Make sure you're covered
If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel
Travel insurance is essential for any holiday, no matter what your destination.
At Encompass Africa, we insist all of our guests are covered by insurance for the duration of your time away, and recommend you take out a policy as soon as you’re ready to book.
In Africa, the medical system is not free and good hospitals are not cheap – if you’re staying at a remote safari location, they’re not close either, so even getting to one can be expensive.
Choosing the right travel insurance provider for an African safari holiday is not a decision you should made purely on price – always consider the quality of coverage first.
For advice from the Australian Government regarding travel insurance, please visit smarttraveller.gov.au. You’ll find such pearls of wisdom as: “If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel overseas.” We couldn’t agree more.
In the meantime, here are the four key steps we recommend you take when organising travel insurance:
Step 1: Choose the right insurer
There are many questions you’ll need to ask your travel insurance company, but we believe one of the most important is: “Do you have in-house medical experts available 24/7 and a flight desk?”. If they do, it means in the case of a medical emergency they can make immediate and informed decisions based on your condition, identify what trustworthy medical facilities are closest to you, and access the flight system to make any necessary arrangements. Believe it or not, not every insurance company has these essential services; many outsource them, which can cause delays at a time when fast action is crucial.
Another important component immediate cover for lost baggage.
These things mean you can then be assured of the right help if and when you need it most.
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Step 2: Get the right cover
- Know what you’re taking with you and how much it’s worth – and then make sure it’s covered fully
- Know what activities you’ll be doing (or would like to do, even if you haven’t confirmed them yet), and make sure your policy covers them. Be aware that some insurance policies forbid unscheduled boat or plane rides and exclude dangerous activities like white water rafting. Always read the fine print!
- Declare any pre-existing medical conditions. If you don’t and something happens on your trip causing you to require assistance, you might find your insurance company refuses to “pay out”
- Understand what you’re covered for should your bags be delayed or go missing. Good policies cover up to a certain amount in the first 24 hours, which increases as time goes by
- Many guests take out travel insurance with their credit card company. This sort of travel insurance doesn’t always cover everything, and we’ve found that this has a greater impact on people going to Africa than any other destination. As such, please make sure that you investigate the policy’s inclusions and conditions full
Step 3: Be sure to get these when you book your travel insurance
- A policy number
- An international access phone number (so you can contact your company in an emergency)
- A copy of the conditions of your policy
- Don’t forget to keep all of these details on hand during your trip
- Please also be sure to pass copies of these to us as soon as you can
Step 4: Do this if you run into trouble while you’re away
Should an emergency arise while you’re travelling, your insurance provider requires you to contact them ASAP. If for any reason you can’t make contact yourself, the emergency contact listed on your policy will need to do so. They’ll be notified by us or our partners on the ground. Your provider will then decide the best course of action regarding further treatment and/or repatriation, and make the appropriate arrangements.
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