The sound of sizzling woks and the smell of chili oil emanating from the streets of China. They will undoubtedly make your mouth water. But after devouring some pork dumplings, things may very well take a turn for the worse: an achy, grumbling stomach with waves of nausea that’ll send you straight to the hospital. And, if that happens, you’ll wish you had travel insurance in China.
Travel insurance will cover both your medical bills and protect you against other incidents that could happen in China. The truth is, you never know what could happen to you while traveling. You could hurt yourself hiking up the Great Wall. Or someone could snatch your backpack while your nose is in your camera at the top.
Travel insurance is, by far, the most important thing to take with you on your trip.
And travel insurance only costs a fraction of your total trip. So there’s no reason not to protect yourself by purchasing a plan. In reality, you really can’t afford to travel without it.
⚠️ Due to the recent coronavirus outbreak in China, we at TravelFreak do not recommend traveling to China at this time. The U.S. Department of State has issued a statement warning against all travel to Hubei Province and restricting travel elsewhere in China. ⚠️
To put it simply, travel insurance covers the costs of unexpected incidents that happen while you’re traveling.
A great travel insurance policy should include the following coverage:
Trip cancellation and trip interruption
Medical emergencies and evacuations
Stolen, damaged or lost baggage and property
You may already have health insurance in your home country. But your policy probably won’t cover you while you’re in China. For this reason alone, it’s vital to purchase a travel insurance plan.
It’s also important to note that travel insurance covers more than just your health. It’s there to protect you against any hiccups during your trip.
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8 Reasons Why You Need Travel Insurance in China
There’s no reason not to purchase a travel insurance plan for China. In fact, I would go so far as to say that travel insurance is worth it and is an absolute necessity when you travel. But here are specific examples of why you should.
1. Pedestrians in China Do Not Have the Right of Way
Many drivers don’t pay attention. Some disobey traffic signs, frequently running through red lights, turning corners without looking and speeding. This all makes crossing the street a dangerous task for you.
2. Seatbelts Are Scarce in China
It’s mandatory to wear your seatbelt in the car. But you might not find them in taxis or public buses. In fact, Chinese drivers and passengers rarely buckle their seatbelts at all. Without a seatbelt, you increase your risk of serious injury.
3. Subway Theft Is Too Easy in China
Subway stations during rush hour can be chaotically overcrowded. With everyone pushing to get on the train, you might not feel someone’s hand slipping your wallet out of your back pocket.
4. The Water in China Is Questionable at Best
The tap water in China may look clear. But it’s almost always undrinkable. Water quality is not well regulated. And it can contain harmful bacteria and materials. As a result, even the smallest of sips could make you sick.
5. Chinese Street Food Might Not Sit Well With You
China is known for its endless supply of cheap street foods. However, you don’t know how long those meat skewers or egg tarts have been sitting in the sun. If they aren’t cooked properly, you could get an upset stomach or even food poisoning.
6. Thieves Could Snatch Your Transportation in China
Bicycles may be a great way to navigate the city. But they’re also prime targets for thieves. Experienced thieves can easily pick the locks or take off with your individual bike parts.
7. The Air Quality Is Alarmingly Low in China
The air pollution in Beijing can be extremely hazardous to your health. You don’t have to spend extended periods in China to feel its effects. Even if you’re normally healthy, having asthma or other respiratory problems could actually land you in the hospital.
8. Chinese Airports Are Mayhem
China’s airports are notorious for long delays and even canceled flights. While delayed flights are inconvenient, they could also result in missed connections and lost baggage. This means more money out of your pocket.
What Does Travel Insurance in China Cover?
Travel Insurance policies come in many shapes and sizes. However, the best travel insurance for China should cover the following events.
If for some reason, you are unable to go on your trip to China, the trip cancellation insurance will reimburse any non-refundable costs. The amount of trip cancellation coverage differs between companies and policies. However, you should purchase a travel insurance plan covers the total cost of your trip.
Keep in mind that your reason for canceling needs to be outlined by the insurance company. You can’t just file a travel insurance claim if you found a better deal on a hotel, or if want to take the later flight home.
Some of the most common reasons include illness, the death of a family member and natural disasters.
Unfortunately, incidents can happen while you’re already traveling through China. If you have to return home due to an illness or family emergency, travel insurance will cover your costs.
Similar to trip cancellation coverage, a great trip interruption plan should cover the entire cost of your trip.
If you get into an accident or need to see a doctor abroad, medical emergency insurance will cover the cost of your medical bills.
At the very least, you should purchase $100,000 of medical emergency coverage. This amount should cover you for everything from minor doctor visits to severe injuries.
Medical Evacuation and Repatriation
If your illness or injury becomes severe, the hospital in China may not be equipped to handle the emergency. Then you’ll need to be flown back home. In this case, you’ll be thankful to have medical evacuation and repatriation coverage.
Being airlifted to a hospital or flown back home from China is extremely expensive. It can cost thousands of dollars. For this reason, you should have at least $100,000 of evacuation and repatriation coverage.
Lost, Stolen or Damaged Property
Maybe your airlines lost your luggage during your connection from Tokyo. Or perhaps your wallet was nabbed while you were on the train. Either way, your travel insurance should cover the costs.
While you can’t claim items that were left unattended, you can get refunded for stolen or damaged belongings.
World Nomads: The Best Overall Travel Insurance for China
There’s a reason why World Nomads consistently tops our list for best travel insurance. It’s specifically made for travelers and globetrotters. World Nomads is affordable and comprehensive travel insurance for your trip to China.
Even their standard plan comes with extensive coverage. The plan includes $100,000 emergency medical coverage, $300,000 medical evacuation and repatriation, and $1,000 of lost or stolen property.
Unlike other travel insurance companies, World Nomads also covers over 300 sports and activities. That means you’re protected whether you plan to hike the Great Wall or dive the reefs of Hainan.
World Nomads a great choice of travel insurance for China. But it’s also perfect for wherever else you want to travel in the world.
Allianz: The Best China Travel Insurance for Seniors
Exploring the far east is an unforgettable experience for travelers of all ages. Unfortunately, there are very few travel insurance companies that cover senior travelers. That’s where Allianz steps in.
Not only is Allianz one of the best names in the biz, but they also offer coverage for travelers of every age. That’s right. There’s no age limit for purchasing an Allianz insurance to travel to China.
Although Allianz offers multiple plans, seniors should invest in the premier policy. With this plan, you’ll get $50,000 medical emergency coverage and a generous $1,000,000 for emergency evacuation.
InsureMyEquipment: The Best Travel Insurance for Camera Equipment
If you want to photograph the majestic landscapes and temples in China, then remember to purchase travel insurance for your camera equipment. InsureMyEquipment does not offer medical or trip coverage. But it will cover any damage or theft to your valuable electronics.
Most travel insurance policies only reimburse your lost or damaged property up to a certain amount. Unfortunately, this may only cover a small fraction of the total cost of your camera gear.
However, InsureMyEquipment offers specific policies for your camera and other equipment.
How to File a Claim with Your Travel Insurance if Something Goes Wrong in China
Hopefully, your trip to China will go smoothly. If it doesn’t, it’s important that you know how to file a claim.
Keep in mind that every travel insurance company has a slightly different filing process. In general, however, keep in mind the following guidelines.
Note: If it is a serious medical issue, call your travel insurance company immediately.
There is usually a 24-hour assistance hotline for such cases. By calling ahead, you can get information on what hospital is best to visit. Sometimes, you can also get advanced payment from the insurance company. That way, you won’t have to cover everything out of pocket up front.
1. Take Precautions Before You Travel
Before you leave for your trip, prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
First, store your travel insurance information somewhere accessible. If you didn’t receive a card in the mail, you should be able to print one online. Make sure the card includes your full name and policy number.
Second, fill out the information in your passport. You should typically include your full name, address and phone number. You should also include details of an emergency contact. Always make a copy of your passport information to carry instead of the real thing. This way you can lock up your passport when you don’t need it.
And finally, research the in-network providers in China that accept your travel insurance. If an emergency arises, you’ll have a list of hospitals that you can go to if needed.
2. Call the Insurance Provider’s Hotline
Good travel insurance in China should have a 24-hour customer service line. To start the claim filing process, call your travel insurance company to inform them of your situation. In fact, the travel insurance representative can also assist with finding the nearest hospital or police station.
In dire situations, go straight to the hospital or local authorities in China. You can always call your insurance provider after.
3. Document the Incident or Accident with Police and/or Medical Reports
Travel insurance companies require a detailed paper trail. It’s important to collect and save any documentation, receipts or written notices. This way you can submit them to the travel insurance company.
For example, let’s say you need to cancel your trip due to illness. This means you’ll need to submit your trip itinerary and cost breakdown of the nonrefundable flights and hotels. You’ll also need a medical certificate saying you are unable to travel.
Remember, it’s your responsibility to gather the documents from the airline companies, the police or the hospital.
4. File the Travel Insurance Claim
The process for filing a claim with your insurance provider is easier than ever. Many companies let you submit your claim directly from their website online.
It’s important that you submit your claim to your China travel insurance company quickly. Insurance companies have different timelines for filing claims. But most need to be submitted between 10 and 60 days.
5. Get Reimbursed
After you’ve filed your claim, you’ll need to wait for the travel insurance company to approve the reimbursement. This can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks.
It’s best to file early. And it’s ideal to send as much information as possible to avoid complications. Of course, you have a higher chance of getting approved if you submit your claim on time and with the necessary documentation.
China is a beautiful and exhilarating country. It has something for every type of traveler. After all, it’s huge. With travel insurance and, okay, a lot of time, you can check off everything you want to do.
It’s important to realize that travel insurance isn’t just for China, however. No matter where you travel in the world, you should always go with travel insurance.