While there are millions of people travelling abroad yearly, many of them are not properly secured should something happen on their travels. Vera Nagtegaal, Executive Head of Hippo.co.za provides some tips on travel insurance:
Do your research for cost-effective cover
A basic form of travel insurance is often provided by your bank when purchasing an air ticket using your credit card. But, be warned that this cover may not be sufficient as it often places caps on age, costs, services and certain destinations. For this reason, Nagtegaal recommends going through your policy with a fine-tooth comb to determine exactly what is included and what is excluded.
Most travel insurance offerings cover includes 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, among others. However not all policies are the same and adds that various types of travel insurance are available depending on your needs. These include:
Business Insurance: If you’re travelling for business you would fall into one of two categories. Business administrative insurance for people who are typically travelling to a meeting, or business industrial insurance if you are travelling to perform a service or some sort of manual labour. This type of insurance generally provides cover for aspects like delayed or cancelled flights, lost passports and medical cover.
Senior citizen travel insurance: For those over 70, for example, this insurance covers things like medical expenses, a visit from a family member if necessary, missed flights or cancellations and lost or delayed luggage.
Student travel insurance: This type of insurance is for younger people travelling for work or leisure and includes cover for emergency medical costs, injury or damage to a third person or their property, cancellation of an entire trip and missed flights.
Group travel insurance: If there are more people travelling as a group to the same destination, group travel insurance may be a better bet. This type of insurance generally includes cover for medical costs, cash back for lost or delayed luggage, flight cancellations and missed flights and cover if a third person is injured.
What about cover for travel to dangerous areas and or adventure activities? “Depending on the country you plan on visiting, you may want to purchase extra cover,” explains Nagtegaal. This covers you should an act of terrorism interrupt your trip, force you to cancel the trip or harm you in any way. Travellers should be mindful that certain travel insurance providers might exclude cover when travelling to certain destinations because they are either considered disaster-prone areas or are experiencing unrest, or a health epidemic, such as a malaria or cholera outbreak. Adventure activities such as skiing, kayaking, bungee jumping, scuba diving and mountain biking can be dangerous so make sure that you’re insured for any mishap that might occur and also include cover for your sports equipment.
Insurance has your back, but be savvy: Nagtegaal says that in addition to taking out the correct travel insurance for your trip, travellers should also be wary and alert while abroad to prevent accidents. Whether you’re travelling to a neighbouring country or further afield, for business or leisure, in a group or alone, make sure that you have the right cover for your specific needs. “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,” said Nagtegaal.