5 reasons why travel insurance is a must-have this silly season

Travellers making their way to their respective boarding gates at the airport. Picture: Supplied

Travellers making their way to their respective boarding gates at the airport. Picture: Supplied

Published Dec 6, 2023


From crowded airports to busy roads, flight delays, lost luggage and fully-booked hotels, travelling at this hectic time of year makes mishaps way more likely to happen.

Not to mention suddenly falling ill on your holiday could also ruin your experience. The fact remains, when travelling, mishaps do occur and you need to be adequately guarded against these.

According to Travel Insurance Consultants (TIC), a leading travel insurance provider, the claims they see most often from December travellers include missed connections when flights are delayed, lost or delayed bags with airports stretched to capacity and medical emergencies abroad.

Flight Centre South Africa’s general manager, Antoinette Turner, said that travel insurance is often seen as just an extra expense but the truth is it’s an absolute lifesaver if things go pear-shaped on your trip.

“Many people falsely believe their medical aid will automatically cover them when they’re travelling, but that’s often not the case, especially for international travel.

“Your medical aid may not be valid abroad. If you require hospitalisation, costs can escalate quicker than a cheetah chasing a springbok, especially if dollars or Euros are involved,” she highlighted.

Turner said this is just one of the many reasons why travel insurance is an essential must-have this silly season.

“You spend all year saving up for your annual getaway, so don’t risk it by trying to cut costs on insurance. The peace of mind alone makes it so worthwhile. It can really be a lifesaver,” said Turner.

So here are 5 reasons why you should consider travel insurance, according to the travel expert.

Luggage delays

“Your luggage gets delayed and you’re stuck wearing your airplane hoodie in tropical Mauritius without so much as a bikini or flipflop in sight.

“Or you’ve just landed in Paris to transit to Geneva en route to the snowy French Alps and your outfit is no match for the subzero temperatures that loom ahead,” said Turner.

She said that travel insurance can help reimburse you for emergency purchases to keep you appropriately dressed and clean until your luggage arrives and recommended that you have essentials such as a change of clothing that’s destination appropriate, toiletries, medicine and valuables in your hand luggage.

Medical emergencies

Imagine busting your best dance moves at a New York club, you twist your ankle or stub your toe– it could be broken and as dollar signs flash before your eyes at the thought of an ER visit in the Big Apple, you promptly faint on the floor, highlighted the travel expert.

Turner said that medical coverage will come to the rescue, without you having to sacrifice an arm and a leg.

Denied visa

“Your visa gets denied and your flight is tomorrow. Did you know that you can get a visa denied cover? This is essential cover for South African passport holders as a backup for visa wobbles,” said Turner.

She advised that when it comes to visa, the best thing to do apply for visas early and way ahead of time.

“Please note that your passport must be valid, you cannot have a criminal record, applications must be submitted in the prescribed time and all related documents, as specified, must be in order,” she said.

An unexpected family emergency

“An unexpected family emergency back home has popped up, and someone’s ended up in the hospital. So, you’ve got to switch up your travel plans and head back from your Thailand adventure sooner than you thought,” said Turner.

She said that fortunately, your insurance can lend a hand by covering those pesky change fees and new flight expenses, however, just remember to take a good look at your policy to know what’s covered and maybe chat with a qualified expert to pick the perfect policy before you set off on your trip.

Flight delays

“You’ve booked a red-eye flight from Johannesburg to London but upon check-in, you’re informed of a 12-hour delay. Disappointed, you realise you’ll be spending the night on the hard airport floor instead of your comfy seat,” highlighted the expert.

She noted that the right travel insurance policy could’ve covered costs for a hotel, meals, and sorted out any subsequent flights that you may miss as a result.

Turner noted that investing in comprehensive travel insurance from a trusted provider like TIC will give you financial protection and peace of mind if any mishaps strike this holiday season.

“Your Flight Centre expert cannot offer advice as they are not an insurance broker. However, they will assist you by pointing you in the right direction, advising on the necessity of travel insurance, and putting you in touch with a TIC consultant to advise on the best policy for you.

“Your travel expert will be able to then facilitate the purchase of the right policy on your behalf,” said Turner.