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Best Travel Insurance for 4 Popular Destination Types

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Insurance Guide
Oct 04, 2018

On the one hand, it’s always great to have a lot of travel insurance options. On the other, comparing these options can be a worse headache than working out your frequent flyer miles. To simplify things a bit, we’ve compiled some recommendations for four popular destinations:

1. New York, London, Paris and other major metropolitan cities

The main issues to watch for, in these locations, are:

  • Healthcare and hospitalisation costs
  • Petty crime (pickpocketing, snatch theft, etc.)
  • Loss or theft of luggage

As you’d expect from major cities, healthcare costs are mind-boggling. They’re typically affordable only to citizens or Permanent Residents so as an unsubsidised foreigner, you can expect to pay several thousand dollars a day for a hospital ward in cities like New York. That excludes the cost of consultation or tests.

Even simple consultations, such as for stomach flus or sprained ankles, can reach four-digit sums. In London, for example, a walk-in consultation at a private clinic can cost between SGD$150 to $400. It’s best to get a travel policy with a high pay out for hospitalisation and treatment abroad.

For petty crimes, note that few travel insurers will pay out more than $250 in lost cash. It’s best to avoid carrying more than this amount of money, at any one time. For valuable such as watches, jewellery, etc., it’s advisable to insure them separately There isn’t a travel policy that will fully cover a $15,000 Rolex!

As most of these destinations end up with a lot of shopping, you may also want to consider high coverage of lost or damaged baggage. (But you can also consider shipping your high value items home, rather than stowing them in your luggage).

2. Koh Samui, Bali, Bintan, and other island destinations

The main issues to watch for in these locations are:

  • Medical evacuation and repatriation
  • Activity exclusions in your policy
  • Trip cancellation

Unless you’re going for a really slow and relaxed vacation, we’re guessing these destinations involve a jet ski of some kind. And maybe a hike on a scenic jungle route, or at least swimming.

Just in case of any serious accidents, you want to make sure you have high coverage for medical evacuation and repatriation. This is because, if the injury happens in the jungle or out at sea, you may need to fly back by air for treatment. You may also need repatriation to Singapore, if the medical facilities there aren’t sufficient.

The good news is, many insurers now provide unlimited medical evacuation and repatriation. Just be wary of complimentary travel insurance, which may skimp on these types of coverage to lower premiums.

On a related note, always check for activity exclusions in the terms and conditions. Some insurers don’t provide pay outs for activities such as:

  • Diving beyond a certain depth
  • Bungee jumping
  • BASE jumping
  • Competitive racing (including dirt bikes, ATVs, and power boats)

Finally, look for a high claims limit for trip cancellations. Tropical storms, landslides, and volcanic eruptions can result in island destinations being suddenly closed off.

3.  The Arctic circle, the Serengeti, Fuerteventura and other high value, exotic locations

The main issues to watch for in these locations are:

  • Extra coverage for specialised gear
  • High medical evacuation and repatriation
  • 24-hour emergency assistance

The more obscure and exotic the location, the more important it is to provide for medical evacuation and repatriation.

We’re assuming that, if you go to these places, you’ll bring special gear – that often means a high value camera, or survival equipment. Some Insurers can cover certain equipment for up to $2,500 (check the terms and conditions for specifics). As an alternative, have your high value equipment insured separately.

24-hour emergency assistance is also helpful, just as a precaution. This doesn’t just mean you can call to make a claim – it means the insurer actually uses a third-party specialist (emergency assistance company) to come and rescue you; handy if you’re halfway up a mountain.

You can check out our ultimate guide to travel insurance to learn more.

4. The Australian Outback, Route 66 in the US, and other road-trip destinations

The main issues to watch for in these locations are:

  • Extra coverage for specialised gear
  • High medical evacuation and repatriation
  • 24-hour emergency assistance

Road trip destinations put a lot of demand on rental cars. From potholes to other tired drivers, you can count on some dents or scratched paint. And while rental cars come with insurance, you do have to pay the excess first.

Medical evacuation might be necessary if anything goes wrong, especially if you’re on a deserted stretch of highway.

Baggage delays and trip postponements bigger issues for these types of destinations – they can set your schedule back by an entire day (and that car rental isn’t refundable!)

Since we’re on the topic

AXA SmartTraveller offers above-market coverage limits for medical expenses, personal accidents, trip cancellations and loss or damage to your possessions.

We also have a 24-hour in-house emergency response team and provide unlimited coverage on emergency medical evacuation - so you know we’ve got your back should you face the worst while away from home.

Learn more about AXA SmartTraveller and enjoy exciting promotions while they last!

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