5 reasons travel insurance should be a top priority this festive season

5 reasons travel insurance should be a top priority this festive season

For some, the end-of-year holiday season is the perfect time to escape on a well-deserved holiday to a destination abroad. However, many people who travel overseas are still not taking the appropriate measures to manage their risks when traveling to a foreign country.

This is according to Magcino Gule, Senior Manager for Travelsure at Old Mutual Insure, who says that travel risks are increasing year-on-year, making it increasingly important that leisure travelers take the necessary precautions and protect themselves with adequate travel insurance when they go on holiday.

“High-profile events such as natural disasters, terror attacks and medical crises are on the rise worldwide, which means that travel risk management, an important but often overlooked precaution, needs to become more of a priority for people touring abroad and local.”

With this in mind, Gule offers her advice on the risks that need to be considered when arranging insurance cover for an upcoming trip.

1. The number of individuals covered under a policy.  If you are traveling with your family, the first thing that you should establish is whether the policy will cover every family member traveling with you. Equally important is to make sure that every family member is covered for full medical care.

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2. The added services. Added services can make a huge difference following an unforeseen event. An insurance package that offers value-adds such as telephonic medical advice, foreign translation services in medical emergencies and delivery of essential medicine if your luggage is lost, should be at the top of your list. These services come in handy when you need a painkiller for your headache, but don’t know how to communicate this in Mandarin or French.

3. Is my age being taken into account? With the number of senior tourists increasing each year, it is very important to know whether your age is being taken into account. Where many travel policies have an age limit of 65, there are specialised policies that provide cover for travelers who are well into their seventies or beyond.

4. Does the policy cover trip cancellation or curtailment? If you are stranded in a foreign country because your flights are canceled, it is important to know that your insurance policy will cover the cost of a new ticket, and possibly accommodation during the unexpected extension of your tour.

Equally important to take into account is that you could be forced to cut your trip short due to an emergency back home or some holiday-ending injury. Will your policy cover the additional costs involved in making the necessary arrangements?

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5. Does the policy cover high-risk activities? If you plan on doing something sporty or exciting such as skiing, bungee jumping or paragliding, it is crucial that you first find out whether your policy covers you in the event of injury. If not, find out whether there is an add-on that you can purchase to cover the extra risk and whether your insurer will assist you with your emergency evacuation and repatriate you back home, as a result of an injury.

Whatever insurance package you consider, Gule says that it is vital to compare every aspect of the different insurance product available and to make an informed decision on which insurer would be best suited to your needs.

“Understanding your potential risks and making sure you are sufficiently covered by a comprehensive travel insurance policy will provide peace of mind allowing you to make the most of your holiday,” Gule concludes.