What Happens if You Catch COVID-19 Overseas on a Holiday?

Gredel Shadroch

Gredel Shadroch

Last updated 19 May, 2022

We’re all itching to travel with the reopening of borders, but doing so during a pandemic comes with its risks. That said, what should you do if you actually catch COVID-19 overseas? 

Travelling overseas is made possible again, and many of us can’t wait to venture beyond the four walls of our homes. That said, it’s best to err on the side of caution when it comes to overseas travel. 

There are a few things you could do to safeguard yourself in case you test positive for COVID-19 on a holiday (touch wood), such as getting a travel insurance plan with COVID-19 coverage.

Let’s take a look at what you should do if you start showing symptoms, and consider the different COVID-19 insurance policies available.

What to do if you test positive for COVID-19 overseas

When you’re enjoying yourself abroad, the last thing on your mind is what you need to do if you contract a virus. But with today’s circumstances, it’s a very real possibility. Thus, it’s important to prepare for worst-case scenarios even before your flight. 

Here are four things you can do if you ever exhibit COVID-like symptoms or come in contact with someone positive.

Contact local health agencies

You may not be well-versed with protocols, test-centres, and such in your destination. It’s best to contact the country’s local health authorities who can show you where to get tested and admitted (if needed). They may also guide you through their country’s quarantine requirements.

It’s useful to take note of your destination’s COVID-19 helpline before heading there. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has put together a list of countries that reopened their borders to Singaporeans. This list includes the country’s helpline numbers, office addresses, and other details.

Contact your travel insurance provider

Call your insurance provider if your test results come back positive and you have travel insurance with COVID-19 coverage. You may reach them through their helplines or mobile apps.

They will walk you through the process of making a claim and the extent of their coverage. Just be sure to have all your test reports along with your travel and insurance documents ready for their reference. 

Check your visa requirements

If you’re travelling on a short-term visa, check whether it will still be valid by the time you complete quarantine and obtain a doctor’s clearance. Contact your travel agent or the Singapore Embassy in case your visa expires before that. 

Plan your quarantine stay

Most hotels and homestays now allow their guests to quarantine in their booked rooms. However, if the hotel you’re staying in cannot accommodate you, you may contact the local health authorities to help you find designated quarantine accommodations.

Although the usual quarantine duration is 10 days, the length of your quarantine depends entirely on your destination country’s COVID-19 protocols. For exact details, you can contact local health authorities or visit the country’s travel and tourism website.

Singapore’s re-entry requirements 

Singapore has recently relaxed its entry requirements for fully vaccinated travellers, especially if you are a Singaporean citizen, permanent resident, or long-term pass holder. There are presently no countries under the restricted category. 

Here’s the official checklist for re-entry/entry to Singapore as a fully vaccinated traveller: 

#1: Proof of COVID-19 vaccination 

This will be required during pre-boarding checks and immigration. Please note that if you are only partially vaccinated, you will not qualify as ‘fully vaccinated’. 

#2 Additional entry documents (if required) 

This includes a Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate if you have travelled to regions in Africa and Latin America. 

#3 Submission of SG Arrival Card (SGAC) 

You must submit your health declaration via the SG Arrival Card e-Service at least three days before your departure for Singapore. However, Singapore citizens, permanent residents, and long-term pass holders travelling by road are exempted. 

#4 Immigration clearance (for foreign visitors)

Your passport will no longer be stamped upon arrival. Instead, you will receive an e-Pass via email upon immigration clearance. 

Singapore’s COVID-19 protocols for returning individuals (including those who tested positive)

In addition to the aforementioned entry requirements, there are a few key COVID-19 protocols in Singapore worth remembering: 

  • If you are not fully vaccinated, you must produce a Pre-Departure Test (PDT) with a negative result. The test should be taken within two days before departure. 
  • A PDT is not required for partially or non fully vaccinated travellers who tested positive for COVID-19 at least 14 to 90 days prior to departure.
  • All non-fully vaccinated travellers who pass immigration are required to quarantine. You will be served a seven-day Stay-Home Notice (SHN). 
  • The COVID Protocol upon arrival no longer includes quarantine or testing measures if you are fully vaccinated. However, if you are symptomatic on arrival, you may be required to take a COVID-19 Test. 
  • All travellers whether fully vaccinated or non vaccinated will be required to install the TraceTogether mobile app.

COVID-19 travel insurance coverage 

Holidays are already an expensive affair, and testing positive for COVID-19 abroad can rake up some hefty expenses from testing, quarantine accommodations, medications, and doctor’s consultations. But if you are insured with COVID-19 coverage, then most (or all) of these expenses will be covered. 

Thus, it’s definitely worth considering a travel insurance with COVID-19 coverage that suits your needs and budget. There are a whole array of policies to choose from and it can get quite overwhelming, but we’ll help you find one that fits you best.

Here’s a quick comparison of some of the best travel insurance policies with COVID-19 coverage.

Travel Insurance PlanHospitalisation AllowanceMedical Expenses AllowanceQuarantine AllowanceTrip Cancellation or Curtailment
MSIG TravelEasyX
Starr TraveLead Travel InsuranceX
HLAS CovidSafe Travel Protect 360
AIG Travel GuardX

For more information, check our full list of the best travel insurance plans with COVID-19 coverage. We share a detailed overview of each policy and their exclusive offers. 

For a worry-free holiday, get your trip insured.

How to make a travel insurance claim if you test positive? 

Here’s what you can do if you test positive for the virus and have travel insurance with COVID-19 coverage:

#1: Inform your insurance provider

To start the claim process, you would need to inform your insurer that you contracted COVID-19. You can do this by calling the insurance helpline or reaching them through their app. 

It’s best practice to call your insurance provider at the soonest time possible. Most insurers offer a one-month window for claims to be made.

#2: Submit documents

You would need to submit documented proof to make a claim and receive funds. Some documents to submit include the following: 

  • A medical report that shows a positive test result 
  • Doctor’s request/report in case of hospitalisation
  • Travel-related documents such as visas, flight tickets, hotel reservations, etc.
  • Medical bills including testing fees, hospitalisation, and medications
  • Other monetary receipts that can be considered (as per your policy)
  • Your personal ID 

You would also be required to fill-up a claims form from your insurer. This will most likely be emailed to you once you register a claim. The insurance agent will let you know in case there are any other specific documents required. 

#3: Collect your claim

Once your claim request has been processed and approved, the final amount will be credited to your linked account. In case your claim has been rejected, do not hesitate to reach out to your insurer. They will tell you the reason for rejection and things you could do to reverse it. 


SingSaver Exclusive Travel Insurance Offer:

All successful applicants of any Starr, MSIG, Etiqa, Singlife and Allianz Travel Insurance products will be rewarded with S$5 Cash via PayNow, on top of their respective ongoing promotions. Valid till 31 December. T&Cs apply.

Compare and purchase your travel insurance through SingSaver to get the best deals and discounts for your preferred coverage!

Read these next: 

Best Travel Insurance in Singapore (2022)
Best Travel Insurance Plans with COVID-19 Coverage
7 Travel Insurance Plans with COVID-19 Coverage (2022)