Guide On Getting The Best Travel Insurance With COVID-19 Coverage
If you’re one of those travellers waiting eagerly to check more places off your must-visit travel list, you’ll be happy to know that Singapore recently opened more vaccinated travel lanes (VTLs) — to Vietnam and Greece, as well as more cities in Malaysia, Indonesia and India. Quarantine-free air travel to about 32 countries becomes possible again, which also means that travel insurance is now relevant again.
It’s actually more important than before the COVID-19 pandemic as these days, the most likely mishaps to happen are related to COVID-19, whether they be an infection or a trip cancellation.
While not all travel insurers cover COVID-19, a handful provide decent coverage, to varying extents. Fret not if you’re planning a trip soon and are unsure of how to choose, what to look out for, or trying to find the cheapest travel insurance with COVID-19 coverage, we’re giving you a hand in picking a suitable plan with sufficient coverage. You can even tap on the MoneySmart comparison tool to compare the different travel insurance options available for your travels.
How Much Does It Cost To Travel In 2022?
Before we dive into the details, here is a short clip that breaks down the cost to travel around in this new Covid-19 climate with the opening of many Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTL).
What Should I Look Out For In A Travel Insurance Plan?
Are you deciding whether to get COVID-19 coverage as an add-on benefit to an existing insurance plan which you’ve already bought, or to get a totally brand new travel insurance package that is inclusive of COVID-19 coverage? This really depends on your preference, who you may be travelling with and what your current travel insurance company provides.
If you’re travelling with family members, then family travel insurance with COVID-19 coverage is definitely more apt. For those who are more particular about price range, the more affordable packages would probably be more suitable, and those who have pre-existing conditions would probably take up plans that cost slightly more or a lot more to provide that extra coverage for their health conditions in case of any emergencies.
Whatever needs you have for your travel insurance, there’s bound to be an increase of premiums due to the additional COVID-19 coverage benefits. So we’ve done the legwork for you in finding out which travel insurers are best known for which specific type of COVID-19 coverage.
Best COVID-19 Coverage For Travel Insurance
|Best for||Provider||Travel insurance plan||Estimated total premium|
|Budget travellers||FWD||FWD Premium plan||$14|
|Short trips||Sompo||Sompo Travel Essential plan||$41|
|Long trips||Allianz||Allianz Travel Platinum plan||$82|
|Pre-Existing condition (if you’re pregnant or have other existing medical conditions, and contracted COVID-19 during your trip)||MSIG||MSIG TravelEasy® Pre-Ex Standard, Elite, Premier plans||$38 - $16.50 for daily rate|
|Family||FWD||FWD First Family Plan||$25|
|Seniors||MSIG||MSIG TravelEasy® Pre-Ex Standard, Elite, Premier plans||$38 - $16.50 for daily rate|
|Work trips||MSIG||MSIG TravelEasy® Standard, Elite, Premier plans||$32 - $62|
|To Southeast Asian countries||Sompo||Sompo Travel Essential plan||$41|
|Outside of Southeast Asian countries||MSIG||MSIG TravelEasy® Standard, Elite, Premier plans||$32 - $62|
|Extreme sports||MSIG||MSIG TravelEasy® Standard, Elite, Premier plans||$32 - $62|
|Cruise||Starr||Starr TraveLead Comprehensive Bronze, Silver, Gold plans||$25 - $42|
Best Covid-19 Travel Insurance Plans
With one of the best medical coverage in the market, Allianz Travel Insurance Singapore offers coverage for up to $1,000,000 in COVID-19 medical expenses incurred during/after your trip. You can choose from its Comprehensive Bronze, Comprehensive Silver and Comprehensive Platinum plans that are suited for single trips or annual multi-trips, and enjoy many of its complimentary benefits such as 24/7 Emergency Medical Assistance service.
If you are into sporting activities when travelling, getting either the Allianz’s Silver or Platinum plan may be helpful as each plan includes search and rescue coverage of up to $10,000 for sport activities like trekking and diving, as well as Passport and ID card protection and money cover.
Those who are looking for travel insurance coverage for pre-existing conditions in Singapore will realise that only a handful of insurers in Singapore provide such a service and MSIG is one of them. MSIG TravelEasy® Standard, Elite, and Premier plans include COVID-19 travel insurance coverage, overseas and post-trip medical expenses, extreme sports coverage, replacement of traveller coverage, coverage for insolvency of licensed travel operator, emergency medical evacuation, delayed departure and more.
If you have any pre-existing conditions and would like to travel, you may like to tap on its TravelEasy Pre-Ex® benefits which are provided as an add-on option, and get in-patient hospitalisation expenses overseas coverage of up to $150,000 that allows you to claim for medical, surgical, nursing or hospital charges, as well as up to $200,000 of emergency medical evacuation and repatriation coverage, and other benefits.
How To Choose And Buy Travel Insurance With COVID-19 Coverage?
When it comes to choosing travel insurance plans that include COVID-19 coverage for your holiday or business trips, there are more factors to consider than just the usual coverage. If you have yet to buy a travel insurance plan with COVID-19 coverage, you can choose to buy COVID-19 coverage as an add-on benefit or as part of an existing plan which you already have, depending on your preferences. To get started, here are a few steps to help you get going:
Check if it’s a Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) or Non-VTL travel destination
As most travellers who are travelling abroad and returning to Singapore are advised to be vaccinated and to purchase travel insurance with COVID-19 coverage, you need to be sure of your vaccination status and the specific prevailing entry and safe travel lane requirements of the country you’re travelling to.
Some countries may include a requirement for you to be vaccinated before embarking on your trip. This will affect the travel insurance benefits you’ll receive as some travel insurers will not provide any cover if you’re refused entry to any location, just because you didn’t do your homework and check the destination’s entry requirements.
Be sure of any pre-existing conditions
There are only a few travel insurers out there who will cover you for claims relating to your pre-existing medical conditions such as pregnancy, injuries or illnesses sustained during the trip, this include COVID-19 related situations that may impact your pre-existing condition.
So for whatever pre-existing medical condition you have, you’ll have to look for 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.
Check overall coverage including COVID-19 extension
Instead of deciding solely by price, you should compare the benefits and reimbursement limits for claims like COVID-19 related medical expenses, trip cancellations, flight delays and baggage theft and/or damage.
Compare policy premiums
How much your travel insurance costs 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.
Consider special activities coverage
The breadth of coverage needed largely depends on your itinerary. For instance, if you’re planning to go skydiving, make sure you get a policy that covers aerial sports like MSIG’s TravelEasy® Standard, Elite and Premier plans. Or if you’re going golfing overseas, pick a policy that insures your equipment.
Think about the trip duration
If you’re going for a short trip, then the single trip travel insurance plans will probably be more suitable. On the other hand, if you’re the kind who travels far and for months, it might be worthwhile to consider buying annual travel insurance.
Unlike single trip travel insurance, annual travel insurance often charges a flat premium and insures you for an entire year of travel. It usually costs about $200 to $300 per year, which may be better for a frequent traveller who is probably going to travel overseas more than 7 or 8 times a year, at least.
For more tips on how to choose the best travel insurance plans for you and your travel companions, you can read about the best COVID-19 coverage travel insurance plans on our blog.
Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTL) & Non-VTL Countries
Since the launch of VTL flights between Singapore and more than 30 countries, there has been differences in requirements for travellers taking a VTL and non-VTL flight, and that includes the purchase of travel insurance with COVID-19 coverage, applying for a Vaccination Travel Pass (VTP) which allows you as a vaccinated traveller who is also considered a short-term visitor (including business and official travel), to travel to any VTL country and return to Singapore, plus other procedures which we’ll let you know more in a while.
List of VTL countries
At the time of writing, there are 32 countries which have launched the VTL agreement with Singapore that allows flights between the various destinations, including travel to Southeast Asia countries and travel to countries outside of Southeast Asia.
Southeast Asia countries
- Brunei Darussalam
Outside of Southeast Asia
- Hong Kong
- Republic of Korea
- Saudi Arabia
- Sri Lanka
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom
- United States of America
Requirements for travel to VTL vs. Non-VTL countries
If you’re thinking of taking or have already booked a VTL flight to the 32 countries in Southeast Asia and outside of Southeast Asia, you’ll need to fulfil a number of requirements. On the other hand, travelling on a non-VTL flight will subject you to the prevailing entry requirements for Singapore including serving quarantine measures/Stay-Home Notice (SHN) and others which we’ve highlighted below as well.
- Get covered with travel insurance that has a minimum coverage of S$30,000 for COVID-19-related medical treatment and hospitalisation costs in Singapore, prior to travelling to Singapore
- Been issued with a Vaccinated Travel Pass (Air)
- Get fully vaccinated, and have an accepted proof of vaccination
- Travelled to only one or more of the VTL countries/regions, and/or Singapore, in the last 14 consecutive days before departing for Singapore
- Undergo a COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test or Antigen Rapid Test (ART) within 48 hours before departure for Singapore (excluding children aged 2), at an internationally accredited or recognised laboratory, clinic, or medical facility, and obtain a test result certificate with the following: a negative COVID-19 test result, your name, and at least one other personal information such as your date of birth or passport number, the date and time when the COVID-19 test was taken, and the name of the testing institution that conducted the COVID-19 PCR test for you
- Have a valid approval of entry from the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority of Singapore (ICA) as a short-term visitor, to be allowed to re-enter Singapore on non-VTL flights, but if you’re a Singapore Citizen (SC) or Permanent Resident (PR), you wouldn’t need an entry approval to enter Singapore
- You may enter Singapore by default via the Returning Singapore Citizen and Permanent Resident Lane, which is a non-VTL arrangement where prevailing measures such as Stay Home Notice (SHN) may apply if recent travel history includes non-Category (I) countries/regions
- Serve a seven-day at your place of residence/self-sourced hotel/serviced apartment as a non-VTL traveller with a 7-day travel history to ICA’s list of Category II/III/IV countries/regions, and at the end of your SHN period, you’ll need to take a COVID-19 PCR test
- Be exempted from pre-departure testing requirements but will still be subjected to all other prevailing border measures if you’re not fully vaccinated and recently recovered (i.e. within 14 to 90 days of your last COVID-19 infection)
What Does COVID-19 Travel Insurance Coverage Include?
Additional COVID-19 coverage benefits vary from insurer to insurer, but the primary aspects of coverage will often feature:
Overseas COVID-19 diagnosis quarantine allowance
A form of cash benefit you’ll receive for each consecutive day (up to 14 days) when you get quarantined overseas as a result of being diagnosed with COVID-19.
Overseas hospital cash due to COVID-19
Another type of cash benefit for each day (up to 14 days) in the situation whereby you are hospitalised overseas as a result of being diagnosed with COVID-19.
Medical coverage due to COVID-19
Coverage 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 cancellation/postponement due to COVID-19
If you or your immediate family member, or your travelling companion gets diagnosed with COVID-19, and it resulted in your trip being curtailed or disrupted or cancelled or postponed, you’ll 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
Emergency medical evacuation and repatriation
You’ll be able to claim for emergency transportation allowance to a medical facility for treatment, when diagnosed with COVID-19 and/or sustained a serious injury due to COVID-19 while abroad.
What Are Not Included in COVID-19 Travel Insurance Coverage?
The general exclusions for most travel insurance plans with COVID-19 coverage are quite similar to plans without COVID-19 coverage prior to the pandemic, which include the following (but is not limited to):
Most travel insurers do not cover pre-existing conditions such as pregnancy, heart problems, injury, etc, which you already have, and on top of that, you contracted COVID-19 during your trip, which may complicate your pre-existing condition.
Replacement of traveler or employee
Very few travel insurance plans offer claimable benefits for costs incurred for change of traveller due to you or insured person not being able to travel for the trip as a result of COVID-19 prior or during the trip.
Extreme sports / sports played in a professional or competitive capacity
Any form of sports which involves a high level of danger, specialised expertise, with highly specialised gear or stunts, such as big wave surfing, winter activities like luging, bobsleighing, skiing, snowboarding, canoeing down rapids, cliff jumping, horse riding, etc.
Any travel against prohibitions/acts/travel alerts/bulletins by any government or public authority (except for specific COVID-19 situations)
Conditions that threaten your safety as a traveller, which the government or public authority has officially warned travellers about, 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.
Illegal activities resulting in a conviction
Smuggling of drugs, human trafficking, manslaughter or other types of crimes
What Is The Average Cost Of A COVID-19 Travel Insurance Coverage?
|Travel insurance provider||Medical expenses due to COVID-19 coverage||Overseas quarantine allowance due to COVID-19||Overseas hospital cash due to COVID-19||Trip cancellation due to COVID-19||Total premium|
|FWD||Up to $100,000||N.A.||$200 per day||Up to $1,000||$67|
|AIG||Up to $100,000||$1,400 total cap||N.A.||Up to $1,000||$172|
|Allianz||Up to $1,000,000||N.A.||N.A.||Up to $15,000||$116.35|
|AXA||Up to $75,000||$350 total cap||$1,000 total cap||Up to $1,000||$118.01|
|Sompo||Up to $100,000||$700 total cap||$700 total cap||Up to $2,000||$161|
|Income||Up to $150,000||$1,400 total cap||N.A.||Up to $5,000||$148.80|
To get you started, let’s use an example to illustrate (using MoneySmart’s round-up of the 6 best travel insurance plans with COVID-19 coverage in Singapore). Assuming that you’re planning to go for a 15-day holiday trip to America with your friends, and you’re getting a single trip insurance plan for yourself as you don’t really travel very often in a year.
As you compare across the 6 travel insurers’ benefits and premiums, the average cost of a travel insurance plan with COVID-19 coverage is about $131.
Estimated average cost of a travel insurance plan:
$67 + $172 + $116.35 + $118.01 + $161 + $148.80 = 783.16
783.16 ÷ 6 = $130.52
So, if you’re looking at more cost-efficient options, FWD, Allianz and AXA may be more suitable. Moreover, the medical expenses coverage by Allianz is quite extensive with a hefty maximum limit of $1,000,000, the highest among the 6 providers. That’s if you’re looking for comprehensive coverage for medical expenses in the situation that you get diagnosed with COVID-19.
As for claiming benefits for trip cancellation if you’re down with COVID-19, Allianz, AIG and Income will provide higher coverage of up to $15,000 and $5,000 respectively for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is COVID-19 coverage compulsory for my travel insurance if I want to travel?
- Yes, if you’re a short-term visitor applying to enter Singapore via the Air Travel Pass (ATP), Reciprocal Green Lanes (RGLs) and Vaccinated Travel Lane (Air), you must have travel insurance for COVID-19-related medical treatment and hospitalisation costs in Singapore, with a minimum coverage of S$30,000 (based on COVID-19 bill sizes at private hospitals). According to the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority of Singapore (ICA), this is a requirement regardless of your vaccination or recovery status, as there is still a risk that you can get a COVID-19 infection and require medical attention.
I am fully vaccinated, so am I eligible to travel to any country without serving a quarantine period?
- No. Every country has its own prevailing entry requirements including serving quarantine measures/Stay-Home Notice (SHN), undergoing a COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test or Antigen Rapid Test (ART) and other related procedures to ensure a safe entry for each traveller.
What are the benefits of having travel insurance with COVID-19 coverage?
- While COVID-19 coverage benefits vary from insurer to insurer, the key aspects of coverage will usually 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 is a VTP and do I have to get it to travel?
- A VTP is a Vaccination Travel Pass (VTP) which allows you as a vaccinated traveller who is also considered a short-term visitor (including business and official travel), to travel to any Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) country and return to Singapore.
How long will it take for a VTP application to be processed?
- If you successfully submitted your VTP application online, your VTP will be issued immediately to you.
Is there a limit to the number of times I can apply for a VTP?
- No. Currently, there isn’t a limit to the number of times travellers can apply for a VTP.
Where can I get COVID-19 coverage for my travel insurance?
- You will be able to get COVID-19 coverage as an add-on benefit or as part of an existing insurance plan, through your preferred travel insurance mobile app, website or insurance agent. 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.
I will be travelling from Singapore to a VTL country/region and will be back in less than 7 consecutive days. Am I eligible to return to Singapore on a VTL flight?
- Yes, you will be eligible for the VTL as long as you travelled to only one or more of the VTL countries/regions, Category I countries/regions and/or Singapore, within the past 7 consecutive days before departure for Singapore.
Can I use the VTP to transit/transfer through Singapore?
- No, the VTP is only valid for travellers who intend to enter Singapore and is not applicable for transfer/transit passengers.
What tests do I have to take to travel on a VTL flight?
- You’ll need to undergo a COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test or Antigen Rapid Test (ART) within 48 hours before departure for Singapore (excluding children aged 2), at an internationally accredited or recognised laboratory, clinic, or medical facility, and obtain a test result certificate.
Besides a VTP, is there anything else I need to submit?
- Yes. You’ll have to submit your pre-trip health and travel history declaration via the SG Arrival Card (SGAC). It should be done up to 72 hours before arrival in Singapore. All SGAC submissions are free-of-charge, and you should also upload your digitally-verifiable vaccination certificate if you have one (i.e. certificate with a QR code).