Travel insurance Singapore

Singapore, also known as the ‘Garden City’–for its many parks and tree-lined streets–is one of the world’s favourite tourist destinations, especially for Australians. 

Singapore is nestled in the heart of South-East Asia and boasts a mixture of cultures. It also has a high level of safety compared to other South-East Asian destinations. 

Whether you’re taking in the nearly 100-hectare Gardens by the Bay, or strolling through the Singapore Botanical Gardens, visiting the Singapore Zoo, or even just checking out the world’s largest indoor waterfall on the way out of Changi Airport, packing a travel insurance policy can help you get the most out of your trip, without the hassle of worrying if something goes wrong.

What should my travel insurance policy for Singapore include?

When comparing international travel insurance policies, consider what kind of traveller you are. The questions you should be asking include how long you are travelling for, what benefits you might need (like cancellation or travel provider default), and if there are any optional-extras you’re interested in.

Whether you’re travelling around Singapore in a rental vehicle or motorbike, backpacking, or sightseeing, an international travel insurance policy should fit your needs and budget. 

Being an island, it would be remiss of tourism operators not to have cruises on offer. So, if you’re looking to cruise off the coast of this island city-state, then make sure your policy offers cruise travel insurance as an optional-extra.

Also, if you’re travelling with a pre-existing medical condition, make sure that your insurance provider covers your condition. You don’t want to foot the bill in an overseas hospital if your health acts up while travelling. 

Many travel insurance providers will offer different tiers of cover on their international policies. These often range from basic or essential policies, to premium or comprehensive policies. 

Generally, a basic policy will cover benefits like overseas emergency medical and hospital expenses, and personal liability. However, cover for things like flight delays, cancellations, loss of travel documents or cash, might only be available if you pay a higher premium. The question you have to ask yourself is, what can I afford to risk?

Do Australians need a visa to travel to Singapore?

As an Australian, you will not need a visa to enter Singapore. However there are entry requirements, according to the Singaporean Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  

To enter Singapore you will need:

  • A passport that is valid for at least six months
  • Sufficient funds for the length of your intended stay
  • A submitted SG Arrival Card 
  • A confirmed onward or return ticket (where applicable)
  • Evidence that you can enter your next destination (for example, a visa)
  • A Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate, if applicable.

If you have all of the required documents, then you’ll be able to get a Visit Pass, which will indicate how long you’re allowed to stay in the country.

Can I get COVID-19 travel insurance for Singapore?

According to new updates from Smartraveller, Singapore’s entry requirements have changed for overseas travellers. 

“Singapore has transitioned to a new Vaccinated Travel Framework. If you're fully vaccinated and haven't visited a 'Restricted Category' destination, you can enter Singapore quarantine free. You no longer need a pre-departure test before travelling to Singapore. You'll need to complete a Singapore Arrival Card. If you're not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and have received prior approval to enter Singapore, you'll need travel insurance with a minimum coverage of SGD$30,000. You don't need a pre-departure test to transit through Singapore.”

However, if you’re travelling overseas, your international travel insurance might not cover you for any COVID-19 related claims, depending if your destination is considered high risk by the Australian government’s Smartraveller warnings. So, before you go booking your Singaporean adventure, make sure you check the travel advice warnings for your destinations. 

If your policy does cover COVID-19 related events, it may only provide cover for overseas medical and cancellation costs if you contract COVID-19, and may not cover things like mandatory quarantine or cancellations resulting from government-mandated border closures.

Singapore laws and travel insurance

Travel insurance providers often have a list of general exclusions which may affect your claim, should you need to make one. Most commonly, a provider’s policy will state that any claims which result from you acting against local laws will not be covered. And in Singapore the laws differ drastically from other countries, like Australia. So, take heed of these, as some of them may come as a surprise, while others come with dramatic consequences.

Singapore laws which you need to know about

  • Illicit drugs. Possession of, or being under the influence of drugs is illegal and can result in caning and even the death penalty.
  • ‘Outrage of modesty’ laws. Anything from being drunk, to the inappropriate behaviour of men towards women, to swearing, to inappropriate touching, are considered ‘outrages of modesty’. They can be met with penalties like jail, fines, and caning. 
  • Smoking. Smoking in public places and restaurants is illegal. 
  • Spitting. Spitting carries legal consequences.  
  • Chewing gum. Importing chewing gum, or even chewing it is illegal in Singapore. They like to keep their streets clean, and it shows! 
  • Littering. For the same reason that chewing gum is illegal, littering is also penalised in Singapore. 
  • Jaywalking. Crossing the street before it’s your turn can also carry legal consequences. 
  • Photography. Taking photos of official buildings where there are signs that prohibit photography is also considered a serious offence. 
  • Alcohol. It’s illegal to drink in public between 10:30pm and 7am, or in Liquor Control Zones. 
  • E-cigarettes/vaporisers. Importing vapes (even for your own use) is illegal. 
  • Same-sex acts between men are also illegal and could land you in jail.

Travel insurance tips for Singapore

  • Excess fees. When you need to make a claim on your travel insurance policy, you may be required to pay a certain part of the total value of your claim. The rest would be paid by the insurance provider. This amount that you need to pay yourself is called an excess. This excess fee can vary according to your policy. Generally, the cheaper the cover, the more likely your excess fee will be higher.
  • Pre-existing conditions. Travel insurance providers ask you to declare any pre-existing conditions at the time of purchasing the policy. If you fail to do so, the insurance company can reject a claim you later make regarding that condition. Also, remember that pregnancies are considered as a pre-existing condition.
  • Unattended baggage. Remember that if your bags go missing while you’ve left them unattended, your insurance provider may reject your claim. In fact, even when you leave your bags with the hotel concierge after you’ve checked out, that’s often considered ‘unattended’ in the provider’s eyes. So, leaving your luggage with the concierge at the hotel could result in your provider refusing to reimburse you for it, if it goes missing. 
  • Report incidents ASAP. Whether you’ve injured yourself while riding a bike, or had your purse stolen, you need to report any incident as soon as possible. Again, if you’ve read your policy’s product disclosure statement (PDS) carefully, you’ll know the exact documentation that you will be required to submit with your claim. Generally, these will be doctors reports, hospital bills, police reports, or receipts, depending on the nature of your claim. So, make sure you hold onto these when it comes to contacting your travel insurance provider. 
  • Driving in Singapore. First of all, don’t drive a vehicle you aren’t licensed to drive. For non-Singaporean citizens, you’re only permitted to drive if you hold an Australian driver’s licence and an International Driving Permit. Make sure you have the right paperwork when you hire a car in Singapore, and consider whether or not your policy covers rental vehicle insurance excess, in case there’s an accident in your hire car. And like in any part of the world, don’t drink and drive – your insurance will not cover you for any accidents while under the influence.
  • Drink responsibly. Always remember to be responsible with your drinks. If you face a medical emergency or injury while you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs, your insurance company could refuse to reimburse you for those expenses. The worst type of hangover doesn’t come from partying all night – it’s induced by bills.

Compare travel insurance - last updated 18 August 2022

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