A growing number of Chinese tourists are taking out travel insurance at a higher rate, according to data from a major travel agency.
In 2018, the number of Chinese travellers that purchased cover for international trips increased by almost 20% year-on-year, China Daily reported, citing data from Ctrip International, one of the country’s largest online travel agencies.
Almost half (46%) of the funds paid out by travel insurance went to compensation for changes in travel schedule, followed by 35% for travel delays, and 15% for medical expenses.
According to the report, the growth in travel insurance uptake was mostly due to trends of more exotic destinations, more expensive items such as gadgets packed in tourists’ luggage, and an increasing number of senior citizen travellers.
“Tropical islands usually face frequent flight delays, as they are easily impacted by typhoons and rainstorms, and some chartered flights on islands often change schedules,” said Huang Qing, director of Ctrip’s travel insurance business. “Also, flying from China to some further overseas destinations, such as the United States, often requires transferring flights. Schedule changes on connecting flights can also result in delays.
“Many carriers don’t compensate for flight delays or cancellations that are caused by objective factors like bad weather,” Huang added. “Some travellers miss their transfer flights and have to buy new tickets or book hotels by themselves, but travel insurance can offer such compensation.”
Meanwhile, for more developed destinations such as the US, Canada, Japan, and Europe, medical fees can be more expensive, in some cases up to 30 times the cost in China, the report said. Uninsured tourists could be exposed to huge medical bills if they encounter a health issue during a trip.
“Even for a minor sickness or fever, it can still cost a significant amount of money,” Huang said. “So we suggest that travellers heading to those countries consider buying insurance and filing their claims promptly, thus avoiding their compensation being refused for delayed reporting.”