Travel Insurance

Cheapest Travel Insurance in Singapore – Is It Worth Buying?

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Clara Lim

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When I buy travel insurance, I don’t really care whether the insurer has 900 years of experience or if the plan comes with extra coverage for Chanel bags. Just give me the cheapest travel insurance plan can liao!

After assessing most of the popular travel insurers in Singapore, the honour of cheapest travel insurance in Singapore goes to… Budget Direct. Unlike other insurers that slash their prices up to 50% off with aggressive promotions, Budget Direct travel insurance is really super cheap even at full price.

But as the old saying goes, you get what you pay for. Will you regret being a cheapskate? All will be revealed.

 

Tell me more about the cheapest travel insurance in Singapore

Budget Direct travel insurance is about as unfancy as it gets. Props to them for not coming up with a puke-inducing atas name like “Jetset Elite Premier Protection Plan”.

There are only two insurance plans to choose from: Basic or Comprehensive. Here’s a handy guide to how they compare:

Travel insurance plan Budget Direct Basic Budget Direct Comprehensive
Price for 1 week (ASEAN) $24.26 $36.03
Price for 1 week (Asia) $30.33 $45.07
Price for 1 week (worldwide) $42.14 $62.62
Promotion 20% off until 30 Sep 2018
Medical expenses (overseas) $50,000 $250,000
Emergency medical evacuation $50,000 $500,000
Personal accident (death & TPD) $50,000 $250,000
Travel delay ($100 every 6 hours) None $1,000
Trip cancellation None $10,000
Baggage delay ($200 every 6 hours) $400 (overseas)

$200 (Singapore)

$1,000 (overseas)

$1,000 (Singapore)

Baggage loss/damage $500 $5,000
Adventure activities covered? Limited Limited

 

How much does the cheapest travel insurance in Singapore cost?

Yup, brand name checks out. Price-wise, Budget Direct Basic plan is definitely one of the most “budget” travel insurance options around.

As if the super-cheap listed prices weren’t enough, there’s even a Budget Direct promotion so you get an extra 20% off the listed price.

After discount, a week’s coverage in ASEAN (basic plan) would set you back about $19.40. That’s even lower than the usual $20 to $25, which is considered cheap already. For reference, NTUC travel insurance starts at about $25 for the same period and region.

If you’re thinking of upgrading to Budget Direct Comprehensive because you’re worth it, it’ll cost $28.82 after discount, which isn’t too bad either.

 

What’s the coverage like for Budget Direct travel insurance?

Once you start comparing the coverage limits, you’ll realise why Budget Direct plans are cheap.

Let’s look at the cheaper Basic plan first. Notice that it only covers the bare minimum, i.e. emergencies. It doesn’t have benefits for travel delays or trip cancellations – so if your travel agent flakes on you or your flight is delayed and you’re stranded, you’re on your own, buddy.

Even if you’re OK with that, you should note that the claim limits are absurdly low. For example, overseas medical expenses are capped at $50,000 – much lower than the usual $200,000 to $500,000 limit.

Worse, emergency evacuation is capped at $50,000 too. I’m not sure that’s enough to pay for an air ambulance, to be honest. With many other travel insurance plans, you’d be looking at $500,000 or even $1mil and up for this benefit.

Personally, I think it’s a bad gamble. If nothing happens to you, you would have saved a few bucks – but if you do fall majorly ill or get in an accident, then that’s a lot of money you might have to fork out in cash. Not worth it, I think.

Now that Comprehensive plan is looking a whole lot more attractive, isn’t it? Even so, note that their benefits are still slightly on the low side compared to the cheapest plans of other insurers.

 

Does Budget Direct cover adventure activities?

Coverage for outdoor activities is rather limited. Budget Direct covers regular leisure activities like scuba diving, hikes, skiing and snowboarding, but the wording is kept rather vague.

Here’s what the T&Cs state when it comes to exclusions:

“Extreme sports which involve speed, height, danger, a high level of physical exertion, highly specialised gear or spectacular stunts, whether in a competition or not, and whether in a team or done alone (for example, hunting, caving, potholing, paragliding or parachuting, hang-gliding, skydiving, abseiling, aerobatics, building antenna span and earth (BASE) jumping, cave diving, free flying, ice climbing, wingsuit flying and dragonboating.”

Outdoor activity Covered by Budget Direct?
Hot air balloon Not stated
Scuba diving Yes (up to 30m)
Skiing and other ice/snow sports Yes
Hiking or trekking Yes (up to 4,000m)
Mountaineering or outdoor rock climbing No
Marathons and other competitions Not stated
Jet skiing Not stated
White water rafting Not stated
Skydiving No
Paragliding, hang gliding or parachuting No
Bungee jumping No

Thrill seekers would definitely want to give Budget Direct a miss as they do not cover many adventure activities. Try providers like FWD or Etiqa who offer better coverage on that front.

 

Budget Direct travel insurance claim procedure

By phone: Call Budget Direct’s claims hotline at +65 6221 2199 (Singapore) or +65 6540 2199 (international). Your case will be assigned to a personal claims executive who will follow up with you.

Online claims: Download and complete Budget Direct’s travel insurance claim form, and then email it with supporting documents to [email protected]

Hard copy claims: Print out the form and mail with supporting documents to Budget Direct, 190 Clemenceau Avenue, #03-01 Singapore Shopping Centre, Singapore 239924

Things to note: Claims must be made within 30 days of the event or incident. For more details, refer to Budget Direct’s travel insurance claims guide.

 

Conclusion: Is it worth it to buy cheap travel insurance?

Not always. I hate spending more than absolutely necessary on boring stuff like insurance, so I can definitely see the appeal of buying the cheapest travel insurance you can get your hands on.

But as Budget Direct shows us, sometimes cheap travel insurance can be poor value for money, especially their Basic plan.

Even if you’re very confident that nothing untoward will happen to you, there’s no point shortchanging yourself just to save a couple of bucks. The travel insurance market is so competitive that you can get a much more comprehensive plan for just a couple of dollars more.

Another issue with newcomers like Budget Direct is that they may not have much of a reputation for emergency assistance. There’s no emergency hotline – only a combined hotline for (presumably) claims of varying urgency. That does not sound very assuring.

However, I have never bought Budget Direct travel insurance before, so I might be missing out on some redeeming features. Feel free to share your experiences in the comments.

Looking to buy Budget Direct travel insurance? Compare all Singapore travel insurance policies by price and coverage first.

 

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Clara Lim

I used to be MoneyDumb. I hung out at H&M every day and thought that a $50 lunch set was a good deal. These days, I spend my time researching the crap out of life and trying to maximise utility on micro-decisions. I'm not sure if that's an improvement.