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The Best Travel Insurance in Singapore

by Apoorv Trivedi on
Insurance

The Bottom Line

The best travel insurance policies offer high levels of protection for a reasonable price and make it easy for you to get paid on a claim. We looked at nearly 20 insurers’ travel policies in Singapore and ranked them on their pricing, protection levels and customer experience to find the best travel insurance policy for you in Singapore.

We recommend MSIG for a worldwide single-trip cover and Income (NTUC) for single-trip cover within Asia as of October 2022.

If you travel a lot and are looking for an annual plan, MSIG offers one for the price of less than 5 single-trip plans. MSIG also has the best policies that cover pre-existing conditions.

Both these insurers offer reasonably priced plans and have received strong ratings from customers.

If you simply want the cheapest travel insurance plan, consider HL Assurance, bubblegum or Ergo.If you’re comfortable with a much cheaper policy that does not cover COVID-19 related issues, go with FWD.


Everything we recommend

Our pick for Single-Trip Global Travel & All Annual Plans
MSIG Singapore
Best Cover for Single-Trip Global Travel + Best Annual Plans

Great combination of positive customer reviews, high cover levels and reasonable pricing.

Our pick for Single-Trip Asia Plans
Income Insurance
Best Cover for Single-Trips in Asia

Income Insurance offers the best value for money on Single-Trip plans for Travel in Asia.

Our pick for non-COVID Policies
FWD Singapore
Best Policy without COVID-19 Cover

FWD offers the cheapest policies with good protection levels but with a COVID-19 exclusion

Our pick for Pre-Existing Conditions Cover
MSIG Singapore
Best Policy with Cover for Pre-Existing Conditions

MSIG offers the best value on their Pre-existing conditions cover add-on

If you found this useful, consider signing up for your preferred cards via the links above. This gives you access to the best deals and helps us maintain the site.


Who this is for

Travel is often one of the largest annual expense items for individuals and families in Singapore. Travel takes you out of your comfort zone at home and puts you in an unfamiliar setting. While it is a great way to expand you horizons, a lot can also go wrong when you travel.

You may be a parent of young children, worried they might fall sick the day you are planning to fly or you may be a couple heading out for an adventure in a third world country, worried that your luggage may be stolen. Perhaps you are heading to a relaxing beach that might get hit with an unseasonal hurricane or maybe your local insurance plan does not cover overseas medical expenses.

In all these cases, a travel insurance policy would help you. Even the best policy won’t salvage the trip for you but at least they can make the hit to your wallet go away.

In this post we look at the best travel insurance policies available for you in Singapore.


How we selected

We spent more than 40 hours researching travel insurance options in Singapore. We explored the travel insurance policies offered by 18 insurers here.

We collected more than 60 data points for each insurer. This included collecting prices for different types of policies, going through terms and conditions in the policy documents, combing through customers reviews on various websites and interacting with their customer service.

We started by collecting the prices for each policy offered by the insurer along 4 dimensions – Single trip vs. Annual plan, destination in Asia vs. Worldwide, for a Couple and for a Family of 4, for different cover levels.

Most insurers offer policies with 3 levels of protection, although some offer only 1 or 2. We collected prices for all the tiers and classified them as the small, medium and large plans, corresponding to the level of coverage offered.

We then collected the level of protection offered by each insurer for the 5 main risks they cover – Medical, Accident, Trip Cancellation / Curtailment, Baggage Loss and Personal Liability.

Table 1: Level of Medical Cover Provided by Insurer

Cover in S$000’s Small Medium Large
DBS Chubb 300 500 2,000
NTUC 250 500 1,000
HL Assurance 250 500 750
MSIG 250 500 1,000
FWD 200 500 1,000
Ergo 200 500 1,000
DirectAsia 150 200 500
bubblegum 150
Source: Insurer websites, as on 18 Oct 2022

Table 2: Level of Travel Cancellation Cover Provided by Insurer

Cover in S$ Small Medium Large
Ergo 10,000 13,000 15,000
FWD 7,500 10,000 15,000
HL Assurance 7,000 12,000 15,000
NTUC 5,000 10,000 15,000
MSIG 5,000 10,000 15,000
DBS Chubb 5,000 10,000 15,000
bubblegum 5,000
DirectAsia 3,000 10,000 15,000
Source: Insurer websites, as on 18 Oct 2022

Since the level of protection provided by each insurer for different risks is not standardized, it can be hard to compare two policies. Cheapest isn’t always the best and neither is the most expensive.

The data in the table below shows the problem of choosing based on price – while AXA is the cheapest of the 3, the medical cover it provides is a fraction of the other two. Allianz is the most expensive but it doesn’t even provide a death or a personal liability benefit. NTUC is barely a dollar more than AXA but has the best cover across all risks.

Table 3: Using per dollar protection for comparing policies

  AXA Allianz Income
Premium (S$) 89 135 90
Medical Cover (S$) 30,000 200,000 250,000
Accidental Death Cover (S$) 50,000 150,000
Trip Cancellation Cover (S$) 1,000 5,000 5,000
Medical Cover / $ of Premium 337 1,485 2,778
Death Cover / $ of Premium 562 1,667
Trip Cancellation cover / $ of Premium 11 37 56
Source: Insurer Websites as at 18 Oct 2022 – AXA, Allianz, Income

To understand which policies offered the best value, we calculated how much cover you get for each dollar of premium paid. We calculated this for each of the 5 major risks covered.

For instance, in the table above, AXA charges S$88.94 to provide a S$30,000 Medical cover and a S$50,000 Death cover. That means each dollar of premium buys you about S$337 of Medical cover and S$562 of Death cover.

The NTUC policy above, gives you S$2,778 of Medical and S$1,667 of Death cover per dollar of premium you pay. That’s a lot more protection per dollar.

We ranked all policies based on the cover per dollar they provided for each of the 5 risks.

For example, we ranked Single-Trip policies from all insurers for a couple traveling within Asia for the cover provided for Medical, Death, Trip Cancellation and Baggage Loss and Personal Liability.

We also ranked all 18 insurers’ Annual Plans for a Family of 4 traveling to a Worldwide destination for the cover provided for all 5 risks.

In total, we ranked 24 policies of each insurer across these 5 risks based on the cover per dollar.

We then converted these rankings in to a composite score for each policy. To calculate this score, we gave much more weight to their rankings for Medical and Trip Cancellation covers and less weight to the Personal Liability cover.

Why? This was based on our subjective assessment of the severity and frequency of the likely claims in each category.

In other words we think you are much more likely to need a Medical claim than a Personal Liability claim. A baggage loss claim is likely to be smaller than a Trip Cancellation claim and so get a lower weight in our ranking.

We preferred Insurers and policies with higher composite scores. But we applied two more filters before making our selections.

First, we wanted to be sure that the policy with the highest composite score offered adequate cover. Remember the score is based on the cover provided per dollar. So policies providing very low cover could still score well but may not provide adequate protection.

For example, bubblegum’s single trip policies offer S$150,000 of Medical cover and S$5,000 of Trip Cancellation cover. Because of their very low premium, they also score well across the board.

Now a S$150,000 Medical cover may be more than enough for a trip to low cost countries in Asia, but it could be inadequate if you’re headed to USA or even Australia.

So we did not consider policies that offered inadequate cover, in our opinion.

Second, we wanted to be sure the insurer provides a good claims experience. After all, a policy offering the best value is still useless if the insurer won’t service the claim.

For this we looked at the customer reviews and ratings of each insurer on Seedly and Google Maps. We preferred insurers that had plenty of reviews since ratings based on a few reviews can swing easily.

Table 4: Customer Reviews and Ratings

Insurer # of
Reviews
on Seedly
Seedly
Rating
# of
Reviews
on Google
Google
Rating
Income 529 4.50 553 3.80
FWD 198 4.30 610 4.40
Tiq Travel 166 4.70 101 4.00
MSIG 141 4.40 8 4.50
DBS Chubb 52 3.70 409 3.90
Singlife 51 4.40 229 3.00
AIG 33 4.10 125 2.20
Sompo 28 4.10 122 2.90
HL Assurance 19 2.50 937 4.40
AXA 19 4.10 191 2.30
Allianz 14 2.50 379 4.00
Great Eastern 12 4.50 395 3.90
DirectAsia* 9 3.80 281 4.10
Tokio Marine 6 4.70 119 3.60
Ergo 5 4.40 10 1.80
Starr 3 1.00 60 2.40
UOI 21 2.00
bubblegum
Source: Seedly & Google Maps

We also preferred the rating on Seedly over the rating on Google Maps. This was because reading through the reviews on both sites, we found Seedly reviews were much more focused on claims experience while Google review were more focused on the purchase experience.

This was a very significant factor in our recommendations. For example, HL Assurance and Ergo, both, consistently ranked near the top for value offered by their policies. But we do not recommend either. If we ignore the reviews, they would take the #1 & #2 spot easily.

We do not recommend HL Assurance because it scores a meagre 2.50 stars in 19 reviews on Seedly with many complaints about claims experience. It does score a solid 4.40 stars on Google with 900+ reviews but most of those reviews focus on the buying experience.

We do not recommend Ergo because it has too few reviews on both Seedly and Google, and again the verdict is split with 4.40 on Seedly and 1.80 (ouch!) on Google. While their customer service was able to address our questions, we did not come away very confident after the interaction.

Policies without COVID-19 Cover By default most travel policies come with a COVID-19 cover. However, FWD, Tiq and DirectAsia offer policies without a COVID-19 cover by default and you can optionally buy a COVID-19 cover add-on.

For these 3 insurers we compared their premiums after including the COVID-19 add-on premium. We discuss policies without COVID-19 cover below.

Pre-Existing Conditions All insurance policies, by default, do not cover costs for treatment of your pre-existing conditions. However Income (NTUC), MSIG, Tiq and Chubb do offer single-trip policies that cover pre-existing condition under the Medical cover.

These policies are much more expensive and have a much lower cover for pre-existing conditions. But they may still be useful if you have a serious pre-existing condition.

Discounts & Pricing Changes All Insurers usually offer large discounts on their list prices for Travel policies. On the day we collected pricing data, we found every insurer offered a discount of 20-60% on their list price.

Income Promo
Large discounts over list price are common
FWD Promo Code
Large discounts over list price are common
SL Promo Code
Large discounts over list price are common
TIQ Promo Code
Large discounts over list price are common

Some offer this discount by default i.e. you do not need to even enter a promotion code. It is automatically included in the quotation online e.g. Income had a 50% discount automatically applied. Others like FWD need you to enter the discount code while getting a quote.

This has two implications. First, if you’re not getting a discount, look around the website to make sure you’re not missing the offer. On some website (e.g. FWD) the offer sometimes shows up after you have spent some time on the website or just as you’re about to leave the website.

Second, while the coverage terms may remain relatively stable over time, the discounts (and even list prices) may change from time to time. What happens to our analysis then?

Right now we don’t have access to the data that will allow us to update our recommendations in real time. We aim to update this analysis with fresh prices at least twice a year, if not more.

In the meantime, we think the current analysis should remain largely accurate through the holiday season this year (2022).


The Best Single-Trip Travel Insurance for Asia – Income (NTUC)

We recommend Income (NTUC) travel insurance if you are traveling in Asia. Income Insurance is not the cheapest but offers the best blend of affordable price, strong customer ratings and good cover levels in each protection category.

Income’s standard travel plans for Asia ranked in the middle of the pack for pricing. However many of the cheaper plans from competitors had lower coverage levels e.g. DirectAsia and bubblegum both offer only S$150,000 medical cover under the “Small” plan while Income offers S$250,000.

Most other competitors with lower pricing either didn’t have enough ratings for us to feel confident about their claims process or had poor ratings. See our discussion of the Cheapest Travel Insurance below.

If you would like to price-shop, we suggest comparing against FWD, MSIG and Tiq.

Table 5: Single-Trip Policy for Couples, Travel in Asia – Small Plan

  Income HL
Assur.
bubble
gum
AXA Chubb
Premium (S$) 90.00 78.60 60.19 88.94 101.25
Customer Rating 🙂🙂🙂 🙂😐 N/A ☚ī¸ 🙂
Cover
– Medical (S$K’s) 250 250 150 30 300
– Travel Cancellation (S$K’s) 5 7 5 1 5
– Baggage Loss (S$K’s) 3 5 3 0 3
Source: Insurer websites, as on 18 Oct 2022


The Best Single-Trip Travel Insurance for Worldwide cover- MSIG

If you are traveling to destinations outside Asia, we recommend TravelEasy plans by MSIG. Again, MSIG does not offer the cheapest plan but instead offers a great blend of affordable price, good cover levels in all categories and strong customer ratings.

MSIG’s plans also rank in the middle of the pack for pricing but they have really strong customer ratings on both Seedly and Google and the protection levels in each category are competitive.

For bargain hunting, compare against FWD, NTUC and Tiq.

Table 6: Single-Trip Policy for Family, Travel Worldwide – Small Plan

  MSIG bubble
gum
HL Assur. FWD Singlife
Premium (S$) 169.50 70.82 114.60 212.81 159.72
Customer Rating 🙂🙂🙂 N/A 🙂😐 🙂🙂🙂 🙂😐
Cover
– Medical (S$K’s) 250 150 250 200 250
– Travel Cancellation (S$K’s) 5 5 7 7.50 5
– Baggage Loss (S$K’s) 3 3 5 3 3
Source: Insurer websites, as on 18 Oct 2022


The Best Annual Travel Insurance Plan – MSIG

If you travel frequently and are considering an Annual plan for travel insurance, we recommend MSIGs TravelEasy plans.

Unlike our other recommendations, MSIG has among the cheapest annual plans in Singapore. While the average annual plan in Singapore costs nearly 6x as much as a similar single-trip plan, the annual plans from MSIG only cost about 4.5x the equivalent single-trip plan.

Compare against DBS-Chubb, Tokio-Marine and HL Assurance for a deal.

Table 7: Annual Policy for Family, Travel Worldwide – Medium Plan

  MSIG Tokio
Marine
Chubb HL Assur. Ergo
Premium (S$) 868.80 859.00 1,201.20 650.50 722.00
Customer Rating 🙂🙂🙂 🙂🙂 🙂🙂 🙂😐 😐
Cover
– Medical (S$K’s) 250 300 300 250 200
– Travel Cancellation (S$K’s) 5 7.50 5 7 10
– Baggage Loss (S$K’s) 3 5 3 5 3
Source: Insurer websites, as on 18 Oct 2022


The Best Travel Insurance with Pre-Existing Cover – MSIG

Most travel insurance policies do not provide cover for medical expenses due to pre-existing conditions. We found 4 insurers in Singapore that offer a single-trip policy with cover for pre-existing conditions.

These policies are a lot more expensive than regular policies and the cover for pre-existing conditions is much lower than for other medical expenses. But if you do have a serious pre-existing conditions, it may be worthwhile to pay up.

We recommend MSIG’s TravelEasy Pre-Ex plans as they offer the highest coverage per dollar of premium for both Asia and Worldwide destinations.

MSIG offers the lowest level of protection for pre-existing conditions, ranging from S$75,000 to S$150,000. If you need a higher cover, Income’s Enhanced PreX Prestige plan offers cover of up to S$300,000 and also offers good value per dollar of premium.

Table 8: Medical Cover for Pre-Existing Conditions

in S$000’s Additional
Premium
(S$)*
Small Medium Large
NTUC 117.60 150 150 300
DBS Chubb 170.88 100 125 150
Tiq 58.20 75 125 150
MSIG 37.60 75 100 150
* Additional premium per person, to get pre-existing conditions covered, over a regular policy. For an individual buying a worldwide, single-trip policy.
Source: Insurer websites, as on 18 Oct 2022


Best Policy without COVID-19 Cover – FWD

FWD, Tiq and DirectAsia also offer travel insurance policies that do not include medical and travel disruption cover for COVID-19.

These policies are much cheaper than the policies that cover COVID-19. For example, a non-COVID policy by FWD is 40%+ cheaper than an identical policy with COVID cover. For their cheapest policy (called Premium), the COVID-19 add-on can often be more expensive than the actual policy.

With yet another COVID-19 wave underway the lower premiums come with a fair bit of risk.

If you are comfortable with a non-COVID-19 policy, we recommend FWD for single-trip covers and DirectAsia for annual covers. DirectAsia’s plans have lower coverage levels than FWD and Tiq, so it is better to compare FWDs “Small” plan with DirectAsia’s “Medium” plan for a more appropriate comparison.

Even with that change, DirectAsia is 10-60% cheaper than the other two for the annual, non-COVID plans.

Table 9: Single-Trip Policy for Family, Travel in Asia – Small Plan,           No COVID Cover

  FWD DirectAsia Tiq Income* MSIG*
Premium (S$) 59.77 54.60 60.72 109.20 111.60
Customer Rating 🙂🙂🙂 🙂🙂 🙂🙂🙂 🙂🙂🙂 🙂🙂🙂
Cover
– Medical (S$K’s) 200.00 150.00 200.00 250.00 250.00
– Travel Cancellation (S$K’s) 7.50 3.00 3.00 5.00 5.00
– Baggage Loss (S$K’s) 3.00 1.00 2.00 3.00 3.00
* Policies with COVID-19 Cover included, for price comparison only.
Source: Insurer websites, as on 18 Oct 2022


The Cheapest Travel Insurance in Singapore

None of our recommended plan are the cheapest in their categories. Is it really worth paying up for something like travel insurance?

We think yes. After all what you’re really buying when you buy travel insurance is the experience you have when you file a claim. Most people never actually get to experience this but that is what you are buying.

What good is saving S$15 on the premium if that results in getting your claim rejected or having to spend a few hours pushing through the bureaucracy of the claims department at your chosen insurer.

That said, we love a good deal and totally understand if you want to take your chances with a less known insurer. We would still avoid insurers that already have plenty of bad reviews.

HL Assurance had plans that were consistently among the cheapest in all categories but missed out on being our pick due to a 2.50 rating on Seedly with many complaints about claims handling process.

To be fair, this 2.50 rating was based only on 19 reviews while they have a solid 4.40 rating on Google with 937 reviews. But most Google reviews focused on a positive experience of buying the policy while the Seedly reviews focused on bad claims experience.

This was a disappointment and a very tough decision for us because not only are their plans among the cheapest, they also offer better than average protection across most categories.

For example, their “small” plan offers S$5,000 protection for baggage loss which is the highest of all small plans. The S$7,000 protection for trip cancellation and S$250,000 protection for Medical expenses are all better than average as well.

If you are open to take a chance with a less well-reviewed insurer and save some money, HL Assurance would be the one to try. They are VERY competitive in every category – single-trip for Asia and Worldwide, for couples and families and for all Annual plans.

bubblegum offers the absolute lowest premiums for single-trip plans in Asia and Worldwide.

They are new to insurance and they only offer a “Small” plan with lower levels of protection than other insurers e.g. S$150,000 for medical vs. S$200-300,000 for most others.

We think the plans are adequate for most people traveling to low cost countries like Indonesia or Thailand. But if you need to travel to high cost countries like Japan or USA, this may not be enough and we would suggest paying up for more coverage from another insurer.

We did not include bubblegum in our recommended plans because we were unable to find any customer reviews for them on Seedly or Google and because they do not offer plans with higher levels of cover.

Ergo Insurance‘s travel plans were consistently in the cheapest 3 plans for every single destination and customer profile we looked at. The protection levels in their various plans are also competitive.

However, while they have a solid 4.40 rating on Seedly, its based on only 5 reviews. Their rating on Google is an abysmal 1.80 but again based on only 10 reviews.

When we called their helpdesk, the agent was able to answer our questions but it did not feel like they were very well-versed in the details of the plans.

All this may be because they simply haven’t gained enough share in Singapore. Ergo would be a strong contender for our top pick if these problems are fixed.

Starr Insurance had among the cheapest single-trip plans but had a rating of 1 on Seedly (3 reviews) and 2.40 on Google (60 reviews).

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Ariel
29 days ago

Thanks for the comprehensive analysis, subscribed!

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