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Buying Annual Travel Insurance: Best Coverage & Plans

With the ever-increasing travel demand in this post-pandemic era, global tourism is expected to rise by 30% in 2023. Closer to home, one out of three Singaporeans have already booked a holiday this year and may probably be getting ready for not only one, but multiple trips soon.

As you begin looking around for travel insurance plans for your trips, the vast variety of choices out there can make it a little daunting to decide on one. By using a comparison platform like MoneySmart's curated list of best travel insurance plans in Singapore, you’ll be able to compare strategically for annual multi-trip packages in terms of premiums, coverage for overseas medical expenses and more.

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TLDR Summary: What You Should Know About Annual Travel Insurance

  • Global tourism is expected to rise by 30% in 2023, with many Singaporeans booking multiple trips.
  • Annual travel insurance is more suitable for frequent flyers and multiple short trips, while single-trip insurance is better for infrequent travelers or longer trips.
  • Annual travel insurance plans offer convenience, cost-effectiveness, and coverage for unlimited trips within a year.
  • Coverage benefits include regional or worldwide coverage, medical coverage (including COVID-19), trip inconvenience coverage, adventure and sports activities coverage, and emergency medical evacuation.
  • Exclusions in annual travel insurance plans include pre-existing conditions, traveler or employee replacement costs, travel against government prohibitions, and illegal activities resulting in conviction.

Why Choose Annual Travel Insurance Plans?

When it comes to picking annual travel insurance plans, it can differ from the more commonly purchased single-trip plans as it offers you different advantages such as saving some money and time, and many other benefits.

Benefits of Annual Travel Insurance

  • Greater convenience for unlimited trips within a year
  • Available for most regions in the world i.e. ASEAN, Asia, etc. and even worldwide coverage
  • Choice of individual or group plans and group plans usually come at a lower price
  • More cost-effective in the long run if you’re a frequent traveler

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Best Annual Travel Insurance Benefits Coverage

Best forAnnual travel insurance planPremium rate
Deals and promotionsAIG Travel Guard Supreme and Enhanced plans$468 - $554
Medical coverage (including COVID-19 coverage)Allianz Travel Comprehensive Bronze, Silver and Platinum plans$337 - $651
Cruise coverageFWD Premium plan$260
Comprehensive coverageMSIG TravelEasy® Standard, Elite, Premier plans$337 - $651
Adventure/Sports activitiesMSIG TravelEasy® Standard, Elite, Premier plans$289 - $559
Unlimited overseas medical coverageSinglife Travel Lite, Plus and Prestige plans$232 - $460
Overall good valueDirect Asia DA 200, DA 500 and DA 1000 plans$209 - $288
Customisation of planStarr TraveLead Comprehensive Bronze, Silver and Gold plans$343 - $586
FamilyFWD First Family Plan$791

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What Does Annual Travel Insurance Coverage Include?

The coverage benefits for yearly travel insurance plans vary from insurer to insurer, but the key aspects of coverage will often include:

Regional or Worldwide coverage

Typically, insurers will offer choices of regions for annual insurance plans i.e. ASEAN, Asia, Worldwide (excluding USA), and Worldwide (including USA). However, it is encouraged to choose worldwide coverage so that you will not end up being limited to certain regions when you travel as you never know when you may have a change of mind in your travel plans.

Medical coverage (including or excluding COVID-19)

This coverage can be in the form of cash benefits or other modes of payment to help you cope with high medical costs in the event that you’re diagnosed with COVID-19 whilst on your overseas trip.

Coverage for trip inconvenience

In the event that there are any unforeseen circumstances due to weather conditions, plane engine faults, or even you or your travelling companion gets diagnosed with COVID-19, and it resulted in your trip being curtailed or disrupted or cancelled or postponed. This component in your insurance plan lets you be able to claim up to a certain amount, depending on the type of plan you purchased. For some travel insurance, an excess of a certain amount applies.

Adventure and sports activities

While some insurers do not provide coverage for extreme sports, most insurers nowadays provide coverage for a wide range of adventurous activities and extreme sports such as bungee jumping, skydiving, paragliding, hot air ballooning, jet skiing, white-water rafting, diving, tobogganing, and more.

Emergency medical evacuation & repatriation

Most plans do provide emergency transportation allowance to a medical facility for treatment, when you get diagnosed with COVID-19 or sustained a serious injury while abroad.

What Are Not Included in Annual Travel Insurance Plans?

The general exclusions for most annual multi-trip travel insurance plans are quite similar to each other, so they are pretty standard across the board.

Pre-Existing conditions

Most annual travel insurance plans do not cover pre-existing conditions such as pregnancy, heart problems, injury, etc, which you already have.

Replacement of traveler or employee

There are probably very few travel insurers offering claimable benefits for costs incurred for change of a traveler due to reasons like you or the other insured person not being able to travel for the trip because of last minute medical conditions or getting COVID-19 prior or during the trip.

Any travel against prohibitions/acts/travel alerts/bulletins by any government or public authority

Most extreme conditions that threaten your safety as a traveller, including official warnings by government/public authority, such as air, water, or other pollution, including thermal, biological, and nuclear pollution contamination, civil disorder or unrest, declared or undeclared acts of war, vice versa, are not included in the coverage, unless stated in your policy.

Illegal activities resulting in a conviction

Such actions are definitely not covered i.e. smuggling of drugs, human trafficking, manslaughter or other types of crimes.

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We asked Singaporeans about flight disruptions, and they answered.

Find out the worst airlines with delays and cancellations according to Singaporean travellers.

Annual Travel Insurance Vs. Single Trip Travel Insurance: Which Is Better?

There are a couple of things that you should know when you’re deciding between annual multi-trip travel insurance and single-trip insurance plans, so that you can pick a suitable one for you and your travel companions.

Annual Travel Insurance vs Single-Trip Travel Insurance

Annual Travel InsuranceSingle-Trip Travel Insurance
More suitable for frequent flyersMore suited for those who travel less frequent
Ideal for multiple short trips in a year (each trip being less than 90 daysGreat for trips which are longer than 90 days each
More cost-effective for frequent flyersMore affordable for infrequent travellers or those who prefer to go on long-haul trips which can be more than 180 days
Time-efficient in terms of purchase process as it eliminates the need for repurchasing any plans for each tripTend to cover a wider age group including the ones who are above 70 years old
Usually have a maximum age limit for coverage (e.g. 70 years old and above)

Frequently Asked Questions

Is COVID-19 travel insurance coverage still compulsory now for travelling?

Yes and no. This depends on the laws and regulations of the country you are visiting. Although travel insurance is mostly not required to travel to many countries now, it is still strongly recommended. Having a travel insurance plan with adequate coverage will allow you to claim for medical and hospitalisation expenses, emergency medical evacuation and repatriation and more, so it’ll definitely prepare you better for any unexpected situations.

Are annual travel insurance plans worth getting?

Yes and no. It depends on how frequent you travel and the duration of each trip. For frequent travellers, annual travel insurance plans may be more cost-effective as buying single-trip insurance for 3 or 4 overseas trips in a year may probably cost the same as or more than an unlimited number of trips on an annual insurance plan.

Should I get annual travel insurance with COVID-19 coverage?

It is highly recommended to get it despite the easing of COVID-19 restrictions in many countries. COVID-19 coverage benefits vary from insurer to insurer, but the key aspects of coverage will often include overseas medical coverage due to COVID-19, emergency medical evacuation & repatriation, overseas COVID-19 diagnosis quarantine allowance, overseas hospital cash due to COVID-19, trip cancellation/postponement/curtailment/disruption coverage due to COVID-19.

What happens if I want to cancel my annual travel insurance?

Most insurers allow you to cancel your policy at any time during the period of your annual insurance. Depending on the terms and conditions of your policy at the time of purchase, you may most likely receive a refund as a percentage of the amount you paid, with reference to the date of your cancellation.

When does my annual travel insurance coverage start?

Most annual travel insurance cover begins in Singapore with specific benefits that are valid prior to the departure and/or your trip begins. Please refer to your annual travel insurance policy’s terms and conditions or check with your travel insurance agent as these terms and conditions will often vary from insurer to insurer.