The Ins and Outs of Travel Insurance
Most of us don’t like buying insurance in general, so travel insurance often raises eyebrows. But there are some important benefits to it.
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June 6th, 2017 by Megan Ellis
Insurance, in general, can be a grudge purchase, so it’s no wonder that people hesitate when it comes to travel insurance.
How many times have you skipped past the “buy insurance” tab when booking your flight on your next big trip?
BUT WAIT! There are features to travel insurance that makes it totally worth your while to spend that little bit extra!
One of the biggest benefits of travel insurance is saving you from crippling medical debt overseas.
CompareGuru looks at travel insurance and how it can benefit you.
Travel insurance is a broad term which refers to “a financial product to assist travellers and to cover medical expenses and financial and other losses incurred while travelling”, Arrive Alive says.
It comes in various forms. For example, travellers can take out insurance for costly trips which cover cancellation. This means that if something unexpected happens and you can’t travel, you can be reimbursed.
You can also get insurance which covers personal liability while travelling. This would protect you in situations like damaging a rental car.
Some plans even ensure that if your baggage is delayed or lost, there is cover for essential items.
The most important form of travel insurance, however, is coverage for emergency medical assistance, personal accidents and emergency transportation or evacuation.
If you think medical treatment is expensive in South Africa, you’ll be astounded by the costs in some other countries.
As a tourist, you don’t get the free healthcare offered by some international governments. Furthermore, the exchange rate could see your doctor’s visit in certain countries costing over R1 000.
Some banks offer insurance to their customers, but you will need to check the T’s and C’s to see exactly what is covered.
But if there’s any travel insurance you should take out, it’s this. It is relatively inexpensive and easy to get, with even the Automobile Association offering packages.
Most policies which provide personal accident and other medical cover are a few hundred rand – but this price will depend on the length of your trip. While it is an extra expense, it is better than the alternative should something happen.
Many other forms of travel insurance may not have the life-saving benefits of accident and medical cover, but they can still save you a chunk of money.
If you’ve planned a very expensive trip, you might want to spend a little more on ensuring that it is covered in case of cancellation or interruption.
For example, if you suddenly get very ill before a trip, insurers offering certain plans will reimburse you.
This can also apply to unexpected events, such as severe storms which delay transport for long periods.
However, as with all insurance, you’ll need to read through your policy so that you’re aware of what exactly it covers.
There are also policies which protect your personal belongings in the event of theft or damage. This isn’t essential, but you might consider it if you’re taking something very expensive on your trip (like high-end camera equipment).
Most insurers provide some form of travel insurance – you will need to just find the best plan for your needs.
In terms of cancellation coverage, sometimes something as easy as paying for your trip and tickets with your credit card can secure your free travel insurance from your bank.
Many gold credit card accounts from various banks offer this.
If you would prefer not to deal with a general insurer, you can take out travel insurance from specialist companies.
These include the AA, Hepstar, Travel Insurance Consultance and a variety of other insurers.
Insurers will ask you about pre-existing conditions and take into consideration factors like your age and health risk.
In order to take out the policy, you will need to qualify. Therefore if an insurer won’t cover your heart condition, for example, try to find one which does.
Depending on the insurer and their requirements, the process can be relatively easy. Sometimes you can easily get travel insurance just by applying online and paying via EFT.
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