A Thomas Cook plane takes off from England. Picture: AP

Johannesburg - South African financial comparison website Hippo.co.za has reiterated the need for adequate travel insurance, hours after news of the collapse of global travel group Thomas Cook.

The 178-year-old company had ceased trading with immediate effect after last-minute negotiations aimed at saving it failed. 

This triggered the biggest ever peacetime repatriation, aimed at bringing more than 150,000 British holidaymakers home, broadcaster BBC reported.

In a column urging consumers to research travel insurance properly before leaving home, hippo.co.za said many of the millions of people who travelled abroad yearly were not properly insured should something happen during their trips.

"A basic form of travel insurance is often provided by your bank when purchasing an air ticket using your credit card," it said. "But be warned that this cover may not be sufficient as it often places caps on age, costs, services and certain destinations."

It noted that most travel insurance cover included emergency medical expenses, hospital cash benefit per day, personal accident cover in the event of death or permanent disability, emergency travel and accommodation, legal assistance and personal liability cover.

But it highlighted the importance of specific insurance types such as that targeted for business trips, senior citizens, students, group travel as well as trips to dangerous areas and adventure activities.

"Depending on the country you plan on visiting, you may want to purchase extra cover,” Executive Head of Hippo.co.za Vera Nagtegaal said.

“You should make a list of your particular needs over-and-above what your general travel insurance covers and then compare the various quotes to ensure that you get the best value for money. Travel insurance is there to protect you and to offer you peace of mind if you require medical attention, evacuation or suffer financial loss."

African News Agency (ANA)