“Annual travel insurance? Isn’t that for frequent flyers, like those investment bankers and C-level executives?” you ask. Actually, I’d argue that it’s something that’s very worthwhile for many regular Singaporeans to buy.
We’re always whining about how we have no time to travel, we’re so burnt out from this rat race, life in Singapore is so boring, blah blah. But the fact is that Singaporeans are an extremely privileged bunch. According to stats, the national travel average is 5.2 times a year.
That makes us one of the most well-travelled nations in the world, side by side with those tall, handsome Scandinavians who are absolutely swimming in money and annual leave days. Well, then Miss Rona happened and turned our lives upside down.
After two years of living in a pandemic, the borders are finally opening up and if you’re packing those luggages for multiple trips in the coming year to finally quench your thirst for wanderlust, buying annual travel insurance will save you money and it’ll also save you the mad scramble of buying insurance online just moments before your plane takes off.
- Best Travel Insurance Plans
- I’m travelling to multiple countries – Buy Annual or Single?
- Is Annual Travel Insurance cheaper than Single Trip?
- Annual Travel Insurance is more convenient
- Does Annual Travel Insurance have higher coverage?
- How to choose Annual Travel Insurance?
1. Best Annual Travel Insurance Plans
“But I’m so busy travelling! Where got time to compare all the different annual travel insurance plans?” you wail.
Luckily for you, I’m paid to do just that. Here are the most affordable annual travel insurance plans that you can. After reviewing some 20 insurance providers in Singapore, I’ve shortlisted the best annual travel insurance plans for the average Singaporean traveller. A point to note: not all of the annual travel insurance plans include Covid-19 benefits.
|Annual Travel Insurance||Worldwide Price /year|
|FWD Travel Insurance||$345.10 – $620.60|
|NTUC Travel Insurance||$811 – $1,209|
|AIG Travel Insurance||$765 – $978|
|AXA Travel Insurance||$619 – $875|
|MSIG Travel Insurance||$366.10 – $617.40|
|Singlife with Aviva Travel Insurance||$303 – $644|
|DBS Chubb Travel Insurance||$576.60 – $1,050|
|Great Eastern Travel Insurance||$480 – $576|
|Etiqa Travel Insurance||$273 – $492|
|Tokio Marine Travel Insurance||$490 – $575|
$414 – $785
2. Travelling to Multiple Countries – Buy Annual or Single Trip?
Regardless of how many countries you visit, it will still be considered a “single trip” as long as you’re leaving Singapore and returning to Singapore only once. When buying travel insurance, you’ll usually be asked to indicate a single country.
Which country should you indicate?
- Select the country where you’ll be staying the longest
- Indicate the furthest country you’ll be visiting
- Find out your insurance company’s country list
- Find out which countries travel insurance doesn’t cover
- Are you going to be travelling regularly?
This makes sense because you’ll want to be covered at least in the country where you’re spending the most time.
If you’re going to be spending a week or more in Japan, for example, but also dropping by Bangkok or Hong Kong for a day to visit friends, you’ll still want to indicate that you’re buying travel insurance for Japan.
But what if you’re going to be spending most of your travel in KL, but making a short trip to Shanghai for a day meeting?
If you’re only going to be spending a day in China, and a month in Malaysia in the same trip, it might make sense at first to buy insurance for the whole month of travel, and indicate Malaysia as your destination country. This reduces your premiums significantly, since indicating China would mean you’d be paying more for coverage you don’t need.
However, if you can afford to spend a bit more, then it would be good to indicate the furthest country you’re visiting. After all, the last thing you want is for you to lose your baggage on that one day you’re in China, and then find out you’re not covered because you decided to save a few dollars.
3. Is Annual Trip Cheaper than Single Trip?
If you’re travelling so often that the pages of your passport looks like the scribblings of a child’s colouring book, it’s a given that buying annual travel insurance is cheaper in the long run.
For a simple comparison, one of the cheapest annual travel insurance plan with worldwide coverage from FWD costs you about $345 a year.
This may seem like a hefty amount at first, but consider this: a single-trip travel insurance plan will cost about $76 a week in the United States too.
That means buying single-trip insurance for 3 or 4 overseas trips in a year can cost you the same as an unlimited number of trips on an annual insurance plan.
Do note that the cost of yearly travel insurance depends mainly on the furthest country you’re planning to visit that year.
Naturally, restricting your coverage to countries in Asia, for example, would be cheaper that having coverage worldwide. This means that if you do have to travel outside Asia, you will need to think about buying a single-trip policy, which will not only add on to your costs, but also means adding on to your concerns before you travel.
4. Annual Travel Insurance is more convenient
Most annual travel insurance plans on the market today are for unlimited trips within a year-long timeframe, as long as each trip does not exceed 90 days.
This means, with an annual travel insurance plan, you can travel at any time without the hassle of finding the cheapest travel insurance each time you plan to leave the country.
5. Does Annual Travel Insurance have higher coverage?
Considering that an annual travel insurance policy covers you globally, you are covered wherever you travel to within this time frame.
However, once you drill down into the specific benefits for each travel inconvenience or emergency, an annual travel insurance technically does NOT provide more coverage than single-trip.
Let’s use NTUC Income’s travel insurance plan as an example. Here are the claim limits for the single and annual plans respectively:
|NTUC Income Travel Insurance||Single Trip||Annual Plan|
|Medical Expenses (Overseas)||$250,000 – $350,000||$500,000 – $1,000,000|
|Emergency Medical Evacuation||(Under medical expenses)||(Under medical expense)|
|Trip Cancellation||$5,000 – $15,000||$10,000 – $15,000|
|Baggage Loss||$3,000 – $8,000||$5,000 – $8,000|
It’s also important to note that you check for Covid-19 coverage before you purchase your annual travel insurance. While most insurance plans now include Covid-19 coverage, there are others that require you to purchase it as an add-on.
6. How To Choose Annual Travel Insurance?
There are a few factors you should consider before you take the plunge. Annual travel insurance is, after all, a year-long commitment and you can’t switch providers midway just because you buay song.
Here are some basics to know before you click “buy”.
Worldwide coverage: Always choose worldwide coverage so you’re not limited to specific regions when you travel. Even if you don’t have anything planned yet, you just never know where 2023 will take you.
Individual vs group plans: Generally annual travel insurance is a personal decision, but do note that some insurance providers give you better rates if you buy as a couple. (You don’t necessarily have to travel together.)
Basic vs upper-tier plan: With travel insurance, you don’t want to be too giam and just stick to the cheapest plan offered by the provider. Instead, consider both basic and mid-tier plans for the best mix of affordability and coverage.
Medical & emergency coverage: You might end up travelling to expensive countries, so make sure to buffer against high healthcare costs. Go for overseas medical expense limits of at least $300,000 if possible, and at least $1 million for emergency evacuation.
Covid-19 coverage: While most single-trip insurance policies have expanded to offer Covid-19 benefits, the same cannot be said for the annual policies. Given that you’re paying for an entire year worth of coverage, do your due diligence in checking if the annual policy offers Covid-19 coverage.
Travel inconvenience coverage: You can get away with lower coverage for travel delays and such with single trip insurance, like if you’re going to Bali where the tourist infrastructure is strong and accommodation is plentiful. But you wouldn’t want to have to sleep at the airport in the US just because you can’t get enough compensation for a travel delay. So, pick only annual travel insurance with good coverage for travel inconvenience.
Adventure activities: Unlike single-trip plans where you can choose a plan that specifically covers such activities, your annual plan needs to cover anything you might end up doing in the course of the year. Even if you’re not very outdoorsy, your colleagues might talk you into learning to dive with them. You never know. So it’s best to be as unrestrictive as possible.
Comfort level: Finally, don’t commit to an annual travel insurance plan unless you’re REALLY comfortable with the policy wording, the claims process and the reputation of the brand (both for rendering emergency assistance and for settling claims).
Still shopping for a travel insurance? Compare all best Covid travel insurance here.