You’ve been planning this trip for weeks. You have your flight tickets, your hotel is booked, and you have a list of all the Instagram-worthy spots you need to hit. Travel insurance? It’s not even on your travel checklist.

After all, nothing major usually happens when you travel, right? Wrong. The best travel insurance plans cover many travel inconveniences, both minor and major.

There’s coverage for the unfortunate, but common situations like flight delays and lost luggage, as well as serious incidents that require medical treatment while overseas – even medical repatriation.

Despite such wide coverage, the best travel insurance premiums are more affordable than you realise. There are many travel insurance providers in Singapore, which keeps premiums competitive.

A traveller using his mobile phone at Changi Airport

You can always buy travel insurance online, but best to buy it before you’re at the airport!

1. What does travel insurance cover?

The best travel insurance policies should cover you across several travel inconveniences, both major and minor. Here are the types of coverage you should pay attention to:

·       Medical treatment / Medical evacuation / Medical repatriation

·       Accidental death and permanent disability

·       Delayed / Lost luggage (including due to theft and robbery)

·       Delayed / Cancelled flights

·       Travel Agency insolvency

2. How much travel insurance coverage is enough?

There are different tiers of travel insurance coverage – but it’s not always worth paying the highest premiums depending on your travel needs. So, only pay for the coverage you need.

For example, if you’re bringing any valuables like laptops, diamond rings, and luxury watches, don’t scrimp on your travel insurance premiums — ensure these items get covered. Some plans have specific clauses for certain valuables, other plans don’t cover them at all, so be sure to check the fine print.

A couple playing golf

Bringing expensive sporting equipment overseas? Make sure your travel insurance policy covers it.

If you’re carrying sporting equipment like golf clubs, do note it may not be covered under a general policy — double-check your policy coverage before purchase.

On the other hand, if you’re not travelling with any valuables or planning to buy any on your trip, then feel free to go with a travel insurance policy that charges you less for lower coverage.

3. What kind of coverage is most important?

The most common travel inconveniences are lost and delayed baggage, so make sure your policy covers you well. For lost baggage, the minimum coverage should be about $500 per lost item and up to $3,000 in total. For delayed baggage, being compensated $100 every six hours of delay is the norm.

In case of flight delays and trip cancellation, make sure the policy covers all your expenses. For example, if you’ve already paid $3,000 upfront for your flight, accommodation and Disneyland tickets, your insurance policy should cover the full amount if you’re unable to go. This is why it is recommended to buy travel insurance as early as possible – you’ll never know when your plans may change suddenly.

Two adults treating a child’s injury at a park

You can travel with peace of mind knowing that your travel insurance covers your medical costs.

Select policies that provide coverage of at least $200,000 for medical treatment and unlimited coverage for emergency medical evacuation and repatriation. This amount is an industry standard for basic medical coverage.

4. What should you look out for when buying travel insurance?

The best travel insurance isn’t always the cheapest. Cheap travel insurance often has lower coverage and fine print that makes it harder for you to make claims.

Pro-Tip 1: Be on the lookout for travel insurance discounts which give you value-for-money coverage.

Check out online reviews before buying and take note of comments regarding the insurance company’s claims process. Don’t buy a policy that is cheap and has high coverage from an insurer that’s known for their long and tedious claims process, or for rejecting claims outright.

Also, compare premiums before you buy travel insurance. Websites like MoneySmart and GoBear allow you to compare prices and coverage across several insurance providers.

Pro-Tip 2: Consider HyfeAssure, a travel insurance product offered by Changi Recommends that gives you the convenience of making instant claims of up to $200* at any of Changi Recommends’ counters. You can settle your claims for medical expenses, baggage damage or delay, travel delays and misconnections easily just by providing the necessary documents.

*Terms and conditions apply.

HyfeAssure promotion for readers of Now Boarding

Buy now from HyfeAssure by Changi Recommends.

Other things to know about travel insurance

·       Some credit cards offer you free travel insurance when you book your trip using the card. However, such plans often do not provide sufficient coverage – for instance, they may only cover incidents that happen on the plane. Always check the fine print and buy additional travel insurance to ensure you’re fully covered.

·       The further you travel, the more you need to pay for travel insurance. Some providers have different price tiers depending on region, i.e. ASEAN, Asia, Global, but you are charged based on your furthest destination. For example, if you travel to Thailand, in the “ASEAN” tier, and Taiwan, in the “Asia” tier, in the same trip, you will need to pay the higher “Asia” price.

·       Travelling with children? See if you qualify for family travel insurance plans – premiums are cheaper compared to buying as individuals. You don’t even have to be married to be considered a family!

·       Deciding whether to get medical treatment overseas is tricky – emergency situations that require immediate attention will be clearly claimable. But minor illnesses, like colds, can be challenging. You may not be able to make a claim if the insurer’s doctor decides that you could’ve waited to return to Singapore for treatment.