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Now that lockdown restrictions have eased and airline activity has increased, consumers who are considering international travel should make sure they are well prepared. They may encounter unforeseen challenges on their trips, but travel insurance can ensure carefree international travel.
Most countries have lifted their strict travel requirements, like having to quarantine on arrival in a foreign country — opening the way for South Africans who want to travel internationally.
However, the unexpected Covid-19 outbreaks in countries that seemingly had things under control, have shown it is better to be covered for flight and travel plan changes — rather than scrambling to find the means to cover these expenses. Unforeseen events, such as the monkeypox outbreak reported in many countries, do occur.
After limiting their activity in the last two years, South Africans are looking forward to touring and visiting friends and relatives in foreign countries again.
When planning trips, you can find comfort in knowing insurance providers such as Standard Bank compensate travellers for the cancellation of their trips or cutting them short, non-refundable travel bookings, and unused portions of their planned trips. This is for travellers who sustain injuries, lose their travel documents, or face a natural disaster at their destination.
They receive automatic medical cover of up to R1m for unexpected medical expenses when they purchase their air tickets, or tickets on other registered modes of transport, with their Standard Bank Mastercard, Visa or Cheque cards.
If a traveller tests positive on their insured journey, the insurance will pay for the cost of the test and additional accommodation expenses for quarantine
Travellers planning trips they’ve been dreaming of for two years can be assured of the travel insurance options now available to them. These options include cancelling or cutting their journey short when a government places restrictions on travel or they need to change their travel plans.
“This is an optional cover that is becoming popular as it covers eventualities that may occur that are typically excluded from standard cancellation cover,” says Linah Mabena, head of operation at Standard Bank Insurance.
Travellers who want to protect themselves against Covid-related and other changes to their plans, need to buy their additional cover options within 24 hours of making the first payment against their travel booking to ensure they are compensated against the cancellation benefit.
“The insured traveller will be able to claim against their policy when a government restricts all or any travel to and from SA. If a traveller falls ill before their insured journey and a medical practitioner deems them medically unfit to travel after buying their travel insurance policy, they will receive their cancellation benefit.”
The travel industry re-evaluated its cancellation policies during the pandemic, but this does not extend to trips that are not refundable and eventualities such as testing positive for Covid-19.
“The right insurance option will ensure that travellers don't have to be concerned about getting medical care or being airlifted from remote travel destinations if they test positive for Covid-19 while on holiday in a foreign country,” says Mabena.
Covid-related expenses that are covered under Standard Bank's optional benefits include emergency medical expenses when travellers test positive on an international journey.
This includes medical evacuation, transport to medical centres, return travel to SA and return travel of stranded children or travel companions. It also covers unfortunate needs such as burial, cremation or the return of mortal remains.
“However, it is important to note that medical expenses do not include preventive or diagnostic treatment such as vaccines or Covid-19 tests. If a traveller tests positive on their insured journey, the insurance will pay for the cost of the test and additional accommodation expenses for quarantine — if they are not hospitalised,” says Mabena.
“It will also cover flight penalties if the traveller needs to change their public transport carrier ticket. These benefits extend to the spouse and children on the same insured journey, so if a traveller tests positive and needs to be quarantined, the insurance pays for them, their spouse and children to be quarantined.”
Mabena says Standard Bank advises South Africans who are travelling abroad to consider the financial implications they might face on their travels due to unforeseen challenges.
“We are all aware of the rand exchange rate. Medical expenses abroad can be extremely high. It's best to ensure a carefree journey by taking out the appropriate travel insurance before your journey.”
Standard Bank Travel Insurance offers a variety of travel plans that cater to a wide range of travel insurance requirements, ensuring that those with basic travel needs and discerning travellers can enjoy their long-awaited trips fully.
This article was paid for by Standard Bank.
All cover is subject to terms, conditions and exclusions as outlined in the policy wording. Cover only applies if it reflects on your schedule of benefits.
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Published by Arena Holdings and distributed with the Financial Mail on the last Thursday of every month except December and January.