Travel Insurance Essentials

Travel insurance should be just as important as getting your tickets and passport before you set off on your dream holiday. The right travel insurance policy is meant to protect you against unforeseen travel hiccups, like your flight getting cancelled or delayed, or your baggage getting lost or stolen.

You can get travel insurance from numerous sources: The airline or cruise carrier directly, an independent travel insurance agency, and, sometimes, your credit card. You should buy the best type of cover for your individual needs. Often this depends on the type of travel you are about to undertake and the cheapest policy might not necessarily be the best for you.

Most travel insurance companies offer more or less the same coverage but premiums vary. While it is important that you are getting good value for money, you have to be prudent with the level of cover that suits your needs. Discounts from most insurance companies might look attractive on the outset but the actual cover might not be sufficient for you. Pay attention to the small print.

Basics of travel insurance

Cancellation and disruption

If you have to change your travel plans due to medical emergency or travel warnings, the policy should reimburse the non-refundable portions of the prepaid travel.


If your flight is delayed for 12 hours or more, you should be compensated. The amount per block of hours of delay varies.

Baggage and belongings

The policy should pay you for luggage or personal possessions that are lost, damaged or stolen. Many travel insurers put a limit on the payout for individual valuable items, such as mobile phone and camera.

Personal liability

If you cause third-party injuries or property damage during your travel period, insurers should cover you.                                  

Emergency assistance

Most insurance companies offer a 24-hour emergency helpline so that you can contact if you are in a different time zone.

Medical cover

These should cover the costs of inpatient or outpatient treatments when you are overseas and follow-up treatments when you return home. Most insurers will only cover up to 100 days after the incident.

Other factors to consider before you buy your travel insurance

Duration and frequency of travel

If you are travelling more than once a year, it may be more cost effective to purchase an Annual Multi-Trip Travel Insurance.This policy covers you for an unlimited number of trips throughout the year, subject to maximum trip duration options of 30, 45 or 60 days.


A pre-existing condition is a physical or mental health condition of the insured that existed before the effective date of the policy. A standard travel insurance policy is unlikely to cover any pre-existing medical conditions.

Activities planned

Extreme sports will likely not be covered in a basic policy. Additional coverage might be required.


You might have to pay a premium for the region that you are travelling to depending on the insurer’s classifications. Also you will not be covered if you decide to travel to destinations that are deemed unsafe.