Published on: 28 April 2021 by Michael Lamb
Starting in May, Hong Kong and Singapore will launch their joint “Air-Travel Bubble” (ATB) allowing individuals in either city to travel to Hong Kong or Singapore without the need for inbound quarantine. With a planned start date of May 26, the ATB will be initially limited to 1 flight per day from each city with a maximum of 200 travelers per flight.
Individuals wanting to travel from Singapore to Hong Kong, or from Hong Kong to Singapore, must test negative for Covid-19 at departure, and upon arrival. In addition, Hong Kong residents are only free to join the Air Travel Bubble 14 days after they have received their second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.
As part of the announcement, Hong Kong travelers were further notified that they must hold Travel Insurance with a minimum overall maximum benefit of SG$ 30,000 (US$22,600) in order to participate in the scheme.
Since Hong Kong banned non-resident travelers in March 2020 the need for travel insurance locally has been extremely small. However, in light of the ATB initiative, and the fact that Hong Kong is currently in negotiations with New Zealand and Australia to expand the travel bubble, now may be a good time to refresh our knowledge of Hong Kong Travel Insurance.
One of the stipulations for travelers participating in the Hong Kong-Singapore Air Travel Bubble is the requirement that they hold Travel Insurance, protecting them against the costs of Covid-related hospitalization and medical treatment.
The good news is that most Hong Kong and International Travel Insurance products start with Medical Coverage at their core.
While locally underwritten Hong Kong policies will normally have a lower overall level of medical protection than their international counterparts, within the local travel insurance market coverage can be obtained from HK$250,000 (US$32,212) per trip to HK$1,000,000 (US$128,851) per trip, ensuring that you have more than enough coverage to satisfy the requirements of the Air Travel Bubble.
As travel insurance is a time dependent product, and is purchased to cover the exact length of the trip you will be taking, it is up to you to consider how much protection you will need, if you plan on participating in the Hong Kong-Singapore travel bubble.
There is, obviously, a large amount of concern and confusion regarding medical coverage under a travel insurance policy and the global Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. For example, would a travel insurance underwriter consider the Covid-19 virus to be a pre-existing condition and therefore exclude it from coverage?
Fortunately, this is not the case; many insurers have committed to continuing cover following the WHO declaration of a global pandemic. However, as the global pandemic situation is still very much in flux it is critical that you first check with your insurer to see if there are any specific cutoff dates which could have an impact on your coverage. This is a great concern with the proposed Hong Kong-Singapore travel bubble; a change in the number of cases developing in either city could see the cessation of the travel plan.
As such, it is imperative that you are able to confirm with your insurer (or speak to a broker) and ensure that your trip has the required level of protection.
One of the biggest concerns for travelers, even with the Air Travel Bubble, is the potential that they contract the Covid-19 virus while overseas on their trip. While the specifics on how this situation will be handled depend entirely on the insurer and plan you have chosen to purchase, there are some generalities which can be described.
In most cases under Hong Kong travel insurance products, should you contract Covid-19 while overseas, the insurance will:
Additionally, many insurers are providing flexible extensions of coverage to ensure that you are fully protected should you contract the virus and need to stay overseas longer than you had initially planned.
If you are concerned about any aspect of Travel Insurance for an upcoming trip, of if you have planned to participate in the Hong Kong-Singapore Air Travel Bubble and would like to enquire about obtaining the requisite cover, please Contact Us to arrange a no-cost, no-obligation consultation with an expert Hong Kong Insurance broker today.
CCW Global is able to offer a wide range of customizable travel insurance options to Hong Kong residents, and individuals traveling through Hong Kong. Travel insurance solutions we work with are provided from leading global and domestic underwriters, and are able to cover you both in the Air Travel Bubble, or elsewhere around the world.