Is Covid-19 travel insurance still mandatory?
A year ago, as countries cautiously reopened their borders once again, many governments made travel insurance with Covid-19 coverage mandatory for visitors.
For example, Singapore once required non-vaccinated visitors to have travel insurance that would cover Covid-related medical treatment and hospitalisation, with minimum coverage of at least S$30,000.
But as of 13 Feb 2023, this requirement has been waived. Most countries around the world have done the same, although many still require travellers to either be fully vaccinated or complete a pre-arrival test.
To sum it up, if you are vaccinated, Covid-19 travel insurance is no longer mandatory for most countries. However, check your destination’s government website just in case.
Do all travel insurance plans cover Covid-19?
Most travel insurance policies cover Covid-19 these days, but not all do. When comparing travel insurance, it makes complete sense to buy a plan that explicitly covers Covid-19 rather than one that doesn’t.
Since Covid has not been eradicated, there’s a real possibility of catching the dreaded bug overseas, especially when one’s immunity is low from travel fatigue or a harsh climate.
If you do fall sick overseas, you’ll be glad to have bought a plan that covers Covid so you can seek medical treatment and recover safely without worrying about its financial impact.
However, if your plan does not explicitly cover Covid, your claim may not be successful. This is because some insurers view the coronavirus as a “known event” and therefore do not insure against it.
What kind of Covid-19 coverage should you get?
So, we’ve established that it’s safer to get travel insurance with Covid-19 coverage than one without. Next, let’s see what sort of coverage and claim limits travellers should look out for.
Below is a summary of what Bubblegum travel insurance covers in the event that you are diagnosed with Covid [accurate as of 31 Mar 2023]:
Covid-19 Overseas Medical Expenses: $65,000
Covid-19 Medical Expenses in Singapore: $6,500
Covid-19 Related Trip Cancellation: $600
Covid-19 Related Trip Curtailment: $600
Covid-19 medical expenses are the most important aspect to consider. Should you fall seriously ill, you’ll want to seek medical treatment without fear of incurring hefty bills (remember that private medical fees can be quite high in some countries!).
Ensure your plan also covers Covid-19 treatment in Singapore as it’s quite common to fall sick upon returning from a trip. This is limited to the first 48 hours upon touchdown in the case of Bubblegum.
Getting Covid can also spoil your travel plans, be it having to miss a flight because you’re quarantined, or cancelling your trip because you’re really sick. You’ll want coverage for Covid-related trip cancellation or curtailment.
Finally, check if your travel insurance plan gives you access to a 24-hour emergency hotline while you’re overseas. While not strictly a financial benefit, this travel assistance service may prove invaluable in helping you deal with Covid-related contingencies in an unfamiliar place.
Travel insurance tips for the post-Covid era
Although the world has gone from “pandemic” to “endemic”, it’s still strongly recommended that travellers buy Covid-19 travel insurance. Below are a few tips to make your journeys smoother in 2023.
- Don’t skip travel insurance! Although insurance coverage is no longer mandatory in most countries, it’s a really bad idea to skip travel insurance entirely. Anything can happen abroad! The Australian government goes so far as to say: “If you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. This applies to everyone, no matter how healthy and fit you are.” We couldn’t agree more.
- Buy early. It’s best to buy travel insurance immediately after you’ve confirmed your trip dates and have booked flights. This would ensure you are covered if any Covid-related issues crop up before your trip. There is no penalty or extra charge for buying insurance early, so you’re essentially getting “free” coverage.
- Check if your destination is covered for Covid. Travel insurance coverage is not uniform across the board, so it’s definitely worthwhile to check if your travel destination is covered for Covid-19. For instance, some insurers do not cover perceived higher-risk destinations like China.
- Research your destination’s Covid protocols. Although Covid is largely endemic worldwide, that doesn’t mean there are no norms or guidelines to follow. Read up on your destination thoroughly and ensure you meet any vaccination or pre-departure requirements, and know what procedure you must follow if you get infected while overseas.
- Keep emergency information handy. It’s a wise idea to jot down or save the hotline of your insurer so you don’t scramble for their number in a Covid-related emergency.
Buying Covid-19 travel insurance isn’t strictly necessary in 2023, but it offers travellers a whole lot more peace of mind! Starting from just $4/day, Bubblegum’s plans prove travel insurance doesn’t have to be expensive to be good.