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50% of Singaporeans Don’t Know About This Travel Hack

Many travelling Singaporeans like to book their holidays through travel agencies for their convenience and expertise in handling the gritty details of arranging overseas travel. According to a survey done by Kayak in 2015, 26% of Singaporeans use traditional travel agents when planning their vacations, and 61% use online travel agencies. Though using an agency is still very popular, there can also be a risk to using a travel agency that you may not even be aware of. If your travel agency goes bankrupt after you’ve booked your trip, for instance, you could not only lose your vacation, but you could also never get your money back. Below, we discuss how to protect yourself from this risk: buying travel insurance.

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Travel Agencies Go Bankrupt Every Year

Travel agency insolvency isn’t something that just happens every day, and most travellers will never run into a disaster scenario like the one described above. However, it may happen more often than you might think. And unfortunately, when these agencies go down, they don’t always refund customers who have already paid them for a trip.

When S Travel, a licensed travel agency in Singapore specialising in trips to South Korea, shut down in April 2016, 300 customers lost their vacations and money they had already spent. Individual travellers lost thousands of dollars but were left with little recourse, as the company’s director had left Singapore and was unable to be reached. What happened with S Travel was far from a unique occurrence: according to the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), there were over 1,100 active travel agencies in Singapore – but 68 of them reportedly closed down in January 2017 alone. And it’s not only small or obscure travel agencies that have shut down abruptly and unexpectedly. In the last three years, even the well-known Singapore travel agencies Five Stars Tours, Asia-Euro Holidays and Sky Travel & Tours have all gone bankrupt, affecting thousands of customers whose trips were suddenly canceled without refund.

In today’s information age, where more and more Singaporeans are turning to online resources to inform their trips overseas and taking the initiative to make their own travel arrangements, the future of the traditional, brick-and-mortar travel agency is far from optimistic. What the string of travel agency bankruptcies in recent years shows us is that even the most prominent players in the travel industry are not insulated from these changes. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t great reasons to use travel agencies, especially when taking longer trips to more unfamiliar countries. Singaporeans who prefer to book their trips through a travel agency need a way to feel confident that doing so is a safe investment.

How Can You Protect Yourself?

Though nearly 50% of Singaporeans don’t realise it, there are ways to protect your family vacation in case your travel agency unexpectedly goes bottoms-up. Many travel insurance plans include travel agent insolvency coverage, allowing customers to recoup their losses if their travel agent goes bankrupt and their trips have to be cancelled due to the agent’s insolvency. But according to a 2016 survey commissioned by the STB, only 20% of Singaporeans bought travel insurance for their most recent trip.

Our study of the best travel insurance plans in Singapore showed that for a 1-week trip within an ASEAN country, you can pay as little as S$20 on a travel insurance plan that will cover you in case of trip cancellations, with an average cancellation coverage benefit of S$10,553, and an average trip inconvenience benefit of S$15,930. For a 1-week trip through other parts of Asia, you can pay as little as S$24 for this service, or as little as S$32 for trips globally. Insurers also make specific accommodation to allow travellers who have bought their travel insurance plans to claim for the loss of any travel deposits or fares they may have paid to a travel agency that goes bankrupt before they are able to go on their trip.

If you take care to shop around for policies that give you the best value for your dollar, buying travel insurance to protect your summer holiday can be well worth the cost, especially if you’re booking through a travel agency.

For more information on how to go about picking the best travel insurance plan for your next vacation abroad, make sure to read our guide. If not, here’s three of the best travel insurance plans you can find in Singapore for your next big getaway.

Best Travel Insurance in Singapore

Best Travel Insurance For Flight Delay: HL Assurance

Hong Leong Group
Hong Leong Group

Consider this if
you’re worried about flight delays

  • Personal Accident Coverage

HLAS: 50% off + NCD + Free Coverage

Premium and value Basic Enhanced Superior
Personal Accident and Death S$200,000 S$250,000 S$300,000
Medical S$150,000 S$250,000 S$500,000
Emergency Medical & Repatriation Unlmtd Unlmtd Unlmtd
Trip Cancellation S$5,000 S$7,000 S$12,000
Trip Delays S$1,000 S$1,000 S$1,000
Baggage Loss Damage S$3,000 S$5,000 S$7,000
Baggage Delay S$1,000 S$1,000 S$1,000

Premium and value Basic Enhanced Superior
Trip Cancellation due to Covid-19 NA S$1,000 S$2,000
Trip Postponement due to Covid-19 NA S$750 S$1,500
Trip Curtailment or Rearrangement due to Covid-19 NA S$1,000 S$2,000
Overseas Hospital Cash Benefit due to Covid-19 NA S$1,000 S$2,000
Overseas Quarantine Allowance due to Covid-19 NA S$500 S$1,000
Emergency medical evacuation and sending you home due to Covid-19 NA Unlmtd Unlmtd
Repatriation of mortal remains due to Covid-19 NA Unlmtd Unlmtd

HL Assurance’s travel insurance plans are great for global travellers worried about flight delays. HL Assurance travel plans offer one of the highest caps for flight delays, including the most basic plan. There is also coverage for lost items, trip curtailment, postponement, cancellation and delays, as well as rental car excess (the excess you owe if you get into a car accident abroad), medical expenses and hospital cash benefit both abroad and back in Singapore. If you are looking for a comprehensive travel plan that provides high coverage for flight delays, HL Assurance’s travel insurance plan might be right for you.

Best Travel Insurance For Pre-Existing Medical Conditions: Etiqa Tiq

PROMO: Get a 30% discount with the promo code CNY22 and get $100 per referral

Use code TEIF for discount

Premium and value Entry Savvy Luxury
Personal Accident and Death S$200,000 S$250,000 S$300,000
Medical Expenses Incurred Overseas S$200,000 S$500,000 S$1,000,000
Emergency Medical & Repatriation Combined limit up to $1,000,000 Combined limit up to $1,500,000 Combined limit up to $1,800,000
Trip Cancellation and Loss of Deposit S$5,000 S$5,000 S$10,000
Trip Delays S$300 ($50 per 3hrs) S$300 ($50 per 3hrs) S$500 ($50 per 3hrs)
Baggage Delay S$200 ($100 per 6hrs) S$200 ($100 per 6hrs) S$200 ($100 per 6hrs)

Premium and value Entry Savvy Luxury
Trip Cancellation and Loss of Deposit due to Covid-19 S$3,000 S$4,000 S$5,000
Travel Postponement due to Covid-19 S$500 S$1,000 S$1,500
Trip Curtailment and Disruption due to Covid-19 S$3,000 S$4,000 S$5,000
Medical Expenses Incurred Overseas due to Covid-19 S$100,000 S$200,000 S$300,000
Overseas Covid-19 Diagnosis Quarantine Allowance S$500 S$1,000 S$1,500
Emergency Medical Evacuation and Repatriation of Mortal Remains due to Covid-19 S$200,000 S$300,000 S$500,000
Hospitalisation Benefit in Singapore due to Covid-19 S$100 S$200 S$300

Etiqa Tiq Pre-Ex plans provide comprehensive coverage against medical expenses if you fall sick during your trip due to pre-existing medical conditions. Pre-existing medical conditions include diabetes, eczema, asthma, heart conditions, stroke, asthma, sleep apnea, cancer and epilepsy. However, do note that your illness must be stable and under control. If you are looking for an affordable yet comprehensive plan to protect against medical treatment due to pre-existing conditions, you can consider Etiqa Tiq’s Pre-Ex policies.

Best Travel Insurance For Inconvenience Coverage: Allianz Travel

PROMO: Enjoy a 35% discount with the promo code TRAVELSAFER

Premium and value Basic Enhanced Superior
Personal Accident and Death S$200,000 S$250,000 S$300,000
Medical S$150,000 S$250,000 S$500,000
Emergency Medical & Repatriation Unlmtd Unlmtd Unlmtd
Trip Cancellation S$5,000 S$7,000 S$12,000
Trip Delays S$1,000 S$1,000 S$1,000
Baggage Loss Damage S$3,000 S$5,000 S$7,000
Baggage Delay S$1,000 S$1,000 S$1,000

Premium and value Comprehensive Bronze Comprehensive Silver Comprehensive Platinum
Trip Cancellation Coverage S$15,000 S$15,000 S$25,000
Trip Interruption Coverage S$15,000 S$15,000 S$25,000
Travel Delay Coverage S$1,500 S$1,500 S$1,500
Baggage Coverage S$7,000 S$12,000 S$15,000
Baggage Delay Coverage S$1,400 S$1,400 S$1,400
Emergency Medical/Dental Coverage S$1,000,000 S$1,000,000 Unlmted
Emergency Transportation Coverage S$1,000,000 S$1,000,000 Unlmted

For those who are looking for a combination of affordability and value with a focus on trip and baggage coverage, Allianz Travel can be a great match. What makes these plans stand out is that they exhibit very high value with their generous trip inconvenience coverage. In fact, these plans consistently have the highest trip inconvenience coverage trip cancellation, baggage loss/delay and trip delay coverage) among their peers. If you tend to travel with valuable belongings or you are concerned with sudden changes to your trip itinerary, Allianz Travel plans can provide maximum peace of mind in that area. However, it does lag behind peers in terms of personal accident coverage.

Best Travel Insurance For Covid-19 Coverage: Income Travel Insurance (Standard Plan)

PROMO: Get 40% off single-trip policies

Premium and value Classic Deluxe Preferred
Personal Accident S$150,000 S$200,000 S$500,000
Medical expenses overseas S$250,000 S$500,000 S$1,000,000
Emergency Medical evacuation S$500,000 Unlmtd Unlmtd
Trip Cancellation S$5,000 S$10,000 S$15,000
Trip Disruption S$3,000 S$5,000 S$8,000
Baggage Loss Damage S$3,000 S$5,000 S$8,000
Baggage Delay S$1,000 S$1,200 S$2,000

Features (For all premiums) Extension
Cancelling your trip due to COVID-19 S$2,000
Postponing your trip due to COVID-19 S$2,000
Shortening your trip due to COVID-19 S$2,000
Trip disruption due to COVID-19 S$2,000
Medical expenses overseas due to COVID-19 S$150,000
Emergency medical evacuation and sending you home due to COVID-19 S$150,000
Overseas quarantine allowance due to COVID-19 S$1,400

With Covid-19, it is even more crucial to protect yourself in such unprecedented times. Income travel insurance offers protection against unexpected Covid-19 emergencies. Some examples include cancelling your trip, overseas quarantine allowance, and medical expenses due to Covid-19. All per trip and yearly plans will automatically include the following COVID-19 benefits. Travellers can enjoy COVID-19 benefits for the first 90 days of each trip for Standard per-trip policies.

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