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Things To Look Out For When Buying Travel Insurance

profileKenneth Fong

Travelling overseas for a holiday soon?

After settling your flight tickets and accommodation, the next most important thing you should get is…

Travel insurance.

“Need meh… Got so suay (Hokkien: unlucky) or not?”

Source: giphy

Well… all I can say is, anything can happen.

So it never hurts to have a little insurance.

TL;DR: Travel Insurance Guide Singapore 2019

Looking to buy the best travel insurance policy?

Make sure you have the basics covered like:

  • accidents
  • loss or damages
  • medical expenses
  • travel inconvenience

For more assurance, look out for these benefits:

  • indemnity for accidents
  • emergency evacuation
  • overseas medical expenses
  • terrorism cover
  • travel disruption, travel delay, and missed connection

Ultimately, make sure you get comprehensive coverage and don’t just buy the cheapest travel insurance for your travels!

So… Should I Just Get The Cheapest Travel Insurance And Be Done With It?


I mean, it’s always nice if travel insurance premiums are discounted during a promotion or sale.

BUT it’s never a good idea to buy a policy just because it’s cheap.

You shouldn’t just spring for the most expensive coverage available either – the one with all the bells and whistles, like protection against accidents during extreme sports – when you’re only going across the Causeway for some weekend makan and shopping.

As with most things in life, you have to exercise prudence.

But most importantly, you really shouldn’t be buying travel insurance just for the sake of having ‘protection’.

In fact, I’m sure many of us have been (or are still) guilty of blindly buying our travel insurance thinking that it’ll cover us for any mishap.

Only to realise when making a claim that we aren’t actually covered for a lot of things.

What Does Travel Insurance Cover?

A good travel insurance policy should cover you for a myriad of situations.

These should range from small inconveniences like a flight delay.

To needing immediate medical evacuation and attention, after getting bitten by a venomous snake while hiking up a mountain trail. 

Some of the more commonly covered situations include:

  • Flight delays or cancellations
  • Loss or damage to personal belongings
  • Loss of travel documents
  • Medical expenses
  • Personal accident or accidental death

This list is obviously not exhaustive but you get the picture.

Basically, you want a policy which covers you for basics like:

  • accidents
  • loss or damages
  • medical expenses
  • travel inconvenience

What Kind Of Travel Insurance Coverage Do I Need?

To put it simply, the coverage of your travel insurance should be as comprehensive as you can get.

While travelling is about discovering the world and embracing the unexpected, a robust travel insurance plan will provide you with a sense of security while you explore the great unknown.

Besides the basics mentioned earlier, here’re just some examples of what to look out for when buying travel insurance for your next vacation:

Double Indemnity For Accidents

A typical travel insurance policy will cover you for personal accidents.

But if you plan on going on a self-drive road trip in a foreign land with higher speed limits, or plan to take public transportation in a country with a high accident rate.

You might want to consider getting travel insurance which pays double indemnity for road accidents or while on public conveyance.

Just to make sure that you’re well-protected.

Emergency Evacuation

If you’re wondering why you would ever need emergency evacuation.

Imagine having a medical emergency overseas, which requires you to be flown back to Singapore for medical treatment.

Or having to be rescued from a terrorist attack in a foreign country.

Call me kiasu but I’d rather have the option for evacuation when I’m in a pinch (touchwood) and need to get out as soon as humanly possible.

As evacuation would usually involve a medical flight or an air ambulance, so you can expect that the cost for such repatriation services is definitely going to be ridiculously expensive.

This means that when you’re getting evacuation cover, make sure that your travel insurance policy claim limits are high enough.

And be sure to check if your insurer has certain exclusions for things like pre-existing conditions.

Because if you need evacuation after suffering from a heart attack, your insurer might not allow you to make a claim if you already declared that you have a history of heart-related medical conditions.

Overseas Medical Expenses

Overseas medical expenses can be astronomical, especially in countries where the standards of living are higher, like Europe or Japan.

Whether it’s food poisoning or something a little more serious which requires hospitalisation.

You’ll definitely rest a little easier if you know that you have ready access to medical care IF you need it – without worrying about the cost.

In fact, some countries like Russia make it compulsory for visitors to have a health insurance policy (minimum coverage of RUB 100,000 or SGD$2,125) regardless of your purpose of visit.

With the policy, you can receive free medical attention based on the amount of insurance coverage you have.

If you do not have health insurance or your insurance amount is less than the stipulated minimum, you’ll be charged a fine of up to RUB 7,000 (SGD$149)…

As a guide, the typical claim limit for overseas medical coverage is $200,000.

But it’s always good to have a travel insurance policy with a higher overseas medical coverage limit for those long-distance travel plans.

Terrorism Cover

We often take security for granted as Singapore is one of the safest cities in the world.

However, the same can’t be said for every country or city you plan to visit.

And in this current climate, Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam is right when he said that it’s “a matter of “when” and not “if” a terror attack hits”.

So if you’re planning to travel somewhere a little more exotic, or where security might be a little lax…

Getting terrorism cover is pretty much a must.

And while we’re on this, most insurers would have a list of countries which they deem as being too dangerous or risky that they will not insure your travels there.

Some of these countries include:

  • Cuba
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Nepal
  • North Korea
  • Sudan
  • Syria

It’s important to note that insurers can refuse your claim even if the country you travelled to does not appear on these blacklists.

As long as it can be reasonably considered to be a bad idea to visit.

For instance, Hong Kong, where the Ministry Of Foreign Affairs has issued an advisory to Singaporeans to defer non-essential travel.

Which is why you’ll want to check with your insurer before committing to any travel insurance policy with a terrorism cover.

Oh, and if you want extra assurance.

Be sure to ask about coverage for nuclear, chemical or biological weapons.

Travel Disruption, Travel Delay, And Missed Connection

Flight delays and cancellations happen more often than you realise.

The same thing applies to trains and bus connections too.

These major forms of overseas transportation can be disrupted by natural disasters or even union strikes (think: countries in the US or Europe).

And they might also be delayed due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances.

Getting a travel insurance policy which compensates you adequately for any disruption, delay or missed connection could be the difference between you being stranded for hours at the airport.

And you being able to wait in comfort, while you seek alternative forms of transportation in order to catch your next flight or travel connection.

Note: pay attention to how long a policy defines a ‘delay’. Most travel insurance policies typically quantify it as more than 6 hours.

Should I Buy Single Trip Or Annual Travel Insurance?

If you’re a frequent traveller or your work requires you to travel often, annual travel insurance might be worth considering because:

  • you pay a flat premium which provides coverage for an entire year, starting from the date your policy comes into effect
  • you don’t have to waste time filling out your details buying multiple, single-trip travel insurance policies
  • it might be cheaper depending on how often and how far you travel

Naturally, you’ll still want to make sure that you get comprehensive travel insurance coverage.

So apply the same discretion as you would when it comes to buying a single trip travel insurance.

When Should I Buy Travel Insurance?

You should buy your travel insurance as soon as you’ve planned your trip.

Or if you want to be safer, just in case travel plans fall apart, buy it once you’ve purchased your flight tickets.

I mean, you’re not going to cancel your flight tickets right?

The fact that you can buy your travel insurance online also means that there’s really no reason why you should wait till the last minute.

And the reason why you should purchase your policy as soon as possible is so that you can maximise the coverage of your policy.

Not that we necessarily want to, of course…

But think about this: imagine booking your vacation package with a tour agency that goes out of business the week before your holiday.

If you haven’t bought your travel insurance, you’re looking at money lost and having to spend even more money on last-minute flight bookings and accommodation – if you still wish to go on your holiday, that is.

The same applies to flight cancellations if your travel destination suddenly cancels all inbound flights due to a deadly natural disaster like a tsunami.

What Is The Best Travel Insurance For Me?

As overseas travel has become a norm, most travel insurance policies in the market are pretty similar in terms of coverage.

We’ve also established that buying the cheapest travel insurance is also not the best option.

So how do you pick the best travel insurance after you’ve done your comparison?

Why not read real user reviews on Seedly to find out what others have to say about their first-hand experience with the insurer?

By clicking on any of the listed travel insurance policies, you’ll be able to see what our Seedly community has to say about their personal experience with the travel insurance insurer.

You can even sort and read reviews based on specific keywords, which most users who purchase travel insurance would be interested in, like:

  • claim progress
  • easy claim
  • customer service

This way, you can find out how easy the claims process is like for the travel insurance you’re planning to get.

As well as how friendly or helpful the customer service experience has been like for other travellers who have purchased the travel insurance you’re planning to buy!

Had A Great Or Bad Experience With Your Travel Insurance?

Bought a travel insurance policy and enjoyed an easy claims process?

Had questions about your claims and received fantastic customer service from your insurer?

Just want to complain about a lousy travel insurance policy or want to warn others to avoid making the same mistakes as you did?

Why not leave a review on Seedly Reviews to help other fellow travellers make a better decision!

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About Kenneth Fong
I threw all of my money into the longkang once... because I wanted to see my cash flow.
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