Omicron? More like Omigod my travel plans have been cancelled!
It’s the worst thing that could happen to wing-clipped Singaporeans looking for flights for some much needed travel nourishment. However, the first and most important thing to buy for your travels is travel insurance.
Just in case…. you test positive for Covid-19 while overseas.
Here’s what to do if you get Covid-19 whilst travelling!
1. What is Covid-19?
The World Health Organisation officially declared the 2019-nCoV outbreak as a public health emergency.
The Covid-19 outbreak has since been considered a “known event” in travel insurance terms. What does that mean?
You may (or may not) be covered for Covid-19 by your travel insurance plan, depending on when you bought your policy (before Covid-19 was announced as a known event, or after it was a known event).
If it was before it was considered “known” around 20 to 23 Jan 2020, then you may be covered.
If not, you won’t be able to make any related claims. This seems reasonable, and is to prevent fraud (i.e. people planning and cancelling trips despite knowing the risks of the outbreak).
This is why we always recommend purchasing travel insurance as soon as you book your flights. You never know when something like this may happen — it may be the next day, week, or month.
2. Buy travel insurance (with Covid-19 coverage) early
Buy your travel insurance early. Seriously. Even before you get your flight tickets or accommodations.
The reason why this is so important is because:
- You can claim for trip cancellations or postponements before your trip
- You can claim for medical expenses relating to Covid-19 and/or quarantine allowance during your trip
- You get coverage for medical expenses relating to Covid-19 up to 14 days after your trip from some insurers
We’ve done a comparison of all the best Covid travel insurance. How much does travel insurance with Covid-19 coverage cost? On average, it costs $120 to $400+ for a 15-day trip to Canada.
- Overseas Medical Expenses
- Travel Cancelation / Postponement
- Loss/Damage of Personal Baggage
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3. I got Covid-19 before my flight
Nearly all the travel insurance providers have some sort of clause that reads verbatim:
“You must provide documentary proof that you had first attempted to obtain a refund of any prepaid expenses from your transport or accommodation provider, and had been denied your request for a refund.”
What does that mean?
In layman terms, it means that your insurance company will likely reimburse your trip cancellation or trip postponement as a “last-resort”.
This means that you will need to TRY to get a refund from the airline, accommodation etc first.
If your airline, accommodation refuse to refund (any amount) you, your insurance company will then step in to cover your losses. Even so, you won’t be able to claim the full amount because there are limits as to how much you can claim from your insurer.
In addition, you will also need to produce a positive PCR test result to your insurer to prove that your trip has been cancelled because of Covid-19.
- You need to gather all necessary emails to show your insurance company that you have been denied any refund from your airline or accommodation provider
- Original booking receipts
- Positive Covid-19 PCR test result
- Fill up claim forms: Trip cancellation, postponement claim forms
4. Claim for Trip Cancellation, Trip Postponement
Remember we mentioned earlier that you won’t be able to claim the full airline fares and hotel bookings from your travel insurance? Most travel insurance plans have claim limits for trip cancellations and postponement.
Here are the trip cancellation and trip postponement (due to Covid-19) claim limits for the most popular travel insurance plans currently:
|Travel Insurance||Covid Trip Cancellation||Covid Trip Postponement|
|FWD Travel Insurance||$5,000||$5,000|
|NTUC Travel Insurance||$2,000||$2,000|
|AIG Travel Insurance||$2,500 – $5,000||$0 – $1,000|
|AXA Travel Insurance||$1,000 – $2,000||$500 – $1,000|
|MSIG Travel Insurance||$3,000 – $5,000||$500 – $1,500|
|Singlife with Aviva Travel Insurance||$500 – $2,000||$500 – $2,000|
|DBS Chubb Travel Insurance||$2,500 – $7,500||$2,500 – $7,500|
|Great Eastern Travel Insurance||$3,000 – $5,000||$1,000 – $2,000|
|Sompo Travel Insurance||$2,000 – $6,000||$2,000 – $6,000|
|AIA Travel Insurance||$1,500 – $4,000||$1,500 – $4,000|
|Etiqa Travel Insurance||$5,000 – $15,000||$1,000 – $3,000|
|Citibank Travel Insurance||$0||$0|
|Tokio Marine Travel Insurance||$5,000 – $10,000||$5,000 – $10,000|
|UOB Travel Insurance||$1,500 – $5,000||$1,500 – $5,000|
|OCBC Travel Insurance||$3,000 – $5,000||$1,500 – $2,500|
|AMEX Travel Insurance||$2,500 – $10,000||–|
If you’re prone to getting Covid (have you gotten Covid twice or thrice so far?), you might want to consider a travel insurance plan with higher trip cancellation or trip postponement claim limits.
How much is good? Depends on how much your total airfare and hotel bookings cost. Just make sure the pre-paid bookings are well covered, and you’re good to go.
5. I got Covid-19 while travelling overseas
This is seriously the worst thing that could happen during your trip. You’ll likely be transported from your hotel to another hotel for quarantine, or to the local hospital for treatment.
That means you’re stuck in that country until your PCR test results are negative. For some people, this might take two weeks, or for others, it might take months.
When can I continue with my travels? It largely depends on how long you need to quarantine, based on the Covid-19 regulations of the country you’re in.
If you tested positive for Covid-19 while travelling, do these immediately:
- Call your insurance company’s overseas emergency hotline immediately
- See a doctor in your holiday country to determine whether you need to be hospitalised or quarantined
- You must document everything so you can submit to your insurance company for claims:
– Your positive PCR test result
– Your doctor’s memo stating that you have caught Covid-19 and the appropriate treatment plan (i.e. hospitalisation or quarantine)
– Your fully vaccinated status and verified with Notarise
– Your flight itinerary or boarding pass
– Your medical report or inpatient discharge summary
– Your original medical bills
- Fill in your insurance claims form and submit it
6. I tested Covid-19 positive after my holiday, back in Singapore
If you’ve just landed in Singapore and got a positive PCR test result from the on-arrival test at the airport, you should first check if the travel insurance you bought covers you for Covid-19 after your trip.
For example, FWD’s travel insurance continues to cover you for Covid-19 for 14 days post-trip, and their coverage extends to medical expenses and hospital cash while in Singapore.
- Med. Coverage (Overseas)
- Trip Cancellation
- Loss/Damage of Baggage
- Total PremiumTotal Premium
7. Covid-19 travel insurance claims denied
If, after painstakingly waiting a month or more for your Covid-19 travel insurance claims to be processed and it gets denied, you should appeal.
Your insurance company is required to tell you the reason why your travel insurance claims were denied, as well as the grounds for their decision. Once you have received the reason and the grounds for their decision, you can request for a claims appeal.
That being said, this may not have a 100% success rate, and every claim has differing details or criteria that determines its success. Be sure to know the exact details of the ordeal when you got Covid-19 and make sure to document everything and get it verified!
Travel insurance isn’t just about Covid-19, it could be other things like travel disruption, loss of baggage and other things.
Find out how to go about with this general travel insurance claims guide.
There’s always risks when you go travelling, and travel insurance is one of the best ways to mitigate that risk. It may not give you complete peace of mind, but at least as a traveller, this is one of the major steps you can take to cover yourself. Covid-19 is here to stay, and this is just another thing that we have to navigate on top of our travels.
Know of anyone who’s afraid to travel because of Covid-19? Share this article with them!