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Why multiple travel insurance policies can be better than a single group policy

TLDR; Group travel insurance policies might be cheaper than individual policies, but the extent of their coverage is also lower, provided you're even covered at all! So always be sure to read the clauses. What? No time? Don't worry, we've summarised it for you in this article. (3 minute read)

This article was first published on SingSaver

If you travel in a group, such as with family or friends, you have the option to either:

  1. Cover everyone under one group travel insurance policy
  2. Insure each individual separately.

It seems intuitive that a group policy can offer better value compared to multiple individual policies – and in most cases, this could be true. A simple comparison between policy prices, for example, could easily persuade you to choose in favour of a group policy, even if the margin is only a few dollars.

But when it comes to the extent of coverage, you may want to think twice. Here are some situations when you could actually find it beneficial to purchase multiple travel insurance policies over a single group one.

1. When you’re travelling with extended family

When purchasing travel insurance with family cover, it’s important that you know how the policy provider defines “family”. In most cases, family refers to a husband, wife, and their biological or legally adopted children. This means that helpers, grandparents, cousins, and adult siblings are not considered eligible under family cover. Some policies even have a cap on the number of children covered under family cover.

When travelling with the elderly as well, there is a higher chance that they will have pre-existing medical conditions – which is not covered under most standard group travel insurance policies. For example, Grandma could have a pre-existing heart condition. If she is covered under a family or group policy, and she has a heart attack while on holiday, she might not be eligible for any medical expenses claims pertaining to her pre-existing condition.

Alternatively, if she has her own individual travel policy that covered pre-existing medical conditions, she would have been insured.

2. When you’re travelling to high-risk destinations

The cap on the amount insured for group travel insurance policies is usually lower than that of individual travel insurance policies.

For example, take a look at this clause in one of the plans offered by Insurance Provider A:

An example of claim limits for group policies under Insurance Provider A.

For a Tier 3 subscriber, the total amount insured under family cover is $15,000 – the same amount as 2 adults at $7,500 each, leaving no room for extra claims under the children. There is also a clause that says there is a maximum claim of one mobile device per trip under family cover.

If you’re travelling to a high-risk destination with a higher chance of theft or loss of baggage, it may be worth your while to maximise the total claimable amount by purchasing multiple individual travel policies.

Under Insurance Provider B’s Family Plan, for example, there is a limit cap for the total amount claimable. The Family limit is roughly equivalent to the total amount for 2 adults and 1 senior, regardless of the size of the family.

Medical exclusions and claim limits for a Family Plan under Insurance Provider B.

3. When you’re travelling with a group of friends

The thing about group travel insurance policies is that it provides blanket coverage for everyone under the policy for a fixed number of dates only. This means that departure and arrival dates for everyone in the group must be the same.

So if say, a couple wants to extend their trip, or take a detour to another country before meeting up again with the group, they will not be able to do so under the terms of a group policy. In such cases, purchasing individual policies will offer better flexibility, especially when travellers are not too dependent on each other.

Bottom line

There can be multiple factors that go into choosing the right travel insurance for your needs. Before purchasing a family or group travel insurance policy, it is important to read the fine print about claim limits. There are also exclusions with regard to what constitutes loss and injury.

If the price of a group policy for up to 5 people costs $75, that works out to $15/person. It may be worth topping up a little more to purchase individual policies instead.

SingSaver is a personal finance comparison platform which provides free, quick and easily accessible resources to help consumers understand personal finance products in Singapore; including credit cardspersonal loans and travel insurance. SingSaver is committed to helping users find the right financial product with easy-to-use self-serve comparison tools.

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