Medical Evacuation and Repatriation of Remains Insurance

Alevin Chan

Alevin Chan

Last updated 04 June, 2024

Travel policies commonly provide high-value coverage worth up to S$1 million. Here are the factors influencing how travel insurance policies are priced.

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There are so many things that come into play when purchasing travel insurance — important factors to consider and how to make travel claims, how to buy the right travel plan.

You might also need to decide when annual travel insurance is more worth it than a single plan. But in this guide, we delve into how much travel insurance is and what factors can affect the premiums.

Medical evacuation and repatriation of remains insurance coverage is a vital safeguard for travellers, covering emergency medical transportation to suitable facilities and, in the worst-case scenario, the return of remains to their home country. This is especially crucial for adventurers, those with pre-existing conditions, or anyone venturing to areas with limited healthcare access, preventing unforeseen medical events from becoming financial burdens.

What Does Emergency Evacuation And Repatriation In A Travel Insurance Plan Mean?

Should you suffer a serious injury, illness or accident while overseas, you may need to be brought back to Singapore for continued treatment and proper care. However, you could run into a wrinkle – your condition may render you medically unfit to board a commercial flight.

That’s when emergency evacuation and repatriation benefits in your travel insurance kicks in.

Generally speaking, there are three main functions covered under emergency evacuation and repatriation benefits: 


  • Emergency evacuation – removing you from danger and transporting you to a medical facility to emergency treatment. One example would be ambulance service to transport you to a hospital after a car crash.
  • Medical repatriation – arranging transport (under medical supervision, if necessary) to bring you back to Singapore if you are unable to board a commercial flight.
  • Repatriation of remains – if death occurs overseas, arranging transport to convey mortal remains back to Singapore


Besides these three core functions, travel insurance plans may also include other ancillary benefits. We’ll discuss some of these benefits later in the article. 

Related to this topic: Here Are the Best Family Travel Insurance Plans in 2023

Why You Need A Specialised Medical Evacuation & Repatriation Travel Insurance

Unexpected medical emergencies or unforeseen circumstances while travelling abroad can significantly disrupt your trip and cause unexpected stress. In light of events such as the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict in 2024 and the resurgence of COVID-19 cases throughout the world, medical evacuation & repatriation of remains travel insurance offers a crucial safety net, ensuring you receive prompt and appropriate medical care, wherever you are in the world. 

This coverage not only handles the often-exorbitant costs of medical transportation and repatriation of remains but also provides invaluable peace of mind for you and your loved ones.

Table of contents:

Related to this topic: 5 Best Travel Insurance in Singapore for Different Needs (2023)

How Much Does Medical Evacuation & Repatriation of Remains Insurance Plans Cost 

Coverage level and scope of benefits

The level of coverage and the scope of benefits significantly influence the price of your medical evacuation & repatriation of remains travel insurance. Higher sums assured (the maximum amount the insurer will pay for a claim) and more extensive benefits naturally lead to higher premiums.

When choosing a plan, carefully assess the coverage to ensure it meets your needs and budget. For example, opt for higher limits on overseas medical expenses if you are travelling to a country with expensive healthcare or considered a high health-risk. Remember, it's about finding the right balance between cost and coverage to suit your individual requirements.

Geographical region

The cost of your travel insurance depends significantly on how far your destination is from Singapore. When applying for insurance, you'll need to specify your host country, and the premium will be calculated accordingly. If you're planning to visit multiple countries, your policy will be priced based on the furthest destination, even if you're only spending a short time there.

To potentially save on costs, consider getting separate quotes for each leg of your journey instead of a single policy covering all destinations. Additionally, if you are a frequent traveller, an annual travel insurance policy can be a hassle-free and cost-effective solution, allowing you to take multiple trips a year without having to apply for travel insurance each time.

Related to this topic: Best Travel Insurance Plans for Road Trips

Duration of your trip

As you’d expect, the longer your travel insurance cover, the higher your travel insurance cost will be. The good news is, prices follow a curve rather than going up in a straight line, so the longer your trip, the lower your travel insurance cost likely becomes on a per-day basis.

This also means that travel insurance for short trips is highly affordable, so there’s actually more reason – not less – to make sure you purchase a plan before jetting off on your long weekend getaway. 

Number of persons covered

Travel insurance is typically priced per person, meaning costs double if two people are travelling. However, group and family plans offer cost-effective alternatives.

Group plans cover multiple travellers under one policy, often with a lower per-person cost. But, there's a catch: a maximum policy limit exists, regardless of the number of claimants. This means if everyone in the group experiences a loss, the combined claims cannot exceed this limit, potentially leading to insufficient individual payouts.

Family plans work similarly but are limited to immediate family members.

When opting for group or family coverage, carefully assess the policy limit to ensure it adequately covers all travellers. If needed, consider purchasing multiple policies to increase overall coverage while still benefiting from lower per-person rates.

Related to this topic: Single Trip vs Annual: Which Travel Insurance Should You Get?

Cancel-For-Any-Reason (CFAR) Coverage

Most travel insurance benefits are contingent on specific covered reasons—events explicitly listed in your policy. This means reimbursement for cancellations due to reasons not listed, such as a change of heart or a minor inconvenience, are typically not covered.

However, for added flexibility, some policies offer "Cancel-For-Any-Reason" (CFAR) coverage. This allows you to cancel your trip for any reason, as long as you do so within a specific timeframe, usually a few days before departure. While CFAR provides greater freedom, it comes at a higher premium and usually reimburses only a percentage of your non-refundable trip expenses, often up to 50-75%.

Before opting for CFAR, carefully consider the cost-benefit ratio. If you anticipate a high likelihood of needing to cancel for reasons not covered by standard policies, or if the peace of mind is worth the extra cost, CFAR might be a valuable addition to your travel insurance.

Related to this topic: Best Annual Travel Insurance Plans In Singapore (2023)

What is covered under Medical Evacuation & Repatriation of Remains Insurance plans?

Medical Evacuation & Repatriation of Remains insurance plans provide comprehensive coverage for unforeseen medical emergencies and unfortunate events during your travels. These plans typically include the following benefits:

Transportation to the Nearest Adequate Medical Facility

If you become seriously ill or injured while travelling and require medical attention beyond the capabilities of local facilities, this coverage will arrange and pay for your transportation (often via helicopter or air ambulance) to the nearest hospital equipped to handle your condition.

Transportation Back Home

Once your condition is stabilised, the insurance may cover the cost of transporting you back to your home country for further treatment and recovery.

Hospital Companion

In some cases, the insurance may cover the travel and accommodation expenses for a family member or friend to accompany you during your hospital stay abroad.

Travelling Companion

If you were travelling with others and your medical emergency necessitates their early return home, this benefit may cover their travel expenses.

Return of Children

If you are travelling with children and are hospitalised, this coverage can ensure they are safely returned home with an appointed guardian.

Repatriation of Remains

In the unfortunate event of your death while travelling, repatriation of remains coverage steps in to provide essential support. This benefit covers the intricate and often costly process of transporting the deceased back to their home country, including embalming, coffin preparation, and other necessary arrangements.

This compassionate aspect of travel insurance ensures that grieving families are not burdened with the logistical and financial complexities of repatriating their loved one's remains. By offering this coverage, travel insurance providers extend a helping hand during a difficult time, allowing families to focus on healing and remembrance.

Remember, the specific coverage details and limitations for repatriation of remains can vary depending on the insurance provider and the chosen plan. Always thoroughly review the policy terms and conditions before purchasing to ensure you understand the extent of coverage provided.

How much medical repatriation coverage should I get?

According to website Nomadic Matt, the cost of medical evacuation and repatriation travel insurance can rage from $30,000 to $200,000. Several factors influence the final cost, including:

  • Destination: Evacuating from a city with established infrastructure is typically less costly than a helicopter airlift from a remote mountain or dense forest requiring specialised rescue and evacuation efforts.
  • Distance from Singapore: Longer distances naturally result in higher transportation costs.
  • Severity of Condition: The complexity of the medical situation and the expertise required for transportation will impact the price.
  • Trip Duration: Longer trips may warrant higher coverage due to increased exposure to potential risks.
  • Medical Costs in Host Country: The cost of medical services in the destination country can also influence overall expenses.

Most insurers offer insurance coverage ranging from S$100,000 to S$1 million (or more), often sufficient for most scenarios. However, if you're planning high-risk activities in remote locations like mountains or forests, consider a specialised policy with higher limits.

As a general guideline, match your coverage to the region you're visiting. City destinations might be adequately covered with lower limits, while remote areas may require higher coverage. When in doubt, opting for a higher limit is generally a safer bet, as the premium difference is often minimal.

Related to this topic: Top 3 Things Travel Insurance Should Cover (And How Much is Enough)

Common Exclusions and Limitations For Medical Evacuation & Repatriation of Remains Insurance

While the Medical Evacuation & Repatriation of Remains Insurance coverage can be valuable in various situations, it's important to be aware of common exclusions when choosing your travel medical insurance. These may include:

  • Pre-Existing Conditions: Most plans won’t cover claims relating to a pre-existing medical condition unless stated otherwise. Compare our travel insurance plans for pre-existing medical conditions here.
  • Drug & Alcohol Abuse: Coverage is typically not provided for claims arising from drug or alcohol abuse, including overdoses.
  • Pregnancy: Routine prenatal checkups and childbirth are generally not included in travel medical insurance. Compare our travel insurance plans for pregnant travellers here.
  • Medical Tourism: If you're traveling for elective cosmetic or plastic surgery, these procedures may not be covered.

Before you travel, it is important to carefully review your policy details to fully understand its coverage limitations and exclusions.

Frequently Asked Questions For Medical Evacuation & Repatriation of Remains Insurance

Is there an age limit for purchasing medical evacuation insurance?

While most travel insurance providers, including those offering medical evacuation and repatriation of remains coverage, do not have a strict maximum age limit, premiums may increase significantly for older travellers due to higher perceived risk. Some providers may impose limitations on coverage or require additional medical screenings for individuals above a certain age (usually 70 or 80). It's important to review the specific policy terms and conditions of the insurance provider to understand any age-related restrictions.

Can I purchase medical evacuation insurance after I have already started my trip?

In most cases, purchasing medical evacuation insurance after you have already started your trip is not possible. It's generally recommended to buy travel insurance, including medical evacuation coverage, before your departure date to ensure full protection from the beginning of your journey. However, some providers may offer limited coverage options for travellers who are already abroad, but these may come with restrictions and higher premiums. It's best to contact the insurance provider directly to inquire about their specific policies.

Are sports injuries covered by medical evacuation insurance?

Coverage for sports injuries under medical evacuation insurance can vary depending on the specific policy and the activities involved. Some standard travel insurance plans may cover injuries sustained during recreational or amateur sports activities. However, for high-risk or extreme sports, you may need to purchase additional coverage or opt for a specialised extreme sports travel insurance policy in Singapore. It's crucial to review the policy carefully and disclose any planned sports activities to ensure adequate coverage.

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An ex-Financial Planner with a curiosity about what makes people tick, Alevin’s mission is to help readers understand the psychology of money. He’s also on an ongoing quest to optimise happiness and enjoyment in his life.


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