Booking a flight online these days is less about making sure you get what you want than making sure you opt out of what you don’t want.
Whether you’re flying with a budget airline or a high-end airline like our very own Singapore Airlines, the airline will always try to get you to buy their travel insurance.
I’m sure you’ll remember getting bombarded with tons of “Do you want to buy travel insurance” banners upon checkout in pre-Covid days.
It was a very convenient way to buy travel insurance. Yet, airline travel insurance also suffered its fair share of troubles before. Singapore Airlines once caused a scandal when customers complained about being auto-included on their travel insurance, with some not realising that they could opt out.
In a post-Covid world, do airlines still offer travel insurance? Do airline travel insurance give you good coverage? And do they cover Covid-19? Let’s find out:
- Best Airline Travel Insurance
- Trip Disruptions and Cancellations
- Missed Flight Connections
- Overbooked Flights
- Medical Coverage
- Pre-Existing Medical Conditions
- Covid-19 Coverage
1. Best Airline Travel Insurance
How good are these airline travel insurance plans? Should you add travel insurance to your trip after booking?
Most airlines require you to confirm your flight booking before they offer you the option to opt in for their airline travel insurance.
Unlike unconventional travel insurance, there is no fixed price for most airline travel insurance.
Prices are dependent on your health history, personal information, etc. and you get a personalised quotation from the airline.
Some airlines such as Singapore Airlines (SIA), Scoot, and Jetstar offer flat prices:
- Singapore Airlines: From $32 for ASEAN
- Scoot: $44.43 to $92.56
- Jetstar: $39.20
Let’s look at some common airlines in Singapore, and whether they offer airline travel insurance:
|Airline Travel Insurance||Trip Cancellation||Baggage Loss||Overseas Emergency Medical||Emergency Medical Evacuation|
|Singapore Airlines||$10,000||$4,000/ $5,000 (KrisFlyer)||$500,000/ $1,000,000 (KrisFlyer)||$300,000/ $500,000 (KrisFlyer)|
|Jetstar||$10,000||$1,000/ $2,000||$20,000/ $50,000||$50,000/ $200,000|
|Firefly||RM5,000 – RM10,000||–||RM150,000||RM500,000|
2. Trip Disruptions and Cancellations
Most people make their first travel insurance claim not because they need to be air lifted home after a tragic accident, but because their trip gets disrupted due to a mishap or ran into a cancelled flight.
|Airline Travel Insurance||Trip Disruption||Trip Cancellation|
|Firefly||RM5,000||RM5,000 – RM10,000|
Are there any caveats to these airline travel insurance plans’ trip cancellation and trip disruption coverage? Here’s the coverage we found in the policy wordings:
- Singapore Airlines: Covers illness, injury, quarantine, traffic accident, legal proceeding, home damage, natural disaster, severe weather, employment layoff, employment relocation, first responder duty, adoption proceeding, armed forces leave cancelled, stolen travel documents.
- Scoot: Covers injury, illness, death, public transport cancellation, court duty, home fire or flood, natural disaster, airport closure
- Air Asia: Covers death, serious injury or illness, jury, quarantine, home serious damage. Excludes AirAsia cancelled flights, pre-existing illnesses, health conditions, existing weather condition (as of application time).
- Jetstar: Up to 30 days before flight date. Covers major travel event, death, injury, illness, court duty. Excludes Jetstar flight cancellations, hotel cancellations, airfares paid with miles or points.
- Cebu Pacific: Up to 30 days before flight date. Covers death, accident, illness, quarantine, jury, court duty, home damage, strike, natural disaster. Excludes financial insolvency of tour agency, any illness that occurred 60 days before flight.
- Qantas: 72-hour waiting period applies for trip cancellations. Covers death, illness, natural disaster, severe weather, accidents, travel document loss, examinations, retrenchment, tour cancellation.
- Indigo: Covers death, injury, illness, natural disaster, employment layoff, assault, weather, civil unrest, terrorist attack
- Firefly: Covers death, disability, illness, fire at home, strike, natural disaster, extreme weather
3. Missed Flight Connections
Are you about to miss your connecting flight?
You must be wondering what to do, and if your airline will pay for the missed flight connection – and if they do cover, how much?
Generally, if you missed your fight due to your airline’s bad scheduling or late arrival, the airline should automatically book you on another flight (and cover your hotel airport stay if it’s the next day).
|Airline Travel Insurance||Missed Flight Connections|
However, if you missed your connecting flight due to public transport (eg. moving from Haneda to Narita airpot via bus to catch your next flight), it gets a little complicated.
Warning, pretty complicated.
First, you need to get an official letter from your transport company that your bus, train, or taxi was indeed cancelled or delayed indefinitely (or more than 6 hours). They must state the reason why the transport was late or delayed, and state their alternative transport details and timing they offered to you. You then need to wrestle with the terms and conditions below:
- Scoot: $100/6 hours. Covers late arrival of public transport that’s taking you to your flight. You also had no other alternative transport options within 6 hours of your public transport (eg. bus or train)’s arrival time.
- AirAsia: $100/6 hours. Covers if your flight arrived late due to natural disaster, weather, accident, mechanical breakdown, and you missed your next transport (and there are no alternative transport for 6 hours).
- Cebu Pacific: $100/6 hours. Covers if your public transport arrived late, due to airspace restriction, airport closure and you missed your next flight. You couldn’t get any alternative transport in the next 6 hours.
- Qantas: Covers alternative public transport cost if your interrupted flights caused you to miss a “wedding, funeral, conference, 25th or 50th wedding anniversary or sporting event”.
- Firefly: RM250/3 hours. Covers if you missed your scheduled connecting flight due to incoming flight delay and no alternative transport was offered to you.
4. Overbooked Flights
What are overbooked flights in travel insurance? If your flight is overbooked and you’re not allowed to board the flight (and no alternatives are offered within X number of hours) you’ll get paid a small amount of cash by your travel insurance plan.
|Airline Travel Insurance||Overbooked Flights|
- AirAsia: $100 cash payout. Covers if you were denied boarding your flight due to overbooking (from Singapore), and the airline couldn’t offer you an alternative flight within the next 6 hours.
Most airline travel insurance plans do not protect you from flight overbooking.
However, you can try to make a claim under one of the other categories like travel delay, but take note that they’ll usually require the delay to be due to some natural disaster, civil unrest and so on before they’ll let you receive a payout.
5. Medical & Covid-19 Coverage
Most of us, perhaps, buy travel insurance from airlines primarily for flight cancellation and disruption coverage. Overseas medical expenses and emergency medical evacuation? Not really thinking about that, but great if it’s included.
Most airlines’ travel insurance offers overseas medical expenses and emergency medical evacuation coverage. The terms and conditions are largely similar as well:
|Airline Travel Insurance||Overseas Medical Expenses||Emergency Medical Evacuation|
|Singapore Airlines||$500,000/ $1,000,000 (KrisFlyer)||$300,000/ $500,000 (KrisFlyer)|
- Singapore Airlines: Covers sudden, unexpected illness, injuries, medical conditions that requires immediate treatment. KrisFlyer members get $200/24 hours of hospitalisation
- Scoot: Covers injuries, illnesses that require immediately medical treatment, including Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
- Air Asia: Covers medical expenses due to injury, sickness. Covers follow-up treatments in Singapore (up to 10% of claim limit).
- Jetstar: Covers 90 days of overseas medical treatment for injury or sickness you got overseas.
- Cebu Pacific: Covers injury or sickness that you got in an accident. Medical treatment abroad should be sought within 60 days.
6. Pre-Existing Medical Conditions
In a perfect world, we’d all be in great health, everyone would look like a supermodel and nobody would photoshop their Instagram photos. Unfortunately, that’s not the case, and the fact is that as you get older the likelihood of pre-existing medical conditions rises.
Well, guess what, most travel insurance will not cover medical expenses arising from pre-existing medical conditions – much less airline travel insurance.
These plans are more expensive than their basic plans, but they’re still better than going uninsured. If you have specific needs for your travel, making sure you compare travel insurance policies before you travel is of utmost importance.
7. Covid-19 Coverage
The chances of you getting Covid-19 overseas is probably higher than the probability of you getting kidnapped or held hostage. There’s some good news here, most airline travel insurance now include Covid-19 coverage.
|Airline Travel Insurance||Covid-19|
If you test positive prior or after the trip, you’re on your own. Here, you’ll find a comprehensive list of travel insurance with Covid coverage.
Still shopping for travel insurance? Here are some other useful articles: