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Travel Insurance and COVID-19



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Last Updated: 8 April 2020.

Does my travel insurance cover pandemics such as COVID-19?

We’ve had more than our fair share of health outbreaks in and around the region, from SARS to Zika and the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

And when it comes to protecting your travel plans, it can be confusing as to whether or not you’re covered and what you can claim for during an epidemic or pandemic.

Here we answer your questions on health outbreaks and travel insurance.

  1. Does my Comprehensive Travel policy with Budget Direct Insurance cover health outbreaks like COVID-19?

    For policies issued on or before 25 March 2020

    Claims relating to epidemics or pandemics are not covered unless the purchase of the policy (for Single Trip policy) or the booking of the trip (for Annual Plan policy) was made before 23 January 2020 (to China), 23 February 2020 (to South Korea) or 4 March 2020 (to the rest of the world). Claims unrelated to this event remain covered, subject to policy terms and conditions.

    For policies issued on or after 26 March 2020

    Claims related to epidemics and pandemics will not be covered for all Single Trip and Annual Plan policies issued on or after 26 March 2020.

    If you require further clarifications regarding your travel insurance coverage related to health outbreaks, kindly contact our Customer Care team at 6221 2111. Mondays to Fridays, 8am to 8pm and Saturdays, 9am to 3pm (excluding public holidays), or email [email protected].

  2. If I purchased my Comprehensive Travel Insurance (Single Trip policy) or booked my trip (Annual Plan policy) prior to the exclusions related to epidemics and pandemics above above, what can I claim for?

    If you have a Budget Direct Insurance Comprehensive Travel policy and do not fall into the excluded categories as outlined above, you will be covered for inconveniences directly related to an epidemic or pandemic. Your cover will include Travel Inconveniences such as Trip Cancellation, Trip Shortened, Trip Disruption and Trip Postponement (see table below).

    *Remember: If you purchase a Single Trip policy or an Annual Plan policy on or after 26 March 2020, claims related to epidemics or pandemics will not be covered.

    Travel Inconveniences

    Comprehensive

    Basic

    Trip Cancellation

    Per insured person

    S$10,000

    -

    Trip Shortened

    Per insured person

    S$10,000

    -

    Trip Disruption 

    Per insured person

    S$2,500

    -

    Trip Postponement

    Per insured person

    S$1,000

    -

    Additionally, if you do not fall into the above exclusions and have to be quarantined, you are eligible to claim a daily allowance under the Comprehensive Travel policy (see table excerpt below).

    Personal Accident and Medical Expenses

    Comprehensive

    Basic

    Overseas Quarantine Allowance
    (S$50 per 24 hours)

    Per insured person

    S$500

     -

    Quarantine Allowance in Singapore
    (S$50 per 24 hours)

    Per insured person

    S$500

    Note that not all insurance companies or policies cover Travel Disruption or offer an Overseas Quarantine Allowance, so check your policy details to ensure you know exactly what you’re covered for. Read more about Budget Direct Insurance’s travel policy benefits here.

  3. Does my travel insurance cover airline cancellation?

    It’s important to read the small print here when it comes to your travel insurance cover. Most insurance companies, including Budget Direct Insurance, will cover you when all flights are grounded and the airline cancels due to the closing down of the airport, runway or airspace.

    Coverage for Travel Inconveniences, including airline cancellations, are also subject to the same terms outlined above; you will only be covered if you do not fall into the above exclusion categories for claims related to epidemics or pandemics.

  4. I no longer want to travel due to a health outbreak – can I cancel my Budget Direct Insurance travel policy whenever I want?

    While your travel insurance plan may not guarantee you a reimbursement for losses or damages resulting from sudden changes to your travel plans due to an epidemic or health outbreak, some insurers will at least refund the cost of your travel insurance policy if your travel plans suddenly change and you need to cancel a trip. If you want to ensure a little more flexibility in the run-up to your next trip overseas, consider an insurer that will let you cancel your travel insurance plan and reimburse you for the cost up until your trip is supposed to begin.

    If you had purchased a Single Trip policy, Budget Direct Insurance will provide a full refund with no cancellation fees if you decide to cancel your policy before your policy start date on the condition that no claim is made or reported against your policy.

    As long as no claims were made or reported since the start of the policy period, Annual Plan policies can be cancelled at any time, but will incur a cancellation fee. For more information, please refer to Travel Insurance FAQs.

  5. Ways to help minimise financial loss for your cancelled trip

    There are several steps you can take to recoup at least a part of your trip expenses. For instance, you can talk to your airline's customer service representative in the event of flight cancellation. In most cases, they will do their best to give you some form of credit or refund.

    You can also call your tour operator as soon as possible to let them know if your cancelled flight led to you missing a non-refundable event such as a tour or excursion. They may lend a sympathetic ear and agree to reschedule your tour for free at some point in the future.

    Hotels often have a cancellation window of 24-48 hours prior to check-in, after which you may end up paying a fee to cancel. It also helps to book a hotel that has a flexible refund policy. If you can't get a refund at all and you have a legitimate reason for cancellation, you can ask if they can offer some form of compensation through a hotel credit.

  6. Buy travel insurance as soon as you book your holiday

    It pays to buy your travel insurance policy the moment you book your holiday. That means your travel plans are covered in the event of illnesses or any other unforeseen events that may occur before your trip begins. That being said, all new Budget Direct Insurance travel policies purchased on or after 26 March 2020 will not cover claims related to epidemics and pandemics.

  7. Register your trip with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

    If you’re travelling, we advise you to e-register your trip with the Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) before you set off. That way, you can get hold of the relevant people should you require assistance whilst overseas. Here’s a simple guide on why you should register and how to do it.

    Enjoy stress-free holidays when you buy smarter Travel Insurance.
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