China is truly a land of extremes. You have the breathtaking space-age style of Shanghai, the constant bustle of Hong Kong, and then the natural beauty of the Li River, or the Yellow Mountains. This country has the largest population of any nation on the planet, and each region is truly like a country of its own.
Because of this, you need to account for every situation on your travels, so let’s take a closer look at how insurance could keep you safe.
Why you need travel insurance in China
While you can travel without it, here are a few key reasons why it’s a smart move to get covered for your trip to China.
Medical treatment in China can be expensive.1 If you require medical services, you’ll be grateful to have a travel insurance policy to shoulder the cost, especially if it involves emergency transportation, which can cost thousands.
It’s good to know that medical care in China is top tier, and the staff who treat you in popular tourist hubs will typically be able to communicate via translator – or, they’ll speak English. You may struggle to find English-speaking doctors and nurses in rural areas, however.
Are you vaccinated? You should consider shots for Polio, Rabies, and Tuberculosis, but consult a doctor a month before departure for the most up to date information.
If you are in a car accident, your rental car company many charge you an excess. If this happens, check your travel insurance policy – you may be able to make a claim and have the excess paid for you.
Other things to look out for on the roads:
- Drive on the right side of the road.
- Switch your headlights on during the daytime and you could land yourself a fine.
Theft & loss of belongings
The threat of theft is not more significant in China than it is elsewhere in the world, but there are a few things to remain mindful of.
You’re encouraged to keep your passport on you at all times, in case you’re asked by authorities to present it. This then represents an opportunity to lose it though, so be on your guard and keep this previous document out of sight whenever possible.
Cancellations / cost of delays
A significant 25% of insurance claims are because of cancelled travel.2 What does this mean for travellers heading to China? For one, it pays to check out the average time you’ll spend waiting for a plane at the airports in this Asian nation. According to FlightStats info from January 2016, you can see the average delay in busy Chinese airports was significant.
- Shanghai: 57.5 minutes
- Hong Kong: 51.9 minutes
- Guangzhou: 50.4
- Bejing: 48.1 minutes
None of the above airports had an ‘on time’ percentage higher than 65%. By comparison, Tokyo’s was 91.74%. This only illustrates the importance of (a) leaving plenty of commute time when travelling from place to place, and (b) how valuable travel insurance can be. If you’re delayed and have to cancel something, you could potentially get money back from your insurer.
You should check out the FlightStats map to see what the current delay times are.
Things to keep in mind
- Tourists have previously been targeted by scams.
- You’ll require permission from the Chinese government if you would like to travel into Tibet.
- Drug offences are severely punished by the law. Even the possession of a small amount of drugs could land you in jail, or worse.
- You’ll require a VISA to enter the country for longer than 3 days.
- China does not enjoy an uncensored internet, so you may not be able to access Facebook, Google, etc.
If you’re thinking of travelling somewhere else, check out our travel guide cover for different countries.
N.B. Please refer to or speak with you insurer about limits, sub limits, restrictions, limitations and additional cover options.