Travel Insurance Part 1

You’ve had a long year and your time at the office is increasingly being spent imagining yourself on that beach in your screen saver. It’s time for a holiday. But what happens if you fall ill when you are on holiday and need medical treatment? Or maybe you have to cancel your island holiday because a member of your family is taken into hospital. Travel insurance is there to cover medical expenses or financial losses you might incur while traveling.

There are five main categories of travel insurance:
Trip cancellation or interruption
Medical and related expenses
Loss of baggage and belongings
Missed connections
We will explain each of these in more detail.

A week into your holiday, your mum falls ill and is admitted to hospital. You can’t be a million miles away sipping on cocktails while she suffers through this alone, surely?

You decide to return home early to be by her side. Of course it’s the right thing to do but you can’t help wondering whether you’ll be able to get a refund for the balance of your holiday expenses. Your insurance should compensate you for prepaid and non-refundable holiday expenditure should you need to cut your trip short or cancel it for reasons beyond your control.

Your own, your travel partners or a close
relative’s illness or injury
Losing your job
Damage or burglary affecting your home
within a specified time before departure

Policies differ in terms of which reasons are acceptable, so be sure to read your policy conditions carefully.

Remember to print out a copy of your policy documentation and take it with you on your trip. This will ensure that you have the relevant telephone numbers and procedures to follow should you need to lodge a claim.
Travel insurance is enormously varied. Here more than in most arenas it is simply wrong to think “I have a policy. I’m okay.” You must check benefits, check exclusions, and ring alarm bells if you see big gaps.

Source: South African Insurance Association

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