Going abroad this festive season? Have you purchased travel insurance yet?

Here’s the thing, when you’re travelling abroad, there’s one item that every itinerary needs: travel insurance. Picture this: You’ve booked the airfare, pre-paid most of your trip and a week before you’re supposed to leave you lose your job or your elderly parent passes away. Life happens.

Travel sites make it pretty easy these days to add trip protection to your purchase, but what does that fee get you, and is it worth the extra cost?

There are generally 2 kinds of travel insurance:

  • Basic trip cancellation protection, which usually covers lost bags reimbursements if you miss a connection, and a refund if you can’t travel because you’re sick or hurt.
  • Comprehensive travel insurance, which typically covers all that, plus any expenses related to medical or dental emergencies, disaster evacuations and even costs associated with accidental deaths. Basically a combo of travel and medical costs.

If you’re going to get travel insurance, experts recommend the comprehensive kind. It’s a good way of making sure that if things go wrong, you have options to help you out so you’re not on the hook for exorbitant fees. On the other hand, it may be wise to do a little bit of homework so you can make an informed decision. For those on a tight budget, that extra money can be the difference between staying in a good hotel or a crappy one.

On a whole, experts recommend travel insurance when travelling outside your home country, generally this is not needed for local trips.

The decision to buy travel insurance when travelling abroad comes down to 2 major factors:

  • Financial risk. If you’re worried about losing money because of a cancelled trip, interrupted trip, delayed trip, lost bags or a medical emergency.
  • Medical concerns. Research by Travel Insurance Consultants (TIC) published findings that 50% of travel incidents involve accidents. It’s important to verify that your medical benefit is your key focus of cover.

What about 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. Be aware though that this may include limited medical cover which may not be of much help when incurring bills in foreign currencies. It may be a good idea to check that your insurance includes cover for the activities you’ll be undertaking on your journey.

Generally free insurance will not protect you from all the risks you might incur while travelling, like cancellation and luggage cover. Also, hospitalisation for pre-existing illnesses are usually excluded. It is important to know what your package includes and to boost your policy proactively to protect yourself.

With travel insurance you can focus on the journey knowing that you’ll be covered for the unexpected, such as medical expenses, trip cancellation charges and lost luggage.

Don’t be another statistic – ensure that you purchase travel insurance before you travel abroad this festive season.

Source: travelinsurancereview.net, satravel.co.za, tic.co.za, thesouthafrican.com, oldmutual.co.za, allianz-assistance.co.za, forbes.com, cnbc.com, iol.co.za, kayafm.co.za

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.