Best travel insurance with Covid-19 coverage for children

PHOTO: Pexels

As sensible readers, we know you wouldn't dream of going abroad without travel insurance. Especially, not now that rona is a thing.

Well, if you're a parent travelling with kids who will no doubt insist that you sacrifice your shopping time so you can visit every theme park and zoo in town, travel insurance is a thousand times more important.

The more of you there are, the greater the potential for something to go wrong. And kids tend to be more susceptible to falling sick thanks to changes in diet and environment.

You might have an iron stomach and a face so scary nobody would dare to pickpocket you. But you can't expect the same of your kids.

Here are all the best travel insurance plans in Singapore and their premiums and coverage for children:

1. Best travel insurance for children

Let's take for example a few travel insurance plans' prices for children. Assuming you will be travelling to New York (Worldwide plan) for a seven-day holiday with a child, here's how much the single-trip plan would cost for a child and the coverage limit it offers for key benefits where applicable.

While some insurance providers offer the purchase of single-trip plans for a child, others require you to purchase a family plan for coverage of a child.

Travel Insurance Single-trip plan price (worldwide/week) Child coverage
FWD Travel Insurance $42/week

Unlimited emergency medical evacuation

$60,000 overseas medical expenses

NTUC Travel Insurance $108.40/week

$500,000 emergency medical evacuation

$150,000 overseas medical expenses

AIG Travel Insurance $80/week

$50,000 emergency medical evacuation

$60,000 overseas medical expenses

AXA Travel Insurance Purchase of combined adult & child cover required

Unlimited emergency medical evacuation

$250,000 overseas medical expense

MSIG Travel Insurance Purchase of combined adult & child cover required

$1,000,000 emergency medical evacuation

$150,000 overseas medical expenses

Singlife with Aviva Travel Insurance Purchase of family plan required $250,000 emergency medical evacuation & overseas medical expenses combined
DBS Chubb Travel Insurance $171/week

$1,000,000 emergency medical evacuation

$200,000 overseas medical expenses

Great Eastern Travel Insurance $99/week Individual Classic or Elite plans extend to children between 10-15 years old. Otherwise, purchase of family plan is required.

$1,000,000 emergency medical evacuation

$300,000 overseas medical expenses

Child limits under family plan:

$1,000,000 emergency medical evacuation

$200,000 overseas medical expenses

Sompo Travel Insurance Purchase of family plan required

$100,000 emergency medical evacuation

$50,000 overseas medical expenses

AIA Travel Insurance Upon request

Unlimited emergency medical evacuation

$300,000 overseas medical expenses

2. Do children get free travel insurance?

Some insurance plans will enable one or more kids to receive the same cover for free, so always check with your insurer before you sign up for a plan. Following are travel insurance providers who offer coverage for children for free under the family plan:

Travel Insurance Plan Child coverage
DirectAsia Travel Insurance Family plan

Unlimited emergency medical evacuation

$60,000 overseas medical expenses

NTUC Travel Insurance $108.40/week

$1,500,000 emergency medical evacuation combined cover for adult and child

 

$150,000 overseas medical expenses combined cover for adult and child

Besides complimentary coverage by travel insurance providers, complimentary travel insurance issued with credit cards from banks like Citibank, AMEX, CIMB, do cover children. Here are some of the following and the key coverages:

Credit card Child coverage
Citi Rewards World Signature Card

 

Citi Cash Back World Signature Card

Citi Cash Back+ World Signature Card

Citi Lazada Visa Signature Card

Citi PremierMiles Card (auto-activate travel insurance)

Citi PremierMiles AMEX Card (auto-activate travel insurance)

Citi Prestige Card (auto-activate travel insurance)

Citi ULTIMA Card (auto-activate travel insurance)

$100,000 emergency medical evacuation

 

$20,000 overseas medical expenses

$42/week
AMEX KrisFlyer Credit Card Up to $100,000 personal accident
CIMB Visa Signature $25,000 accidental death

 

Up to $25,000 permanent disablement

CIMB Visa Infinite $100,000 emergency medical evacuation

 

Some travel insurance providers also require you to sign up for family cover which includes your spouse, kids and even parents if they are travelling with you. Just make sure your kids fall within the insurable age limit, as some plans might limit their coverage to kids above a certain age.

Also, don't forget to check what exactly your kids are being insured for and figure out if they are excluded from any type of cover.

3. Children's travel insurance exclusions: Outdoor adventure activities

PHOTO: Pexels

Insurers usually include on their list of exclusions risky activities that they do not insure for. Looking across the board, the following are outdoor activities and extreme sports that are usually not covered by insurance providers:

  • Canoeing or white water rafting without a qualified guide or Grade four and above (of the International Scale of River Difficulty).
  • Off-piste skiing, or skiing outside the officially approved boundaries of a ski resort.
  • Mountaineering beyond the height of 3,000 metres above sea level.
  • Underwater activities involve artificial breathing apparatus for diving deeper than 30 metres.

However, the coverage of extreme sports and outdoor activities varies depending on the insurance provider and their policy terms. Some insurers only offer coverage for extreme sports and outdoor activities in their higher tier plans while completely excluding any coverage in their basic plans. Here's a general table of the coverage limits:

Travel Insurance Leisure Outdoor Activities Bungee, Rock Climbing
FWD Travel Insurance Yes

Yes

NTUC Travel Insurance Scuba diving, ski, winter sports, hiking, trekking only

No

AIG Travel Insurance Yes

Rock climbing only

AXA Travel Insurance Yes

Yes

MSIG Travel Insurance Yes (no winter sports)

Bungee jumping only

Singlife with Aviva travel insurance Buy rider No
DBS Chubb travel insurance Yes

Yes

Great eastern travel Insurance Yes

Yes

Sompo travel insurance Scuba diving, hiking, trekking only

No

AIA Travel Insurance Yes

Rock climbing only

Etiqa Travel Insurance Yes

Bungee jumping only

Direct Asia Travel Insurance Buy rider

Buy rider

Citibank Travel Insurance

Scuba diving, white water raft, hiking, trekking, ski, yacht only

Yes for Citi PremierMiles, Prestige, Ultima

Tokio Marine Travel Insurance Yes

Yes

UOB Travel Insurance Scuba diving only

No

OCBC Travel Insurance Yes

Yes

AMEX travel Insurance Yes

Yes

If you require additional coverage for your child, boost your child's travel insurance policy with a winter sports rider or outdoor adventurous activities riders from the likes of DirectAsia or Singlife with Aviva.

4. Pre-existing medical conditions

Most travel insurance policies will reject claims made for medical issues arising from a pre-existing health condition. If your child does in fact suffer from pre-existing health conditions such as asthma and heart conditions (amongst others) there are several insurance providers that offer plans that cover pre-existing conditions. This includes NTUC travel insurance, MSIG travel insurance and Etiqa travel insurance.

Be forewarned, travel insurance plans that cover pre-existing health conditions cost far more than regular travel insurance plans. However, if your child suffers from a potentially life-threatening ailment, you have little choice but to part with your cash for it. The hospital bills you could chalk up overseas might eventually cost you many times more than a travel insurance plan for pre-existing conditions.

With that said, let's take a look at each provider and see how it fairs in terms of price and coverage.

NTUC Enhanced PreX Travel Insurance Premiums and Coverage:

NTUC Enhanced PreX Travel Insurance Basic PreX Superior PreX Prestige PreX
Price (ASEAN) $61.50/week $74.50/week $85/week
Price (Asia) $71/week $88.50/week $102/week
Price (Worldwide) $125/week $148/week $166.50/week
Overseas medical expenses $200,000 $200,000 $300,000
Emergency medical evacuation Under medical expenses Under medical expenses Under medical expenses
Personal accident (death, TPD) $100,000 $100,000 $150,000
Travel delay ($50/6 hours) $1,500 $1,500
$2,000
Trip cancellation (co-payment) - 50 per cent 50 per cent
Trip postponement (co-payment) - 50 per cent 50 per cent
Baggage delay ($50/6 hours) $1,200 $1,200 $2,000
Baggage loss $5,000 $5,000 $8,000
Sports & Adventure Limited (scuba diving, hiking, skiing covered) Limited (scuba diving, hiking, skiing covered) Limited (scuba diving, hiking, skiing covered)
Covid-19 Yes Yes Yes

*NTUC defines a child as anyone aged 21 years and below.

NTUC's Enhanced Pre-X plans also include Covid-19 cover. If you're taking no chances with your child's health, NTUC's Enhanced Pre-X plan is a one-stop shop that covers all bases from pre-existing conditions to Covid-19.

The only gripe we have with NTUC's Enhanced Pre-X plans is that the overseas medical expenses and emergency medical evacuation coverage share a combined total of $200,000 for the Basic and Superior plans.

 The highest tier Prestige plan, on the other hand, has a coverage limit of $300,000 for both overseas medical expenses and emergency medical evacuation. The other two providers, MSIG and Etiqa offer separate coverage for each category.

MSIG TravelEasy Pre-Ex Travel Insurance Premiums and Coverage:

MSIG TravelEasy Pre-Ex Standard Elite Premier
Price (area A) $64/week $82/week $110/week
Price (area B) $77/week $97/week $136/week
Price (area C) $104/week $135/week $176/week
Medical expenses (overseas) $150,000 $200,000 $300,000
Hospitalisation daily benefit (overseas) $100/day, max $5,000 $125/day, max $12,500 $150/day, max $15,000
Emergency medical evacuation $1,000,000 $1,000,000 $1,000,000
Personal accident (death & TPD) $50,000 $75,000 $100,000
Travel delay ($100/6 hours) $500 $1,000 $1,500
Trip cancellation $5,000 $10,000 $15,000
Trip shortening $5,000 $10,000 $15,000
Baggage delay $150/six hours, max $600 $200/six hours, max $1,000 $250/six hours, max $1,500
Baggage loss/damage $3,000 $5,000 $7,500
Adventure activities No Yes Yes

*MSIG defines a child as anyone who is at least a month below 18 years, or below 23 years if studying full-time in a recognised institution of higher learning.

Compared to other travel insurance providers who also offer plans for pre-existing health conditions, MSIG seems to be more stringent about who can qualify for its TravelEasy Pre-Ex plans.

PHOTO: Pexels

To be eligible for the TravelEasy Pre-Ex plans, you have to declare that your child has been on medication and diligent with follow-up doctor visits. If you have been hospitalised for more than three consecutive days in the past 12 months, you might not be eligible for the TravelEasy Pre-Ex plans.

Coverage wise, MSIG's TravelEasy Pre-Ex plans do not offer Covid-19 cover. With the potential for Covid-19 to exacerbate existing health conditions, travelling without Covid-19 cover in these times is less than ideal.

Etiqa Tiq Pre-Ex travel insurance premiums and coverage:

Etiqa Tiq Pre-Ex Pre-X Entry Pre-X Savvy Pre-X Luxury
Price (zone one) $93 $123 $147
Price (zone two) $115 $155 $186
Price (zone three) $158 $211 $254
Medical expenses (overseas) $75,000 $150,000 $250,000
Hospitalisation daily benefit (overseas) $200/day, max $5,000 $200/day, max $10,000 $200/day, max $20,000
Emergency medical evacuation & repatriation $1,000,000 $1,500,000 $1,800,000
Personal accident (death & TPD) $50,000 $100,000 $200,000
Travel delay ($50/three hours) $300 $300 $500
Trip cancellation $5,000 $5,000 $10,000
Trip shortening $3,000 $3,000 $5,000
Baggage delay $100/six hours, max $200 $100/six hours, max $200 $100/six hours, max $200
Baggage loss/damage $2,000 $2,000 $3,000
Adventure activities No Yes Yes

*Etiqa defines a child as anyone who is at least three months below 18 years, or below 25 years if studying full-time in a recognised institution of higher learning.

Like MSIG, Etiqa is stringent with its coverage for its pre-ex travel insurance plans. For instance, if you have been hospitalised for a pre-existing condition in the past 12 months, you will not be covered under the Etiqa Tiq Pre-Ex plans. The both providers also share another commonality in the lack of Covid-19 coverage for their travel insurance plans with coverage for pre-existing health conditions.

Also, do note that while the Pre-X Savvy and Luxury plans include adventure activities, extreme sports are not covered.

5. Outpatient treatments included?

Seeking medical care in a foreign land can be tough, especially when you don’t speak the language. If the child is not suffering from something that needs immediate attention, many parents would prefer to wait till they return to Singapore to seek treatment.

You’ll want to check if your insurance plan covers outpatient treatment without having to first see a doctor in a foreign country. If it does, you can make a claim for seeing a local doctor within a certain time period upon your arrival in Singapore.

Here’s an overview of all the most popular travel insurance plans and their coverage for children:

Travel Insurance Outpatient treatments for xhild
FWD Travel Insurance Yes (within 48 hours of return to Singapore)
NTUC Travel Insurance Yes (within three days of return to Singapore)
AIG Travel Insurance Yes (within two days of return to Singapore)
AXA Travel Insurance Yes (within five days of return to Singapore)
MSIG Travel Insurance Yes (within 72 hours of return to Singapore)
Singlife with Aviva Travel Insurance Yes (within five days of return to Singapore)
DBS Chubb Travel Insurance Yes (within 72 hours of return to Singapore)
Great Eastern Travel Insurance Yes (within 72 hours of return to Singapore)
Sompo Travel Insurance Yes (within two days of return to Singapore)
AIA Travel Insurance Yes (within two days of return to Singapore)

6. When to buy travel insurance for my child?

Get more out of your insurance by buying it as early as possible, preferably the minute you've confirmed your trip by booking your air tickets.

That's because your insurance can compensate you if anything happens to disrupt your trip even before it happens, such as your flight getting cancelled or an illness forcing you to postpone your trip.

With children in tow, the likelihood of such events happening is higher. For instance, if one of your kids gets chicken pox and can't go on the trip, you might be able to get a refund on your travel expenses. The cost of travel insurance is the same no matter when you buy it, so the earlier the better. Just make sure you get the right policy for your travel needs. We've done the legwork for you with a comprehensive list of the best travel insurance policies.

ALSO READ: Is it necessary to buy travel insurance?

This article was first published in MoneySmart