Travel insurance – save money, and avoid duplication

25 February 2019

hippo travel

Did you know that as a South African citizen, your SA passport allows you to visit 101 countries without a visa?

This is according to the latest Passport Index from Henley & Partners who rank South Africa 52nd in the world for visa-free travel and estimate that this number will grow as citizens of the ‘global village’ demand unconstrained access to the globalised economy.

While this may encourage international travel for many South Africans, it also brings into focus the need for travellers to insure themselves away from home, in a cost effective manner.

Vera Nagtegaal, Executive Head of Hippo.co.za, explains that travellers should protect themselves adequately against unexpected eventualities like flight cancellations, medical emergencies and theft. “It is, however, prudent to first check against existing household and medical insurance policies so as not to duplicate cover.”

Depending on your credit card provider, you may receive travel insurance when using your credit card to purchase flight tickets.

Travel insurance

Nagtegaal says that when purchasing a holiday flight ticket with a credit card there may be a certain amount of travel insurance included that offers cover for trip cancellations and interruptions, lost or stolen baggage and travel documents and emergency evacuation in the case of natural disasters or unannounced protests.

According to a report by Grant Thornton and Reed Exhibitions, only 25 000 people out of 200 000 leisure travellers in 2017 purchased travel insurance through their credit cards.

Depending on your credit card provider, you may receive travel insurance when using your credit card to purchase flight tickets. “It is important to check if your credit card provider offers this benefit, whether you will get adequate travel insurance for your needs, and which family members are covered,” says Nagtegaal.

Medical insurance

Having a medical emergency while travelling can be traumatic and expensive. Check with your existing medical aid whether you will be covered for any emergency hospital expenses in case of an accident.

It is important to note that medical treatment as a result of extreme sports or if you are visiting a country at war, may not be included. In these cases, it may be necessary to purchase additional medical insurance cover.

“Some medical aids exclude pre-existing medical conditions and costs when travelling with the intention of obtaining medical treatment,” Nagtegaal explains.

Electronic items

Nagtegaal suggests that, before buying cover for high value items like cameras or laptops, you check your household insurance policy to see whether portable items are included under the specified section. If you do require additional insurance for these items, check the single item limit of your travel insurance policy for cover for loss or damage, as not all plans have this benefit.

Rental car insurance

Driving in a foreign city can be confusing and stressful and this may increase the risk of having an accident in a rental car. Having adequate insurance for this eventuality will save you from possible excess payments. Before signing for extra cover from the rental agency however, check your travel insurance policy as it may include cover for the excess as a result of accidental damage or theft.

“Without adequate travel insurance you could open yourself up to crippling expenses, should something go wrong. Therefore, it’s important to know what you’re covered for and where you may be unprotected. This will give you peace of mind on your journey and avoid wasting your hard-earned cash on duplicate cover”, concludes Nagtegaal.

[This piece was first published by All4Women.]

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