- Budget-friendly plans with Wanderlust
- Comprehensive coverage, including for overseas quarantines
- High coverage for delays or loss/damage to personal belongings
- Add-ons for sports lovers and overseas wedding photoshoots
- A few reports of claims being difficult to submit
- Plans are pricey when there are no promotions
- Wanderlust lacks coverage in key areas
- Limited overseas medical expense coverage even under Comprehensive plan
As border restrictions start to ease up across the world, many are ready to hop on a plane to satisfy their long-suppressed wanderlust.
Before you fly off to your destination, don’t forget that getting travel insurance is more important than ever now. Some countries, like Thailand, require you to have an adequate policy before you can even apply for a tourist visa.
But don’t just grab the cheapest package thinking you’ll never need to file a claim. Travel insurance plans like AXA’s can offer you a lot of assistance in times of need.
Today, we’ll take a look at AXA’s travel insurance plans:
- AXA Wanderlust vs SmartTraveller
- Pricing, COVID-19 cover, and add-ons
- How AXA’s travel insurance plans compare to the market
- Whom these plans are best for
AXA Wanderlust vs SmartTraveller
AXA has two travel insurance plans: Wanderlust and SmartTraveller. Both have COVID-19 coverage automatically included, but to varying degrees (more on this in a bit).
Here’s a quick overview of the two:
|AXA Wanderlust Coverage||AXA SmartTraveller Coverage|
Simply put, Wanderlust is the revamped, budget-friendly version of SmartTraveller.
Take Wanderlust Pro and SmartTraveller Essential as examples. While they seem to have similar coverage on the surface, Wanderlust Pro has:
- Lower compensation for baggage delays ($1,000 versus SmartTraveller Essential’s $1,200)
- Lower compensation for overseas medical expenses due to COVID-19 ($70,000 per person vs $75,000 per person)
- Lower overseas hospitalisation allowance due to COVID-19 ($50 per day vs $100 per day)
- Zero overseas quarantine allowance vs SmartTraveller Essential’s $50 per day
What do you get for the price you’re paying with each plan? Here’s a quick comparison:
|Features||Wanderlust Plans||SmartTraveller Plans|
(Based on a single one-week trip)
|Overseas Medical Expenses|
|Emergency Evacuation and Repatriation||Covered|
|Loss/Damage to Baggage & Personal Belongings|
|Purchase of Essential Items|
Wanderlust Lite and Pro are targeted at people who want only basic coverage. And as we noted earlier, you’re getting less for Wanderlust Pro vs SmartTraveller Essential (with the exception of Personal Accident coverage).
Wanderlust Lite excludes post-trip medical expenses, overbooked flights, and travel misconnections, for example. Also, Lite and Pro don’t cover aspects like:
- Replacement of traveller, in the event that someone in your group can’t make the trip and you want to swap out his/her name for someone else
- Travel diversions, in the event that your transport is diverted and your plans are delayed as a result
- Purchase of essential items, in case your baggage is stolen and you need to buy toiletries and basic wear during the trip
- Fraudulent use of lost credit card(s)
Even Wanderlust Pro, the rough equivalent of SmartTraveller Essential, strips down some of the coverage. If you happen to lose any of your personal belongings on the trip, Wanderlust Pro might not cover the cost of your smartphone or laptop.
Wanderlust vs SmartTraveller: COVID-19 Cover
Although both Wanderlust and SmartTraveller automatically include pandemic cover, they differ in their coverage:
|Overseas Medical Expenses||S$30,000 to S$70,000||S$75,000 to S$150,000|
|Overseas Hospitalisation Allowance||S$1,000 to S$3,000 total; S$50 per day||S$1,000 to S$2,000 total; S$100 per day|
|Overseas Quarantine Allowance||None||S$350 to S$700 total; S$50 per day|
|Trip Cancellation||S$500 to S$1,500||S$1,000 to S$2,000|
|Trip Postponement||S$200 to S$800||S$500 to S$1,000|
|Trip Curtailment or Rearrangement||S$500 to S$1,500||S$2,000 to S$4,000|
In many countries, you’ll quarantine at a hotel instead of a hospital if you happen to catch a pandemic-related illness while travelling. SmartTraveller provides a quarantine allowance in these cases; Wanderlust does not.
SmartTraveller’s medical expenses and trip curtailment coverages are also higher.
Bottom line? If you’re worried about getting sick while travelling, SmartTraveller offers more protection.
If you’re planning a trip with activities such as bungee jumping, hang gliding, or whitewater rafting, take note that these aren’t automatically covered under Wanderlust Lite or Easy. Instead, you’ll have to purchase add-ons for those.
Likewise, coverage for sports equipment, rental vehicles, and overseas wedding photoshoots come at an extra cost.
Both SmartTraveller Essential and Comprehensive automatically include coverage for all of the above.
Like most other insurers, AXA doesn’t cover travel insurance claims that arise from:
- The influence of drugs or alcohol
- Mental or nervous disorders
- Illegal activities or intentional self-harm
- Medical tourism, pregnancy, cosmetic surgeries, etc.
- Countries with territorial disputes or warlike events
- Hazardous occupations such as military personnel or off-shore rig workers
AXA also doesn’t have travel coverage for pre-existing conditions or extreme sports. If you require those, you might be better off with a provider like MSIG or NTUC Income instead.
How Do AXA Travel Insurance Plans Compare?
AXA Wanderlust is for the budget-conscious traveller, while SmartTraveller is better suited for those who want more complete coverage. Here’s how they compare to competitor offerings:
Cheapest Travel Insurance Packages – Single Trip
|Features||AXA Wanderlust||AXA SmartTraveller Essential Plan||FWD Premium Plan||MSIG Standard Plan||Allianz Bronze Plan|
|Premiums (based on a single one-week trip in ASEAN)||S$37.34||S$83.47||S$27||S$40.20||S$49|
|Overseas Medical Expenses||S$30,000||S$300,000||S$200,000||S$250,000||S$200,000|
|COVID-19 Cover||Covered||Covered||Add-on required||Covered||Covered|
If you’re looking for the best value, avoid the AXA Wanderlust Lite Plan as it provides the worst coverage by far. SmartTraveller Essential has the best overall coverage, but it’s the priciest of the lot. FWD offers one of the best deals but lacks COVID-19 coverage.
MSIG has a slight advantage overall with moderate premiums and better coverage for delays and baggage loss.
Best COVID-19 Coverage
|Features||AXA Wanderlust||AXA SmartTraveller||MSIG||Allianz|
|Overseas Medical Expenses||S30,000 to S$70,000||S$75,000 to S$150,000||S$75,000 to S$250,000||S$200,000 to S$1 mil|
|Overseas Hospitalisation Allowance||S$1,000 to S$3,000||S$1,000 to S$2,000||–||–|
|Replacement of Traveller||–||–||$500 to S$1,000||–|
|Overseas Quarantine Allowance||–||S$350 to S$700||S$700 to S$1,400||–|
|Trip Cancellation||S$500 to S$1,500||S$1,000 to S$2,000||S$3,000 to S$5,000||S$5,000 to S$15,000|
|Trip Postponement||S$200 to S$800||S$500 to S$1,000||S$500 to S$1,500||S$1,500 to S$2,000|
|Trip Curtailment or Rearrangement||S$500 to S$1,500||S$2,000 to S$4,000||S$3,000 to S$5,000||S$10,000 to S$15,000|
|Automatic Extension of Cover||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Winner: AXA and MSIG
Both AXA and MSIG score well in this regard because they offer an overseas quarantine allowance. All of them provide trip cancellation/postponement compensation in the event that you catch COVID-19 before your trip, along with automatic extension of coverage if you’re quarantined while travelling.
Although Allianz has the highest COVID-19 coverage overall, it sacrifices coverage in other areas. Travel delays and trip interruptions aren’t covered under its Bronze plan, for example. Rental vehicles, personal cash, and travel accidents also aren’t covered.
Best Annual Packages
|Features||AXA Wanderlust Pro Plan||AXA SmartTraveller Comprehensive Plan||FWD First Plan||MSIG Premier Plan||Allianz Platinum Plan|
|Annual Premium (highest prices for worldwide coverage)||S$722.92||S$875||S$620.60||S$705.60||S$1,863,84|
|Overseas Medical Expenses||S$300,000||S$600,000||S$1 m||S$1 m||S$1m|
|Emergency Evacuation and Repatriation||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited||S$1 m||Unlimited|
|COVID-19 Cover||Covered||Covered||Add-on required||Covered||Covered|
The AXA SmartTraveller Comprehensive Plan is a clear winner here for the best ratio of price-to-coverage. Although it loses out in overseas medical coverage, it offers higher coverage in frequently-claimed categories like baggage delays and losses, travel delays, and pandemic cover.
FWD’s annual plans are a strong contender, but you’ll need to purchase an add-on for COVID-19 coverage. This will cover you for up to 90 days, after which you’ll need to purchase another add-on if you plan on travelling again. If you travel year-round, the purchase of add-ons makes FWD’s pricing more expensive than almost all the other options.
AXA Travel Insurance – Whom Is It Best For
AXA SmartTraveller is meant for the prudent traveller who wants comprehensive coverage for COVID-19 quarantines, rental vehicles, loss or damage to baggage/personal belongings, and so on. It’s not the cheapest option on the market, but it offers wide coverage for the price you’re paying.
While Wanderlust was meant for the budget-conscious traveller, it lacks coverage in key areas. Only travellers getting insurance just to fulfill a requirement would consider it.