Insurance 101

Common Accidents and Injuries While Traveling Abroad and What Travel Insurance Covers?

You can get injured while on holiday abroad, from slipping over on a wet floor or getting ill from food poisoning. Learn how travel insurance can help.

A group of friends taking a group photo using a phone's front facing camera or wefie.

On the evening of 29th October 2022, the Itaewon Halloween Festival sent a shock worldwide. Over 150 people, mostly young adults, were dead and almost200 others injured due to a crowd crush or stampede during the celebration.

A similar event happened in Houston, Texas in 2021, where an overcrowded Astroworld Music Festival caused a fatal crowd crush. 10 people died and hundreds more were injured when the crowd began pushing toward the stage.

Most of us tend to overlook the possibility of being in unforeseen situations of such that require medical treatment or hospitalization, especially during our holidays. Hence, taking precautions and reserving extra cash in case of illnesses or injuries understandably remained at the back of our minds.

According to multiple experiences shared by travelers, here are some common accidents that can occur when you are traveling abroad:

A woman on a hospital bed with right knee in a bandage while her left knee is in a leg brace.

1. Tripping accidents

Tripping accidents could happen anywhere, from when you are at the airport waiting to board a flight to inside your hotel room when you want to make some coffee, or at the sidewalk while you are taking a stroll in the city. The chances of tripping are higher especially when you are rushing to get somewhere or when you are not focused on your surroundings.

2. Slip and fall accident

Slip and fall accident is slightly different from tripping. Instead of tripping over something, you fall after stepping on something slippery on the floor. What you can do to avoid it is to again, be aware of your surroundings, watch out for “wet floor” signs or hold on tight to something or someone while descending a steep hill.

3. Traffic accident

Traffic accidents are considered one of the most common accidents to travelers who are visiting a different country with unfamiliar traffic rules like driving on the opposite lane or the “wrong side of the road”.

Things could be a bit confusing at times but make sure you adapt to the new environment quicker or if you need to go out, take a guide or public transport where it is safer.

a man being pick-pocketed by an unknown person

4. Mugging and theft

Mugging and theft don’t just happen in Malaysia, but worldwide. If we are traveling to a new country or city, we could be distracted by the beautiful new places and our eyes would wander all over the place.

Those wandering eyes would give you away as a tourist making you an easy mugging or pickpocketing victim. We should be careful of how we carry our bags or valuable belongings like our purses, wallet, smartphone, and passport.

5. Sports and outdoor activities

Sports and outdoor activities like white water rafting, hiking, and scuba diving are fun activities to do when you are on a holiday. But one bad fall or a misplaced step could spell danger to us.

Before you go on these activities, we need to make sure that the company we are booking these activities with is reputable with good credentials. We should also wear appropriate attire before participating in the activities to avoid getting ourselves into painful situations.

6. Sunburn, dehydration, and heat stroke

Although Malaysians have a relatively high tolerance to heat as we live in an equatorial climate, we may not have much trouble traveling to hot climate countries like the Middle East, Africa continent or during the hot summer in Australia.

However, sunburn from being out too long under the sun could cause minor degree burns, dehydration, and heat stroke. Additionally, consuming a large amount of alcohol during holidays could also cause dehydration. Hence drinking in moderation would lower the risk of falling ill during vacation.

Three person sharing a poke potato wedges, potentially purchased from street market or food trucks.

7. Food poisoning

Food poisoning is another common cause of illness during holidays and falling sick from it could make you end up at the hospital for at least a day or two. It is good to be aware that bacteria grow quicker in warmer climates and food tend to get spoilt quicker as well.

Take extra precautions during your travels like making sure the food at hawker stalls or restaurants are clean and uncontaminated, and the place you’re eating at doesn’t have flies and other insects flying around.

8. Crowd crush/trampling during large gatherings/festivals

Itaewon Halloween tragedy left thousands visiting the incident site to mourn for the lives lost. Source NPR.
Source: NPR - Itaewon Halloween Stampede Tragedy

Recent tragedies like the crowd crush during the Itaewon Halloween Festival in Seoul and Astroworld Music Festival in Houston, have left hundreds of festival goers dead and injured.

Attending concerts or festivals overseas is not something we do often and, in most cases, it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. To avoid getting stuck in an overcrowded space, be aware of the nearest exits, paramedics and security personnel in case immediate assistance is required.

We have listed down the common types of injuries that we could sustain if we got into those accidents:

  1. Breaks and fractures
  2. Concussions and contusions
  3. Cuts and lacerations
  4. Head injuries
  5.  Dehydration
  6. Food and alcohol-related illnesses
  7. Crushing injuries (including being kicked, stepped on, and trampled)
  8. Strained and sprains
  9. Minor or major burns
  10. Fatalities

Why is travel insurance important for travelers from a medical point of view?

Buying travel insurance for our holiday trip will not only cover trip cancellation, flight delays, or loss of luggage. The main benefits included in both our VIP and Classic AXA Travel Insurance plan are medical and hospitalization, personal accidents, and emergency medical evacuation and repatriation.

Travelers are encouraged to purchase travel insurance for their trips because:

  • Healthcare costs are rising not just locally but all over the world.
  • Unforeseen medical expenses can be a burden, especially for budget travelers.
  • Travelers might not know where to find inexpensive medical facilities in the area for treatments and medication.
  • Language barriers with the locals may confuse and affect medical costs.

What are the medical coverages available when we buy AXA Travel Insurance, in the event of these injuries or worse?

Personal Accident:

Personal accident coverage is not exactly what it sounds like. If we sustain an injury from a trip and break a wrist, this injury will be covered under medical treatment expenses. Whereas Personal Accident covers accidental death, or total or permanent disablement like loss of limb or loss of sight, speech, or hearing.

Note: Child Education benefit is not available for SmartTraveller Classic plan.

Medical Benefits:

Medical benefits in travel insurance cover reimbursement of medical, hospital, and treatment expenses incurred by travelers, including the cost of emergency dental treatment. Besides expenses, travel insurance also provides compassionate visitation to one relative or friend if medically recommended. This benefit also applies vice versa, if we are required to accompany a relative or a friend who is hospitalized while they are abroad, subject to the coverage limit.

Other medical-related benefits include alternative medical treatment, childcare expenses if our children need to be looked after by a family member, medical treatment upon returning to Malaysia, and a hospital allowance of up to RM350per day if warded in the hospital.

Note: Alternative Medical Treatment and Hospital Allowance is not covered in SmartTraveller Classic plan.

Emergency Medical Evacuation & Repatriation:

Emergency medical evacuation, medical repatriation, and repatriation of mortal remains are generally included in both our overseas travel insurance plans, although the coverage limits are different among plans. When we purchase travel insurance, we will be provided with transportation and medical care to move us to the nearest hospital if we need critical medical assistance.

For amore comprehensive information on medical benefits and coverage limit, and other non-medical benefits, you can refer to the travel insurance benefit table.

Vacations are a necessity to allow us to wind down, chill and escape from our daily routines. While we are enjoying ourselves, it is also important that we safeguard ourselves with travel insurance so we can have a worry-free holiday with our loved ones.

Before you start traveling, check out these helpful travel safety tips when you are traveling overseas that include steps you need to take when traveling during a pandemic.

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