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Travel insurance for the Philippines

Rebecca Goodman
Written by  Rebecca Goodman
5 min read
Updated: 18 Apr 2024

If you’re looking for paradise, you can’t go wrong with the islands of the Philippines, and you’ll have 7,641 to choose from along with the vibrant capital city Manilla. Millions of tourists visit this diverse and enchanting archipelago every year and it’s easy to see why. If you’re planning to visit, here we look at the insurance you need to cover your trip. 

Travelling to the Philippines 

The Philippines has it all, thousands of beautiful islands with white sandy beaches and clear cool waters, rich tropical rainforests, and some of the world’s best caves to explore along the Puerto-Princesa subterranean river. 

Whether you’re island hopping by boat, diving or snorkelling along the coast, experiencing the lively culture of the capital city Manila, or taking in an ancient church or temple, there really is something for everyone.  

travel insurance

Is travel insurance compulsory for the Philippines? 

Travel insurance is not compulsory, but it is highly recommended. That’s because it covers such a wide range of things, from your medical costs if you need treatment to replacing your luggage if it’s lost, stolen or damaged. 

Without travel insurance tailored for the Philippines you would be left to pay yourself for anything that goes wrong. While the cost of a replacement backpack might not seem like much, the cost for medical treatment and repatriation - if you had to be flown back to the UK - could be thousands of pounds. 

You are also covered for cancelled or delayed travel and if anything goes wrong before you set off, your holiday company goes bust, for example, you’ll be covered for anything you’ve already paid.   

What travel insurance do I need for the Philippines? 

You will need a worldwide travel insurance policy for the Philippines, and you will have to choose the type of policy and the level of cover.  

You may need to buy additional cover on top of your Philippines travel insurance, based on the type of activities you plan to do while you’re in the Philippines. This could include extreme sports or cruise cover, if you’re planning on either of these. They don’t come as standard with a travel insurance policy so you’ll need to add these extras by calling up your insurer, or you may be able to buy the extra cover online.  

What will travel insurance to the Philippines cover? 

Every travel insurance policy is different so what’s covered will depend on the insurance you have. However, most should include the following: 

  • Medical costs: you’ll be covered for any medical cover abroad which you need while you’re in the Philippines. If it’s medically necessary for you to travel back to the UK, you’ll also be covered for repatriation costs. You will also be covered if you get covid-19 and it impacts your trip.  

  • Cancellation: if you need to cancel your trip, you’ll be covered for anything you’ve paid out for. There will be a list of reasons for cancelling, such as if you’re too ill to travel. 

  • Theft: if any of your personal belongings are stolen, you’ll be covered, just make sure you report the theft to the police and get a report to show your insurer. 

  • Lost or damaged belongings: if your suitcase goes missing or your camera breaks, you will be covered for replacing these items - but there will be conditions set out in the policy. If something is lost, for example, you may need to give evidence of when and where it was lost - if it was on a plane, for example, you may need to show your flight ticket. 

What doesn’t it cover? 

Philippines travel insurance doesn’t cover every eventuality, and there are a few things that are usually excluded including the following: 

  • Travelling against government advice: if you visit a country which the UK government or the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has warned against, you won’t be covered. 

  • If you change your mind: if you decide you no longer want to go on your Philippines trip, and there’s not a valid reason, you won’t be covered for cancellation costs. 

  • Reckless or illegal activities: if you take part in anything illegal, or any excursion or sport which isn’t covered in your policy, you won’t be able to claim on it. 

  • Health conditions you haven’t declared: if you don’t tell your insurer about a pre-existing health condition, you won’t be able to claim for it if you then become ill while you’re away. 

  • Natural disasters: some policies won’t provide cover for natural disasters, such as volcanoes erupting or typhoons, as standard.  

  • Preventable diseases: if you are unwell while you’re away because you didn’t have the required vaccinations before you left, you won’t be able to claim for medical treatment for them.  

What should I do If I have an accident or Illness while travelling in the Philippines? 

No one wants to be ill or have an accident while they’re away, especially on a dream holiday in a country as incredible as the Philippines, but if it does happen it’s handy to know what to do. 

For an ambulance or the police, in an emergency, you can call 911. You should also contact your travel insurer when it’s safe to do so. Most insurers have emergency phone numbers which you can call at any time for assistance.  

What is the standard of healthcare in the Philippines? 

Filipino residents have access to free healthcare but this doesn’t apply to tourists, who will usually have to pay for private treatment. This is why it’s important to have travel insurance in place before you go to cover these costs. 

In urban areas the standard of healthcare is excellent but it varies when you travel into more rural destinations.  

Travel risks in the Philippines 

Before you travel to the Philippines, check the FCDO website as its advice can change. At the moment the 2023 travel update advises against all travel to the western and central Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago because of terrorist activity. While only essential travel is advised to the remainder of Mindanao, excluding Camiguin, Dinagat and Siargao Islands, due to the threat of terrorism. 

There is a risk of robbery and pick pocketing in some areas of the Philippines, and the travel safety advice is to be extra cautious when taking public transport. This includes keeping valuables out of sight, avoiding travelling late at night, and using a card instead of cash when possible. 

While there aren’t a huge amount of Philippine travel risks, another is around taxis. When taking taxis, always check the company is reputable or use a hotel transfer service instead if there is one.  

Things to know when travelling to the Philippines 

Along with planning a snorkelling trip and your caving adventure, here are a few other things to know before you set off. 

Vaccinations: You may need to get travel vaccinations before you visit the Philippines and tetanus, typhoid and hepatitis are recommended. You’ll need to make an appointment with your GP, and book in to have the vaccinations at least eight weeks before you travel. You can also visit a private clinic but this will be more expensive.  

Visas: You won’t need a visa unless you’re planning to stay in the Philippines for more than 30 days but you will need to have at least six months left on your passport.  

Culture: People speak both Filipino and English in the Philippines which is a largely Christian country, where the majority of local people regularly go to church. The culture is also very family-orientated and hospitable, and it’s normal for several generations to live together.  

Rainy season: The rainy season runs from June to November while summer is between November and May.  

Currency: The Philippine Peso is the currency used here, and while most places will accept credit or debit cards, it is useful to have some change - especially for tipping.    

Why compare travel insurance with MoneySuperMarket? 

There are lots of travel insurance options around and comparing with MoneySuperMarket is an easy way to see a whole range of potential insurance policies in one place. That way you can quickly compare the most suitable policies and find one at the best price for you.  

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