1) Are outbreaks like the COVID-19 covered by regular travel insurance policies?
Generally, regular travel insurance policies cover you if your trip cancellation/ disruption is made due to an unforeseen event. However, insurance companies now consider COVID-19 to be a known event and hence might not provide coverage for any trip cancellation/ disruption claims arising from the COVID-19.
2) Why are insurance companies not covering claims made due to COVID-19?
Regular travel insurance policies cover you if your trip disruption is made due to an unforeseen event. A known event, is an event that the average person would have been aware of through the mass media/ travel advisory, that interrupts your trip.
For COVID-19, in the early stages of the outbreak, it was still considered an unknown event. Most insurers now consider COVID-19 a known event and have issued advisories on travel insurance claims. Hence, whether travel insurance covers the losses from COVID-19 largely depends on when the policy was activated. Insurance policies bought after the date when the insurer labels it as a known event will not be claimable.
3) If I cancel my trip now due to the COVID-19, can I get a refund on my travel insurance?
There is usually a no refund policy in place once a travel insurance policy has been bought. However, some insurers like Aviva, MSIG and NTUC Income are offering refunds for travel insurance plans bought for travel dates on or before 30 June 2020. For more details, contact your travel insurance provider.
4) Can I make a claim for trip cancellation due to the COVID-19 outbreak?
It will depend on your policy purchase date, policy and insurer. Currently, unless you’re travelling to mainland China, trip cancellations and delays are not claimable. In the event that you choose to proceed with your travel plans, any inconveniences or medical claims made due to the Wuhan Coronavirus, might not be covered.
5) If I visit a country that does not have any reported COVID-19 cases, am I still covered by my travel insurance?
For now, insurers have only issued advisories for travel to mainland China. That said, as this is a developing situation it will be subject to change.
6) What do I do if I am admitted to a hospital overseas and do not have enough money with me for a deposit?
You will need to call your insurer’s 24-hour hotline (found on your insurance policy or their website) and they will guide you on what to do next.
7) What can I do to reduce the chances of contacting COVID-19 when overseas?
8) Which countries should I avoid travelling to?
MOH advises travellers to avoid travel to Hubei province in China, and to defer all non-essential travel to mainland China. MOH has also issued a travel advisory for travellers to avoid non-essential travel to Daegu and Cheongdo in Republic of Korea. MOH also reminds the public to continue to exercise caution when travelling to the rest of the Republic of Korea.
9) What help does the Singapore government provide for people infected with COVID-19?
The Ministry of Health (MOH) has said that the Singapore government will be paying for hospital bills incurred by coronavirus patients in public hospitals. However, this coverage does not extend to outpatient treatment at general practitioner clinics or polyclinics, nor does it apply to treatment sought at private medical facilities.
10) Will my travel insurance cover cancellation due to COVID-19?
Due to a drop in demand due to the coronavirus, airlines such as Singapore Airlines have cancelled some of their scheduled flights. If your flight is cancelled, the airlines could provide re-accommodation, changes or refunds. Some travel providers are also offering to waive the fees incurred when you postpone or cancel your travel booking.
You can check with your travel provider to find out if the fees incurred will be waived. However, in the event that you are unable to get a refund from travel providers when your travel plans are cut short, postponed or cancelled, you can make claims on your Travel Insurance.
Like all other insurance products, travel insurance helps us manage risk by reducing the amount you have to pay out of your own pocket should something unforeseen happen. The most common risks associated with travelling include flight delays, diversions or cancellations (which may force you to look for your own accommodation and meals), loss/theft of personal items, lost or damaged baggage during transit and medical costs in the case of accidents or sickness.
There are also scenarios that could increase your risks, such as:
Here’s a quick guide on the 10 questions you need to ask yourself before any trip.
Travel insurance reimburses you for the financial losses incurred due to unforeseen inconveniences and accidents that happen before/during/after your trip. These inconveniences have to be covered under the travel insurance policy and your claims have to be approved in order to receive the payout.
There are 2 types of travel insurance: Annual and Single Trip plans. Single trip plans, as the name implies, is only for one trip usually covering a period of 180 days or 182 days. Annual plans will cover you for multiple trips over the course of a year, up to a maximum of 90 days per trip.
With a small fee to the insurer, you can cover the multiple (and potentially high) risks of travel, allowing you to enjoy a worry-free holiday. It’s a small price to pay to cover for unforeseen circumstances, many of which are not within your control and could potentially be expensive to resolve. We recommend travel insurance as an essential part of any trip, be it a short or long holiday or work trip.
You should buy travel insurance as soon as you confirm your travel plans (when you confirm your trip destination and duration). This protects your trip against unforeseen events and allows you to enjoy the maximum coverage, as travel insurance provides coverage even before your holiday starts. For example, covering flight cancellations or rescheduling of your trip due to global viruses, natural disasters or civil unrest, or even if your travel agency or booking website goes bust.
Depending on the insurer, travel insurance policies typically provide the following coverage:
There are also add-ons you can add to the travel insurance, such as coverage for your sports equipment, overseas wedding and photoshoot, rental vehicle excess cover and more.
You can use aggregator sites such as SingSaver that help you to filter and compare travel insurance based on factors that matter to you such as:
You can also refer to the best travel insurance in Singapore 2020.
The cost of your travel insurance depends on a few factors, including the destination and duration of the trip, as well as the size of your group. Keep a lookout for ongoing promotions, promo codes and discounts to reduce the price you have to pay for the travel insurance. For example, single trip plans can start from as little as $10 per policy.
The travel insurance that suits you most would depend on the level of coverage that you are comfortable with as well as the price you are willing to pay. How comprehensive a policy you require would depend on factors such as activities you plan to do when travelling, if you have a pre-existing condition and more.
You can filter and compare travel insurance on the Singsaver website based on considerations such as:
You can also refer to the FAQ below on choosing between a Single Plan and an Annual Plan.
Here are a few things to consider:
Most travel insurance policies cover the loss of travel documents such as your passport and visa. The policy will cover the cost to replace these documents as well as the transport expenses incurred during the process.
You must report the loss to the local police within 24 hours after the incident and obtain a written statement from them which will help with the claims. You should also report your lost passport to the nearest Singapore Overseas Mission immediately.
In general, travel insurance plans that cover pre-existing conditions will be pricier than a standard travel insurance plan. Some travel insurance policies exclude pre-existing medical conditions. Keep in mind that when you choose to purchase a standard travel insurance plan, should a claim arise from your pre-existing medical illness, there could be complications in the claims process or you might not receive a payout. Please read our review of Travel Insurance plans that cover pre-existing conditions.
You will need to purchase your travel insurance before leaving Singapore for your overseas trip. Insurers are unlikely to cover you if you purchase travel insurance after your trip begins. For example, insurers such as AXA, Aviva, and AllianzTravel state on their website that the travel insurance has to be purchased before departing Singapore.
This could vary from insurer to insurer. Most insurers allow for Automatic Extensions -
Where your insurance cover will automatically be extended without additional premium, under certain conditions (such as if you are hospitalised or placed under compulsory quarantine while overseas upon the written advice of a doctor).
Otherwise, you will need to inform the insurer of the extension as soon as possible (for example, if you extend your travel dates). For some insurers, it is possible for your travel insurance to be extended, provided there are no known circumstances or events that are likely to lead to a claim. This will come with additional premiums.
You can use sites such as Singsaver to help you compare travel insurance across companies and products. You can compare the travel insurance available based on the filters that matter to you, such as the coverage and price.
This depends on how frequently you travel overseas. If you’re a frequent traveller (travel more than four times a year, for work or leisure), it could be more economical for you to buy an annual plan. It’s also more convenient to do so because you do not have to purchase travel insurance and fill in the travel insurance application forms each time you travel or more importantly, fail to purchase travel insurance due to your busy schedule. An annual travel insurance plan will typically cover you for one calendar year. If you are not a frequent traveller, a single trip travel insurance plan usually suffices.
This depends how individual insurers define “Family” – check for limitations related to the maximum number of children allowed, or whether grandparents are eligible. Generally, it is more cost-efficient to purchase a Group or Family Policy rather than multiple individual policies. Regardless, always check the cumulative limits for items like damage/loss of belongings and medical coverage.
When applying for your travel insurance, you will be able to choose the country or region you are travelling to. However, there are some commonly excluded countries, such as Afghanistan, Cuba, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iran, Iraq, Liberia, North Korea, Sudan and Syria. Some insurers exclude all or some of these countries. Please check the terms and conditions that come with the policy documents / brochure.
If there are changes to your travel dates after you have purchased your travel insurance, please inform the insurance company about the changes (call in to their customer care hotline) and get them to amend the policy document accordingly. This was a painful lesson for one of our SingSaver colleagues.
In general, travel insurance plans that cover pre-existing conditions will be pricier than a standard travel insurance plan. Most travel insurance policies exclude pre-existing medical conditions. Keep in mind that when you choose to purchase a standard travel insurance plan, should a claim arise from your pre-existing illness, there could be complications in the claims process or you might not receive a payout. You can read this this review of Travel Insurance plans that cover pre-existing conditions.
Most insurers now offer an online claims platform. This saves you the hassle of going to their branches or offices for claims. To get your claims processed quickly, follow these follow these 7 steps for faster insurance claims. Be sure to document as many details as possible and keep the original receipts and reports from police, hospitals, airlines, hotels etc. Lastly, always provide proof of travel – the stamp in your passport would usually suffice.
There is no one “best plan” because it depends on a range of factors, such as if it’s a solo or group trip, your destination and what you’ll be doing when you get there. The best plan for you will depend on the coverage you’re looking at and the price that you are willing to pay. Special circumstances for which you should consider getting extra coverage include extreme sports, overseas wedding shoots, hiking to remote areas, renting a car, pre-existing medical conditions, and more.
At SingSaver, we will guide you on how to make the best purchase for you. Don't just take our word for it – read our full reviews for Best Travel Insurance Plans to fit your needs.
We have been recognised in national print and radio programs as being experts in our field. We are a licensed General Insurance Broker under the Monetary Authority of Singapore. We also care that you get the right information and we have a whole section on our blog covering dos and don’ts of travel as well as general insurance.