12:01am of the 2nd, while the others would come into effect on the 20th.

Can I buy travel insurance after I start my journey?

No. With most Malaysian travel insurance companies, you won’t be able to purchase travel insurance once you’ve already started your journey.

Who is eligible for travel insurance?

Anyone who is travelling domestically and/or internationally, from as young as 30 days old up to 80 years of age depending on the policy and provider.

When is travel insurance not worth it?

It pays to know when travel insurance might not even be necessary. If the trip or trips you will be taking are generally short and destined for relatively safe destinations you’re not completely unfamiliar with, you may just be burning your money. There isn’t that much risk in the first place.

If you know you won’t be spending much and won’t be bringing or buying anything too valuable, travel insurance might just not be worth it.

Claiming travel insurance 

How do I make a travel insurance claim?

The most important thing to know when making a successful travel insurance claim is to inform your insurer as soon as possible, and to document as much proof as you can. Most travel insurance policies offer a 24/7 worldwide phone assistance. 

The standard procedure to make a travel insurance claim is as below:

Step 1: Inform your insurer immediately after the accident, especially if emergency medical assistance is needed

Step 2: Gather as much proof as available

Step 3: Complete the necessary claim form

Step 4: Send all documents and proof to the provider via their designated channel

What documents do I need to make a claim?

Your insurer will let you know what documents to prepare for your specific case, as it will depend on the claim you’re filing for and the travel insurance company as well. Below, we’ve put together a general table to give you a better picture of what documents are needed to make a travel insurance claim.

Claim Documents Required
(if applicable)
  • Medical expenses
  • Permanent disability / accidental death
  • Medical report / death certificate
  • Medical receipts and bills
  • Hospital admission letter
  • Trip cancellation
  • Trip disruptions or curtailment
  • Proof of relationship with family member
  • Medical report / death certificate
  • Receipts of all expenses claimable
  • Copy of flight ticket
  • Delayed / lost / damaged luggage or personal documents
  • Report from relevant authority
  • Receipts of all expenses claimable
  • Written confirmation from carrier

Can I cancel my policy? How?

You can cancel your travel insurance policy at any time given written notice. However, exact procedures and requirements for cancellation of your travel insurance policy will depend on your policy and provider. 

Some will request for a 30-day written notice, while others will be able to cancel within 24 hours for you. If you have paid upfront for an annual travel insurance policy, you will likely be able to receive a refund to a certain extent.

Travel insurance typically works on a claims and reimbursement basis. Once you have purchased a policy, you are covered by your premium against mishaps that take place during your travel period. 

In the event these mishaps take place, you can file for a claim to the insurance provider with the necessary supporting documents, and your covered losses will be reimbursed once the claim has been verified and approved.

Anyone who is travelling domestically and/or internationally, from as young as 30 days old up to 80 years of age depending on the policy and provider. 

Travel insurance can be purchased right up until the day before your flight, but the widely suggested option includes purchasing it immediately after you have finalised arrangements and booked your trip. 

Insurance providers recommend this since most travellers tend to forget to purchase. 

Purchasing early also benefits you with a bigger coverage window, and depending on the plan and provider, you may even qualify for bonus coverage at no additional cost. 

Pre-existing conditions mean a medical condition that has already appeared during a specific period before the travel insurance policy has been purchased. This could range from 90 days to one year, depending on the policy.

The process for filing a travel insurance claim varies from providers. However, the standard procedure includes downloading and completing the claim form; gathering all the receipts of expenses to be reimbursed (where applicable); and sending all the documents back to the travel insurance company via their designated channel.

Most travel insurance policies offer a 24/7 worldwide phone assistance. Should an emergency take place, call your provider immediately. If it is a medical emergency, seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Travel insurance policies typically provide coverage for a traveler’s main concerns that may arise before or during the trip such as trip cancellations, medical emergencies, flight delays and loss of personal belongings

It usually covers financial loss from certain aspects of the following three areas: the person insured, their personal belongings, and their travel experience. The areas of coverage depends on the amount of premium paid as well as the insurance provider. This means travelers can opt for additional coverage that are not usually included in a basic travel insurance policy such as hazardous sports and accidental death or dismemberment.

The coverage for trip cancellation begins the day after a policy has been purchased. This means, the earlier the date of purchase, the better. Benefits such as medical emergencies are designed to begin the moment you start your trip.

Most travel insurance policies do not offer coverage for certain natural disasters, as it is classified as ‘acts of God’. While the terms vary from providers and policies, there are coverage options for certain mishaps that happen due to natural disasters such as trip cancellation, trip delays, and medical emergencies. Read through the policy plan carefully to identify the areas of coverage.

The cost of travel insurance varies and depends largely on the number of people insured, coverage amount, duration and destination. There are plenty of policies readily available in the market to suit different traveller needs as well as budget. 

‘Exclusions’ is a term used by insurance providers to indicate conditions that are not covered by the company. 

While it varies from insurer to another, some of the common exclusions listed in most policies include pre-existing conditions, suicide and self-injuries, injuries or sickness due to drugs and/or alcohol, high risk activities, damage to fragile items, devaluation of currency and more. 

These exclusions can usually be found in the Product Disclosure Statement of the purchased policy.