Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance


Due to the increasing exchange rate of the Rand to many foreign currencies, travelling without travel insurance has the potential to leave you financially crippled.

For example, a routine visit to a GP in the United Kingdom will cost you £150 to £200.  Hospital costs for a serious injury have the potential to run into millions of Rands!

Travel insurance products offer the affordability of purchasing your policy in Rands, with the peace of mind that your medical costs will be covered in the foreign currency you require.

The most important benefit of your travel insurance policy is your emergency medical cover.  This covers your medical costs in the event of injury or illness while travelling outside the borders of South Africa.

A comprehensive policy will also include cover for:

  • Losses incurred due to unforeseen cancellation or cutting your trip short
  • Death and disability cover
  • Personal liability cover
  • Luggage cover
  • Various other inconvenience benefits

Most travel insurance claims are related to medical costs, cancellation expenses and luggage losses.  When you compare policies and benefits you must ensure that you have cover for all three risks.

Pre-existing conditions are not always covered.  Check the full details of your policy to confirm your cover, terms, and exclusions.

Other common exclusions include:

  • Accidents while participating in hazardous pursuits, speed, or endurance activities
  • Injury/illness resulting from your negligence
  • Self-harm
  • Injuries/illnesses incurred during illegal activities

Injuries resulting from your participation in leisure sporting activities are usually covered, but professional sportsmen must apply for specific cover.

A pre-existing condition refers to medical treatment received for an illness that has occurred within six months before your journey.  Ongoing medication is also considered as pre-existing.

Senior cover (for travellers aged 70 and over) will usually not insure pre-existing illnesses, cardiovascular disease, or cerebrovascular disease.  These travellers also pay a higher premium.

Cancellation Cover will reimburse any non-refundable travel or accommodation costs if travellers are unable to travel due to an unexpected illness or accident.

Your policy might include cover for other incidents as well – these will be detailed in the policy document.  Always ensure that you understand this document fully.

Most banks provide some complimentary travel cover if you have purchased your ticket using your credit card – this is usually limited to some medical cover.  Make sure that you check exactly what is covered before travelling.

Should you find that this cover is not sufficient for your travel purposes, you can purchase one of several Top-Up options available.  This will ensure that you have adequate cover for any event.

All leisure sports are automatically included in your policy.  These might include snow skiing, water skiing and scuba diving.

All sport that is considered risky or undertaken professionally or competitively will require a sports extension.

Yes, pregnant travellers are covered up to the first day of the 26th week.  A child born on the journey is not covered.

As concern about the coronavirus (COVID-19) – which has now spread to several countries – increases, the following information on what is covered for travel insurance claims relating to the virus  refers: 

All TIC policy-holders are fully covered for emergency medical and related expenses should the traveller contract the coronavirus on a journey. The related expenses include medical transportation and medical repatriation, repatriation of children and/or travel companion and burial or cremation or return of mortal remains. 

Should the coronavirus lead to flight cancellations by the airline or travel bans by country or global authorities then the traveller will be covered by TIC’s Unspecified Event Cancellation cover provided they purchased their travel insurance within 48 hours of making the first payment towards their trip (whether part or in full).   Unspecified event cancellation cover is available on Leisure Comprehensive and Business policies only. TIC will cover the non-refundable amounts/portions of the travel arrangements up to the benefit limit in the policy in case of cancellation or postponement, for passengers who qualify for this cover. Disinclination to travel is excluded in terms of TIC cover. 

Potential Medical Costs:


Heart Attack in the USA:

R120,000 – R160,000 per day

A broken leg in Europe:


Flu in the UK:


Food poisoning in Asia:

R3,000 – R10,000


Interesting fact:

The highest recorded medical claim paid globally is US$ 1,5 million.


Information courtesy of TIC Travel Insurance Consultants a Division of Santam (FSP license number 3416).