By Vanessa Papas
Being a celeb comes with its share of pretty sweet perks. Among them is jet setting around the globe. From Jay-Z, Kim Kardashian and Drake to Mariah Carey, Ariana Grande and Kylie Jenner, celebs are obsessed with travelling, and while you might not crack as many new countries as they do in a year, a number of South Africans are frequent flyers and fans of new places and cultures.
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.
Executive head of Hippo.co.za, Vera Nagtegaal, explains that travellers should protect themselves adequately against unexpected eventualities like flight cancellations, medical emergencies and theft.
The following are important considerations that every traveller should think about:
Understand Your Insurance Cover: Many people have insurance cover for different things such as legal expenses, loss of income, theft, even death, without even realising it. This can arise because we don’t fully understand what’s covered by the policies we have, especially if the policies have been arranged for us by financial advisers and brokers.
Don’t Duplicate When It Comes To Travel Insurance: Travel insurance sounds like one of those types of insurance that you don’t really need. In fact, planning for travel insurance is a smart move. There are ways, however, to ensure that you are not duplicating your efforts. 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. 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. Most credit card travel insurance covers emergency medical expenses, and the excess is usually high. It is vital to have travel insurance for falling ill or being injured. 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.
Check Your Medical Cover When Planning A Trip: Whether you are going overseas on holiday or staying for an extended period of time for personal or work commitments, you should not forget that the onus of proper medical coverage for you and your family rests on your shoulders. Many of us think that since we have medical aid cover we can rest assured of having this assistance when abroad. 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 also 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. It’s also not uncommon to find that people with medical cover have duplicated their cover via payment protection policies taken out specifically to cover their monthly payments on bonds, loans and credit cards.
Electronic Items May Be Included In Your Household Policy: Before buying cover for high value items like cameras or laptops, you should 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.
Ensure You Have Adequate Coverage When Renting A Vehicle: Driving in a foreign city can be confusing and stressful and this may increase the risk of having an accident in a rental car, so 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. Other important benefits to ensure are covered whilst travelling include theft or loss of baggage, theft of travel documents, flight delays, alternative accommodation and identity fraud. 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 have you avoid wasting your hard-earned cash on duplicate cover.
By Vanessa Papas