Every time you’ve travelled, things have gone off without a hitch. You were fortunate to avoid the gastrointestinal effects of eating spicy street food in Kolkata, emerged unscathed from kayaking the coastal waters of the Galápagos Islands, and sidestepped being pickpocketed on home soil. But, in hindsight, things could easily have gone wrong.
The last thing you want to deal with on honeymoon or on your adventure of a lifetime, is not having the support to get home safely. Travel insurance could either make or break your journey. Here are eight travel insurance dos and don’ts to consider the next time you travel.
Identify the risks:
If you’ve set your sights on a particular destination, chances are you would have some idea about the potential risks. A holiday in the Alps will most probably involve leisure activities like skiing or snowboarding, and an adventure into Africa could end with being diagnosed with malaria, so ensure you take out the right type of cover for the destination.
Talk to your insurance advisor:
Most banks and travel agencies offer complimentary travel insurance when air tickets are purchased from them directly. This gives travellers some basic cover, but often people take out additional cover not realising that what they have is really all they need. The best way to approach it is to look at the type of cover you already have from your travel agent, medical aid, or your bank, and then take out cover for what is still needed. Speak to your insurance advisor so that you can make the best possible decision.
Be aware of limitations and exclusions:
All travel insurance policies have specific benefits and exclusions, and if you are travelling abroad, visa requirements can affect your policy limitations, and in some areas in the world, the possibility exists that it might even be excluded. So, the rule of thumb – as with any insurance policy – is to take the time to read the policy carefully.
It is recommended to purchase the policy of your choice as soon as you’ve paid for your holiday or business trip. By doing so, you get the benefit of cancellation coverage from up to six months before the date of the departure.
Don’t skimp on cover:
You should not adopt the same approach of packing lightly with travel insurance – less is certainly not more. At the same, you don’t need all the frills either, because basic cover includes medical cover, accidental death and disability cover, albeit limited. It is advised to boost your complimentary cover with comprehensive cover. A comprehensive policy will also include cover for losses incurred due to unexpected cancellation or curtailment of your trip, death and disability cover, personal liability cover, luggage cover and various other inconvenience benefits.
Don’t get sidetracked:
Potential terror attacks, civil unrest, and disease outbreaks are the top concerns for travellers – only 15% of whom worry about adequate insurance cover for scenarios that are more likely to happen, such as falling ill or being involved in an accident. The most important benefit on your travel insurance policy is your emergency medical cover, as this covers emergency medical costs in the event of injury or illness when travelling abroad. Keep your wits about you and do not ignore the common risks that can strike as soon as you step off your flight.
Don’t disregard pre-existing medical conditions:
You could incur losses or additional expenses if you need to cancel or curtail your journey due to illness or injury emanating from a pre-existing medical condition. It is imperative to communicate any such conditions to your travel advisor to verify if it will be covered in your travel insurance policy.
Don’t rule out domestic travel risks:
Most risks associated with travelling are mitigated when one travels domestically, but insurance cover that’s tailored to your needs, could save you unnecessary costs. Unforeseen travel-related delays and damage or theft of your luggage, could cost you both time and money, so it may be worth paying that little extra for travel insurance.
When you are going to the ends of the earth for paradise, business or adventure, always expect the unexpected. Having a comprehensive travel policy in tow may be a bitter pill to swallow at first, but having the peace of mind knowing you’re adequately covered, is priceless.
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