Why you need to consider travel insurance
Travel insurance is just as important to your travel planning as your passport and tickets. Unfortunately, things can go wrong at any time and any place. In order to have peace of mind while travelling, it is essential to put adequate travel insurance in place for the safety and protection of you and your family.
What do you need travel insurance cover for?
Aside from the fact that travel documents, luggage and money can get lost or stolen, there are quite a few other elements that can go wrong on a holiday that can be covered by comprehensive travel insurance. In-country political tensions and weather patterns are becoming more volatile, therefore it is important to research the region where you will be travelling to so you can be aware of any looming political unrest or the likelihood of natural disasters like earth quakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, etc.
Cancellation of flights due to strikes or the cancellation of one leg of your trip can cause disruption to your travel plans. Less likely but more serious are potentially disastrous events such as medical expenses incurred due to being involved in an accident, personal liability for injury or loss of life and legal expenses while travelling overseas. Further unforeseen events that you may need to consider include a family member or yourself becoming seriously ill shortly before you are supposed to depart.
What to look out for when considering travel insurance
When considering travel insurance, be sure to not only compare premiums but also the benefits that each policy covers. If you only focus on selecting the policy with the cheapest premium, you could risk ending up with insufficient cover, especially when you have any pre-existing illness conditions or if you are planning to partake in any potentially dangerous activities like extreme hiking, skydiving, paragliding, etc.
In the case of business travel, be it local or international, you need to ensure that your insurance broker or travel agent issues a business travel policy and not a leisure policy. If you travel more than 100 days per year for business, an annual corporate travel policy will be more cost efficient than once-off policies for every single trip you or your staff undertake. Always ensure that you receive and fully understand the terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy.
When considering travel insurance, check if you already have any existing cover included in your household insurance that will cover your personal belongings while travelling which will save you some money. Personal Effects cover is usually included in travel policies but it is advisable to check that you have sufficient cover for items that are typically included in your household insurance, such as cell phones, cameras, laptops and sunglasses.
Some medical aid companies offers worldwide travel insurance but this often involves the client first paying for all the medical costs themselves, which could potentially run into very large amounts, and then claiming it back upon their return to South Africa. The claims procedure requires that claims must be reported within 60 days of occurrence.
With travel insurance, the client simply calls the call centre number as supplied on your travel insurance documents and everything is then taken care of and paid for directly through the travel insurance policy.
Most banks offer cover when the client purchases airline tickets with their credit cards but it’s worth noting that this cover is quite limited. There are travel insurance companies that offers top-up policies to ensure more comprehensive cover at a lower cost than purchasing full cover.
In the case of existing credit card cover, it is important to thoroughly read through the policy exclusions so that you fully understand what cover you have in place.