About Travel Insurance

Benefits, Scope and Exclusions

Frequently Asked Questions

A) What are the usual main benefits found in most travel insurance?

There is a wide range of benefits offered under travel insurance. These can also vary among insurance companies and by plans in terms of limits / excess, definition and insured perils. Most comprehensive travel insurance would offer main benefits such as Personal Accident, Medical Expenses (overseas and in Singapore), Trip Cancellation and Curtailment, Travel Delay and Emergency Medical Evacuation.

These main benefits are explained briefly below:
i) Personal Accident covers accidental injuries which result in death or permanent total disablement.
ii) Medical Expenses reimburse the cost of medical treatments (inpatient and outpatient) while you are overseas and follow-up treatments when you return to Singapore.
iii) Trip Cancellation and Curtailment (i.e. situations defined as per policy that result in you having to abandon or change your original travel plans) will reimburse you on the non- refundable and irrecoverable portions of prepaid travel expenses, subject to the insured perils of each insurance company.
iv) Travel Delay will pay a cash benefit usually in every block of X hours of delay in the departure of the scheduled public conveyance, subject to the insured perils as defined in the policy wording (e.g. the insurer will pay $100 for every 6 hours of delay).
v) Emergency Medical Evacuation will reimburse the cost of transportation incurred while overseas as a result of serious injury / sickness. It is usually a requirement in the policy that the insured contact the company named by the insurer for assistance, e.g. International SOS or Mondial Assistance.
vi) Loss or Theft of Personal Possessions will reimburse you for the loss of your possessions such as baggage, travel documents and money.

Note: Do note that benefits and scope of coverage might be limited to certain conditions or situations. For instance, the insurer might cover a claim for loss of baggage / personal belonging only if the loss was due to theft or burglary. Hence, it is important to read the policy wording which lays out the benefits, scope, limitations and exclusions of the insurance policy to ensure that the purchased policy meets your needs.

B) What are the main exclusions found in most travel insurance?

Like other insurance products, travel insurance excludes specific risks to mitigate moral hazard and adverse selection, and to lower the price of insurance given the lower level of risks it assumes with the exclusions. Moral hazard refers to the situation where coverage against a loss might increase the risk-taking behaviour of the insured person, since the insured party no longer bears the full costs of that behaviour. Adverse selection refers to the adverse impact borne by insurers when they insure risks that have a higher probability of loss than that contemplated by the applicable insurance premium. For instance, a person travelling to a war zone will want to buy more travel insurance and / or life insurance.

Set out below is a non-exhaustive list of conditions or events that are commonly excluded under travel insurance policies. This means that the insurer will not cover travel claims for loss or liability directly or indirectly caused by or arising from these events:
i) Self-inflicted injuries
ii) Pre-existing conditions
iii) Engaging in hazardous / military / sports activities
iv) Mental or nervous disorders
v) Natural disasters
vi) Radioactivity from nuclear materials
vii) War and civil commotion
viii) Travel to specific countries
Note: Before buying travel insurance, you should always read the general exclusions section in the policy wordings to understand the type of situations that will not be covered.

C) Who can advise me on the different types of benefits that best fit my needs?

There are various channels you can go through to purchase a travel insurance policy. Some people buy the insurance cover with their tour packages through the tour agency, while others may take up the policy through their insurance advisor or buy it directly online / via call centre / mobile applications from the insurer. If the policy is bought through an intermediary, you can request for an explanation on the policy coverage and seek clarification when in doubt. For direct purchases, the insurer typically provides details of the policy coverage for the consumer to read through and understand before he / she signs up. When in doubt, you can call up the insurer for clarification.

The product summaries and policy wordings for the various travel insurance policies are readily available in the respective insurer’s websites. You should obtain product summaries and policy wordings of a few travel insurance policies to compare and understand the premiums, coverages, limitations and exclusions before purchasing the one best suited to your needs.