BEST TRAVEL INSURANCE (UPDATED FEBRUARY 2024)

What is travel insurance?

Travel insurance helps to protect you against unforeseen losses incurred during your travels, such as baggage loss and medical emergencies. Medical coverage includes in-patient hospitalisation expenses overseas, emergency medical evacuation and repatriation coverage.

According to a survey done in 2022 by Finder.com, about 77% of Singaporeans they interviewed intended to purchase a travel insurance plan. Getting adequate travel insurance will ensure you enjoy your trip with peace of mind.

Here’s a guide to researching and purchasing travel insurance that best suits you and your travel companions.

Did you know?

Travel insurance policies must be purchased before departing. Policies bought midway through travel will not be valid.

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What is travel insurance?

Travel insurance helps to protect you against unforeseen losses incurred during your travels, such as baggage loss and medical emergencies. Medical coverage includes in-patient hospitalisation expenses overseas, emergency medical evacuation and repatriation coverage.According to a survey done in 2022 by Finder.com, about 77% of Singaporeans they interviewed intended to purchase a travel insurance plan. Getting adequate travel insurance will ensure you enjoy your trip with peace of mind.Here’s a guide to researching and purchasing travel insurance that best suits you and your travel companions.

Did you know?

Travel insurance policies must be purchased before departing. Policies bought midway through travel will not be valid.

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Best for pre-existing coverage: Income Enhanced PreX, Tiq Travel
Best for high-risk sports: MSIG TravelEasy
Best for COVID-19 coverage: Allianz Travel, Singlife Travel
Unlimited / high limit for repatriation: AIG Travel Guard, Chubb Travel, Etiqa Travel Infinite, EQ Travel, FWD Travel, Income Enhanced PreX, Singlife Travel
Best for lost baggage claim: AIG Travel Guard
Best domestic pets care: Singlife Prestige, MSIG Elite and Premier

Common travel claims

No matter how well-planned our travels are, there could still be unforeseen circumstances that might derail them. A good travel insurance policy can help to ease, at the very least, the financial pain of these. Here are the top 4 most common reasons for travel insurance claims.

1. Travel and baggage delay (including missed connecting flights)

Travel delays can occur due to poor weather conditions or mechanical problems with the aircraft. Baggage delays could be due to bad weather conditions, making the crew take a longer time to move your baggage indoors. Additional accommodation costs and expenses related to buying clothes and toiletries can be reduced with travel insurance.

However, there is often a minimum number of hours of delay — typically starting with 6 hours — before the delay is eligible for claims.

2. Medical expenses

It’s easy to fall sick while you’re travelling with the additional stress and fatigue from long hours of commuting. You could get food poisoning from eating at an unfamiliar spot, or get injured while skiing.

Typically, a travel insurance policy will cover medical bills incurred overseas, as well as treatment sought at home as a result of illness during the trip.

3. Loss of personal belongings

Theft or your own carelessness could result in the loss of your belongings, such as travel documents, your phone, wallet, or laptop. It’s really inconvenient when this happens on vacation, but travel insurance will help recover part of the loss suffered.

4. Unforeseen cancellations (unexpected illness, or flight cancellations)

A family member falling sick before departure may result in the entire family having to cancel their flights in order to isolate themselves. Outside of illness, flights or hotels may get cancelled due to these operators pulling the plug on your itinerary. In rare cases, travel operators may go bankrupt, travel insurance can reimburse the fees paid back to you.

Read more: Travel Insurance: Do I Really Need It and What Should I Take Note Of?

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How to file claims?

Take note of these physical items to keep, so that your claims will be smooth.

1. Your travel boarding passes

To prove travel did happen, insurers will need physical boarding passes for the entire journey departing and returning to Singapore. This is important as it is evidence that you have checked in and boarded the plane or ship. Keep in mind that an e-pass is a proof of purchase but does not prove you have travelled. Also, this serves as proof that you were indeed in the country(s) covered by the insurance.

2. Original receipts for all of your medical bills.

If you have fallen sick during your trip, your medical expenses — overseas or upon returning to Singapore — will be claimable. It’s best to have a medical memo attached to the medical bill indicating the diagnosis. It is all right if the documents are not in English. If you have received any treatment upon your return because of illnesses that occurred during your trip, have the doctor in Singapore issue a memo indicating so.

3. Notifications from airlines for travel delays, baggage delays or baggage damage

This is an important piece of evidence that is often overlooked by travellers. Messages or emails from the airline are proof that you are forced to stay put longer than you had planned. With such notifications, you are able to make claims to have resulting expenses paid for, including unused travel fare and accommodation charges.

If your baggage was damaged during transit while it was with the airline, do report this damage immediately at the airport counter upon landing. This is crucial as it will be difficult to file for this after you leave the restricted area. A report will be generated and airlines will typically compensate you for the damage caused by their mishandling.

4. Police report, and receipts if possible

If you lose your personal belongings due to theft, you must make a police report at the local authorities. They will need information such as the price of your items, and description of the items.

Along with this report, the insurer may ask for receipts as proof of ownership of your items. This also helps them to determine the compensation amount. Depreciation will be taken into account, so a camera that is 10 years old will be compensated less for the same one bought just last month.

Planner Bee is here to help

Making travel insurance claims can always be tedious, especially after a long journey. Rest assured when you purchase with Planner Bee, as we have a team of specialists that can assist you with your claims and make them easier.

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Things to note when choosing a plan:

If you are suffering from pre-existing conditions

Patients with pre-existing conditions are often excluded from or denied insurance coverage. Even when pre-existing conditions are covered, it is often more expensive than regular travel insurance.This is because these patients are at a higher risk of making a medical claim as compared to those without these conditions.

As a result, these patients often have a harder time finding suitable travel insurance. Hence, if you have pre-existing conditions, keep an eye out for plans that cover these things. Some common pre-existing conditions include:

  • Asthma
  • Eczema
  • Heart Attack
  • Stroke
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Lupus

If you are driving on the trip (car rental excess)

Car rental is a popular and convenient choice, especially for people travelling in couples or groups. It may also be an easier option for places that are harder to get to by public transportation.
Typically, when you rent a vehicle, the rental will come with some basic insurance coverage. But this is unlikely to cover the cost of accidents and damage to the vehicle, as well as third party damage. You might think you’re a careful driver, but sometimes accidents happen through no fault of yours.
The cost of repairing the rental car is referred to as either the excess, or a deductible.
Your basic travel insurance policy will also not cover such fees. So if you would like to be covered in this situation, make sure to explore purchasing an add-on before you rent.

If you are the sporty sort

Skiing? Bungee? If you are adventurous and want to seek out thrills on your trips, keep a lookout for insurance plans that cover you for these extreme sports. Be sure to check the list of covered activities before purchasing.

Some common extreme sports include:

  • Zip-lining
  • Zip-riding
  • Bungee jumping
  • Parasailing
  • Tandem skydiving
  • Canoeing or Class III white-water rafting with a qualified guide
  • Jet skiing
  • Ice skating
  • Skiing
  • Snowboarding

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The cost of living in that country

You may wonder why the cost of living in a country should be considered when buying travel insurance. This is because different plans have different limits and you want to ensure claims are adequately covered.

For instance, in the case of flight delays, you’ll have to spend a night in a hotel. A night at a 4-star hotel in Los Angeles could cost you S$382, while it only costs S$162 in Vietnam.

Similarly, if you fall sick, your medical bills are likely to cost more in a country with a higher cost of living.

So ensure that you aren’t capped at too low a claim limit if you’re travelling to a country with typically bigger average bills.

Repatriation

Repatriation refers to emergency situations where you require evacuation. This could also happen if you land up in a hospital in a state where you’re unable to fly home in the regular way.

Flying a patient back home often involves special arrangements such as an air ambulance and also an in-flight medical team. This is hugely expensive, so make sure your travel insurance caters for a large portion of this, if not the full expense.

Maximum number of days per trip

If you’re gearing up for an extended journey or considering a student exchange, it’s essential to be aware of the coverage limitations in your insurance policy. Many annual travel plans restrict trips to 90 days, while single trip options typically cap coverage at 182 days. If your travels exceed these durations, it’s wise to confirm that your chosen plan accommodates longer stays.

Purchase your travel insurance early for added benefits

You could get some savings on your insurance by purchasing ahead of time.

Travel insurance provides coverage for unforeseen travel cancellations or modifications resulting from the death, severe injury, or serious illness of the insured person, their family member, or travel companion. To ensure eligibility for such claims, it’s recommended to make your purchase at least 3 to 7 days before your travel commences.

Credit cards with travel insurance benefits

Lastly, if you forget to purchase travel insurance, there are several credit cards that offer complimentary travel insurance, provided that you pay for all of your trip bookings with the card.

Although credit card travel insurance may sound convenient, be mindful that this complimentary insurance usually covers just the basics, such as flight delays, baggage delays, and baggage losses. The claim limits are often lower than regular travel insurance plans too. If you need comprehensive coverage, you should still consider purchasing a travel plan and not rely on your credit card.

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