A financial safety net for when you or your family travel by air
While travel insurance may be viewed as just another travel expense we wish we didn’t have to deal with, it can make all the difference when things don’t go quite as planned.
Travel cover is a short-term insurance policy that covers trip cancellations, medical emergencies, and repatriation, as well as damaged or lost luggage.
Why do I need insurance when I travel?
It will provide you with a financial safety net in the event that your trip overseas doesn’t go quite as planned and you need to cancel a flight, replace stolen personal items, have emergency medical treatment, or be repatriated for safety reasons.
Is travelling insurance worth it?
Your insurance is worth it because it has become extremely affordable and can significantly reduce the financial risks associated with a trip to another county.
Medical emergencies in other countries can be very costly and if you do not have insurance then you have to make use of state facilities that do not offer the best care. However, if you have insurance in place then you can rest assured that you will be able to receive the best possible care and that you will not have to pay an exorbitant amount of money to receive the care you need.
Is it important to have insurance?
Travelling is often a quite complicated affair with many service providers, people, events, and risks that need to be dealt with. Imagine having your flight cancelled because the airline is no longer operational or imagine being injured in an accident and having to pay for emergency medical treatment you didn’t budget for?
Having insurance is important because it can help you mitigate many of the risks associated with travelling to a foreign country.
Do you have to have insurance?
There is no law that requires a person to take out insurance but many countries have made it a requirement for visa approval.
You need travelling insurance for visa approval because Governments want to know that you will have the financial means to deal with a medical emergency or be evacuated if needed.
Is insurance mandatory for travel to South Africa?
Travel insurance is not mandatory for those wishing to travel to South Africa however it is recommended by many travel experts because of South Africa’s high vehicle accident and crime rates which may require medical treatment.
How does insurance work?
You take out a travel cover policy (either basic cover or a comprehensive plan) and if your trip is cancelled or delayed, your luggage is lost or stolen, or you get injured or ill and need prompt medical care, the insurer will cover you up to a set limit which is specified beforehand.
What does travelling insurance cover?
Depending on the level of cover you choose, your insurance can cover flight cancellation and interruption, baggage damage or complete loss, medical expenses if you need emergency medical treatment, and emergency evacuation and repatriation.
Comprehensive insurance plans may also cover things such as accommodation cancellation, third-party liability, and compassionate visit cover if you’re ill or injured (where a family member can travel to see you).
What if I don’t take out insurance?
If you choose not to take out insurance while travelling and something unexpected (and expensive) like you lose your luggage and find yourself without basic necessaries, or you break a bone and need immediate medical attention at a costly private hospital – you’ll have to cover it out of your own pocket.
Is theft covered under your insurance?
Most comprehensive insurance plans will cover the theft of personal belongings and travel documents but many lower-tier plans do not.
Always check your policy schedule or wording carefully to find out exactly what is and what isn’t covered.
What is not covered by travelling insurance?
Each insurer will have a list of exclusions which may include things such as pre-existing medical conditions, non-emergency medical treatment, travel to high-risk countries, and even participation in high-risk activities such as skydiving and mountaineering (unless you take out a policy that specifically covers these activities).
If you are embarking on a thrill-seeking adventure then you should enquire about specific insurance to cover these types of travel. Your premiums may be higher because of the high-risk activities you will be doing but the need for insurance is also so much more important.
Does Travel insurance have any disadvantages?
Travel cover doesn’t have any significant disadvantages apart from the fact that it may be an added expense to your already expensive travel budget. You may also want to take into account that even with insurance, you may find that you’re only covered up to a set limit which is not sufficient to cover the real cost to you.
Be sure to familiarise yourself with exactly what will be covered and up to what amount. Take stock of the costs of losing your luggage or your flights being cancelled before making your final decision on insurance.
How much should you pay for insurance?
The cost of your travelling insurance will depend on a variety of factors such as the level of cover you’re going for, the location and duration of your trip, and the number of people you’re travelling with.
For comprehensive cover, you should look to pay around 10% of your flight ticket (for an adult) and significantly less for children.
Should I get insurance if I’m travelling alone?
Travelling alone may seem less risky than travelling with your whole family but, you could face significant travel, general, and emergency medical expenses that you may not be able to afford.
Even if you’re travelling alone you should take out travel cover to ensure that you mitigate some of the very real and very serious financial risks you’ll be facing.
Types of insurance
If you purchase your plane ticket using your credit card, you will likely get complimentary travel cover but this insurance is very basic and may not be sufficient for your trip.
Most travel insurers have a few packages available ranging from basic cover to more comprehensive cover that offers higher claim limits and more extensive benefits.
How do I claim from my insurance?
You need to contact your insurance provider either telephonically or by email and complete the necessary claim forms as well as provide the required supporting documents to make a claim.
Most travel insurance companies are available 24/7 for assistance and have online portals where you can be helped any time of the day due to time differences while travelling.
What documents do I need to claim from my insurance?
You must contact your insurer to find out what supporting documents they require for your specific type of claim as well as ask them to send your their claim form which you will need to complete.
In the event that you lose your luggage, you will need to send the insurer a baggage claim report from the airline and proof of ownership of the item. If your belongings are stolen you will need to provide proof of ownership and value of the items as well as a police report to claim from your travel insurance.