Travel Insurance

DBS, OCBC, UOB, Amex, Citibank Travel Insurance Singapore Review 2018

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Clara Lim

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Anyone remember when HMV (RIP) reduced their CD section and started selling peripheral crap like DVDs, t-shirts, books and toys? It should surprise no one that your bank has been selling travel insurance for some time now.

Well, you can’t fault them. Most Singaporeans are lazy to walk more than 100m for lunch, let alone scour the internet for the most comprehensive travel insurance in town – got buy very good already! Buying travel insurance from your bank or credit card issuer is convenient. But do you really know what’s in them?

We’ve rounded up the common travel insurance plans you can get through your bank. Here’s a cheat sheet to the basic plans on offer in Singapore:

 

Bank Travel Insurance Pros and Cons

Travel insurance plan Pros Cons
DBS TravellerShield Plus Classic

Provided by Chubb (3rd party)

Affordable with 50% off promo Doesn’t cover adventure activities
OCBC Explorer Starter

Provided by GE (in-house)

Affordable with 50% off promo More expensive for ASEAN countries

Doesn’t cover adventure activities

Claims are done by snail mail

UOB Insure & Travel Essential

Provided by UOI (in-house)

Super cheap with 50% off promo

Excellent medical coverage

Covers most adventure activities

Claims are done by snail mail

Claims handled by 3rd party

American Express My VoyageGuard Essential

Provided by Chubb (3rd party)

Highest limits for medical expenses

Covers almost all adventure activities

So-so for other benefits

Slightly pricier than the above

Citibank travel insurance

Provided by AXA and AIG (3rd party)

Excellent reputation for emergency assistance

Covers most adventure activities

Expensive

So-so coverage for basic plans (need to upgrade to get good benefits)

 

POSB & DBS travel insurance (provided by Chubb)

POSB and DBS travel insurance is sold under the same brand, TravellerShield Plus. Although DBS’ insurance partner is Manulife, in this case the insurance is handled by Chubb Insurance.

Travel insurance plan DBS TravellerShield Plus Classic DBS TravellerShield Plus Premier DBS TravellerShield Plus Platinum
Price for one week in… ASEAN: $48

Asia: $56.50

Worldwide: $81.50

ASEAN: $61

Asia: $75.50

Worldwide: $100

ASEAN: $83

Asia: $112.50

Worldwide: $140.50

Promotion 40% off for single trip plans until 30 Apr 2018
Medical expenses (overseas) $300,000 $500,000 $1,000,000
Emergency medical evacuation $1,000,000 $1,000,000 $1,000,000
Personal accident (death & TPD) $150,000 $200,000 $500,000
Travel delay ($100 every 6 hours) $1,200 $1,600 $2,000
Trip cancellation $5,000 $10,000 $15,000
Baggage delay ($200 every 6 hours) $1,200 $1,600 $2,000
Baggage loss/damage $3,000 $5,000 $8,000
Adventure activities covered? No Yes Yes

 

DBS travel insurance price comparison

As long as the 40% off promo doesn’t end, DBS travel insurance plans are very affordable.

 

DBS travel insurance coverage comparison

The basic plan has good coverage for sedate trips. But skip DBS if you plan for outdoor activities like scuba diving and skiing. You’ll have to upgrade to Premier to cover those activities, whereas competitors like FWD already cover them in their cheapest plans.

 

DBS travel insurance emergency hotline

Call the Chubb Assistance emergency hotline at +65 6322 2132.

 

How to make DBS travel insurance claims

Submit claims and supporting documents online through Chubb’s online portal, email [email protected] or call Chubb’s customer service hotline at +65 6398 8797 (office hours only).

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OCBC travel insurance (provided by Great Eastern)

OCBC travel insurance is sold under the Explorer Insurance brand, and is provided by Great Eastern (OCBC’s insurance arm).

Travel insurance plan OCBC Explorer Starter OCBC Explorer Essential OCBC Explorer Ultimate
Price for one week in… Asia: $54.10

Worldwide: $80.80

Asia: $74.10

Worldwide: $97.80

Asia: $119.50

Worldwide: $157.90

Promotion 50% off for single trip plans until 30 Jun 2018
Medical expenses (overseas) $300,000 $500,000 $700,000
Emergency medical evacuation $1,000,000 $1,000,000 $1,000,000
Personal accident (death & TPD) $150,000 $300,000 $500,000
Travel delay ($100 every 6 hours) $800 (overseas) $1,600 (overseas) $2,000
Trip cancellation $5,000 $10,000 $15,000
Baggage delay ($200 every 6 hours) $1,000 $1,600 $2,000
Baggage loss/damage $3,000 $5,000 $7,500
Adventure activities covered? No No Yes

 

OCBC travel insurance price comparison

Similar to DBS – only worth it with the 50% promo. Note that there’s no cheaper tier for ASEAN countries, so if you’re travelling around the region, look elsewhere.

 

OCBC travel insurance coverage comparison

Decent… but only if you plan to stay stationary the entire trip. OCBC is very strict with the excluded activities for Starter and Essential plans. To get any kind of coverage for activities like scuba diving, skiing, trekking, etc. you have to upgrade to the most expensive Ultimate plan. No thanks.

 

OCBC travel insurance emergency hotline

Call the OCBC emergency assistance hotline at +65 6339 2155.

 

How to make OCBC travel insurance claims

Easy to buy, not so easy to claim. You have to download and print the GE claim form and mail it with supporting documents to Great Eastern General Insurance Limited, 1 Pickering Street, #01-01 Great Eastern Centre, Singapore 048659 (Attention: Claims Department).

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UOB travel insurance (provided by UOI)

UOB’s travel insurance is called Insure & Travel. It’s provided by UOI (United Overseas Insurance) which is UOB’s insurance arm.

Travel insurance plan UOB Insure & Travel Essential UOB Insure & Travel Preferred
Price for one week in… ASEAN: $32

Asia: $45

Worldwide: $68

ASEAN: $42

Asia: $57

Worldwide: $80

Promotion None
Medical expenses (overseas) $300,000 $500,000
Emergency medical evacuation Unlimited Unlimited
Personal accident (death & TPD) $250,000 $300,000
Travel delay ($100 every 6 hours) $1,000 $1,200
Trip cancellation $10,000 $15,000
Baggage delay ($200 every 6 hours) $1,000 $2,000
Baggage loss/damage $3,000 $5,000
Adventure activities covered? Yes (with some exclusions) Yes (with some exclusions)

 

UOB travel insurance price comparison

Now that the 50% off promotion is over, UOB travel insurance is no longer among the cheapest on the market. Say bye to a week’s coverage in ASEAN for only $16.

UOB travel insurance coverage comparison

Surprisingly, UOB offers excellent medical coverage. UOB covers most leisure outdoor activities such as skiing, scuba diving and hiking with a licensed guide – but NOT rock climbing and activities where you are airborne e.g. skydiving. Travel inconvenience benefits are adequate, and UOB cardholders also get additional fraud protection.

 

UOB travel insurance emergency hotline

Call the UOB emergency assistance hotline at +65 6337 9126.

 

How to make UOB travel insurance claims

Only by mail, unfortunately. You have to download the claim form from UOB’s travel insurance page and mail with supporting documents to United Overseas Insurance Ltd, 3 Anson Road, #28-01 Springleaf Tower, Singapore 079909. Claims are handled by a third party company, Broadspire by Crawford & Company.

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American Express travel insurance (provided by Chubb)

American Express travel insurance is sold under the My VoyageGuard brand, which is actually provided by Chubb Insurance. However, these plans are different from the Chubb-DBS ones.

Travel insurance plan My VoyageGuard Essential My VoyageGuard Standard My VoyageGuard Superior
Price for one week in… ASEAN: $37

Asia: $47

Worldwide: $72

ASEAN: $59

Asia: $64

Worldwide: $88

ASEAN: $74

Asia: $96

Worldwide: $118

Promotion 35% off for single trip plans until 30 Apr 2018
Medical expenses (overseas) $500,000 $1,000,000 $2,000,000
Emergency medical evacuation $500,000 $1,000,000 Unlimited
Personal accident (death & TPD) $125,000 $250,000 $500,000
Travel delay ($100 every 6 hours) $800 $1,200 $2,400
Trip cancellation $5,000 $10,000 $20,000
Baggage delay ($200 every 6 hours) $800 $1,200 $2,400
Baggage loss/damage $3,500 $5,000 $8,500
Adventure activities covered? Yes Yes Yes

 

Amex travel insurance price comparison

With the current 35% off promotion, Amex travel insurance is a bit more expensive than the cheaper brands like NTUC Income, FWD and Aviva.

Amex travel insurance coverage comparison

Excellent for medical expenses – $500,000 is really high for a basic plan – although so-so for most other benefits. Still, that’s impressive given its extreme leniency. Amex is similar to FWD in that there’s nothing in the policy wording about excluding outdoor activities or even extreme sports. Definitely one for adventurous #YOLO types.

 

Amex travel insurance emergency hotline

Emergency hotline: Call the Chubb Assistance emergency hotline at +65 6836 2922.

 

How to make Amex travel insurance claims

Submit claims and supporting documents online through Chubb’s online portal. Alternatively, download the claims form PDF and email with documents to [email protected]. You’ll get an acknowledgement within 3 days.

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Citibank travel insurance (provided by AXA & AIG)

Unlike the other banks covered above, Citibank is merely a broker for travel insurance under two other brands: AIG Travel Guard and AXA Smart Voyage (note that AXA has repackaged its travel insurance as AXA SmartTraveller).

So when you buy from Citibank, there are actually 6 different plans to choose from. For brevity’s sake, I’ve chosen to only compare the two Classic (basic) plans sold on Citibank’s website:

Travel insurance plan AXA Smart Voyage (Classic) AIG Travel Guard (Classic)
Price for one week in… ASEAN: $41

Asia, Australia, NZ: $51

Worldwide: $85

ASEAN (except Thailand): $40

Asia & South America: $55

Japan, Korea, Australia, NZ, rest of the world: $80

Promotion 30% off for single trip plans until 30 Apr 2018 35% off for single trip plans until 30 Apr 2018
Medical expenses (overseas) $250,000 $200,000
Emergency medical evacuation $600,000 $500,000
Personal accident (death & TPD) $200,000 $100,000
Travel delay ($100 every 6 hours) $1,000 $1,000
Trip cancellation $5,000 $5,000
Baggage delay ($200 every 6 hours) $1,200 $1,000
Baggage loss/damage $4,000 $3,000
Adventure activities covered? Yes Yes

 

Citibank travel insurance price comparison

Price: Both on the high side, even after 30-35% off. Also there are big price discrepancies for certain countries because of AIG’s weird zoning system. (AIG is cheap for South America but much more expensive than everyone else for Thailand, Japan, Korea and Australia.)

 

Citibank travel insurance coverage comparison

Coverage: Not impressive on the basic plans, especially AIG. These two premium insurance companies tend to concentrate their benefits on the higher-tier brands. However, some people will still go for AIG and AXA because they are reputed to deliver swift, excellent emergency assistance. Most leisure outdoor activities are covered too.

 

Citibank travel insurance emergency hotline

Emergency hotline: Depending on the plan you bought, either call the AXA emergency hotline at +65 6322 2566 or AIG emergency hotline at +65 6733 2552.

 

How to make Citibank travel insurance claims

How to file Citibank travel insurance claims: Different procedures for AXA and AIG.

For AXA, submit your claim through this online form or print the travel claims form and mail with your documents to AXA Insurance Pte Ltd, 8 Shenton Way #24-01 AXA Tower, Singapore 068811.

For AIG, all the info and forms you need are on the travel insurance claim page. You can submit a claim through the online form or download the hard copy claim form and mail them with your documents to Travel Claims Department, AIG Asia Pacific Insurance Pte Ltd, AIG Building, 78 Shenton Way, #07-19, Singapore 079120.

 

Should you buy travel insurance through your bank?

Banks are offering travel insurance plans are very competitive rates, but you shouldn’t take the plunge without scrutinising the terms & conditions to make sure the plan really covers your trip. (And trust us, banks are very good at hiding T&Cs…)

In terms of coverage alone, UOB’s travel insurance is surprisingly one of the best in Singapore. It’s really good but you might want to wait for the next promotion before buying. DBS is OK for sedate holidays, while Amex is the best choice for nutcases seeking transcendence through near-death experiences.

But it’s a whole different story when it comes to emergency assistance and the claims experience. In that realm, Citibank would be your best bet as both AIG and AXA are reputable. As for the rest, who knows how long your claims will take or what you have to go through to get your payout?

You have to think about what’s important to you. For me it’s probably emergency assistance and efficient customer service. I really, really don’t want to hang around twiddling my thumbs if I get bitten by a snake, or to listen to muzak for 3 hours straight while I’m put on hold (and I don’t want to find out which is worse). So have a think about that before you decide on what travel insurance to get.

 

Have you ever bought travel insurance through your bank? What was it like? Tell us about it in the comments!

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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.