The first travel bubble has already been launched in Singapore, albeit delayed and more will presumably follow.
At the moment, foreigners entering Singapore via safe travel lanes have to bear the full costs of medical treatment, tests and isolation, if they are suspected to have contracted COVID-19.
Insurers are stepping up their game. AIG Asia Pacific Insurance, Chubb Insurance Singapore and HL Assurance will have plans that will provide at least coverage worth $30,000 that covers treatment costs for COVID-19 incurred while visitors are here. The plans will go on sale from Nov 27, with premiums starting from $5.35.
But what about Singaporeans who are going abroad?
SIA will offer COVID-19 coverage travel insurance as an add-on
From November 22, SIA and Cathay Pacific will start operating flights to and from Hong Kong, from Singapore.
But there’s an added incentive to fly with SIA, either from Singapore or Hong Kong, as it offers optional travel insurance with COVID-19 coverage. For return flight departure from Singapore it covers:
up to S$350,000 for medical costs, and emergency medical evacuation and repatriation expenses incurred as a result of contracting COVID-19 during the trip, if the insured is diagnosed while overseas;
travel cancellation up to 60 days before departure for non-refundable travel and accommodation expenses if the insured or relative contracts COVID-19 before the departure date; and
travel curtailment for non-refundable trip costs and additional travel expenses to return to the insured's country of residence if the insured or relative contracts COVID-19 while travelling internationally.
For one-way flights, coverage is limited to Travel Cancellation & Postponement.
SIA is not the first to offer travel insurance with COVID-19 coverage.
AXA Scootsurance offers COVID-19 coverage
AXA’s Scootsurance travel insurance covers the below for round trips, for passengers departing Singapore:
Medical expenses while overseas due to a pandemic illness, up to $10,000
Overseas hospitalisation allowance due to a pandemic illness at $50 per day, up to $1,000
Overseas quarantine allowance due to a pandemic illness at $100 per day, up to $1,000.
Emergency medical evacuation and repatriation due to a pandemic
Repatriation of mortal remains back to Singapore due to a pandemic
Trip cancellation due to a pandemic ($800, with $100 excess)
Trip curtailment/rearrangement due to a pandemic ($800, with $100 excess)
For one-way trips, the only COVID-19 related coverage is trip cancellation due to a pandemic, which is $800, with an excess of $100.
The coverage mentioned above is specific to claims connected to a pandemic, the plan also provides the usual travel insurance coverage for claims not connected to a pandemic.
AXA is currently looking to extend this coverage to all travellers, regardless of airline.
Should you buy travel insurance if there is no COVID-19 coverage?
Contracting COVID-19 and suffering from health complications, or having to pay exorbitant medical fees to be isolated and medically treated due to the disease may be the biggest risk for travellers now.
| See more: How to travel safer in 2020 |
However, currently, with the exception of the above plans, travel insurance usually does not cover COVID-19 and you may not have access to the above plans. Certain insurer providers are considering to include COVID-19 coverage in their travel insurance policies in the near future, but there is no certainty yet.
But should you buy travel insurance even if there is no COVID-19 coverage? Yes.
This is because COVID-19 isn't the only risk when you are in a foreign land.
Just think. Before COVID-19 came along, why did people buy travel insurance? Travel insurance provides compensation for scenarios such as trip cancellation, trip curtailment, travel delay, loss of baggage and even acts of terrorism.
Even if you don't contract COVID-19 when overseas, you may be faced with one of these scenarios. Or, you may get injured, or have your belongings stolen. Travel insurance provides peace of mind if you face such situations.
Travellers should still consider purchasing a travel insurance plan if you don't have the option of purchasing COVID-19 coverage.
If flying with scoot or Singapore Airlines, you should consider the optional travel insurance offered (by AXA and AIG respectively) as it provides the usual travel insurance coverage on top of specific COVID-19 coverage.
Search for the best travel insurance plan for you at GoBear's travel insurance portal.
Disclaimer: The information in this article is accurate as of 23 Nov 2020 unless otherwise stated. Whilst we endeavour to keep the information accurate and updated, GoBear makes no representation or warranties for the accuracy of the information in this article or content of any websites which may be linked.
The information in this article is based off publicly-available information on insurer websites, GoBear makes no representation or warranties for the availability of the mentioned products and options – not all products and options may be available to the public or segment thereof at any point of time.
This article is for informational and promotional purposes only; it does not constitute advice or recommendation and does not take into account your own individual circumstances. The information in this article may not be updated and you should always refer to the relevant Policy Wording and insurer for the full terms and conditions. In the event of any inconsistency, the Policy Wording and/or information from the insurer shall prevail.