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Travel insurance provides peace of mind for travellers, by providing benefits and compensation that pay out in the event of catastrophic incidents, or when serious inconveniences are encountered.
When travelling overseas for a holiday or a business trip, you may encounter incidents such as a loss of luggage, or a delay or cancellation of your flight. Less commonly, you may also fall victim to an accident, or suffer a serious injury that requires medical attention.
As you may imagine, these situations can have highly negative consequences and severely affect your trip. The cost of replacing your lost or damaged personal items, or medical treatment, can also be high. In case of serious injury, you may even require emergency evacuation back to Singapore for treatment.
Travel insurance plans are designed to cover these situations and more. An appropriate travel insurance plan will cover the costs of these unfortunate situations. This allows you to more fully focus on recovering from the incident.
Travel insurance plans come in variety of configurations that are each catered to different needs. Among the available options are individual plans, family plans, single-trip plans and annual plans. You may also find more specialised policies, such as cruise insurance or adventure insurance that cater to specific vacation types.
Individual plans are meant to cover a single traveller. The policy usually starts on the day of your trip, and ends on the same day your trip ends. Hence, if you need to extend your trip, you should purchase a new travel policy to cover the remaining days.
However, do note that some policies include a grace period, extending your protection by a few days before and after your trip. This could be useful if you find yourself taken ill before your trip, or suffer an injury soon after returning to Singapore.
Individual plans are available as single-trip policies or annual policies. (See below for more details.)
Family plans provide cover for multiple individuals who are travelling together. Like all travel insurance plans, the period of cover starts and ends according to the duration of your overseas trip.
Like individual plans, family plans are available as single-trip policies or annual policies. (See below for more details.)
Specialised travel insurance plans (such as cruise insurance or adventure insurance) are designed to address the risks that are inherent in certain type of vacations. These typically involve extreme sports or riskier activities, where the risk of injury or death is considerably higher than ‘normal’ vacations. Some examples include scuba diving holidays, big game safaris, or parasailing/skydiving trips.
Note that standard travel insurance plans do not cover such activities or holidays. If your itinerary includes these activities, know that any loss, damage or injury arising directly or indirectly, will likely not be covered.
Hence, it is important to check that your chosen travel insurance plan includes coverage for extreme sports and other such activities. If it does not, consider getting a standalone plan to adequately cover yourself.
Once again, specialised travel insurance is available in single-trip policies or annual plans.
A single-trip policy offers the policyholder(s) coverage for a singular trip only. The stipulated benefits and coverage is offered as a unique occurrence, and is applicable only for that particular trip. This means that even if you do not embark on your trip, you may not use the same policy for another trip at a later date.
Single-trip policies are good if you or your family travels infrequently. As they are designed to offer a single instance of protection, they are among the lowest-priced travel insurance plans on the market.
An annual policy offers insurance coverage that comes into force whenever the policyholder(s) travel out of the country. There is usually no limit to the number of times the protection can be applied. However, like its name suggest, annual policies are limited in duration to 12 months from the start date. This start date may or may not coincide with the date of your first trip. (i.e., you buy an annual travel insurance policy that lasts from 1 Jan to 31 Dec. However, your first trip out of the country occurs only on 1 Feb. Your annual plan will still expire on 31 Dec, and not 1 Jan of the following year.)
Because an annual policy offers multiple instances of cover, they generally cost more than single-trip policies.
Besides these two types of policies, insurers may offer multi-trip policies, which provide protection for a set number of trips. You may find these policies (which are really just a type of bundle deal) priced attractively, especially if they are offered as part of a sales campaign.
Travel insurance can be easily purchased with minimal hassle. Simply use our travel insurance comparison platform to find the plan that is most suited to your needs. Once you have chosen your plan, you may fill in the application form online, and make your payment. Upon acceptance of payment, your policy will come into force (subject to terms and conditions.)
If you prefer, you may also purchase travel insurance from a certified financial adviser or other authorised representative. You may also choose to go to your favourite insurer’s website and purchase a travel insurance plan there.
Generally, your travel insurance plan should provide cover for two scenarios: 1) travel inconvenience (loss, damage or delay of luggage; delay or cancellation of flight; diversions, delays or curtailment of travel; other inconveniences, etc) and 2) disease, injury or death suffered while travelling.
Travel insurance plans will offer varying levels of coverage for these, and you should pick a plan that provides adequate benefits should you need to make a claim. (As a general rule, insurance coverage should match 10 times the annual income of the policyholder.)
When choosing your plan, also be aware of limits imposed for the category of claims. For example, Plan A might provide up to S$10,000 benefits for loss of personal items, but the payout for cameras may be capped at S$1,000.
No, you do not. Most travel insurance plans are offered as-is, and will provide the stated cover to the policyholder for the agreed duration.
However, if you or your loved ones are travelling with a pre-existing condition, be sure to check if your chosen plan’s coverage still stands. If you cannot find a travel insurance plan that provides the cover you need, you might need to look for a worldwide/universal insurance plan instead.