Complete Guide: Choosing the Best Travel Insurance in Singapore (2020)
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It’s clear that Singaporeans love to travel outside the country, whether it’s in the Asian continent or to western countries. Although Singapore is one of the developed countries in the world, it’s a small island which means the Singaporeans prefer to travel abroad.
To ensure that they’re protected during these trips, most of them are turning to travel insurance companies for cover. And even though more and more of them are buying travel insurance, they are also very selective with what they are choosing. So, what is travel insurance and why is this policy plan important? To help you understand the basics of travel insurance policy, here is a comprehensive overview.
Types of Travel Insurance
So, you have heard about travel insurance and you are keen to buy one, right? But the problem is, which type of coverage is good for you? You don’t want to get something that won’t fully cater to your needs. So, it’s important to grasp the differences between various policies. Travel insurances can be categorised depending on several factors:
- The Frequency of Travelling
- The Number of People Travelling
- Where are You Travelling To?
- Special Cases that Require Personalisation
1. The Frequency of Travelling
Single-Trip: this is usually just one round trip i.e. from and back to Singapore. It’s suitable for those who don’t travel frequently. For instance, those who take trips once or twice a year.
One-way Insurance: as much as most Singaporeans love the round trip cover, some simply need one-way travel insurance. This could be when you are travelling abroad and not planning to come back to Singapore any time soon. It’s also suitable for those who are migrating or moving back to their mother countries. If you are using this type of insurance, the coverage starts shortly before you leave Singapore. It also stops shortly after you reach your destination. However, if there are transits to other countries, you will still get covered. But you mustn’t leave the transit area because anything that happens outside that place will not be covered.
Annual Insurance Cover: some people take numerous trips every year. They include businessmen, social media influencers, and others. These trips need to start and end in Singapore. Taking a multi-trip cover will effectively protect you every time you travel throughout the year. However, this does not mean that you will get a limitless cover. It all depends on the number of trips you expect to take in a year. It’s also worth noting that your travel destinations will greatly influence the cost of the insurance. For instance, buying annual travel insurance for the Asian continent will be much cheaper compared to other continents. So, if you are travelling worldwide, you are definitely going to spend more.
2. The Number of People Travelling
Are you a solo traveller or frequently take your family/friends along with you during your trips? It’s possible to choose an insurance plan depending on the number of travellers:
Single-person travel insurance: this is the most preferred choice for most travellers. It’s a great choice, especially if you want to fully take care of your personal affairs. It is also very cheap because it involves only one traveller.
Group Plan: it covers a group of colleagues or friends who travel together. However, it’s worth noting that each group plan has a specific number of people. This type of insurance normally comes with a discount because of the large number of participants.
Family Plan: it’s suitable for adults who travel with kids. This type of insurance offers a single premium for all the members of the family.
3. Where are You Travelling To?
Are you travelling locally, within the Asian continent or overseas? Many people think that you only need travel insurance if you are going abroad. The truth is that anything can happen even when you are travelling in Singapore. So, it’s important to look for a policy that adequately covers your basic needs.
If you are travelling internationally, then you need an extensive cover. This is because different countries have different official languages, cultures, laws, and public systems. Because there are high chances you might be familiar with them, you may end up delaying, finding it difficult to communicate or falling into the wrong hands of the law. So, it’s important to ensure that the type of cover you choose can cover your destination.
4. Special Cases that Require Personalisation
The basic travel insurance plan for most Singaporeans cover common things like flight delays, sickness, loss of luggage, and flight cancellations. However, there are some instances where you might need the insurance company to cover specific things for instance:
Most insurance providers don’t have basic policies for mothers-to-be. And in case there is a policy for them, there are several conditions which the expectant woman has to meet. For instance, some insurers won’t cover a pregnant woman if they are in their first trimester. They consider them as a high risk. On the other hand, some won’t cover those who are close to their due date.
Persons with Disability
At the basic level, many travel insurances will exclude travel cover for people with disabilities. However, you can still get coverage if you request for a customised policy.
Pre-existing Medical Condition
If you have a pre-existing medical condition like heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes, you cannot make claims under the basic medical cover. There are very few companies in Singapore that offer coverage for pre-existing medical conditions. So, in case you are suffering from any of these health conditions, you may need to make personalised claims.
Rental Car Excess
Are you going on a driving holiday and using a rental car? As much as you might be the most careful driver, accidents occur. Travelling across a harsh or unfamiliar terrain can also cause damage to the car. However, there are insurance policies for rental excess coverage. They cover payments the car rental company might need for damage.
They are considered to be high-risk and normally receive lower benefits. In Singapore, senior travellers are those above the age of 70 years.
Other add-ons include:
- Specific events such as weddings, tournaments etc.
- If you are going to engage in certain high-risk activities like bungee jumping, sky diving, and skiing, etc.
Travel Insurance Policy Packages
Most insurance companies in Singapore are versatile. So, they have several policy plans to ensure that the different needs of travellers are met. They normally include basic, enhanced, and superior coverage. Some of the areas which an insurance company may cover include:
- Medical expenses in Singapore
- Medical expenses overseas.
- Travel inconvenience.
- Accidental death and or permanent disablement.
- Personal liability
- Lifestyle coverage including burglary, rental car excess, and golfing.
Reasons to Buy Travel Insurance
It’s not possible to determine what might happen while you are away from home. Accidents and other mishaps may happen. Occasionally (if not frequently) we have heard of the unexpected things that have happened to other travellers. These things might also happen to you. So, what are some of the reasons why you should buy travel insurance? Why travel insurance is necessary to Singaporean travellers? CNA news reported: One in two Singaporeans are adventurous travellers, according to survey.
Medical Emergencies are Quite Expensive Abroad
It’s possible to suffer from infections as a result of climate change. Besides that, accidents and injuries may also happen. While it may be cheaper to treat any of these problems here, medical costs are quite high when you are abroad. Having medical insurance, however, can help to cover all these costs. So, you don’t have to worry about emptying your pockets.
Your Flight Might Get Cancelled
Flight cancellations, as well as rescheduling, are common occurrences. But we are all aware that a lot of people invest a lot of cash in purchasing flight tickets. So, what happens when your flight is rescheduled or cancelled? You will definitely end up losing a lot of cash. In some instances, you might end up getting stranded because these are some of the things you probably didn’t budget for. However, if you have travel insurance, it’s possible to completely or partially recoup your travelling costs. Your insurance may also be able to cover your stay in a hotel or the extra transport costs.
Your Passport Can Get Lost
You are in the middle of a vacation, workshop, or conference then you realise that your passport is lost. What are you going to do in such a scenario? There is nothing as draining as replacing a passport when you are away from home. But if you have a good plan, it will help to expedite the replacement process.
Your Baggage Can Get Lost or Delayed
Airlines can delay or even misplace your baggage with all your personal items. However, if you have such coverage, you will just relax. You can call your company to help recover the lost items. Most of these companies will quickly reimburse all the essential items that could’ve gotten lost.
What if nothing happens to you but you end damaging someone’s property or hurting them? In case you are legally responsible for any of these, your insurance may be able to partially or fully cover personal liability expenses like legal fees.
Note: do not engage in hate speech, racial abuse, or criminal acts and expect your insurance to cover your legal expenses.
Emergencies Back at Home
Your home may be attacked by burglars, a loved one can fall sick or die, hence you might need to take care of such emergencies. You might want to curtail the trip but this means that you will end up losing money. But if you have a travel insurance plan, it can effectively take care of such situations by offering a refund for your tickets.
It’s Easy to Fall Prey of Attacks
As a foreigner, it’s very easy to get attacked by locals. You might end up getting falling into the hands of pickpockets or burglars. Being the target of this unpleasant intentions means that you end up losing your money, gadgets, and other valuables. A travel cover comes in handy in case such targeted events happen.
It Offers Peace of Mind
A lot of people normally get anxiety and sometimes even panic attacks when they think about travelling. This is normally as a result of fear that something may happen along the way and they may not be able to fully protect themselves. But having travel insurance gives you the much-needed peace of mind. I mean, you are already covered in case anything happens. This makes your trip more enjoyable and less stressful. You don’t have to worry about the extra expenses you will incur in case of a delay or cancellation. If your personal luggage is stolen or you fall sick, you can rest assured that you will be compensated.
When is The Perfect Time to Buy a Travel Policy?
You can buy insurance when you want. However, the best time is after you have booked your trip. This way, you will be able to fully maximize the coverage, if anything happens. Note that the insurance will only cover you after you have bought the policy. So, in case your trip is cancelled or scheduled, you can easily make your claims.
However, you can still enhance the coverage of your plan later on. This means that you can add other items such as accommodation and tours under the same insurance plan. It’s prudent that you buy a travel policy when you’ve already put your money at risk. For instance, once you buy a non-refundable air ticket, you have already put your money at risk in case the trip gets cancelled.
In Singapore, it’s possible to buy an insurance 18 months prior to the trip. Besides that, Singaporeans can still get a policy coverage a day prior to travelling. Note that sometimes travellers need to pay for their trips in instalments. Well, there are some companies that still offer travel insurance in such cases. All a person needs to do is to add the total cost of the trip.
Why It’s Important to Buy Travel Insurance Early
Life is unpredictable and so it’s only good for a person to get covered before they travel. Why would you want to insure your journey when you are late? Buying a policy early enough gives you enough free period to analyse if you need to make changes or not. This means that if you decide to cancel your trip, you will still get a full refund.
Buying Travel Insurance At the Last Minute
We all know that there are still procrastinators who love getting things at the last minute. So, it’s still possible to get a policy a day prior to travelling or depending on the insurer. But once you get to the airport or you have already arrived at your destination, then you won’t be able to buy one.
How to Get the Best Travel Insurance Coverage
Travel insurance is now more common than ever. A lot of mishaps are happening. From plane crashes, topical diseases, to political unrests, all these have significantly increased the number of people seeking travel insurance. However, you need to be picky about what you choose. According to traveIinsuranceguide.sg, here is how you can choose the best policy.
1. Who is travelling?
Are you travelling alone, with kids, as a family, or with friends? Depending on the number of travellers, you can choose:
- A single-person cover.
- Single-parent family cover.
- A family holiday insurance.
- Couple travel insurance.
Note: carefully go the family policy cover to ensure that you understand how it works.
Before going into deep details, check out first the basic cover. Does the policy accommodate standard coverage which usually includes medical costs, cancelled or delayed trips, and lost or misplaced luggage? If so, you can proceed to check other items.
2. Where are You Going?
Insurance policies are sometimes categorised depending on locations and they may include:
Note: if you are going to Europe, remember that some countries are not part of the European Union although they are still in Europe, e.g. Switzerland.
3. How long is the Trip?
In most cases, single and annual trip policies may cover:
- 90 days
- 120 days
- 180 days
4. How Often Do You Travel?
If it’s a one-time trip, you just need a single-trip policy. In case you are going to travel several times, then you need to get an annual cover.
5. What Type of Activity Will You be engaging in?
Are you on a business trip, vacation, or a study trip? Besides those, are you going to engage in high-risk activities bungee jumping, skating, or scuba diving? Considering all these will help you choose the right type of policy.
6. Do You Need a Customised Policy?
Are you sick, pregnant, or old? If so, then you might require a speciality policy cover.
How to Make Travel Insurance Claims
So, your flight has been scheduled, you are sick, or your luggage has got lost. What next? First, you need to have the necessary contact details to report the situation immediately. It’s worth noting that most insurance companies have stipulated reporting times for claims. So, you can only receive your claims if you made a report within the stipulated period.
You only need to fill the claims form but with the right details. In case there are supporting documents, make sure that you also provide them. For instance, if you are paid legal fees or medical fees, you may need to furnish the insurer with the necessary receipts. Alternatively, if you were robbed, you need to first contact the relevant authorities before the insurer.
Fill the Claims Form on Time
To be on the safe side, make sure that you make the claims within 7 days. Contact the insurer by email or phone call. They will advise you the necessary steps you need to take and if you need to involve the authorities.
Fill the Forms Correctly
When filling the claims forms, ensure that you provide accurate details. Outline clearly what you are making claims for. It should be noted that the claims procedure for medical costs isn’t the same as that for lost documents or theft.
Prepare the Relevant Documents
Sometimes you need to attach evidence for your claims. So, you must attach all the relevant documents to avoid all possible delays. Some of the documentation that you may need to successfully support your claims include:
- Medical bills or report.
- Death certificate.
- Motor accident report.
Trip Cancellation/Delay Documents
- The original invoice for trip cancellation.
- Original tour or vacation booking receipt.
Lost Documents or Money
- Police report lodged within 24 hours.
- Passport replacement costs.
Lost Personal Effects
- Bag tags
- An irregularity/damage/loss report from the airline
- Photographs of lost or damaged items
Submit Your Claim
Make sure that you make your submission within the allotted time and then wait for a response. You will get contacted with 2-3 days. In case there is a need for more information, you will be contacted within 7 working days. If your claim is approved, you will receive your payments within 1 to 3 business days.
Prepare to Make Your Appeal
What if you make claims and the insurer fails to give you your claims? Well, it’s possible that they may have misjudged your circumstances. So, you need to prepare an appeal. Make sure that you add extra information which will make your claim successful.
Possible Exceptions for Claims
As much as insurance is supposed to cover accidents or things that might go wrong while you are travelling, you will not be always compensated. It’s, therefore, important for you to carefully read the details of your travel insurance. This will help you understand what is covered and the exceptions. Generally, you will not receive claims for the following:
- In case you are injured under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- If you need medical insurance as a result of a special pre-existing condition that is not under the policy. If you are suffering from a pre-existing medical condition, you need to buy a speciality medical cover for it. Otherwise, you will not receive your claims.
- Engaging in unlawful or illegal activities such as theft, racial abuse, etc.
- Travelling to a destination that’s considered highly volatile. According to the Foreign Affairs Ministry, there are countries which are dangerous to Singaporeans. They include Sudan, Somalia, Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq among others. In case there is a travel advisory issued for a certain country and you still went ahead and travelled to that destination, rest assured that you will receive nothing.
- Failure to adequately protect yourself and your belongings. This is usually considered as negligence and you will be allocated nothing. For instance, leaving your belongings in high-risk areas, engaging in fights that can result in injuries, etc.
There is no doubt that more and more Singaporeans are now buying travel insurance than before. People don’t want to deal with the expensive costs, anxiety, and worry that comes with unexpected events. But before you buy any insurance cover, it’s important that you compare what different sites have to offer. A comparison overview allows you to buy a policy that suits your needs and budget. Besides that, you will be able to understand what makes brands unique.
Take your time, match your needs with the type of coverage you are interested in, then proceed to make your payments. There is definitely no better way to travel stress-free other than buying travel insurance policy plan.