The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the world and has changed the way we think about travel and insurance. If you are considering purchasing COVID-19 insurance, it is important to carefully consider your options and make an informed decision. However, there are several mistakes that people often make when selecting COVID-19 insurance, which can leave them underinsured or with denied claims. In this article, we will discuss four mistakes to avoid when selecting travel insurance with COVID-19 coverage, including not understanding the specific coverage offered by your policy or reviewing the full list of exclusions. By avoiding these mistakes, you can ensure that you have the best possible coverage and protection in the event that you contract COVID-19.
Sidestep these common pitfalls when getting COVID-19 coverage
1. Not taking travel insurance
It goes without saying, but completely opting out of travel insurance and just wishing for the best is not the wisest idea. If you contract COVID-19 and need medical care, have to be hospitalised, or if your condition destabilises to the point that you would need to have an emergency evacuation, it can mean hefty bills. You might have to reach into your savings or borrow from family or friends. To avoid these scenarios and to protect yourself and your loved ones as you travel, review the travel insurance policies available and select the one that offers comprehensive coverage and also fulfils your specific needs.
2. Not reviewing the list of exclusions
Another common mistake travellers make is assuming they are covered for COVID-19-related emergencies with a standard travel insurance policy. While several insurance companies offer COVID-19 coverage along with other terms such as loss of baggage or flight delays, there are those that need you to buy riders or add-ons. It’s important that you read the terms and conditions of the policy you are taking on to ensure you’re properly protected.
3. Going for the policy with the lowest premiums
The costs of travel insurance premiums range from S$25 to S$200 per week. It might be tempting to select travel insurance with the lowest premiums, but in the event that you contract COVID-19 and have to cancel your trip or postpone your flights, it’s likely that the cheapest plan will not offer adequate financial coverage. Lower-tier travel plans might cover loss of baggage but not medical treatment, or they might have a low total coverage limit. In addition, these plans may not come with 24/7 customer service or fast claiming processes. At a time when prompt responses are critical, taking on a higher-tier plan can ensure you get the help and treatment you need when you need it.
4. Not reviewing your coverage limits
One of the major mistakes individuals make when selecting travel insurance is not taking the time to look at the coverage limits of each aspect of their policy. For example, a policy might refund you S$2,000 in the case of trip cancellations due to COVID-19, but if your flight costs are S$2,000 and your hotel costs are S$2,000, the total amount of your pre-departure costs are double that of what your policy covers you for. That could mean paying the remaining costs out-of-pocket and losing thousands of dollars. There are two major coverage terms you should check the limits of when buying insurance plans:
- Travel disruption: This includes pre-departure trip cancellation, which usually ranges from a lower limit of S$1,000 to an upper limit of S$20,000. Depending on your destination and your initial spending on flights and hotels, choose a travel policy that will sufficiently compensate you if you have to cancel your trip.
- Emergency medical coverage: This includes any medical expenses incurred overseas, costs of treatments required back home in Singapore and daily income if you are hospitalised.
If you’re going for a particularly expensive holiday, travelling to multiple cities over a few weeks or months, taking on a Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) might be worth considering. CFAR reimburses you for a portion of your trip costs, no matter the reason for your cancellations.
What should you look out for when selecting insurance plans?
When selecting a travel insurance policy, it’s in your best interests to select a plan with affordable premiums while still receiving comprehensive and quality coverage. Take into consideration your travel destination, itinerary, activities and the people travelling with you. Whether you’re going on a business trip, a short beach getaway or a two-week-long holiday to the Balkans, taking the time to assess the different plans in the market can put you in a strong position when you travel. Prioritise insurance agencies that come with fast and efficient handling of claims and an experienced team that is on hand 24 hours to provide overseas assistance no matter where you are and what time zone you’re in.
Select your COVID-19 travel insurance policy carefully
Travel insurance can provide valuable protection in the event that you contract COVID-19 while travelling, covering medical expenses, trip cancellations and interruptions, and other related costs. However, it is important to carefully read the fine print and understand the specific coverage offered by your policy, as not all travel insurance plans offer the same level of protection for COVID-19-related issues. It is also advisable to purchase travel insurance as soon as you book your trip, as some policies may not cover COVID-19 if it was already a known risk at the time of purchase. By considering travel insurance and understanding the potential risks and limitations, you can have peace of mind and financial protection while travelling during the COVID-19 pandemic.