Best Travel Insurance for Korea 2023
Besides Seoul, which is probably the most popular holiday destination in Korea amongst BTS fans or other Kpop and Kdrama fans, there are many other beautiful and exciting spots for a vacation or even a business trip.
From its scenic Jeju Island to the chic cafes in the cities, Korea is a great place that beckons many adventures whether you’re going on a solo trip or visiting with friends and family. As you begin planning for a trip there, do remember to get your visa and compare travel insurance coverage before you take off on your flight.
Travel Requirements To Enter Korea
Similar to some countries like Japan, travel insurance is not compulsory for a traveller to enter Korea. Despite that, it’s still strongly recommended as you never know when you may fall ill (and get infected but other unknown viruses which may be something like COVID-19 when it first started) or get into an accident). It’s still safer to be insured against any possibilities and you may save on costly medical fees overseas.
VISA or K-ETA
At the moment, there is a temporary K-ETA exemption for 22 countries/regions from 01 April 2023 to 31 December 2024 as announced by the government of South Korea, also known as the Republic of Korea (ROK).
Single or multiple entry visas are available for application, however, it can only be done in person or via appointed visa agents (depending on what type of visa you’re applying for). Online application for visas to Korea is not available at the moment. To check if you need to do it in person or through an appointed visa agent, you can refer to this checklist.
It’ll usually take about 4 working days to process visa applications, but an additional turnaround time of 1 to 2 days is needed when submitting through an appointed visa agent.
If you’re from one of the countries (visa waiver for Singaporeans has been reinstated since 2021) which are on a visa-free entry agreement with Korea, you’ll only need to apply for a K-ETA instead of a visa. The K-ETA application fee is KRW10,000 KRW per person (which is about USD9-10) additional charges are not included) and you can use your credit cards or debit cards such as VISA, MASTER, JCB, or AMEX to pay for it online.
Your K-ETA is valid for 2 years once issued and it can be used for multiple times within its validity. So you do not have to apply for a K-ETA again if you travel to Korea again in the next 2 years from your date of issuance, unless you renewed your passport.
Top 10 Things To Do In Korea
South Korea's capital city offers a mix of modern and traditional experiences. Visit historic sites like Gyeongbokgung Palace and Bukchon Hanok Village, and explore the bustling markets, shopping districts, and vibrant nightlife.
Take a tour to the Korean Demilitarized Zone, a unique opportunity to learn about the divided Korean Peninsula and visit places like the Joint Security Area and the Third Infiltration Tunnel.
Enjoy the stunning scenery and hiking trails in this beautiful national park, home to the country's third-highest peak, Daecheongbong.
Savor traditional Korean dishes like bibimbap, bulgogi, kimchi, and Korean barbecue at local restaurants or street food stalls.
Sail across the pristine waters of the Korean Strait, enjoying stunning coastal views before arriving on Jeju Island to explore its picturesque landscapes, volcanic landscapes, waterfalls, and pristine beaches. Don't miss a visit to Seongsan Ilchulbong (Sunrise Peak).
Known as the "Museum Without Walls," Gyeongju is a historical treasure trove with ancient temples, tombs, and cultural relics.
Enjoy the coastal city of Busan, famous for its beautiful beaches, and vibrant markets like Jagalchi Fish Market, and sample fresh seafood there. Visit ancient temples like Beomeosa and attend traditional performances at the Busan Cultural Center or embrace the fusion of modernity and tradition. Gamcheon Culture Village.
Some of the best temple stays in South Korea include Beomeosa Temple in Busan, Golgulsa Temple near Gyeongju, and Magoksa Temple in Gongju. These experiences offer insight into Korean Buddhism, meditation practices, and a peaceful retreat in serene natural settings while learning about the monks' way of life.
Check out Hahoe Folk Village, a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its traditional Korean architecture with captivating mask dance performances that will be held around the village during various times of the year, or sample Andong's famous dishes like heotjesabap (lotus leaf rice) and jjimdak (spicy braised chicken) in Andong Hahoe Village and witness artisans crafting pottery, fabrics, and more.
Rent a bike and cycle along the Han River in Seoul, a popular activity for both locals and tourists, as you take in the scenic views along the way.
We asked Singaporeans about flight disruptions, and they answered.
Find out the worst airlines with delays and cancellations according to Singaporean travellers.
How To Choose Travel Insurance For Your Korea Trip?
When it comes to picking a travel insurance plan for your Korea trip, there are definitely more factors to consider than just the price.
Here are 5 steps to help you get started:
Check that your plan provides sufficient coverage
Although price is one of the important things to consider, you should also keep in mind the necessary benefits and reimbursement limits for claims like those for medical expenses, trip cancellations, flight delays and baggage theft and/or damage, and make sure that they are adequate for your travel needs in case of any unforeseen circumstances.
Get insured for any pre-existing conditions
COVID-19 related situations may affect any pre-existing condition that you and/or your family members may have, and only a few travel insurers will cover you for claims relating to your pre-existing medical conditions such as pregnancy, injuries or illnesses sustained during the trip if you’re diagnosed with COVID-19.
It’s safer to get a travel insurance plan with COVID-19 coverage which will give you in-patient hospitalisation expenses overseas coverage that allows you to claim for medical, surgical, nursing or hospital charges, emergency medical evacuation and repatriation coverage.
Do a comparison of policy premiums
The total cost of your travel insurance plan really depends on your destination and length of stay. Most travel insurance companies have 2 to 3 tiers of plans at different price points, with varying comprehensiveness and reimbursement limits, so you can select one that suits you best.
Consider coverage of sporting activities
Korea is a great place for many activities including water sports and extreme sports, but the breadth of coverage needed largely depends on your itinerary. For instance, if you’re planning to go paragliding or skydiving over the beautiful volcanic cones of Jeju, make sure you get a policy that covers aerial sports like MSIG’s TravelEasy® Standard, Elite and Premier plans.
Ensure coverage for trip cancellation, flight delay and damage/loss of baggage
Given that Korea is prone to many natural disasters such as typhoons, floods, droughts, landslides, snowstorms, tsunamis and earthquakes, it’ll be wiser to have coverage of damage or loss of belongings as well as trip cancellation or postponement and flight delay due to natural disasters.
Best Korea Travel Insurance
Best Korea Travel Insurance Benefits Coverage
|Best for||Travel insurance plan||Estimated premium rate|
|Overall good value||Bubblegum travel insurance plans||From $45|
|Budget travel||FWD Premium plan||From $35|
|Flight diversion/cancellation/postponement||Singlife Travel Plus and Prestige plans||From $78|
|Overseas medical coverage||Allianz travel insurance plans||From $63|
|Pre-existing conditions||MSIG TravelEasy Pre-Ex plans||From $77|
|Family||DirectAsia travel insurance plans||From $42|
|Elderly||Tiq by Etiqa travel insurance plans||From $43|
|Travelling while pregnant||MSIG TravelEasy Pre-Ex plans||From $77|
|Extreme sports||Starr TraveLead Comprehensive plans||From $41|
|Annual multi-trip||The Wise Traveller Secure and Premium plans||From $196|
|*Estimated premium rates are based on a 7 days single-trip plan to South Korea, data last updated on 25 October 2023.|
What Is The Average Cost Of A Travel Insurance For South Korea?
|Travel insurance provider||Overseas medical expenses||Post-trip medical expenses||Loss/damage of personal baggage||Trip cancellation||Total premium|
|Bubblegum||Up to $150,000||Up to $10,000||Up to $3,000||Up to $5,000||$45|
|Singlife||Up to $250,000||Up to $10,000||Up to $3,000||Up to $5,000||$56|
|Allianz||Up to $250,000||N.A.||Up to $1,500||Up to $5,000||$63|
|Starr||Up to $200,000||Up to $15,000||Up to $3,000||Up to $5,000||$41|
|DirectAsia||Up to $150,000||Up to $5,000||Up to $1,000||Up to $3,000||$42|
|FWD||Up to $200,000||Up to $6,000||Up to $3,000||Up to $7,500||$35|
|*Estimated premium rates are based on a 7 days in a single-trip plan to South Korea, and our round-up of the 6 best travel insurance plans for South Korea, , that you can get in Singapore. The above data was last updated on 25 October 2023.|
As you compare across the 6 travel insurers’ benefits and premiums, the average cost of a travel insurance plan with COVID-19 coverage for a 7 days trip is about $47, assuming that we take the most basic plan offered by each travel insurance provider.
Estimated average cost of a travel insurance plan:
$45 + $56 + $63 + $41 + $42 + $35 = $282
$282 ÷ 6 = $47
FWD, Starr and DirectAsia may be more suitable if you’re looking at more cost-efficient options. Moreover, the medical expenses coverages by FWD and Starr are quite reasonable with a maximum limit of $200,000, which are considered the average among these 6 travel insurances.
If you’re looking for even more comprehensive coverage for medical expenses in the situation that you get diagnosed with an unexpected severe illness or injury, Singlife’s Travel Lite plan and Allianz’s Travel Bronze plan provide the most generous coverage among the 6 plans, which is up to $250,000. However, when it comes to claiming benefits for trip cancellation if you’re down with an unexpected severe illness or injury, FWD will provide a higher coverage of up to $7,500 for you, as compared to the rest of the plans.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I get travel insurance for my Korea trip?
- You can get it either through your preferred travel insurance mobile app, website or insurance agent. Most insurance companies give the option for you to either get COVID-19 coverage as an add-on benefit or as part of an existing insurance plan. Some travel insurance companies offer COVID-19 coverage as an add-on benefit to an existing plan, while others include COVID-19 coverage benefits in their range of travel insurance plans.
Is Korea safe to visit?
- Yes and no. Like many travel destinations, Korea is prone to many natural disasters such as typhoons, floods, droughts, landslides, snowstorms, tsunamis and earthquakes, it will be safe to get travel insurance coverage of damage or loss of belongings as well as trip cancellation or postponement and flight delay.