With Singapore announcing more vaccinated travel lane (VTL) destinations and the rest of the world starting to open up to overseas travel, you’re probably itching to go on that overdue holiday.
Aside from the basic paperwork – like passports and flight tickets – that must be in order before jetsetting, protecting yourself and your wealth while overseas should also be a top concern. This is where travel insurance kicks in.
Still clueless on where to begin? Read on for a complete guide to travel insurance and how to pick the best plan for your globe-trotting needs.
What is travel insurance?
Travel insurance is a type of insurance product that covers most kinds of unforeseen losses one can incur internationally or domestically. This can range from small costs like lost baggage to more serious cases like trip cancellations and emergency situations.
How does travel insurance work?
Different travel insurance packages have varying benefits and terms. Hence, it is important that you research the various plans available and weigh their policies against your budget and travel needs before selecting one.
Generally, travel insurance reimburses you financially for your covered losses after a claim is submitted together with documentation of proof. Some plans may also pay your medical expenses up front if you require emergency treatment or transportation while overseas.
Selecting the right travel insurance to meet your demands
Ideally, everyone who leaves their home country should be backed by at least one insurance plan to ensure that they can be compensated in case of any emergencies. Here are the top 5 factors to consider when buying travel insurance:
1. Individual needs
First and foremost, it’s best to lock down what your travel intentions and personal priorities are.
Depending on whether you’re a business traveler or venturing out for leisure, factors like your length of stay and the activities that you’ll be doing in the foreign country will vastly differ.
Consequently, this means that when selecting a travel insurance plan, you’ll have to look out for benefits unique to your travel situation should you want to make the most out of your insurance.
A budget-conscious traveler can look out for plans that cover trip cancellations, delays and interruptions as well as missing items.
Similarly, if you’re someone who prioritises physical health and safety, shortlist plans that cover pre- and post-departure emergency medical costs as well as repatriation. Repatriation insurance offers coverage against an unexpected return to your home country in the event of a medical emergency.
Lastly, frequent flyers can consider buying annual travel insurance packages to see the most value. This type of travel insurance covers all flights for 12 months and includes a broad list of benefits such as trip cancellations, emergency medical expenses and more.
2. Research and compare
Whether you are planning a single trip or are making annual multi-trip travel plans, there are insurance deals available for different countries. There’s bound to be a package most suited for you and your itinerary.
When sifting through all these contenders, rank them based on how well they fit into your budget, their benefits and benefit limits before deciding on your winner. Most importantly, your final choice should offer adequate financial coverage from the time you leave your home, suitcase in tow, to the moment you’re back on homeground.
Here is an overview of some of the more popular insurance plans in Singapore:
Key Benefits and Maximum Coverage
|AIG’s Travel Guard Direct|
● Comprehensive COVID-19 coverage
● Overseas medical expenses & emergency medical evacuation: up to S$2,500,000
● Loss of personal belongings: up to S$10,000
● Pre-trip cancellation: Up to S$15,000
|Allianz Travel’s OneTrip Basic|
● COVID-19 coverage endorsement
● Trip cancellation: up to S$10,000
● Trip interruption: up to S$10,000
● Emergency medical: up to $10,000
● Emergency medical transportation: up to $10,000
● Baggage loss/damage: $500
|AXA’s SmartTraveller Insurance|
● COVID-19 extensions
● Medical coverage: up to $600,000 (during) and $60,000 (post-trip)
● Trip cancellation: up to $12,000
● Personal belongings reimbursement: up to $10,000
● Personal accident cover: up to $700,000
● COVID-19 cover: up to $500,000 medical coverage
● Travel inconvenience: up to $7,500
|Singlife’s Travel Lite|
● Loss of baggage: S$3,000
● Accidental death & disability: S$50,000
● Overseas medical expenses: S$250,000
● Personal liability: S$250,000
● Trip interruption – Change of trip itinerary: S$1,000
|Tiq’s Non Pre-Ex Savvy Plan|
● Comprehensive COVID-19 coverage before, during and trip: up to $505,000
● Instant claims encashment via PayNow
● Trip cancellation: $4,000
● Special benefits
Note: The information above is accurate as of 12 March 2022.
3. Covid-19-related policies and requirements
As the world slowly eases out from the shackles of the pandemic, most countries have implemented strict policies and procedures for visiting travelers. For example, under our VTL scheme with South Korea, all Singaporean visitors who want to enter the latter country must obtain travel insurance with a minimum coverage of 30 million won.
Hence, if you’re planning an overseas getaway, you now have an additional step to add to your pre-departure to-do list. That is, preparing the necessary paperwork and undergoing all required medical tests before you take off.
The good news is that some insurance providers have rolled out special coverage and discounts for traveling in the pandemic. So, finding an insurance plan with security against Covid-19 related issues shouldn’t be much of a hassle.
4. Consult your financial advisors or the insurance companies
After days of thorough research and calculations, if you find yourself still unsure about how to choose the right travel insurance, call your financial advisors or the insurance companies for help. These groups will be more than happy to provide solid advice and feasible solutions to your financial woes.
Most of them will also remain contactable while you’re overseas, so don’t hesitate to reach out to them if you face any monetary troubles related to your plan while exploring the foreign lands.
5. Don’t wait too long to seal the deal
The sooner you secure insurance, the bigger your coverage window. As such, it is recommended to buy travel insurance once you’ve finalised your travel arrangements.
Some plans may also require you to purchase them within a certain number of days before your flight in order for you to be eligible for some of their benefits.
Buying insurance as soon as possible will also give you time to go over its terms and get a refund if you become unsatisfied with its current offerings. A refund must usually be requested at least two weeks in advance and you must not have started on your trip or filed a claim.
However, in most cases, premiums are non-refundable after the insurance is in your hands. Hence, it is best to do your due diligence before purchasing it.
Overall, safeguarding yourself and your finances from unexpected occurrences becomes even more pertinent when you’re overseas, or in areas that may be unfamiliar to you. For a worry-free trip, don’t procrastinate on settling your travel insurance and be sure to familiarise yourself with every aspect of its mechanics.