BEST TRAVEL INSURANCE (UPDATED MAY 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 survey, 64% of Singaporeans previously purchased travel insurance and 91% 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 survey, 64% of Singaporeans previously purchased travel insurance and 91% 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
Best for high-risk sports: Income Travel, Tokio Marine Explora
Best for evacuation & repatriation costs: AIG Travel Guard, Chubb Travel, Etiqa Travel Infinite, EQ Travel, Income Enhanced PreX, Singlife Travel
Best for lost baggage claim: AIG Travel Guard, EQ Travel, Etiqa Travel Infinite
Best domestic pets care: Singlife Travel Prestige, MSIG TravelEasy 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 or baggage delay and 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

The loss of your belongings, such as travel documents, your phone, wallet, or laptop due to theft is covered under travel insurance too.

While it is really inconvenient when this happens on vacation, travel insurance will help recover part of the loss suffered.

4. Unforeseen trip cancellations or postponement

A family member falling sick before departure may result in the entire family having to cancel their flights due to the nature of the trip being part of a group booking.

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 travel fees paid in advance.

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

Compare travel insurance plans

The plans are categorised based on those that cover pre-existing medical conditions and those that do not. For the purposes of comparison, the benefits are based on the highest tier option for each insurer.

Plans without pre-existing medical coverage

PlanAIG Travel GuardChubb Travel Pro EnhancedEQ TravelEtiqa Travel InfiniteIncome TravelMSIG TravelEasySinglife Travel
Plan typePremierUltimateSuperiorSuitePreferredPremierPrestige
Travel cancellation (Unforeseen circumstances)Up to $15,000Up to $20,000Up to $15,000Up to $15,000Up to $15,000Up to $15,000Up to $20,000
Travel delay
Claim limitUp to $3,000Up to $2,000Up to $2,000Up to $3,000Up to $2,000Up to $1,500Up to $2,000
Overseas
Per 6 hours: $100
Per 6 hours: $200
Per 6 hours: $100
Per 3 hours: $50
Per 6 hours: $100
Per 6 hours: $100
Per 6 hours: $100
SingaporePer 6 hours: $100Per 6 hours: $150
Baggage delay
Claim limitUp to $1,600Up to $1,200Up to $2,000Up to $1,500Up to $2,000Up to $1,500Up to $2,000
Overseas
Per 6 hours: $200
Per 6 hours: $200
Per 6 hours: $200
Per 6 hours: $100
Per 6 hours: $200
Per 6 hours: $250
Per 6 hours: $200
SingaporePer 6 hours: $200Per 6 hours: $150
Loss baggage
Up to $10,000Up to $8,000Up to $10,000Up to $10,000Up to $8,000Up to $7,500Up to $8,000
Limit
Laptop: $1,000
Per article: $500
Limit:
Laptop: $1,000
Per article: $500
Limit:
Laptop: $1,000
Per article: $500
Limit:
Laptop: $1,000
Per article: $250
Limit:
Laptop: $1,000
Other items (for each item, set or pair): $500
Limit:
Laptop: $1,000
Other items (for each item, set or pair): $500
Limit:
Other items (for each item, set or pair): $700
Losing money
Up to $8,000
Cash limit: $300
Up to $300
Up to $5,000
Up to $8,000
Cash limit: $300
Up to $500Up to $500Up to $500
Losing travel documentsUp to $5,000Up to $8,000Up to $5,000Up to $5,000
Personal accidentUp to $300,000Up to $500,000Up to $500,000Up to $500,000Up to $500,000Up to $500,000Up to $500,000
Overseas hospitalisation
Normal ward
$50,000
Per day: $200
Up to 200 days
Per day: $200
$50,000
Per day: $200
Up to $50,000
Per day: $200
Up to $50,000
Per day: $200
Up to $60,000
Per day: $300
Up to $50,000
Per day: $200
Intensive Care Unit (ICU)Up to 40 days
Per day: $200
Up to $4,000
Per day: $400
Up to $50,000
Per day: $400
Medical expense (Singapore)
(w/o evacuation)
Up to $10,000Up to $7,500Up to $50,000Up to $15,000Up to $50,000Up to $75,000Up to $80,000
Medical expense (Overseas)Up to $2,500,000Up to $2,000,000Up to $500,000Up to $2,500,000Up to $1,000,000Up to $1,000,000
Unlimited
Emergency medical evacuationUnlimitedUnlimited
Unlimited
Pre-ex claim limit: $150,000
UnlimitedUnlimited
Up to $1,000,000
RepatriationUnlimited
Pre-ex claim limit: $150,000
UnlimitedUnlimited
Pre-ex claim limit: $150,000
UnlimitedUnlimited
Rental vehicle excessUp to $1,500Up to $1,000Up to $1,000Up to $1,500Up to $2,500Up to $1,500Up to $2,500
Domestic pet careAfter 24 hours delay,
Up to $750
Per 6 hours: $50
NAUp to $1,000
Per 8 hours: $50
Up to $750
Per 6 hours: $50
NAUp to $750
Per day: $75
Up to $1,000
Per day: $50
Sports
TrekkingUp to 3,000mUp to 3,000mUp to 3,000mUp to 3,000mUp to 4,000mUp to 3,000mUp to 3,000m
Winter/water sportsYesYesYesYesYesYesOptional
Aerial sportsYesNoNoYesYesYesNo

Source: Income, MSIG, Singlife, AIG, Chubb, Etiqa, EQ

Plans with pre-existing medical coverage

Plan

Etiqa Pre-ExIncome Enhanced PreXMSIG Traveleasy Pre-Ex
Plan typeLuxuryEnhanced PreX PrestigePremier Plan
Travel cancellation (unforeseen circumstances)Up to $10,000Up to $15,000
Pre-ex claim limit: 50% co-payment
Up to $15,000
Travel delay
Claim limitUp to $500Up to $2,000Up to $1,500
Overseas
Per 3 hours: $50
Per 6 hours: $100
Per 6 hours: $100
SingaporePer 6 hours: $150
Baggage delay
Claim limitUp to $200Up to $2,000Up to $1,500
Overseas
Per 6 hours: $100
Per 6 hours: $200
Per 6 hours: $250
SingaporePer 6 hours: $200
Loss baggage
Up to $3,000Up to $8,000Up to $7,500

Limit:
Laptop: $1,000
Other items (for each item, set or pair): $250

Limit:
Laptop: $1,000
Other items (for each item, set or pair): $500
Limit:
Laptop: $1,000
Other items (for each item, set or pair): $500
Losing moneyUp to $500Up to $500Up to $500
Losing travel documentsUp to $500Up to $8,000Up to $5,000
Personal accidentUp to $500,000Up to $500,000Up to $500,000
Overseas hospitalisation
Normal ward
Up to $20,000
Benefit per day: $200

Up to $50,000
Per day: $200

Pre-ex claim limit:
Up to $4,500
Per day: $100

Up to $60,000
Per day: $300
Intensive Care Unit (ICU)Up to $4,000
Per day: $400
Medical expense (Singapore)Up to $10,000Up to $50,000Up to $75,000
Medical expense (Overseas)Up to $1,000,000
Pre-ex claim limit: $150,000
Up to $1,000,000
Pre-ex claim limit: $300,000
Up to: $1,000,000
Pre-ex claim limit: $150,000
Emergency medical evacuation
Up to $1,800,000
Pre-ex claim limit: $250,000
Unlimited
Up to $1,000,000
Pre-ex claim limit: $200,000
RepatriationUnlimited
Rental vehicle excessUp to $1,000Up to $2,500Up to $1,500
Domestic pet careAdd On
Up to $1,000
Per 6 hours: $50
NAUp to $750
Per day: $75
Sports
TrekkingUp to 3,000mUp to 4,000mUp to 3,000m
Winter/Water sportsYesYesYes
Aerial sportsYesYesYes

Source:  Income, MSIG, Etiqa

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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.

Read more: Your Complete Guide To Travel Insurance Claims

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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 (vehicle 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. However you will still need to cover a portion of the cost. This portion is referred to as either the excess, or a deductible.

Some travel insurance policies will cover the excess incurred but some do not. So if you would like to be covered in this situation, make sure to check with your insurer if this benefit is part of your policy.

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.

Evacuation and repatriation

Evacuation refers to situations where you are in a life-threatening condition because of an injury or sickness while overseas and need to be moved to the nearest medical facility for treatment.

If you need to be flown back home, special arrangements such as an air ambulance and an in-flight medical team are made.

Repatriation refers to the process of transporting the remains or ashes of an insured person back to their home country if they pass away due to an injury or illness while travelling abroad.

This service ensures that the deceased’s body or ashes are returned to Singapore and includes coordinating with local authorities, managing the necessary documentation, and covering the transportation costs involved in bringing the deceased back home.

These are 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.

Read more: 6 Key Factors To Consider When Buying Travel Insurance in 2024

 

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