What travel insurance packs in these days
Travel insurance has always been a bit mundane – lost bags, cancelled flights, sickness – but the increasingly adventurous trips Singaporeans are taking have prompted the sector to think outside the square.
These days, getting cover for exotic jaunts like an overseas wedding photo shoot or tandem skydiving is becoming more common.
Insurer Aviva told The Straits Times that it introduced coverage for destination weddings and overseas wedding photography in June last year in response to growing demand. You can insure yourself against the wedding service provider going broke, injuries to guests or damage to property, and even the loss of the wedding gown, ring or marriage certificate.
This optional add-on for overseas weddings or photo shoots costs around $27 for a one-week trip while $8.37 gets winter sports coverage.
Chubb Travel Insurance has a similar offering for overseas wedding photo shoots, covering postponements or cancellations for specified reasons.
Mr Scott Ng, co-founder of wedding photography company OneThreeOneFour, welcomes this kind of insurance cover: “It could be especially useful for couples holding destination weddings. For example, it is possible that certain parts of the villa may be damaged by guests during the wedding party. The reimbursements from these insurance claims will help couples offset… such damages.”
Novel insurance offerings
1. PMD RIDER INSURANCE
Insurer NTUC Income offers cover for personal mobility device riders. The policy provides coverage for accidental death or permanent disability, as well as medical expenses incurred during accidents.
NTUC Income said the product also offers up to $1 million coverage for damages against third parties due to accidental injuries or damage of property.
Around 1,000 customers have bought the policy, which was introduced in April 2016.
2. MATERNITY INSURANCE
Insurer Aviva said it is the first in the market to provide coverage for a child’s developmental delay and stem cell transplant surgery. The MyMaternityPlan, introduced last November, is a three-year policy that covers both mother and child for 10 pregnancy complications, 23 congenital illnesses and death.
Aviva added that the policy responds to a growing number of children being diagnosed with developmental problems, such as autism or speech and language delays.
As many as four babies can be covered in a single pregnancy.
3. TRAVEL INSURANCE FOR YOUR DOMESTIC HELPER
Insurer DirectAsia lets you add your domestic helper to a family travel insurance plan, with an additional premium. The option was introduced this February after customer feedback.
Insurer AIG’s family plan covers two adults so if only one parent is going on a trip, the domestic worker can be covered and does not have to buy a separate policy.
The same applies for insurer Sompo’s family travel plan. Sompo also offers worldwide personal accident and medical insurance coverage as part of its maid insurance.
A Ministry of Manpower spokesman said employers are allowed to take their foreign domestic workers overseas while on a holiday, but remain bound by the Employment of Foreign Manpower Regulation covering issues such as paying salaries and ensuring well-being.
Noel Low and Aw Cheng Wei
USEFUL FOR COUPLES
It could be especially useful for couples holding destination weddings. For example, it is possible that certain parts of the villa may be damaged by guests during the wedding party. The reimbursements from these insurance claims will help couples offset… such damages.
MR SCOTT NG, co-founder of wedding photography company OneThreeOneFour, on insurance coverage for destination weddings.
One of Mr Ng’s customers had to change a wedding photo shoot location from Bali to South Korea due to the eruption of Mount Agung late last year. Insurance could have helped to cover the cost of flight changes for such unexpected situations.
Several insurers have also expanded their offerings to include cover for adventurous or extreme sports, from scuba diving to skiing to tandem skydiving.
Insurers cater to active lifestyles
Aviva’s winter sports policy covers any mishaps or loss of equipment while skiing or snowboarding, and even the closure of the ski facility or delay due to avalanche.
Mr Karl Hamann, president of the General Insurance Association of Singapore, said “consumers today are better-informed about the various insurance options available so that they can enjoy their active lifestyles with peace of mind”.
National University of Singapore student Low Jia Jin, 23, bought insurance from AIG Travel Guard to cover his ski trip to Sweden last November.
After three days of cross-country skiing, he woke up one morning to severe pain and swelling, in what he suspects is an “overuse injury”.
The insurance paid for an X-ray and medical bills, which amounted to more than $1,000.
Mr Low has also bought similar insurance cover for his other escapades, including a hike in Drakensberg Traverse in Lesotho four years ago.
He hired a local guide as a requirement for insurance coverage, which he said was a move that saved his trip. A group of Spanish tourists he met on the hike had their belongings stolen.
“The guide picked the right place to sleep and that kept us safe”, he said.
Golfing is also covered by many insurers, offering compensation for the loss of equipment and unused green fees.
Scoring a hole-in-one can also warrant a claim for food-and-beverage expenses, given the long-standing tradition that the lucky golfer must buy a round or two so those present can celebrate.