Hans Christian Anderson once said, “To travel is to live”. It is always exhilarating to visit new places, meet new people, experience new cultures and explore the unknown.
While we are planning a trip, at the back of our mind, we often asked: what if my flight got delayed, what if I fall sick overseas and what if… so it is extremely important to buy a comprehensive travel insurance plan in case of expected events and for peace of mind.
Since I know little about travel insurance, I decided to do a little research. First of all, I was surprised to find out many local banks selling travel insurance in addition to the established insurance companies such as AIG, Aviva, AXA, Chubb Travel Pro, MSIG, NTUC Income and Sompo.
What To Consider When Buying Travel Insurance
Medical Coverage – The most fundamental point to note when buying a suitable travel insurance is to make sure that they have high coverage limit on your medical expenses. Medical expenses in USA and Japan are extremely expensive, a visit to a clinic in USA could easily cost hundreds of dollars. Alternatively, look for a travel insurance policy that allows the traveler to seek medical treatment when he is back in Singapore.
Delayed Departure or Delayed Baggage – Most people make claims on travel insurance more or less for these reasons – delayed flight, flight cancellation or baggage delayed. So, it is important to compare the benefits payout on these three items offered by the different travel insurance companies in accordance to the premium rates they charged.
Adventurous Sports – Nowadays, many travel insurance covers adventurous sports like diving, mountain climbing, kite surfing etc with no additional premium loaded unless the adventurous globetrotter is competing as a professional.
Pre-existing Conditions – You should know that all travel insurance does not cover pre-existing conditions, pregnancy.
If you need to make a claim, one thing to remember is to make sure you have all your receipts and necessary documents ready:
– To claim for theft, a local police report is required;
– To claim for flight delayed or flight cancellation, you need to obtain a report from the airlines stating the reason for such delay.
Tips: Putting the right words in explaining the delay or cancellation determines whether the claim shall go through or not. Typically, the cause for the inconvenience must be due to:
– strike, riot or civil commotion/industrial action;
– adverse weather conditions;
– natural disaster (typhoon, earthquake, flood and the like)
– mechanical breakdown/structural defect of your scheduled public conveyance.
I’ve had a bad claims experience recently. My claim was initially rejected because the airlines report stated that the flight was cancelled due to poor runway condition and ‘poor runway condition’ is not one of the above valid reasons accordingly to the claims officer. So I had to argue that “poor runway condition was precisely due to bad weather”, and eventually the appeal went through.
Brace yourself as insurance companies tend to deal with the claims slowly. To make a speedy claim or when the claim amount is huge, it is advisable to submit your claims personally, i.e. to visit the insurance claims department. Be sure to keep a copy of all the documents you have submitted.
Understanding The Different Travel Insurance Plans
These are some of the travel insurance companies available in Singapore:
- AIA – AIA Around The World
- AIG – TravelGuard
- Aviva – Aviva Travel Insurance
- AXA – SmartTraveller
- Chubb Travel Pro (fka ACE Travel Insurance)
- Great Eastern/OCBC – TravelWise
- MSIG – TravelEasy
- NTUC Income – NTUC Travel Insurance
- Tenet Sompo – TravelJoy
After much researching, I found that ACE travel insurance offers a higher coverage on delayed departure – S$200 for each 6-hour travel delay while many other travel insurance companies offer only S$100 for each 6-hour. On the other hand, extra brownie point for NTUC Income whereby their premium rates are very competitive and their claim service is efficient.
Some travel insurance companies can be more stringent with the claims related to budget airlines as budget carriers tend to experience more frequent flight delays or flight cancellations.
Travel Insurance Annual Plan
The best way to save cost for travellers who travel at least 3 times a year is to purchase an annual plan. A travel insurance annual plan with worldwide coverage can go from S$128 to over S$600 a year depending on the benefits payout. Every insurance company has slightly different features and benefits to cater to their target market, hence, the reason with different premium rates. So, make sure to read the fine print before committing to a travel insurance policy and not just go for the cheapest insurance deal.
Even though choosing travel insurance can be a hassle, we have to admit they have made holiday trips more enjoyable and comfortable. I hope this article cleared some of the fog surrounding travel insurance. Having said that, enjoy your holiday without any worries with assured protection!