Comparing Covid-19 Coverage of Travel Insurance

Estimated reading time 10 minutes

10Life Team

28 Dec 2022
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10Life Team

28 Dec 2022

Estimated reading time 10 minutes

Many people in Hong Kong are still eager to plan trips to popular destinations like Japan, Korea, and Thailand. As COVID-19 cases around the world are still significant, 10Life has compiled a comparison of COVID-19 coverage across 16 travel insurance products in the market. The 10Life Travel Insurance COVID-19 Coverage Score puts a primary focus on medical expense coverage, as overseas medical expenses can post the highest risks to the customer due to the uncertainty in costs.

Although travel insurance would normally cover infectious disease related risks, many insurers had applied exclusions on COVID-19 related events after WHO declared it as a pandemic (hence a known risk). Recently due to demand many insurers have introduced selected COVID-19 coverage in travel insurance, including medical expenses, trip curtailment and trip cancellation.

In view of the development of COVID-19 epidemic situation, Japan will only allow direct flights from China, Hong Kong and Macau to depart from and land at four airports – Narita, Haneda, Kansai and Chubu starting from 30th Dec, 2022. Travel insurance policies will not cover the concerning flight delay, trip cancellation or trip curtailment caused by government regulations or quarantine control, HKFI said.

Table 1: COVID-19 coverage and price (in HKD) comparison

Assuming a 7-day trip to Japan

Product COVID-19
Coverage Score
Vaccination
Requirement?
Single Adult
Premium
HSBC
TravelSurance
Asia Standard Plan
9.6 No $ 294
Allianz Travel
Single Trip Travel Insurance
Gold
8.8 No $ 160
$ 288
Zurich
Get “Z” Go Travel Insurance Plan
Supreme Plan
8.5 No $ 355
$ 418
Promo Code (15% off): 10LIFESINGLE
BOC
Universal Smart Travel Insurance Plan
Diamond Plan
8.5 No $ 224
Allianz Travel
Protector Plus
Advanced
8.3 No $ 179
AXA
SmartTraveller Plus
Superior Plan
8.1 No $ 261
$ 307
livi bank
TravelNow
Plus
7.5 No $ 235
MSIG
iTravel Plus
Plan A
7.5 No $ 184
Blue Cross
Travel Smart
Premier Plan
6.7 No $ 318
AIG
TravelWise
Deluxe Plan
6.5 No $ 242
Prudential
PRUChoice Travel
6.3 Yes $ 197
Blue Cross
TravelSafe Plus
Global Diamond Plan
5.9 No $ 283
Zurich
Single Trip Individual Travel Insurance
Gold Plan
5.8 No $ 272
Hong Leong
Single Travel Insurance
Diamond Plan
4.8 Yes $ 120
FWD
TravelCare Plan A
3.8 Yes $ 266
Starr
TraveLead Travel Insurance
Supreme
2.8 No $ 180
Note: Products are ranked by 10Life Travel Insurance COVID-19 Coverage Score.

Significant differences in overall COVID-19 coverage

The 10Life Travel Insurance COVID-19 Coverage Score is made up of 5 components, including medical expense (60%), hospital cash (10%), trip cancellation (10%), trip curtailment (10%) and emergency assistance (10%) (note 1). Medical expense is a key risk due to the potential high costs in overseas medical expenses. For example in Japan, foreigners have to pay 200% of the actual hospital costs without local health insurance. Note that this score is for reference only, and readers should compare individual benefit items based on their personal needs.

The wide range in the COVID-19 coverage scores reflect significant differences across products in the market. Among the top coverage products, Allianz Travel Single Trip Gold has the highest value for money relatively low price. It is worth noting that to get the COVID-19 related cover, some insurers require the insured to be vaccinated (e.g. 2 does for Prudential and Hong Leong, 3 doses for FWD). Prudential’s vaccine requirement also excludes any medical exemption.

Table 2: During Trip – Coverage of COVID-19 medical expenses, hospital cash, emergency assistance and trip curtailment (Maximum Benefits, HKD)

Assuming the insured is an adult

Product Medical Expense
Limit
Overseas
Hospital Cash
Emergency Assistance Trip Curtailment due to sickness of insured/travel companion/ immediate family
Medical Evacuation and Repatriation Compassionate visit Seriously ill with COVID-19 Contraction of COVID-19
HSBC
TravelSurance
Asia Standard Plan
$5,000,000 $500 Daily
$6,000 Max
Actual Cost Incurred $50,000 $50,000
Allianz Travel
Single Trip Travel Insurance
Gold
$2,000,000 $500 Daily
$10,000 Max
Actual Cost Incurred $40,000 $40,000
Zurich
Get “Z” Go Travel Insurance Plan
Supreme Plan
$1,500,000 $500 Daily
$5,000 Max
Actual Cost Incurred $40,000 $40,000
BOC
Universal Smart Travel Insurance Plan
Diamond Plan
$1,500,000 $800 Daily
$12,000 Max
Actual Cost Incurred $50,000 $50,000
Allianz Travel
Protector Plus
Advanced
$1,800,000 $500 Daily
$10,000 Max
Actual Cost Incurred $50,000 $50,000
AXA
SmartTraveller Plus
Superior Plan
$1,000,000 $500 Daily
$5,000 Max
Actual Cost Incurred $50,000 $50,000
livi bank
TravelNow
Plus
$1,000,000 $450 Daily
$7,500 Max
Actual Cost Incurred $40,000 $40,000
MSIG
iTravel Plus
Plan A
$1,000,000 $500 Daily
$5,000 Max
$2,000,000 $50,000 $50,000
Blue Cross
Travel Smart
Premier Plan
$1,200,000 $500 Daily
$12,000 Max
Actual Cost Incurred $50,000
only covering the insured
X
AIG
TravelWise
Deluxe Plan
$1,200,000 $200 Daily
$2,800 Max
$1,200,000 X $15,000 X
Prudential
PRUChoice Travel
$1,200,000 $200 Daily
$10,000 Max
Actual Cost Incurred $25,000 $25,000
Blue Cross
TravelSafe Plus
Global Diamond Plan
$1,000,000 X Actual Cost Incurred $50,000
only covering the insured
X
Zurich
Single Trip Individual Travel Insurance
Gold Plan
$1,000,000 $250 Daily
$5,000 Max
Actual Cost Incurred X X
Hong Leong
Single Travel Insurance
Diamond Plan
$1,000,000 X X X X
FWD
TravelCare Plan A
$500,000 $1,000 Daily
$14,000 Max
$100,000 X $5,000
only covering the insured
X
Starr
TraveLead Travel Insurance
Supreme
$500,000 X X X $8,000 X
Remarks:
1. The medical expense limit may be reduced based on the age of the insured for some products.
2. The medical expense limit is shared with overseas hospital cash and emergency assistance for some products.
3. For some products, hospital cash and compulsory quarantine cash may not be claimed for the same event at the same time.
4. Products are ranked by 10Life Travel Insurance COVID-19 Coverage Score.

900% difference in medical expense coverage

Contracting COVID-19 remains one of the biggest risks of travel right now. Popular destinations such as Japan and Korea still have more than 10,000 newly confirmed cases every day. The risks of re-infection or serious illness still exist, and medical expenses should not be ignored. All 16 products cover the cost of COVID-19 related medical expenses through reimbursement. As shown in Table 2, the coverage limit varies by insurer - Starr and FWD cover up to HK$500,000 only, while HSBC covers up to HK$5,000,000.

In addition, most of the plans offer daily hospital cash benefit due to COVID-19, ranging from HK$200 to HK$1,000 per day. The most generous is FWD, offering a daily hospital cash of HK$1,000 with a total maximum of HK$14,000 (i.e. 14 days).

Most products offer Emergency Assistance

All products, except those issued by Hong Leong and Starr, cover emergency medical evacuation and repatriation. Medical evacuation and repatriation cover the transportation services and/or service costs if the insured needs to be evacuated to the nearest qualified medical facility (or to the insured’s home country when necessary). However, this benefit should be of less relevance for COVID-19 positive patients as currently they are not allowed board a flight to Hong Kong.

Except products by AIG, Starr and AIG, all others cover compassionate visit. Compassionate visit benefit covers part of the transportation and accommodation costs incurred for family visit if the insured is hospitalised. Usually, this benefit is only payable under upon doctor’s recommendation and/or when the insured’s hospital stay is expected to last for a certain number of days.

Trip Curtailment: 9 products cover COVID-19 contraction of travel companion or immediate family

If the insured contracts COVID-19 during the trip and cannot continue the remaining planned trip, most insurers would indemnify non-refundable travel costs paid in advance, e.g., tickets to theme park, non-refundable hotel reservations and flights. Some products require the insured to return to Hong Kong to be eligible for the claim, while this condition may conflict with the latest government requirement to enter Hong Kong (i.e., holding a 24-hour negative COVID-19 test result).

HSBC, Allianz Travel (2 products), Zurich Get “Z” Go, AXA, BOC,  livi bank, MSIG and Prudential extend the trip curtailment coverage to the COVID-19 contraction of the insured’s travel companion or immediate family, with reimbursement limits of HK$40,000-50,000.

Table 3: Before/ After Trip - Trip cancellation and compulsory quarantine cash allowance (Maximum Benefits, HKD)

Assuming the insured is an adult

Product Trip cancellation before departure Returning to Hong Kong
Serious illness from COVID-19 (the insured, travel companion or immediate family) Diagnosed with COVID-19 (the insured, travel companion or immediate family) Compulsory isolation order as close contact Compulsory quarantine cash allowance
HSBC
TravelSurance
Asia Standard Plan
$50,000 $50,000 $50,000 X
Allianz Travel
Single Trip Travel Insurance
Gold
$40,000 $40,000 X X
Zurich
Get “Z” Go Travel Insurance Plan
Supreme Plan
$40,000 $40,000 $40,000 $500 Daily $5,000 Max
BOC
Universal Smart Travel Insurance Plan
Diamond Plan
$50,000 $50,000 $50,000 X
Allianz Travel
Protector Plus
Advanced
$50,000 $50,000 X X
AXA
SmartTraveller Plus
Superior Plan
$50,000 $50,000 $50,000 $800 Daily $5,600 Max
livi bank
TravelNow
Plus
$40,000 $40,000 $40,000 X
MSIG
iTravel Plus
Plan A
$50,000 $50,000 $50,000 X
Blue Cross
Travel Smart
Premier Plan
$50,000,
only covering the insured
X X X
AIG
TravelWise
Deluxe Plan
$15,000 $15,000 X X
Prudential
PRUChoice Travel
X X X X
Blue Cross
TravelSafe Plus
Global Diamond Plan
$50,000,
only covering the insured
X X X
Zurich
Single Trip Individual Travel Insurance
Gold Plan
X X X $500 Daily $5,000 Max
Hong Leong
Single Travel Insurance
Diamond Plan
X X X X
FWD
TravelCare Plan A
$5,000
only covering the insured
$5,000
only covering the insured
X $500 Daily $7,000 Max
Starr
TraveLead Travel Insurance
Supreme
$8,000 X X X
Note: Products are ranked by 10Life Travel Insurance COVID-19 Coverage Score.

Trip Cancellation: some products cover COVID-19 contraction of travel companion or immediate family

If the insured contracts COVID-19 before the trip and has to cancel the trip within certain days before travel commencement, some insurers would indemnify non-refundable travel costs paid in advance, e.g., tickets to theme park, non-refundable hotel reservations and flights. Note that certain insurers require you to purchase the insurance policy within a specified period ahead of the travel start date for this coverage to take effect.

HSBC, Allianz Travel (2 products), Zurich Get “Z” Go, BOC,  AXA, livi bank, MSIG and AIG extend the COVID-19 cancellation coverage to the insured’s travel companion or immediate family, with reimbursement limits from HK$15,000 to HK$50,000.

Trip cancellation due to isolation order as a close contact is also covered by a number of products, namely HSBC, Zurich Get “Z” Go, BOC,  AXA, livi bank, and MSIG. Among them, HSBC, BOC, AXA and MSIG offer up to the highest HK$50,000 reimbursement limit.

Some travel insurance products provide cash allowance on a daily basis if you are diagnosed with COVID-19 and need to be quarantined after arriving in Hong Kong. However, as current regulations do not allow COVID-19 positive persons to board a flight, the chance to receive this cash benefit may be slim, unless you are unfortunately infected during the flight journey.

While this article focuses on COVID-19 coverage of travel insurance, for information on the general coverage of travel insurance, e.g., loss of personal belongings and luggage delay, please refer to another article (Chinese only).

Note:
1. Emergency assistance includes medical evacuation or repatriation, compassionate visit, and return of minor children.
2. Assuming enrolled in the highest tier plan for travel to Asia.
3. The premium rates above are updated as of 27 Oct 2022 and exclude any insurance levy collected by the Insurance Authority.
4. The above information is updated as of 27 Oct 2022.

Disclaimer

10Life Product Comparison and 10Life Insurance Ratings are developed by 10Life Financial Limited, an authorised insurance broker company licensed with the Insurance Authority under License Number FB1526. 10Life Product Comparison and 10Life Insurance Ratings are developed for generic customer segments using mathematical calculations based on product information, facts and data, and are not influenced by any partnerships with or fees received from insurance companies.

Any information on 10Life Platform ("10Life Information"), including but not limited to Product Comparison, Product Ratings, Blog Articles are intended for general education purpose and reference only. None of the 10Life Information is intended, nor should they be considered or relied upon, as regulated advice, insurance, financial, investment or professional advice, recommendation, approval, endorsement, invitation or solicitation in respect of any insurance, financial or investment products. 10Life Information does not take into account your individual needs. Reading 10Life Information should not be considered as conducting a suitability assessment, and is not sufficient to form the basis of any decisions to purchase any insurance products. You should rely on information authorised by insurance companies, carry out your own research and/or seek independent advice from licensed intermediaries before purchasing any insurance products or making any insurance decisions. While reasonable effort is used when collecting, validating and updating 10Life Information from various channels, none of 10Life Group and its subsidiaries, affiliates, agents, directors, officers and employees will be responsible for any liability, claim or loss arising from or associated with you using 10Life Information. No warranty, representation or guarantee is given by 10Life Group and its subsidiaries on the accuracy, completeness and timeliness of the information.

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Nik, Leung Tsz Kei

梁芷萁

10Life Financial Manager, Insurance Specialist

4.8
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Jack, Ng Wai Lap

黃維立

AXA Branch Manager

4.7
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Winnie, Ng Wai King

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4.8
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Even, Shum Miu Chu

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Liu Lai Ting

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AIA Associate Director, Wealth Management and Protection

4.4
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