Whether you are jetting off for business or pleasure, travel insurance is one thing that should always be on your “to do” list. Visiting a new destination should be exciting and you shouldn’t have to worry about what might happen if your journey goes slightly pear-shaped. Travel insurance will give you peace of mind while you focus on the adventure ahead.
From arriving at your destination and discovering that your luggage has disappeared, to falling critically ill when you are in unfamiliar surroundings, travel insurance will ensure that you have all the funds you need so that a solution to each problem is easily attainable throughout your trip.
Finding travel insurance quotes using our comparison tool is easy. All you need to do is provide a few details about yourself, your upcoming trip, and the policy you're after, and we'll show you a list of quotes.
To avoid the unnecessary stress of sourcing additional money up front to pay for unforeseen expenses, do your homework and compare benefits in accordance with the product price - this should be the first step towards applying for any type of insurance.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Travel Insurance?
Travel insurance assists travellers by covering medical expenses and financial losses that may be incurred whilst you're away. Essentially, it allows travellers to procure good health care and other travel-related benefits while abroad. The benefits of travel insurance are typically not covered by domestic insurance plans - and this is why it is a unique product.
The length of your policy's term will typically coincide with the beginning and end of a journey i.e. from the moment you board the plane on your way to your destination to the moment you arrive back on home ground. Alternatively, continuous insurance can also be purchased that lasts a set period (e.g. a year). These policies are ideal for frequent travellers.
In South Africa, travel insurance can be purchased from travel insurance companies, banks, travel agents or directly from travel suppliers (such as cruise operators or airline companies).
Why Do I Need Travel Insurance?
If you travel without insurance, you expose yourself to the risk of amassing crippling expenses. This especially applies when you are travelling to a country with a stronger currency than your own. While you may have budgeted for your holiday, the costs that can be incurred due to medical visits can far exceed what you are capable of paying for.
Travel Insurance can provide financial protection in unexpected events where:
- Your flight is cancelled and you need to make alternative arrangements
- You become ill or injured while travelling and you need to settle foreign medical bills
- Your luggage and valuable belongings go missing or are stolen
- You need personal liability (in case you are held accountable for damaging property or causing injury)
- You need to pay for legal counsel
- You or a family member pass on and funeral expenses need to be covered
Travel insurance will allow you to travel with a greater sense of security and it addresses the gaps of your domestic insurance plan. It is a safety net that you can rely on, especially when travelling to a foreign country that has unfamiliar customs, medical facilities that you are not sure of, and you are unable to speak the language to communicate your needs effectively.
What Does Travel Insurance Cover?
Travel Insurance providers offer different benefits and features but each policy will typically cover one, more, or all of the following.
Global Travel Insurance
This product will keep you covered no matter where you travel in the world. You can decide whether you want your policy to cover just the basic benefits (like medical cover) or you can apply for a more comprehensive plan.
Trip Cancellation/ Trip Interruption
This type of cover will promise you a full or partial refund of your trip expenses if your trip is cancelled or interrupted. The reasons for cancellation must be listed in your policy and can include:
- Illness, injury or death of you or a listed family member or friend
- Hazardous weather that will prevent you from travelling
- A terrorist attack at your destination
- Flight cancellations made by the airline (you may have to rearrange accommodation if you can only get a seat on an earlier or later flight)
Most medical aids and medical insurance policies do not offer to cover the medical expenses that are incurred in a foreign country. Medical benefits are, however, built into most travel insurance policies. This means that you will have cover for the following as you journey through multiple foreign destinations:
- Fees related to illness and injury
- Ambulance services
- Medical evacuation (where you can be brought back home if the hospital determines it’s necessary)
Lost, Stolen, Or Delayed Luggage
Travel insurance will offer coverage in the event that any of your personal belongings are lost, stolen, or misplaced. If your luggage is delayed, then you will be refunded up to the policy’s benefit limit so that you can purchase the essentials you will need until your luggage arrives. If your belongings are lost or stolen, then you will be reimbursed to replace the lost items.
Personal liability offers the policyholder protection in the event that he or she damages any property whilst in a foreign country. It can be used to cover the likes of rental car damage excess, to replace a third party’s belongings if you were responsible for losing or damaging them, and it can pay for legal fees in the scenario where you will need a lawyer.
Basically, travel insurance will give you the financial aid that you will need when you do not have the budget to cover any mishaps that “may” occur during your trip.
What Types of Travel Insurance Are Available?
With so many different reasons for traveling and with a seemingly endless number of destinations to travel to, insurance companies have adapted travel insurance policies so that they can accommodate the niche types of travel. This allows individuals to get the best form of cover for each trip.
Purchasing adequate travel insurance is one of the requirements when applying for a Schengen visa. Schengen insurance will give you cover when you enter any 26 of the Schengen countries.
It typically features a minimum coverage of at least R500 000 and will pay-out for any medical expenses that may occur (including death).
Multi Trip Insurance
If you are a frequent travel or often get called to different destinations with little notice, then multi-trip insurance is a product that will serve you well. Buying an annual multi-trip travel insurance plan will save you the inconvenience of purchasing single-trip cover every time you go on a journey. It will also give you all of the cover you need to ensure that medical expenses, losses, damages, and personal liabilities are accounted for.
Business Travel Insurance
Business travel insurance is generally applicable to companies with staff travelling internationally or locally, for both short trips and extended working trips. This type of travel insurance product includes all of the usual benefits but is more accommodating in terms of the cover period (which is often unknown when traveling for work). It will also ensure that all of your equipment such as your laptop, smartphone, projectors, and other devices are insured during your trip.
Sports Travel Insurance
This type of insurance considers the risks of dangerous sports you might partake in whilst on holiday (such as skiing and other extreme sports). When you purchase this product, the insurer will consider all risks and agree to pay-out accidental cover in the event of a sporting injury. This cover will also ensure that all sporting equipment is thoroughly insured for loss or damages that can occur during your trip.
Group Travel Insurance
If you are travelling as a family, a group of friends, a sports team or as a company, then group travel insurance will provide cover for your group as a whole with a reduced rate per person.
How Much Does Travel Insurance Cost?
Travel insurance can vary between the travel insurance providers and the type of policy you are purchasing. Also, the more cover you require, the more you can expect to pay. When calculating your travel insurance rate, the travel insurance companies will also consider the following factors:
- Age (your rate can be determined by how young/old you are)
- Health status (pre-existing medical conditions can determine your rate)
- Any dangerous or high-risk activities that you are planning to do on your trip can affect your purchase price
- If the country you are travelling to has a high crime rate or is at risk for disease, then your purchase price might also be higher
The price you pay for your travel insurance will also be affected by the period of time that you will be travelling for i.e. the longer your trip is, the more you can expect to pay.
Because there are many travel insurance providers in South Africa, you will be able to source many competitive quotes.
Finding Cheap Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is affordable and leaving the country without sufficient cover isn’t a good idea. To get the best cover at the best price, we suggest that you shop around to compare rates and benefits. To source quotes from the most reputable providers quickly and easily, you can use the Money Expert site for an efficient comparison.
We also recommend that you:
- Check to see what you are already covered for with your household and medical insurance.
- Check to see if the bank you are with doesn’t already have a travel insurance policy in place for you (and if so, to what extent)?
- Consider multi-trip cover if you are planning on travelling more than once a year.
If you can reduce any risk-factors, then the insurance providers may also provide you with a cheaper offer.