Buying travel insurance may not be that high on your list of priorities when planning a holiday trip.
For a relatively small amount, you can proactively avoid the risk of losing money due to an unforeseen event.
If you’re looking for cheap travel insurance cover – whether you’re a first-time traveler or a seasoned traveler, many different types of plans are available to cover you for every eventuality and make sure you enjoy your trip.
What is travel insurance?
Travel insurance is a type of insurance that is designed to provide financial protection when unexpected events occur while travelling.
The problem can be minor, such as a missing suitcase, or major, such as a medical emergency while overseas. As well as financial protection, another great benefit of travel insurance is access to assistance services, wherever you are in the world.
Coverage is available for single and annual trips. Single trip travel insurance covers the traveller for one trip, starting from when they leave home and ending when they return.
An annual travel insurance policy is designed to cover a traveler who takes multiple short trips throughout the year. Annual policies typically limit how long a trip can last.
What does travel insurance cover?
Travel insurance may consist of several different types of coverage and providers vary considerably in what is covered and price of coverage. The main categories of coverage are trip cancellation or interruption, medical expenses, loss or damage of baggage and personal effects, and flight accident or accidental death.
Coverage often includes emergency services, such as cash wire assistance, replacing lost passports or rebooking cancelled flights.
Acceptable cancellation and interruption causes and the amount of reimbursement available differ from provider to provider. Most companies will accept illness, weather-related issues, or a death in the immediate family as reasons for cancellation or interruption.
Policies may also cover travellers if a cruise line, airline or tour operator goes out of business.
Most travel insurance policies give you an option of legal fees coverage if you damage someone else’s property or injure someone, and they open a case against you.
Carriers usually reimburse travellers if baggage is destroyed or lost due to their error. The amount of reimbursement may be limited, so baggage and personal effects coverage offer an added layer of protection.
When it comes to medical coverage, policies vary considerably. Some medical coverage includes airlifting to a medical facility and a stay in a foreign hospital.
If an accident results in serious injury, death or disability, some policies pay benefits to surviving beneficiaries. Flight accident insurance covers deaths or accidents occurring on flights.
How to get a cheap travel insurance in South Africa
Travel insurance providers offer different benefits and features and may vary greatly on coverage, costs, and exclusions. Make sure you read all disclosure statements before you purchase the insurance.
When you want to find the best travel insurance, it’s helpful to use a comparison tool to get quotes for all plans, compare them and choose the one that suits you best. All you have to do is enter the details of your trip, such as your travel dates and you will need to give your age. Filtering and comparison features help you to select a plan suited to you.
Remember that what you pay for travel insurance will depend largely on the type of cover you require. The cost of travel insurance is not based on the value of the trip. It depends on the age and duration of the journey. An older person will have to pay more than a younger person due to an increased need for medical insurance.
Buying travel insurance online is simple. Once you’ve filled in all your details and paid, you usually receive instant confirmation of coverage. The travel insurance form provided complies with what’s required when applying for a Schengen Visa if you’re visiting Europe.
If you have difficulties in understanding what is covered, most of the big insurers have call centers with agents who can help to clarify the fine print. For instance, you’re going skiing, and you want to know if you’re covered if you break your leg. You won’t receive compensation for this if your policy does not cover action sports.
When you receive your policy, you will see that each section explains what is covered, what is not covered and the conditions applicable. It is important to read through the policy and familiarize yourself with the terms, conditions, and exclusions. If you do this, you can raise any concerns with the insurer before you leave.
Best travel insurance companies in South Africa
All the large banks in South Africa offer free basic travel insurance when you use their cheque or credit cards to purchase your tickets.
FNB Travel Insurance offers quite comprehensive, free travel insurance cover when you use an FNB credit or cheque card to purchase your return travel ticket.
You also qualify for basic, automatic Standard Bank Travel Insurance if you use your cheque, Visa or MasterCard to purchase your ticket and if you are under the age of 76. Most of the free basic cover has exclusions, such as the age of travellers, pre-existing medical conditions and duration of travel. Banks offer purchase of top-up travel insurance and senior travel insurance at preferential rates.
Private Insurance Companies:
Hollard is South Africa’s largest independent, privately owned insurance group. It has been going from strength to strength for more than 29 years. Hollard Travel Insurance offers wider coverage than many others and supports this with teams that are trained to help you.
Discovery Travel Insurance offers free basic cover when you pay for your ticket with your Discovery card. It covers claims such as personal accident, travel delays, personal liability and baggage loss or delay. This benefit is only available for international travel.
AIG Travel Insurance is another company that offers a number of different types of travel insurance, including a super senior policy for those from 80 to 84 years of age. They have global reach, affordable prices and offer good customer service.
A specialist division of Santam, TIC travel Insurance has been insuring travellers for years. It offers a range of insurance cover for all types of travelers, including businessmen, leisure travellers, and corporate clients. Regent Travel Insurance offers a broad spectrum of travel insurance options for South Africans, including an economy option.
If you’re looking for travel insurance that offers cover for pre-existing medical conditions, Bryte Travel Insurance has a Jet Set Plan. The Bryte brand was born in 2017 and offers a wide variety of travel insurance, including a business plan and a golden years plan. They also have a top-up plan designed for travellers purchasing air tickets with a bank or credit card.
Don’t make the assumption that the automatic travel insurance supplied by many of the above banks and insurance companies when you purchase your ticket with a card will be sufficient. Most of the companies offer top-up cover to supplement this basic automatic travel insurance.
Finding affordable travel insurance is not difficult, with many travel insurers offering a wide range of plans to fit all budgets and requirements. Today, it is simple to buy this type of insurance online.