07 December 2009

Bare-bones travel insurance

Times are tough for consumers and travelling is an expensive undertaking, but now is not the time to skimp on travel insurance, warns a leading insurance company.


Times are tough for consumers and travelling is an expensive undertaking, but now is not the time to skimp on travel insurance, warns a leading insurance company.

If you don’t buy travel insurance, especially the right kind, more than your trip could be ruined. It could leave you out of pocket too.

"Consumers are worried about spending over the Christmas season, and try to cut costs wherever they can," says Thamsanqa Ndebele, regional travel manager for Travel Guard, a Chartis company.

"But the financial investment in a trip can be large, and is worth protecting. Consumers just need to buy the right kind of insurance and weed out what is not important to their trip."

Ndebele says consumers should look at the following basic types of insurance to assess what is needed:

Flight accident insurance: This is probably not necessary. It's one of the most expensive types of travel insurance and depending on the price of your ticket, may not be worth it.

Health cover: Make sure you know what your medical aid covers. Don't just assume you’re covered for travel abroad, because often you won’t be. Additional travel insurance is beneficial, since even if your medical aid provides international travel cover, using it will usually draw from your own savings first. With the Rand exchange rate, overseas medical expenses will deplete these savings rapidly.

Trip Cancellation and Interruption insurance: This is important, especially if you are undertaking an expensive trip as you have a large investment to protect. If you get sick, miss your trip for another reason, or the travel provider goes out of business, you will be stuck with the expenses. It is also beneficial to buy this from a third party insurer and not the travel provider. Why? If that travel company goes out of business, chances are its insurance will too.

Luggage insurance: Many trip cancellation and interruption policies also provide coverage for lost, damaged, delayed or stolen bags. This is worth having as airline liability limits mean that it’s unlikely you will get much in terms of benefits if they lose your luggage!

Top-up insurance: You may think that if you purchased your ticket with a credit card, you are covered. But more often than not, your basic credit card coverage will be limited to flight accident insurance, rental car insurance or limited baggage insurance. Terms and conditions differ depending on your card, so it’s worth checking what you are and aren’t covered for.

Issued by Chartis South Africa

(December 2009)


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