Have A Little Faith?

Sep 15th, 2010, in IM Posts, Opinion, Travel, by

Learning the hard way how to purchase travel insurance in Indonesia.



My previous trip back home to visit friends and relatives got a bit more expensive than expected when my child got sick and required a trip to the hospital.

So for my next holiday, I decided to investigate options to purchase a basic package of travel insurance for my family and I, just in case.

Initial searches on some large insurance companies’ Indonesian subsidiaries proved fruitless.

They offer many insurance products, but travel insurance isn’t one of them.

Why is travel insurance unpopular? Or why is it offered less than other insurance products? Perhaps it’s because many people in Indonesia accept misfortune as “insya Allah” or “the will of God”. (I personally don’t agree with this perspective, although I am amused by Indonesian in-flight magazines' pages of prayer and invocation for safe travel for five different religions.) Alternately, it might be to do with the local propensity for risky behaviour, which makes travel insurance riskier or just less profitable.

Anyway, I eventually found via Google searches for “travel insurance Indonesia” three companies that offered suitable products:

They do offer travel insurance

But that isn’t the end of the story. Much like booking tickets on Indonesian domestic airlines, there are several issues or limitations that must be considered first:

1. How to purchase
None of the above companies offer online sales. You cannot fill in an application form online either, only save and print one. Even then, like many application forms it is not in a normal/easy to print paper size.

2. Where to purchase and pay
The above companies only have contact phone numbers for Jakarta, and no listing of offices in other cities. There might be bank account details for paying via funds transfer, but it’s tricky when the insurance premium is in $US and you want to pay in Rupiah.

3. Paperwork / Other requirements
What do you need to have/send and to where? Application forms, copies of KTP/KITAS, passports, etc. Do you have to be an Indonesian citizen, an Indonesian resident or just in Indonesia?

4. Practicalities

Fortunately, I didn't end up looking like this guy...

Are the forms in English, Indonesian or both? How do you make a claim? Can you call them in your destination country, or only in Indonesia?

I decided to try AXA first because it was cheaper than Zurich, and unlike ACA forms were in English or Indonesian. However, I couldn’t get anyone to answer their customer service hotline, so tried sending an email to the general feedback address.

Surprisingly, they called me back later that day and said I could visit their local sales office to arrange my application, payment in cash and certificate of insurance directly. And that is what I did.




What have your experiences been on Indonesian travel insurance? What tips would you give to others considering buying/attempting to buy it?

Please share with other readers. If you have previous experience, please also fill in the details for the four areas mentioned above.


UPDATE: January 2011

As AXA and Zurich specialise in international travel, I thought I would try ACA TravelSafe Domestik for a recent family holiday within Indonesia.

ACA TravelSafe
One of Indonesia's few options for domestic travel insurance

It does overlap with health insurance a little. It has benefits for death, permanent incapaciation, emergency medical evacuation, medical fees, return of bodily remains. However, it also has benefits for cancellation of flights and loss of deposit, plus loss of luggage and personal effects.

The "Nusantara 2" package officially costs Rp67 000 ($US7.50) per person for a 5-11 day trip, with no discount/special price for families. In reality, it actually costs Rp98 000 ($US11) per person once additional fees for administration (Rp25 000) and stamp duty (Rp6000) were included.

On the plus side, they were happy to send a "courier" to my office to deliver my certificate of insurance and receive my payment (in cash). They were also happy to accept a receipt of payment by bank transfer.

It is difficult to report on their ability to process claims, because happily no one was sick or injured during our holiday.


11 Comments on “Have A Little Faith?”

  1. avatar Hans says:

    we use ALLIANZ Indonesia,
    this man fix it for me some year ago,
    Johan Immanuel Kandou
    It cost abt 1 200 000 x 12xyear, then it´s a saving act to.

    Normal we only stay 3 – 5,5 month and the rest in Sweden and are then protected from sweden welfare system the first 3 month

  2. avatar Chris says:

    Here are my answers for AXA:

    1. You can buy in person (Jakarta, Surabaya, Bandung) or by mail.

    2. You can pay in person (Rp or $US cash) or bank transfer (also can do either currency). To pay in Rp, you will need to ring up to find out the exchange rate, but it might take a while to get through.

    3. Passport and KITAS for foreigners, passport and KTP for Indonesians.

    4. Forms are available in Indonesian or English.

  3. avatar berlian biru says:

    Oh Lord, don’t get me started on insurance and Indonesia, the two concepts appear to be utterly alien to each other.

    A few years ago when we came into a bit of money I insisted that we use a portion of it to fund health insurance for the whole family, well my wife nearly had conniptions, especially when I rather egregiously made the philsophical point that I would be very happy if we never actually had to use the service (as I don’t actually want any of my children to be sick, naturally enough). I eventually persuaded her to pay for a comprehensive five year package (I wanted ten but had to compromise) but it still rankles with her today as a typical example of western money wasting.

    Whether it’s fatalism or as you say “insh’allah” there simply is no way to prove that insurance is a good idea because of course if you’re fortunate enough never to have to use it then it’s money wasted innit? This despite the example of her older sister who had a quite successful one woman business but who at the absurdly young age of 43 had a bad stroke, everything from her car to her house was sold to pay for the basic health care and no provision was available for physiotherapy, she now lies a wasted vegetable in her aged mother’s house with her kids farmed out to whatever relatives will house them.

    I am convinced that the difference between successful societies and those which fail has nothing to do with race or religion or skin colour or language or climate but to the basic concept of providing for foreseeable if remote problems in the future. Insurance is to my mind the very acme of civilisation, without it no society can develop properly.

  4. avatar Oigal says:

    Whether it’s fatalism or as you say “insh’allah”

    Its key and frustrating part of the culture, it the same theory that if I pull out into the path of on going truck, I am fine as long as I don’t look at it “What I cannot see, can’t hurt me!” or the “I will stop where ever I like” because if I refuse to acknowledge the problems I cause to others then they don’t exist. Corruption..same thing..”I refuse to acknowledge the people I hurt by doing this therefore there is no problem”

    It’s the 14 year old teenager comparision, I am the only important creature in the room and my future is assured.

  5. avatar ET says:

    @ berlian biru

    I am convinced that the difference between successful societies and those which fail has nothing to do with race or religion or skin colour or language or climate but to the basic concept of providing for foreseeable if remote problems in the future.

    There are probably tons of insurance companies trampling to get a slice of the cake a market of 240+ million represents. If not for the reasons you mention above what is the basis for your wife’s and her sister’s reluctance to subscribe and get covered?

  6. avatar David says:

    Whether it’s fatalism or as you say “insh’allah” there simply is no way to prove that insurance is a good idea because of course if you’re fortunate enough never to have to use it then it’s money wasted innit? This despite the example of her older sister who had a quite successful one woman business but who at the absurdly young age of 43 had a bad stroke, everything from her car to her house was sold to pay for the basic health care and no provision was available for physiotherapy, she now lies a wasted vegetable in her aged mother’s house with her kids farmed out to whatever relatives will house them.

    That’s the kind of insurance that you need, insurance against catastrophes that if they happened would wipe you out financially and you’d likely never recover from (this depends on age a bit of course, younger you are the more risk you can take on because you’ve still got the time to make the money back) but @the post when I think of ‘travel insurance’ I think of lost luggage insurance, that kind of thing, complete waste of money insuring yourself against trivial things like that, even health insurance, depends on the country and your citizenship, but obviously Indonesia would be one where it would definitely make sense, but again for things that would cripple you financially, not somebody gets a cut and needs stitches sort of thing, not sure if these plans allow you to determine what you’re covered for and not, I guess if you go for the best plan it covers everything under the sun.

  7. avatar berlian biru says:

    but again for things that would cripple you financially, not somebody gets a cut and needs stitches sort of thing

    Precisely what our policy insures us for but that pisses the missus off even more. She can’t understand why it is that now we have health insurance we can’t charge up everything from routine check-ups, to innoculations, visits to the dentists and minor scrapes and falls. When I explain that we can cover those sort of things from our own pocket but that health insurance is for the catastrophes; the lukaemias, strokes, major car accidents, cancers etc she just convinces herself more and more that it is an awful extravagance and waste of money. I know there’s going to be a hell of a battle when it comes to renewal in four years time.

    If not for the reasons you mention above what is the basis for your wife’s and her sister’s reluctance to subscribe and get covered?

    In my sister in law’s case it is simply cultural, the concept of health insurance no more entered her head than I would visit a dukun if my child was sick, different latitudes different attitudes I suppose.

  8. avatar Chris says:

    Interesting points, everyone. To continue the conversation:

    BB, my Indonesian wife also doesn’t see the point of health insurance. I can extend my work-provided health and life insurance to the rest of my family at a discounted rate; when I gave her the choice to do it, she said “I never get sick” and refused. While it is true that she is fairly healthy – and the insurance was only for basic hospital stays and wouldn’t cover huge/expensive specialist stuff – I worry what might happen one day.

    However, at least I did manage to get my baby daughter enrolled. My wife probably only didn’t protest because of the previous experience of her going to hospital, as described at the start of this article. Even then, I had to show her how much money we would have saved, etc.

    It’s the same situation with superannuation/pension funds or planning for a child’s future education expenses. It seems every bank and fund manager has one; at e.g. Bank Danamon it’s called Rencanaku or “My Plan”.

    Allianz iklan

    You usually have to save for x years before you can access the funds, but I cannot get my wife to understand why such things are a good idea. I have tried explaining how it’s compulsory in my country, what happens if, etc. She would rather we buy a new car, new house, etc.

  9. avatar terenjac says:

    I live in Australia and have been paying health, house and contents plus car insurance. Over a period of 40 years I have claimed more than once on each of these policies. I guess I maybe a little in front financially.

    However, I do not have to worry about unexpected costs in the future. I could have a collision with an expensive car, my house could burn down and I could break a leg and everything would be paid by my insurance companies. ……… I sure hope none of these things happen to me!!!

    What does annoy me though is when people are not insured expect family or friends to give them money when something bad happens. These people are usually the ones who waste their money on luxuries while I struggle to pay for my insurance.

  10. avatar Aprianti says:

    Indonesians are just not quite familiar with transactions for ‘intangible’ goods. The probability of losing money from paying insurance without being able to use the money later on is more worrying than the thought of losing money from paying a lump sum amount of hospital charge if they’re sick or having an accident.

  11. avatar Multibrand says:

    That’s interesting and worth considering next time I want to spend holidays with my family.

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