Travel insurance popular in China

Chinese tourists with their luggage
Travel insurance

Chinese travellers are purchasing travel insurance at higher rates than ever before, according to a new report from China-based online travel agency Ctrip International Ltd. The number of Chinese holidaymakers buying travel cover for their outbound trips grew by 20 per cent in 2018 compared with the year before, a trend largely driven by an increasing number of seniors heading off on trips, a wider variety of exotic locations on offer for holidays, and ever-more expensive gadgets needing to be packed – and therefore protected.

Ctrip also found that when it came to travel insurance payouts for Chinese travellers in 2018, 46 per cent were for compensation for changes to travel schedules, 35 per cent were for travel delays and 15 per cent were to cover the cost of medical care.

In terms of local destinations, Guangzhou (Guangdong province), Xiamen (Fujian province) and the Hainan province in China were worst for flight delays, while for overseas destinations, Indonesia, the Maldives and the Philippines were the worst.

“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,” explained Huang Qing, Ctrip’s Director of travel insurance business. “Also, flying from China to some further overseas destinations, such as the US, often requires transferring flights. Schedule changes on connecting flights can also result in delays. [Unfortunately] many carriers don’t compensate for flight delays or cancellations caused by objective factors like bad weather. Some travellers miss their transfer flights and have to buy new tickets or book hotels by themselves. [Luckily] travel insurance can offer such compensation.”

The highest proportion of outbound Chinese travellers who took out travel insurance, according to Ctrip, were found to be heading to Europe, at least partly because applying for a Schengen Visa mandates travel cover as a prerequisite. This was followed by Sri Lanka, New Zealand and Indonesia. Locally, areas with high altitudes and other environmental challenges such as Qinghai pronvicne and Shanxi province saw the highest proportion of travellers covered by insurance.