Planning a trip to Singapore? Get quotes and compare travel insurance policies to find the cover you need.
If you’re preparing to travel to Singapore, you’re probably overcome with the excitement and anticipation of seeing the sights, experiencing the culture and sampling the best this remarkable island city-state has to offer. Travel insurance is probably the last thing on your mind – but it shouldn’t be.
Before you board a flight to Changi Airport, it’s vital that you have adequate travel insurance cover in place for your trip from start to finish. Here’s why.
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Interesting points about Travel Insurance for Singapore
Why do I need travel insurance for Singapore?
Singapore is a relatively short flight from New Zealand, and as its culture has had a strong Western influence throughout its history, this unique city-state is somewhere many New Zealand travellers feel right at home. So why do you need travel insurance to go to Singapore?
There are plenty of compelling reasons, but the most important one is that travel insurance covers overseas medical costs. Once you leave New Zealand and enter Singapore, the subsidised health care you’re used to is no longer available. And when you consider that the cost of a hospital bed in Singapore is almost $900 a night, it quickly becomes clear that paying for medical costs out of your own pocket is not an attractive proposition.
This is where travel insurance comes to the rescue. It provides cover for overseas emergency medical costs, including ambulance transport, surgical fees and hospital accommodation in Singapore. If you require medical evacuation or repatriation back to New Zealand, your travel insurer can cover that as well.
If you don’t have travel insurance, you’re gambling on the fact that you’ll be lucky enough to stay fit and healthy throughout your trip. But if something goes wrong and you need medical care, the financial consequences could be catastrophic.
Comprehensive travel insurance also offers several other important benefits for New Zealand visitors to Singapore, including:
- Cover if you have to cancel your trip. Regardless of where you’re planning to travel, sometimes unexpected circumstances can turn your life upside down and force you to cancel your holiday. For example, a family member could pass away unexpectedly or your employer could cancel your pre-approved leave. If this happens, travel insurance can cover your cancellation fees and reimburse you for lost deposits.
- Cover if your luggage is lost, stolen or damaged. If your luggage or personal items are lost, stolen or damaged in Singapore, comprehensive travel insurance covers the cost to repair or replace it.
- Cover for luggage delays. If your airline temporarily misplaces your luggage when you touch down in Singapore, travel insurance can help you buy essential items like clothing and toiletries.
- Cover for travel delays. Inclement weather, natural disasters, industrial action and a variety of other unforeseen events can cause frustrating disruptions and delays. Luckily, travel insurance can cover additional accommodation and meal costs you incur as a result.
- Cover for rental vehicle insurance excess. If you hire a car and it’s crashed, stolen or maliciously damaged, the rental company will expect you to pay a hefty excess. But if you’ve got travel insurance, you can enjoy cover for some or all of this amount.
- Cover for theft. If your wallet or bag is stolen during your trip, travel insurance can help reimburse you for any lost cash, replace stolen credit cards and ensure that you don’t become a victim of fraud.
- Cover for lost or stolen passports. If you lose your passport or it’s stolen during your trip, your policy covers the cost of its replacement.
Don’t assume that your Singapore travel insurance policy will cover everything that could possibly go wrong on your trip. Insurance is only designed to protect you against unexpected events and mishaps, so you won’t have any cover if:
- You fail to take proper precautions. If your rental car is stolen after you leave it unlocked, unattended and with the keys in the ignition, don’t expect any sympathy from your insurer. The same goes for luggage and personal items that you leave unattended in public places.
- You’re drunk or under the influence of drugs. This is a common exclusion and one that many travellers are unaware of, so be warned: any claims that arise because you were affected by alcohol or drugs may be rejected.
- You break the law. Familiarise yourself with local laws, regulations and customs in Singapore before you travel, as your claim won’t be paid if it arises because you breach any prohibitions or act illegally.
- You travel against medical advice. Listen to your doctor’s advice and follow any instructions they give you, as travelling against medical advice is frowned upon by insurers.
- There are errors in your booking arrangements. Booked a flight to the wrong city? Booked a hotel at a different destination? Failed to get your passport organised in time? In any of these scenarios, your insurer won’t offer financial assistance.
- You travel against government advice. Check the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s (MFAT) Safe Travel website for the latest travel advisories for Singapore. If you visit a destination against the advice in one of these travel warnings, you won’t be covered.
- You have a pre-existing condition. You must disclose all pre-existing conditions when you apply for cover. If you do, the insurer may agree to cover that condition; if you don’t, any claims that arise because of it won’t be paid.
- You take part in high-risk adventure activities. Planning on participating in any adventure activities on your Singapore trip? Check the fine print to make sure your policy covers it, as many adventure sports are excluded unless you purchase extra cover.
There are many more exclusions you should be aware of before you travel, so take a look at our guide to travel insurance exclusions to find out more.
Is Singapore a safe destination?
Yes, Singapore is widely considered to be a safe destination for New Zealand travellers, with MFAT advising at the time of writing that tourists should exercise normal safety precautions.
However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep your wits about you and look out for a few key safety risks, such as:
- Smoke haze. From June to October, smoke haze occurs across Singapore. This could lead to health problems for people with respiratory issues. Monitor the latest health warnings from the Singapore Government to stay safe.
- Zika virus. Limited transmission of Zika virus has been detected in Singapore, so it’s recommended that pregnant women discuss travel plans with their doctor before visiting Singapore.
- Other illnesses. Dengue fever, chikungunya fever, Japanese encephalitis and other mosquito-borne illnesses occur in Singapore, especially during the wetter months (from November to March and from July to September). Prevent these illnesses by using insect repellent, wearing appropriate clothing and making sure your accommodation is mozzie-proof.
- Terrorism. Terrorism is a threat in Singapore, with commercial and tourist areas frequented by foreigners as possible targets. Keep an eye on your surroundings at all times and exercise normal safety precautions.
- Petty crime. Be aware of the risk of pickpocketing and street theft at Changi Airport, tourist destinations, hotels and on public transport.
- Monsoons. The monsoon season in Singapore is from December to March and from June to September. Strong winds and heavy rain during these times can severely disrupt travel plans.
Safety tips for Singapore
What can you do to stay safe during your trip to Singapore? Keep the following tips in mind:
- Visit your doctor. Have a check-up with your doctor at least a couple of months before you travel to make sure all your vaccinations are up to date and that you’re fit to travel.
- Obey strict drug laws. Singapore imposes harsh penalties on drug offences, including the death penalty, so make sure you stay on the right side of the law. The detection of illegal drugs in your blood or urine constitutes an offence, so you could even be prosecuted for drugs you consumed before arriving in Singapore.
- “Outrage of modesty” laws. There are also harsh laws concerning the “outrage of modesty”, which includes offences committed while under the influence of alcohol, inappropriate language and men behaving inappropriately towards women. Make sure you’re fully aware of these laws before you travel.
- Other important laws. There are a number of other Singaporean laws and penalties that apply to acts or offences that are considered minor or even completely legal in New Zealand. These include smoking in public places, spitting, jaywalking and even chewing gum. Read up on all laws before you travel to ensure that you don’t fall foul of the authorities.
- Passport rules. All travellers to Singapore must have at least six months remaining on their passport before entering the country. Make sure your passport meets the necessary requirements before you board your flight.
- Same-sex acts are illegal. Same-sex acts between men are illegal in Singapore. There’s no specific law regarding same-sex acts between women, but travellers are still advised to exercise caution.
- Keep it clean. Singaporeans take keeping their city clean very seriously and have strict rules to enforce it. While walking in the streets, be careful not to litter, drop chewing gum or smoke in illegal areas as this could easily get you into trouble with the local authorities.
- Weather. Singapore experiences hot and humid conditions all year round, with temperatures usually above 30 degrees. Brief downpours of torrential rain are also common, so make sure you pack to suit the conditions.
Who do I contact in an emergency?
It’s a good idea to keep a copy of important contact numbers in Singapore with you at all times. These include:
- The local emergency number for police: 999
- The local emergency number for fire/emergency response: 995
- Your travel insurer’s 24-hour emergency assistance line
- The New Zealand High Commission in Singapore:
1 George St, #21-04, Singapore 049145
Telephone: +65 6235 9966
If there’s a consular emergency and you can’t get in touch with the High Commission, you can contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre at +65 6235 9966.
If something goes wrong and you need to make a claim, contact your insurer as soon as possible. They will advise you of the next steps to take and any evidence you may need to supply to support your claim.
To submit a travel insurance claim you will usually need to:
- Notify your insurer
- Complete a claim form with full details of the incident that occurred and the loss suffered
- Provide any supporting documentation the insurer requests, for example medical reports, receipts or invoices, police reports and proof of ownership.
How do I find the best* travel insurance for Singapore?
There’s no such thing as the best* policy for all New Zealanders visiting Singapore, but there are a few simple things you can do to ensure that you find the right policy for your holiday:
- Think about the cover you need. What benefits do you want your policy to provide? How much cover do you want – for example, is unlimited emergency medical expenses cover a must? What do you plan on doing and seeing on your trip? How tight is your travel insurance budget?
- Find suitable policies. Answering the questions above will help you work out whether you want medical-only cover or a comprehensive policy. You can then start searching for insurers that offer all the cover features you want.
- Get quotes. Apply for quotes from multiple insurers to see how the cost of cover compares. However, remember that cost should only be one factor you consider when choosing a policy.
- Read the PDS. To find out whether a quote represents good value, read the PDS closely to find out what’s covered and to what extent. Make sure you also find out what’s excluded from cover before you decide on the right Singapore travel insurance for your trip.
FAQs about Singapore travel insurance
Usually, there is a cooling off period within which you can get refunded provided you have not started your journey and do not wish to exercise any of the rights under the policy i.e. make a claim. The cooling off period varies with the travel insurance policy you apply for but it is generally around 2 week