Travel insurance - Is it worth it?
Whether you’re planning a yearly family holiday, making your dream to visit a paradise island a reality, or travelling for work, you’re going to have to decide whether or not to take out travel insurance.
While most people know what travel insurance covers on some level, many people are not sure whether or not it’s a worthy expense. Should you pay an extra couple hundred Rands to insurance your trip or is it just another pointless expense? Let’s find out!
What does travel insurance actually cover?
Travel insurance covers four major travel-related incidents and accidents namely the loss or damage of baggage, an airline or cruise delay or cancellation, medical emergencies which consider transport and repatriation costs and, third-party liability insurance.
The above items are generally the most expensive unexpected costs that could occur on a trip overseas, so your travel insurance will secure you financially in this regard.
Can you afford not to have travel insurance?
The real question is not whether or not travel insurance is worth it, because based on all the listed possible emergency and unexpected costs it is but, can you afford not to?
What would happen if your airline lost your luggage?
Could you replace all your essential items? If your trip was cancelled or delayed, would you be able to get a replacement ticket?
If you had a medical emergency as a result would you be able to afford the hospital care it would take to stabilize you? Would you be able to afford a repatriation flight back home?
If you answered no to any of the above questions then travel insurance would definitely be worth it since it will reduce the financial burden and give you some well-deserved peace of mind.
Take your travel needs into account
We’re all travelling for different reasons, to different places, for different periods of time so there’s no specific travel insurance package that will fit all our needs. This is why insurers have increasing levels or tiers of coverage ranging from the bare minimum to comprehensive policies with extensive cover.
Deciding whether travel insurance will be worth it for you depends on your specific travel itinerary, where you’re going, how long you’ll be staying, and what kind of activities you’ll be doing.
In fact, if you’re planning on enjoying a bunch of extreme sports or sky-diving, your insurer probably won’t cover it. So before deciding whether to say yes or no to travel cover, make sure you evaluate your needs and decide whether you’ll be able to take on the financial risk associated with it.
If you travel often whether, for work or pleasure, you should consider taking out a long-term policy to save money. Large families and groups can also save big by combining their insurance policies.
Who should get travel cover?
- Individuals looking to get a Schengen visa
- Solo travellers looking to minimize financial risk associated with international travel
- Couples and families planning to enjoy an overseas holiday
- Anyone looking to minimize the financial risk of travel
Types of travel insurance
As mentioned, most providers have a range of policies that go from affordable with basic cover to comprehensive policies that cover just about any possible mishap. These “tiers” will determine not only the level of cover that you receive, with the basic plans generally carrying smaller maximum cover amounts but also how much you pay for that cover.
Most credit card providers offer automatic travel insurance if you use your credit card to purchase a flight ticket. While this offers an acceptable level of cover from most trips, it’s not enough to look after you if things really take a turn for the worst and you need emergency medical care or repatriation.
Travel insurance exclusions
Travel insurance does not take the place of medical aid or cover you for any reasonably foreseeable cancellations and delays. If you lose your baggage and receive compensation from your airline, your insurance will only pay anything additional that this amount didn’t cover and not the maximum cover amount.
There are many exclusions and requirements that you need to satisfy before your insurer will payout. If you lose your luggage you’ll have to get a report from the airline, if your personal items are stolen you’ll have to provide receipts or proof of ownership for those items as well as a copy of the police report.
How much does travel insurance cost?
As mentioned above, most credit card providers offer complimentary travel insurance when you use your credit card to purchase tickets and this will cost you basically nothing.
That said, the higher your level of cover the more you’ll pay for the insurance and some people like to say that the insurance cover should be more or less 10% of your airline ticket price.
That said, children are usually added to a policy at a discount rate and this will only apply to the main policyholder. To find the most affordable coverage it’s important that you compare providers as well as plans.
Finally, if your medical aid already offers you emergency medical cover when you’re overseas, and perhaps your credit card provider covers any cancellations and delays you may have sufficient cover.
So why would you want to pay for something twice? If this is the case and you still want to make sure you’re comprehensively covered you could save money by applying only for the top-up cover. The top-up cover is great and is offered by many larger insurers.
So is travel insurance worth it?
It’s tempting to skimp out on things such as travel insurance when you’re already paying a fortune for airplane tickets and accommodation but when things start to go wrong while you’re in a foreign country; it usually gets really hectic really fast. Why not make sure that you and your loved ones are covered? With so many insurance providers you can certainly find a policy that meets all your needs and is affordable.
Is travel insurance worth it? Absolutely. Whether you’re travelling on a tight budget or have an expensive luxurious holiday ahead of you, travel insurance can offer you a decent level of financial protection and peace of mind.