The world is opening up again. The Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) flights have been done away with and most travel insurance covers Covid-19, but hotel and flight prices have increased since Covid-19 happened.
But that's only one part of the picture - what happens if you test Covid-19 positive whilst on holiday?
Here's what to do if you get Covid-19 whilst travelling!
- Buy travel insurance early
- I got Covid-19 before my flight
- I got Covid-19 overseas
- I got Covid-19 after I came home
- My Covid-19 travel insurance claims were denied
1. Buy travel insurance (with Covid-19 coverage) early
Buy your travel insurance early. Seriously. Even before you get your flight tickets or accommodations.
The reason why this is so important is because:
- You can claim for trip cancellations or postponements before your trip
- You can claim for medical expenses relating to Covid-19 and/or quarantine allowance during your trip
- 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 with Covid-19 coverage. How much does travel insurance with Covid-19 coverage cost?
On average, it costs $120 to $400+ for a 15-day trip to Canada.
2. I got Covid-19 before my flight
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.
- 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
3. I got Covid-19 while travelling overseas
This is seriously the worst thing that could happen during your trip. You'll likely be transported from your hotel to another hotel for quarantine, or to the local hospital for treatment.
That means you're stuck in that country until your PCR test results are negative. For some people, this might take two weeks, or for others, it might take months.
When can I continue with my travels? It largely depends on how long you need to quarantine, based on the Covid-19 regulations of the country you're in.
If you tested positive for Covid-19 while travelling, do these immediately:
- Call your insurance company's overseas emergency hotline immediately
- See a doctor in your holiday country to determine whether you need to be hospitalised or quarantined
- You must document everything so you can submit it to your insurance company for claims:
- Your positive PCR test result
- Your doctor's memo stating that you have caught Covid-19 and the appropriate treatment plan (i.e. hospitalisation or quarantine)
- Your fully vaccinated status and verified with Notarise
- Your flight itinerary or boarding pass
- Your medical report or inpatient discharge summary
- Your original medical bills
- Fill in your insurance claims form and submit it
4. I tested Covid-19 positive after my holiday, back in Singapore
If you've just landed in Singapore and got a positive PCR test result from the on-arrival test at the airport, you should first check if the travel insurance you bought covers you for Covid-19 after your trip.
For example, FWD's travel insurance continues to cover you for Covid-19 for 14 days post-trip, and their coverage extends to medical expenses and hospital cash while in Singapore.
5. Covid-19 travel insurance claims denied
If, after painstakingly waiting a month or more for your Covid-19 travel insurance claims to be processed and it gets denied, you should appeal.
Your insurance company is required to tell you the reason why your travel insurance 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 are 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.