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Travel Insurance 101

Travel insurance may not be something most people want to talk about when planning their next trip but it is necessary. A recent study by Travel Insurance Consultants (TIC), a division of Santam, shows that 50% of travel incidents involve accidents.

Preparing for the unexpected by understanding travel insurance and ensuring you have enough of it is a no-brainer.

We share three top tips, courtesy of Santam, to ensure you are properly covered on your next trip:

Check that your insurance includes cover for the activities that you will be undertaking on your journey

Be aware of the list of activities that insurers automatically include in your policy. A good policy should include skiing and scuba diving (provided the diver is licensed or accompanied by a licensed instructor) as well as leisure and most competitive sporting events.

Beach activities

Pay attention to the exclusions so you can compare different insurers’ offering and know when to top up. These could include rugby, boxing or cage fighting incidents, for example, which require special insurance extensions.

Hunting, sky diving, parachuting and horse racing for instance, are excluded entirely – most insurers won’t pay for claims arising from such sports and activities.

Verify that your medical benefit is your key focus of cover

The medical benefit is the heartbeat of travel insurance and makes up most claims. Had Without a medical benefit included your travel insurance, you would have had to pay for all your medical transportation costs out of your own pocket.

Depending on the magnitude of the situation and your injuries ensure that your cover also allows you to fly back to South Africa in a comfortable class so that you could lie down for most of the flight, if this is what is required.

Action adventure

What about free 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. This may include limited medical cover at SA scale, which doesn’t help when incurring bills in foreign currencies.

In some cases, this will include limited personal accident cover. Generally, free insurance will not protect you from all the risks you might incur while traveling, like cancellation and luggage cover.

Hospitalisation for pre-existing illnesses is usually excluded. It’s important to make sure you understand what the package includes and to boost your policy to proactively protect yourself from curveballs.

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