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Travel and Overseas Study

Comparing Covid-19 Coverage of Travel Insurance

2023-01-03 11min read
Comparing-Covid-19-Coverage-of-Travel-Insurance-kv.jfif

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 15 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.

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

Assuming a 7-day trip to Japan  

ProductCOVID-19 
Coverage Score
Vaccination 
Requirement?
Single Adult 
Premium
Allianz Travel 
Single Trip Travel Insurance 
Gold
8.8No$ 160 
$ 288
Zurich 
Get “Z” Go Travel Insurance Plan 
Supreme Plan
8.5No$ 350 
$ 438 
Promo Code:
10LIFESINGLE20
BOC 
Universal Voyage Travel Insurance Plan 
Diamond Plan
8.5No$ 301 
$ 376
Allianz Travel 
Protector Plus 
Advanced
8.3No$ 179
AXA 
SmartTraveller Plus 
Superior Plan
8.1No$ 258
$ 344
MSIG 
iTravel Plus 
Plan A
7.5No$ 184
Blue Cross 
Travel Smart 
Premier Plan
6.7No$ 318
AIG 
TravelWise 
Deluxe Plan
6.5No$ 242
Dah Sing Insurance 
JourneySure Travel Insurance Plan 
Diamond Cover
6.5Yes$235 
$ 335 
Promo Code:
10LIFE2023
Prudential 
PRUChoice Travel
6.3Yes$ 197
Blue Cross 
TravelSafe Plus 
Global Diamond Plan
5.9No$ 283
Zurich 
Single Trip Individual Travel Insurance 
Gold Plan
5.8No$ 272
Hong Leong 
Single Travel Insurance 
Diamond Plan
4.8Yes$ 120
FWD 
TravelCare Plan A
3.8Yes$ 266
Starr 
TraveLead Travel Insurance 
Supreme
2.8No$ 180
Note: 
1. Products are ranked by 10Life Travel Insurance COVID-19 Coverage Score.
2. Premiums are rounded up to the nearest integers.

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. 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

ProductMedical Expense 
Limit
Overseas 
Hospital Cash
Emergency AssistanceTrip Curtailment due to sickness of insured/travel companion/ immediate family
Medical Evacuation and RepatriationCompassionate visitSeriously ill with COVID-19Contraction of COVID-19
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 Voyage 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
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
$1,200,000X$15,000X
Dah Sing Insurance 
JourneySure Travel Insurance Plan 
Diamond Cover
$1,000,000XActual Cost Incurred$30,000$30,000
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
$1,000,000XActual 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 IncurredXX
Hong Leong 
Single Travel Insurance 
Diamond Plan
$1,000,000XXXX
FWD 
TravelCare Plan A
$500,000$1,000 Daily 
$14,000 Max
$100,000X$5,000 
only covering the insured
X
Starr 
TraveLead Travel Insurance 
Supreme
$500,000XXX$8,000X
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 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 Allianz Travel Single Trip Travel Insurance covers up to HK$2,000,000.

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: 10 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).

10 products extend the trip curtailment coverage to the COVID-19 contraction of the insured’s travel companion or immediate family, with reimbursement limits up to HK$50,000.

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

Assuming the insured is an adult 

ProductTrip cancellation before departureReturning 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 contactCompulsory quarantine cash allowance
Allianz Travel 
Single Trip Travel Insurance 
Gold
$40,000$40,000XX
Zurich 
Get “Z” Go Travel Insurance Plan 
Supreme Plan
$40,000$40,000$40,000$500 Daily $5,000 Max
BOC 
Universal Voyage Travel Insurance Plan 
Diamond Plan
$50,000$50,000$50,000X
Allianz Travel 
Protector Plus 
Advanced
$50,000$50,000XX
AXA 
SmartTraveller Plus 
Superior Plan
$50,000$50,000$50,000$800 Daily $5,600 Max
MSIG 
iTravel Plus 
Plan A
$50,000$50,000$50,000X
Blue Cross 
Travel Smart 
Premier Plan
$50,000, 
only covering the insured
XXX
AIG 
TravelWise 
Deluxe Plan
$15,000$15,000XX
Dah Sing Insurance 
JourneySure Travel Insurance Plan 
Diamond Cover
$50,000XXX
Prudential 
PRUChoice Travel
XXXX
Blue Cross 
TravelSafe Plus 
Global Diamond Plan
$50,000, 
only covering the insured
XXX
Zurich 
Single Trip Individual Travel Insurance 
Gold Plan
XXX$500 Daily $5,000 Max
Hong Leong 
Single Travel Insurance 
Diamond Plan
XXXX
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
$8,000XXX
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.

Over half of the products 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. Among them, 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 Dec 2022 and exclude any insurance levy collected by the Insurance Authority.
4. The above information is updated as of 27 Dec 2022.

10Life Editorial Team

Our team of professional content researchers focussing on insurance

10Life Editorial Team

Our team of professional content researchers focussing on insurance

Disclaimer

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