Peace of mind is the best thing to take with you on your travels. And having travel insurance is reassuring in case of any eventuality.
There are various travel insurance covers in the market and before you buy one, talk to your insurer first to know what you need and what it can and will not cover.
To find answers to some frequently asked questions, I spoke with Claudine Mukabibi, the head of customer service and complaints handling at UAP Insurance, Rwanda.
What are the main benefits I should expect when I purchase travel insurance?
Depending on the level of coverage that you wish to have, a travel insurance policy may provide you with protection from emergency medical expenses, personal accidents, follow-up treatment, loss of luggage, personal liability, aircraft hijacking and unlawful detention.
It also provides travel assistance. More importantly, it depends on what plan you choose, as emergency medical expenses can be very high in many parts of the world.
Is travel insurance the same as international health insurance?
Travel insurance covers you against emergencies while travelling; it is different from international health insurance.
For example, travel insurance does not cover medical treatment required due to a pre-existing condition (that you knew about at the time of taking out the insurance).
Also, if you happen to be suffering from malaria when you set out on your trip, there is no guarantee that you will get treated when you arrive at your destination.
For these two cases you will require international health insurance. Travel insurance only offers protection in the case that you become ill or get injured during the duration of your travel.
How can I ensure the cancellation of my travel policy covers all?
The travel insurance cancellation policy will not cover you for all reasons.
It will cover travel and accommodation costs, transfers, excursions and in some cases even the visa costs— but only if the cancellation is unavoidable and due to a set list of reasons, such as illness that prevents you from travelling or the death of a relative. What it won’t cover you for, in most cases, is choosing not to travel.
Can I cover my child and elderly grandparents under my policy if they are travelling with me?
The policy can cover the entire family but the specific regulations are laid out in the policy.
Since everyone gets his or her own policy because of the factors of age which influence the tariff and benefit limitations, you need to get a quote for your children, parents, spouse and yourself depending on who is joining you on the trip.
It does not mean that your policy will automatically cover your entire family. In some cases, insurers have a family travel insurance policy that usually covers husband, wife and children.
In other cases, you may opt for a group travel insurance policy where you can add as many extended family and friends as you can afford.
I travel a lot. Is it worth getting a multi-trip policy even if I’m yet to book all my trips for the year?
It is certainly possible. It depends on how the product or policy is designed. Sometimes it is possible to get an open cover.
You can also get the cover as you travel. An annual multi-trip insurance can be more cost-effective if you’re a frequent traveller.
It is better advised to have your trips scheduled to access a multi-trip policy. Most people get their travel insurance after they have bought their flights and accommodation. If you have an annual policy, the trip cancellation benefit can be on-going and you can be covered from the moment you book your flight.