Travel insurance is a necessary expense. Picture: Pexels

The risks of personal injury, an accident or a criminal incident is heightened when you're travelling.

Travel insurance is a necessity, especially if you have specific needs and need tailor-made cover to ensure both your own well-being as well cover for personal belongings.

Travel Insurance Consultants (TIC), a division of Santam recently published findings showing that 50 percent of travel incidents involve accidents, so it’s wise to prepare for the unexpected. 

Santam shares three top tips for making sure you are properly covered on your next trip.

Check that your insurance includes cover for the activities that you will be undertaking on your journey

Be aware of the list of activities that insurers automatically include in your policy. 

A good policy should include skiing and scuba diving (provided the diver is licenced or accompanied by a licenced instructor) as well as leisure and most competitive sporting events.  

Pay attention to the exclusions so you can compare different insurers’ offering and know when to top up. 

Verify that your medical benefit is your key focus of cover

The medical benefit is the heartbeat of travel insurance and makes up most claims. 

If a person does not have travel insurance then he/she would have had to pay for all of their medical transportation costs out of his own pocket.

What about free travel insurance through your credit card?

Most credit cards will provide travel insurance if you use your card to buy a full-fare return ticket. 

This may include limited medical cover at SA scale, which doesn’t help when incurring bills in foreign currencies. 

In some cases, this will include limited personal accident cover. Generally, free insurance will not protect you from all the risks you might incur while traveling, like cancellation and luggage cover.  

Hospitalisation for pre-existing illnesses is usually excluded. It’s important to make sure you understand what the package includes and to boost your policy to proactively protect yourself from curveballs.