Luggage at an airport. It is always advisable to have travel insurance since travelling comes with many risks. www.businesstoday.co.ke
Luggage at an airport. It is always advisable to have travel insurance since travelling comes with many risks. [Photo/ The Straits Times]

Travelling comes with many risks and some of them could leave a damaging and lasting effect on a traveller.

When travelling, it is advisable to always be ready for any eventuality and one of the ways that you can mitigate the dangers associated with travelling is taking out travel insurance

While some of the journeys you have taken may not have had a reason for alarm or necessitated the need for travel insurance, bad times tend to spring up when least expected and these could mean the difference between a memorable holiday or in extreme cases, a matter of life and death.

Why Buy Travel Insurance?

For many travellers, the main decisions to make when travelling is how to get to the destination, where to stay and how to go back home.

Despite the fact that round trips come with many potential dangers, rarely do people take into consideration travel insurance.

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For the basics, travel insurance is good to cover non-refundable travel expenses.

Imagine being thousands of kilometres from home and being unable to buy essential stuff you need because any extra expense would mean that you are eating into savings for a future event.

In such a scenario, travel insurance comes in handy to ensure that you will your expenses are taken care of without your having to break the bank. Some emergency expenses like medication are unavoidable and so taking insurance to cover such is a wise move.

According to Simmy Micheli from Travel Insurance Consultants (TIC), by taking out travel insurance you are essentially covering yourself against travel risks such as lost or stolen luggage, cancellation cover (should you not be able to travel due to unexpected medical reasons) and most importantly, unexpected medical costs abroad.

Micheli, quoted by the Flight Site Agency says, “Considering that the cost of a small medical emergency abroad could deplete one’s entire holiday budget it (travel insurance) offers you peace of mind.”

She adds that travel insurance provides a level of protection against currency fluctuations as, although one’s policy is paid for in local currency, all claims are incurred in foreign currencies.

A comprehensive travel insurance policy provides an emergency medical cover, losses occasioned by cancellations etc, death and disability cover, a personal liability cover and luggage cover.

How To Buy Travel Insurance

While many insurers promise to cover the traveller, it is important to thoroughly research them to understand their terms and what they offer.

Most of the antagonising clauses are hidden in the fine print and if need be, seek legal advice before putting pen to paper when buying insurance.

Insurers will promise that their cover is the best and it will give you peace of mind during your trip.

Beware that the same insurers who offer “easy claims, express payments and 24/7 worldwide travel assistance” could turn against you if you missed the fine print.

Depending on time of travel and if it is not an emergency, take time to process all the information on offerings regarding travel insurance. Do not rush to sign papers which may turn against you when you need the assistance.

Insurance Agents and Subcontracts

When buying travel insurance, it is advisable to avoid agents and other subcontracts unless you have dealt with them before.

In Kenya, for instance, insurance fraud is a big problem and scammers will not mind fleeing you.

Bismart Insurance CEO Eunice Maina, advises that fraud is rampant with many people, especially motorists being exposed despite having paid for the covers.

With this kind of insight, she says that it is good for motorists to verify the state of their cover to avoid exposure in case of an accident.

As with motor insurance, travel insurance should be taken as seriously to avoid disappointments.

Maina urges insurance policy holders to directly communicate with their insurers to verify their policies after purchasing insurance through intermediaries.

For better cushioning against fraud, Maina said it is better for policyholders not to pay premiums to intermediaries but directly to the insurance firms.

Are you travelling? Make sure that you are cushioned against the pain that could come with not being insured.

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