Safeguard your holiday against any mishaps by learning to compare and buy the best travel insurance in Singapore that’s right for you.
Imagine this: You’ve been working hard and have been looking forward to your year-end holiday for months. Just one week before your flight, your holiday destination is hit by a natural disaster. Looking at images of devastation on TV, you know instinctively it makes sense to either postpone or cancel your trip. Or maybe midway through your vacation, you or your travel buddy lose precious possessions or end up being hospitalised due to injury or ailment. Or, for any number of reasons, you end up missing or having to delay your flight home. This is precisely why you buy travel insurance in Singapore.
But how do you safeguard your holiday with the right travel insurance, so you don’t have to pay more than you have to and yet get the adequate coverage you need?
With the year-end travel season around the corner, here are 10 important tips before you start comparing and applying for the best travel insurance promotion.
1. Single trip or annual policy
Are you planning to make multiple trips a year? It may be more cost effective to opt for an annual travel insurance policy which covers unlimited trips over 12 months. Look out for any restrictions such as the maximum number of days covered per trip. But if you’re not a frequent traveller, it makes sense to stick to a single trip policy.
2. Personal or family policy
If you’re travelling with relatives or kids in tow, compare travel insurance promotions which cover the entire family. Research the age limits of coverage for seniors’ travel insurance to ensure they get the required protection. Like personal plans, family plans are also available as single trip or annual policies.
3. Extreme sports and activities
Consider the nature of your trip: are you planning to take it easy or are you a thrill seeker? Will you be bungee jumping, white-water rafting or mountain climbing? Most standard travel insurance plans don’t cover high risk activities but there are some designed specifically to cater to the intrepid adventurer.
4. Expensive gear and equipment
Travelling with expensive smartphones, tablets, laptops or video cameras? Make sure your travel insurance policy covers such expensive equipment in case of loss or theft. Many travel insurance plans have a per-item value limit so ensure the sum is adequate enough to cover the actual cost.
5. Rental vehicle and motorbike hire
Planning an epic cross-country roadtrip or intend to rent a motorbike? Then look for a travel insurance promotion in Singapore that offers rental vehicle excess coverage. As a foreigner driving in unfamiliar country and foreign traffic rules, get a plan that covers the high excess fees if you happen to damage your rental car. This could potentially save you thousands of dollars.
6. Acts of terrorism
Is the political or security situation in your holiday destination unstable? Does it have a history of violent attacks, protests or terrorism-related attacks? Holiday travellers should do their homework and compare travel insurance promotions which cover such contingencies.
7. Trip postponement or cancellation
Most people buy travel insurance in Singapore starting only on the day of departure to save cost. But depending on your destination, it might be worth starting your travel insurance coverage plan 3-5 days before your day of departure. Unforeseen circumstances such as the outbreak of disease or natural disasters such as floods or earthquakes could result in your trip having to be postponed or even cancelled.
8. Medical expenses and emergency repatriation
Life can be unpredictable. While dipping in sparkling waters off the beach, you get stung by a jellyfish. Or while hiking through rural areas, you get chased and bitten by wild dogs with rabies.
In such a scenario, ending up in a local hospital could burn a hole through your wallet. Quality treatment at medical facilities in foreign-run hospitals or clinics can run up hefty hospitalisation and treatment costs. Hence, compare travel insurance promotions that adequately cover the high medical-care expenses incurred.
Under extreme circumstances when there is an urgent need for medical evacuation or repatriation back to Singapore or nearby countries with better medical facilities, getting policies with adequate coverage will save you from spending an astronomical sum. Check the fine print for medical expenses coverage, especially for injuries that require an extended period of recovery or even physiotherapy.
9. 24-hour worldwide assistance and support
Going for the cheapest travel insurance is not always your best option. Never underestimate the importance of getting travel insurance coverage from a reputable insurer. Services which include 24-hour worldwide assistance, a reliable hotline, emergency and crisis-response capabilities are critical when you need it most.
Another vital consideration is the ease of making and processing claims promptly, as exemplified by this highly publicised case of a Singaporean who tried to make a travel insurance claim for a 24-hour flight delay.
10. Is your sum insured adequate?
What’s considered an adequate sum? This can be quite subjective. One way is to gauge the potential expenses or financial losses you’d incur if you don’t have a travel insurance plan. Usually, most insurance companies offer two plans – basic and superior.
A simple calculation and comparison of the premium against the coverage will help you decide if paying a slightly higher premium is worth it. If the coverage is significantly higher with another insurer, then by all means, go for the one that covers more bases.
The year-end travel season is just around the corner, and as you plan your epic holiday, it’s worth asking yourself the above questions. Remember the cheapest travel insurance plan is not always the best policy. Rather, compare and apply for the travel insurance that best fits your need. And though it can take a little time, always read the fine print (terms and conditions) carefully!
At SingSaver, we offer a free and easy one-stop service that compares all the travel insurance promotions on the market.
By Zann Huang
A recipient of the Magnum Foundation Emergency Grant in 2014, my photos from the Middle East and Asia have also been published in Time Magazine and Le Monde etc. My written work ranges from travel, politics (Mid-East) to the environment and finance-related matters.