Be it that once-in-a-lifetime family trip to Disneyland or a romantic getaway to a remote tropical island, a visit to the emergency room is definitely not on the sightseeing list. But accidents (and illness) do happen – so make sure you’re covered.

Many medical aids will offer cover for you and your dependants while you’re abroad through a travel insurance option linked to your plan. So it’s important to check that your particular option has this benefit. Most have a time limit to the cover of 90 days from the date you exit South Africa, and it’s also probably best to advise your scheme that you’re travelling abroad before you leave.

What is usually covered?

  • Immediate medical emergency treatment, including doctor and hospital bills, in- and out-patient care and medical transportation.
  • If you need to come home for further treatment and you’re given the all-clear to travel, the insurance pays for your return trip to South Africa. However, if you choose to continue your holiday and you need further treatment, the costs will have to come out of your own pocket.

What is not covered?

  • Sports

If you’re the adventurous sort, you’ll need to read the fine print of your contract. Planning to hike up a mountain or indulge in some deep-sea diving? Most travel insurance won’t cover search and rescue if things go wrong. They also exclude some high-risk activities such as those involving a parachute.

  • Pre-existing conditions

This includes the recurrence of a condition with which you were diagnosed or treated for within 30 days of your departure. Other exclusions include a condition that you know may require treatment while you’re overseas; if you have been advised by a medical practitioner not to travel; or you have a terminal prognosis.

  • Pregnancy

If you are more than 24 weeks pregnant, most insurance companies won’t pay for claims related to the pregnancy or childbirth while you are traveling. They also won’t cover the medical expenses for a baby born outside South African borders.

  • Age

There will definitely be age restrictions on any travel insurance plan – especially if you have a pre-existing condition – so find out what these terms and conditions are before you embark on your holiday.

Extra cover

It’s always advisable to investigate extending your insurance. There are companies that specialise in this type of cover. Remember the maximum payout is R5 million per beneficiary and R10 million per family on most international travel benefits offered by your medical aid or even your credit card company. This sounds like a lot, but given the state of the rand, it may not go as far as you think.

By Nicci Botha




DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.