Why do you need travel insurance?
Because anything can happen when you’re travelling! Travel insurance protects you against occurrences like falling sick, losing your valuables, getting in an accident, luggage delays, flight delays, or having to cancel parts of your trip because of Covid.
While these things don’t seem like a huge deal if they happen to you in Singapore, they can be minor disasters overseas…. not to mention awfully expensive if you’re going somewhere with a high standard of living.
With travel insurance, these unexpected costs are covered. In addition, many providers also offer administrative support to get you through these snags, so you get additional peace of mind.
Do you need travel insurance for short getaways, like cruises or trips across the border to JB? Well, you can probably get away with it, but it’ll be at your own risk. With plans costing as little as $4/day, though, it makes a lot more sense to buy travel insurance regardless of the length of your trip.
What does travel insurance cover?
Travel insurance covers a wide variety of scenarios, ranging from severe to minor inconveniences.
For most, the most important coverage is medical expenses. This allows you to seek treatment quickly, without worrying about the cost, if you fall ill or get into an accident abroad. Make sure the coverage here is commensurate with the medical costs of the country you plan to visit.
Covid-related expenses are typically covered up to specific sub-limits. For example, Bubblegum travel insurance covers up to $150,000 in overseas medical expenses, of which up to $100,000 can be on Covid.
Travel insurance also covers common hiccups such as transport or luggage delays, usually paying out an allowance. In the case of Bubblegum, the payout is $100 per every 6 hours of delay, up to $400.
Your policy would also cover loss or theft of valuables up to a certain limit. In Bubblegum’s case, the limit is $3,000. You’ll need to furnish documentation, like receipts to prove the value of your items and a police report, in order to claim this.
On top of these, travel insurance can also reimburse you if your trip gets cancelled or cut short due to a covered reason, including Covid. Bubblegum travel insurance covers this up to $5,000 for an individual or $12,500 for a family.
Things you should know when buying travel insurance
To get the most bang for your buck, follow these tips for buying travel insurance:
- Buy as early as you can. The earlier you buy insurance, the better covered you’ll be against pre-trip contingencies like travel agency cancellations at no extra charge!
- Make sure to buy the correct start and end dates. When you buy travel insurance, you’ll need to specify the start and end date of your policy. Make sure that it covers your entire trip including your flights to and from Singapore, to avoid gaps in coverage.
- Check if adventurous activities are covered. If your itinerary includes outdoor activities like scuba diving or skydiving, make sure to buy a plan from an insurer like Bubblegum that covers adventurous activities. Not all insurers do.
- A note on pre-existing medical conditions. It is important to note that pre-existing medical conditions (such as diabetes or a heart condition) are NOT covered by most travel insurers.
Common mistakes when buying travel insurance
Conversely, here are some travel insurance no-nos to avoid…
- Leaving it until the last minute. There are people who buy travel insurance while waiting to board their flights out at the airport. Don’t be one of them! Sort out your insurance right after you’ve booked your flights to enjoy maximum coverage.
- Buying the first travel insurance plan you see. Not all travel insurance plans are created equal. Check out at least a couple of insurers before you buy.
- Missing out on important coverage. Forgetting to get covered during your flight dates or not checking that your outdoor activities are covered could wind up being an expensive mistake. It’s worth taking a few minutes to check these things.
- Skipping travel insurance entirely. Considering a plan costs as little as $4/day (for an individual 7-day trip within Asia) yet offers so much peace of mind, it’s hard to imagine why you would skip it!
How it works if you need to make a travel insurance claim
Before you travel, do take the time to understand your travel insurance claim processes to avoid a last-minute scramble for information.
Most insurers run a 24-hour emergency hotline: you’ll want to jot this down or save it to your phone before you go.
For straightforward matters such as luggage or flight delays, many insurers offer an online claims portal. In the case of Bubblegum travel insurance, you can submit a claim directly with Starr’s eClaims Service, the underwriter of the insurance policy.
While going through your policy details, do take note of any deadlines. For example, in order to claim any local medical expenses you’ll usually need to see a doctor within 48 hours of returning to Singapore. And most insurers require you to submit claims within 30 days of the incident.
Now you’re armed with all the essential information you need about travel insurance in 2023. Bon voyage!