Travel insurance

When travelling it is important to make sure that you are covered for any eventuality. By taking out travel insurance you can ensure that you are covered for medical expenses, lost luggage, and any other accidents or losses that may occur while you are travelling.

Marion Wing, a registered nurse qualified in travel medicine, notes that the most common risks that are covered by travel insurance plans are:

  • Medical emergency, such as accidents or illness,
  • Emergency evacuation,
  • Repatriation of remains,
  • Return of a minor,
  • Trip cancellation,
  • Trip interruption,
  • Visitor health insurance,
  • Accidental death, injury or disablement benefit,
  • Overseas funeral expenses,
  • Lost, stolen or damaged baggage, personal effects or travel documents,
  • Delayed baggage, including emergency replacement of essential items,
  • Flight connection was missed due to airline schedule,
  • Travel delays due to weather, and
  • Hijacking.

When you take out medical expenses cover, this can be done on a per occurrence basis or have a set maximum limit.

The type of cover that you get will depend on what your requirements are and what travel insurance policy you take out.

Companies that offer travel insurance include the AA and The cost of coverage will depend on the policy you choose.

It is also possible to get travel insurance through your medical aid. For more information, contact your medical aid and enquiry about their options.

Tips for travelling abroad:

  • Do your research: Find out what vaccine requirements there are for the regions you will be travelling in, as well as if it is a malaria area and what other diseases (both insect transmitted and water borne) are prevalent in the area.
  • Take the medication as directed: If the travel clinic or pharmacist tells you to take the medication for 28 days after returning from a malaria area, do as you are told. Even though there is a slim possibility of you still contracting malaria after taking the medication, it is a lot less than if you were to not take the required dosage.
  • Keep detailed records of what vaccines you have had and when: Some vaccines last for an extended period, meaning that you do not have to have them often. For example, the Yellow Fever vaccination lasts for up to ten years, so regardless of how often you travel to a Yellow Fever area, you only need a vaccine every ten years.
  • Ensure that you are adequately insured: When you are travelling you have to make sure that you are covered for any unforeseen eventuality.

Wing notes: “The most important thing to remember when travelling is prevention. Prevent mosquito bites and prevent contracting traveller’s diarrhoea by following the food and water rules: drink only bottled water, eat only well-cooked hot foods, avoid eating any raw uncooked foods etc. And very important, be sure that you have adequate travel insurance.”