As 2016 draws to a close, many of us will be ending the year with a nice vacation for some well-deserved R&R before we get back into the grind.
And just like many Singaporeans, we wait till the very start of our overseas travel plans, sometimes even as late as on the way to the airport, to buy our travel insurance policy. After all, why bother comparing travel insurance, right? Get the cheapest, since all travel insurance policies are the same, right?
Travel insurance policies are very different, not just in cost, but also in the level of coverage you enjoy. And you’ll need to know exactly what your travel insurance policy covers and for how much before you can say if it’s worth paying for. Or, you can let us tell you what we think the three best bang for buck travel insurance policies in Singapore are today.
But first, let’s look at what coverage we’ll be comparing and why
There’s a lot to consider in a travel insurance policy, but not all the elements are equally important. Some comparison pages like to focus on emergency medical evacuation, for example. While that is very important, especially if you travel to more remote areas, most policies provide at least $500,000 in coverage, which is often more than sufficient in most cases. Calculating a coverage score that includes emergency medical evacuation may end up skewing your results.
When you choose a travel insurance policy, you’ll want to look at the coverage for situations that are more likely to happen to you overseas. You’ll want to consider:
Medical coverage: overseas medical expenses and post-trip medical expenses
Travel inconveniences: trip delays and trip cancellations
Loss or damage to personal belongings
Here are the 3 best basic travel insurance policies
We looked at some of the cheapest policies available for an 8-day trip to Asia – our criteria involved looking at the maximum coverage possible for the 3 points mentioned earlier. Medical coverage had to be at least $200,000, while trip cancellation coverage had to be at least $6,000.
What’s immediately clear is that the travel insurance industry is very competitive – these 3 policies are very similar in coverage and cost. Here’s how they differ:
FWD has the cheapest policy – $10 less than the next option – with its FWD Premium package but also the lowest coverage among the three. But that doesn’t mean that you should ignore it – for the average traveller, this level of coverage is more than enough.
For example, if you’re only heading to Thailand for a relaxing spa trip, chances are you won’t be bringing more too many expensive items, so $3,000 for loss or damage of personal belongings is more than sufficient. And if you’re not planning any high-risk activities during your trip, then you’d probably not need too much medical coverage either. However, in comparison to the other two options, the coverage for travel delays is low.
Allianz Global Assistance Travel Insurance Bronze
If you’re willing to spend a little bit more, the Allianz Global Assistance Travel Insurance Bronze can match and exceed FWD Premium’s coverage in the areas mentioned above, offering some of the most competitive and value for money coverage in the market today.
However, the policy does not cover specific incidents like credit card fraud and skiing-related injury, so do take note of that before you buy the policy.
AXA Direct SmartTraveller Essential
This is the most expensive of the three plans featured, which may make you question if it’s worth every cent. However, AXA’s Direct SmartTraveller Essential policy has some unique selling points, including covering you for the financial collapse of your travel agency. While this is something that is common with more expensive policies, AXA’s is one of the cheaper ones that covers travel agency insolvency.
Obviously, while this would not be a concern for many Singaporean travellers who tend to book their travel online, it may be suitable for those who have bought travel packages to pay just a bit more to protect themselves from losing their deposits.
Don’t wait till you’re at the airport before buying travel insurance
If you think you can wait till your plane is on the runway before buying your policy, you’re an optimist. With flight delays and flight cancellations always a possibility, you may not even get to board before you need to make a claim.
Ultimately, you should never wait till the last minute to compare the available travel insurance policies. Buying in a rush could result in you either spending too much or not getting enough coverage, especially for certain aspects of your trip. Take the time to do a comprehensive comparison of the price and coverage of the travel insurance policies available in the market before you decide which to buy.
This article was originally published in Moneysmart.