Travel insurance is essential for any holiday destination. At Encompass Africa, we insist all of our guests are covered by insurance for the duration of your travel arrangements. We recommend that you take out a policy as soon as you are ready to book. For advice from the Australian Government regarding travel insurance, please visit smarttraveller.gov.au.
Many guests take out travel insurance with their credit card company. Please do make sure that you investigate the policy’s inclusions and conditions fully. You should receive a policy number, an international access phone number to contact them in an emergency, and a copy of the conditions. Keep this for your records and please also pass on to us.
Should something happen whilst travelling, all travel insurance providers require you to contact them ASAP or we can do it on your behalf if you are not contactable and in need of medical treatment or urgent changes to plans. They will then decide the best course of action in regards to further treatment and/or repatriation and make appropriate booking arrangements.
So before you decide which travel insurance to choose, read our top tips below.
Where to start…
Nobody likes to think something will go wrong when travelling overseas on holidays. Yet if things do go awry it is essential that you have the right protection and the problem resolved as quickly as possible. This will ensure the best outcome for you be that medical attention, returning home or assistance with lost luggage.
In Africa the medical and hospital system is not free and the good ones are not cheap. Given the distances and remote safari locations, getting to hospital if you need it can be expensive. So choosing the right travel insurance provider for an African safari should not be taken lightly. Don’t make the decision purely on price, think quality of coverage first and foremost.
What you need to know…
1. Know what you are taking with you and how much it is worth. Nothing more devastating than a monkey stealing your camera and not having ample cover to replace it.
2. Know what activities you are doing or wanting to experience and make sure the policy covers it. Some insurance policies forbid unscheduled boat or plane rides and exclude dangerous activities like white water rafting.
3. Know your medical conditions and declare them. If you have pre-existing medical conditions and do not declare, the insurance policy may not ‘pay out’ if something happens and the company finds out your condition was ‘known to you and the medical system’.
4. Understand what is covered should your bags be delayed or go missing. Nothing worse than turning up, stepping off the plane only to discover your bags didn’t make the connection. Good policies cover up to a certain amount in the first 24 hours, then it increases as time goes by.
Does the insurer have inside expertise?
An important question you should be asking your travel insurance company is whether they have in-house medical experts and a flight desk.
We believe this is important for international holiday travel because it means the insurer can make immediate decisions based on your condition, identify what trustworthy facilities are closest to you and access the flight system to make the necessary arrangements to get you where you need to go. Believe it or not, these essential services do not come standard with every insurance company, many outsource which adds time to the turnaround.
We work with Allianz and Covermore. Both of these companies offer in house medical staff, flight desk and immediate lost baggage cover (varies per company, ask us for details) so you can travel effortlessly and be assured of the right help when it is needed most.
If you book your insurance with us we retain details on file and pass these on to our ground partners. If, in the unlikely event an issue or emergency arises, we immediately kick into action and work alongside travel partners, the insurers, their medical experts and the airlines to ensure the very best care is received and you return home safe and sound.