As you plan for that long-awaited trip, remember that travel insurance could be the lifesaver you need. You never know when an emergency strikes, something 17th-century merchants sailing the Mediterranean Sea full of cargo knew when they started insuring their goods against theft and loss at sea.
As the world becomes a global village, cross-border movement is more common than before. However, if not planned well, a modest emergency like a broken tooth from a bicycle fall, or delay in getting your luggage that carries the suit you were to wear for that interview you’ve been waiting on for years could be enough to cause a lifetime of heartache and regret.
What a travel insurance does is give you security. “Travel insurance gives a client that comfort that should they fall sick or encounter any other loss, they can recover money spent and get back to the same position they were at before,” says Sam Mogeke, an insurer at APA Insurance.
“Even apart from medical emergencies, risks like delayed and cancelled flights will often come with extra unplanned costs, hotel, food etc. Additionally, there are cases where your luggage is delayed and or you lose your property-laptop etc. what do you do then? he poses.
What is covered under travel insurance?
Travel insurance covers a wide range of risks, for instance, APA’s Globetrotter cover, takes care of medical costs for cases resulting directly from the travel (conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure diagnosed before you travel are not covered), losses from flight or luggage cancellation/delays (only delays of more than six hours are compensated), hijackings (more than 12 hours), property loss (while in transit or in hotel rooms), legal costs when you face legal disputes while on travel and advanced bail bond if arrested are also covered.
Additionally, the cover includes repatriation of remains in the unfortunate circumstance where someone loses their life while on travel-which can be expensive if done privately.
The insurer will also look at the proximate cause. This is how the occurrence of the risk (theft, medical emergencies etc.) relates to travel cover. For example, did you get sick while travelling because you had high blood pressure, or did travel conditions like turbulence, flight anxiety etc. trigger your high blood pressure that eventually led to a medical emergency?
The insuring company will reason and determine whether the risk occurred as a result of the pre-existing medical condition or as a result of the travel-in which case it will likely be paid, however, ensure you have declared the pre-existing medical conditions in advance.
What to consider when taking a travel insurance cover?
When taking up travel insurance consider your lifestyle, for example, if you travel a lot, you can take an annual cover encompassing risks within the region you will be going to (within Africa, worldwide including/excluding the US etc.). In APA’s Globetrotter cover for instance, you are only limited (ranging from 45-90 days and up to 365 days for students) by how long you can stay on those travels, but the number of times you travel within the covered period is not.
What determines the cost of travel insurance?
The amount of premium that you will pay depends on a number of factors, including the frequency of travel and the region you will be travelling to. APA’s charge for travels ranging from 1-7 days within Africa, Asia, Europe, Worldwide excluding the US, and Worldwide excluding the US are, $14, $29, $26 $28 and $ 32 respectively.
Pricing is also determined by the duration of the journey; for instance, premium charges for an 8-10 days travel within Africa is $19 compared to $27 for an 11-15 days journey.
Additionally, students (age up to 40 years) have different rates that are slightly cheaper with an option of staying longer on travels while older persons (above 65 years old) are charged higher rates because of increased risk. On the other hand, families with children below 12 years get a rate discount, while groups like sports teams are charged depending on the activities they will be doing on travel (high-risk activities like rugby increase the payment rates), and factors like whether they will be staying in the same place vs spread out.
What happens in cases of a medical emergency?
According to Sam Mogeke, a large part of people who take up travel insurance do so because of medical emergencies. He explained that the travelling client or their companion will contact one of their partners, which will depend on the area of the world they have traveled to. The partners will direct them to the nearest hospital they can go to and request the hospital to get the patients’ details (name, registration number etc.), which will directly be sent to APA to confirm if their cover is valid. If all is found well, APA will send a summary copy of the clients’ benefits under the cover for evaluation.
The partner company will then communicate to the hospital on what can be treated under the cover, and to what amount. If a client doesn’t have cash, communication will be made and money wired from APA to the hospital. “However, in cases where the client is spending their own money, the recommendation here is don not spend before contacting our partner through the toll-free number given. They will check with the hospital and confirm whether the condition is payable under the policy that you have, or to what amount you can spend that will be compensated when you get back to Kenya,” he added.
In order to be compensated once back in the country, you will have to prove that you actually made the payments and followed the company’s approval process for treatment. You will need receipts and a medical report attached. You will then be prompted to fill a claim form before receiving compensation.
APA insurance is a leading insurance company in Kenya with a travel insurance cover that has a wide scope/number of things covered and age limit (up to 80 years covered) which sets it apart from competition, additionally, registering for the cover is less tedious as only people above the age of 70 years old are required to produce medical reports.