Covid-19 travel insurance claim guide: What should you do if you get Covid-19 while travelling?

Covid-19 travel insurance claim guide: What should you do if you get Covid-19 while travelling?
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The world is opening up again, what with the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) arrangements with Singapore, the multitude of travel insurance coverage against Covid-19 and even the price comparison between pre-Covid and Covid holiday prices!

But that’s only one part of the picture — what happens if you actually get the bug whilst on holiday? Just the thought of catching it could just put you off taking that well-deserved holiday, but don’t let that put you off. Find out what to do if you get Covid-19 whilst travelling below!

The first and most important thing to do before your travels

Get your travel insurance coverage. Seriously. Even before you get your flight tickets or accommodations.

The reason why this is so important is because:

  1. You get coverage for trip cancellations or postponements before your trip
  2. You get coverage for medical expenses relating to Covid-19 and/or quarantine allowance during your trip
  3. You get coverage for medical expenses relating to Covid-19 up to 14 days after your trip from some insurers

We’ve done a comparison of the best travel insurance policies with Covid-19 cover — if you’re interested, find it here.

Okay, I’ve bought my Covid-19 travel insurance. What would I do if I got Covid-19 before my trip?

Most insurers operate on a reimbursement and “last-resort” basis in the event of a trip cancellation or postponement.

This means that you will need to get a refund from the airline and accommodation provider first. Insurers will only step in to cover you when the above mentioned parties have denied your request for a refund, or have only been partially refunded. Even then, there are limits as to how much you can claim from your insurer.

In addition, you will also need to produce a positive PCR test result to your insurer to prove that your trip has been cancelled because of Covid-19.

In summary:

  • You need to collect the necessary receipts or emails to show your insurer that you have been denied a refund or partially refunded from your airline and/or accommodation provider
  • You need to have a positive Covid-19 PCR test result
  • You need to fill up your insurer of choice’s trip cancellation or postponement form and attach the above mentioned documents

Help! I got Covid-19 whilst frolicking during my trip!

This is seriously the worst thing that could happen during your trip — Singapore has made it such that you cannot return home unless you have a negative PCR test result for Covid-19

That means you’re stuck in the country you’re holidaying until your next PCR test results are negative. For some people, this might take two weeks, or for others, it might take months.

ALSO READ: What to look out for when buying travel insurance in Singapore (2022)

The World Health Organisation (WHO) advises that right after your positive PCR test result or symptom onset, you should isolate yourself for at least 10 days. After those 10 days are up, you should isolate yourself for another three days after your symptoms cease. That being said, how long you need to quarantine depends on what the doctor says, as well as the prevailing health mandate of the country you’re in.

In the meantime, here’s what you should do immediately after getting Covid-19 during your trip:

  1. Call your insurer immediately. 
  2. See a doctor in your holiday country to determine whether you need to be hospitalised or quarantined.
  3. Gather your supporting documents, specifically:
    1. Your positive PCR test result
    2. Your doctor’s memo stating that you have caught Covid-19 and the appropriate treatment plan (i.e. hospitalisation OR quarantine)
    3. Your fully vaccinated status and verified with Notarise
    4. Your flight itinerary or boarding pass
    5. Your medical report or inpatient discharge summary
    6. Your original medical bills
  4. Fill up your insurer’s claims form

I just landed in Singapore and got a positive PCR test result from the on-arrival test. What should I do?

You should first check if your insurer provides coverage for Covid-19 after your trip. Currently, the only insurer that provides such coverage is FWD, and their coverage only extends to medical expenses and hospital cash while in Singapore.

Beyond that, the Ministry of Health (MOH) in Singapore has outlined Covid-19 protocols if you test positive. Follow this link for guidance on what you should do.

Of notable interest in the said protocol is the simplification from previous ones — this is intended to reduce the strain on Singapore’s healthcare system.

What should I do if my claims get rejected from my insurer?

If, after painstakingly waiting a month or more for your claims to be processed and it gets denied, you should absolutely appeal.

Your insurer is required to tell you the reason why your claims were denied, as well as the grounds for their decision. Once you have received the reason and the grounds for their decision, you can request for a claims appeal

That being said, this may not have a 100 per cent success rate, and every claim has differing details or criteria that determines its success. Be sure to know the exact details of the ordeal when you got Covid-19 and make sure to document everything and get it verified!

Travel insurance isn’t just about Covid-19, it could be other things like travel disruption, loss of baggage and other things. Find out how to go about with this general travel insurance claims guide.

There’s always risks when you go travelling, and travel insurance is one of the best ways to mitigate that risk. It may not give you complete peace of mind, but at least as a traveller, this is one of the major steps you can take to cover yourself. Covid-19 is here to stay, and this is just another thing that we have to navigate on top of our travels.

This article was first published in MoneySmart.

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