Insurance considerations for travel to South Africa
Article by Andy Harcombe
South Africa Socio-political Considerations
South Africa is such a divided country that information becomes very fragmented. In the busy tourist areas, there is a relative safety, although be highly vigilant. Tourists have been followed from airports and then hi-jacked and mugged, often at gunpoint. It is considered prudent to have a photocopy of your passport in the event of yours being stolen or lost. There is a high crime rate in the townships surrounding the larger cities, although for tourist areas there is a dedicated tourist police force.
If you mugged or car jacked, do not make eye contact or offer any kind of resistance. Hand over whatever they wish to take. After they have left, phone the police and report it. After this contact your travel insurance provider and explain the situation, they will do their best to offer assistance. Goods, baggage, money and belonging can all be replaced.
There is some nationalistic tension between South Africans and neighbouring Zimbabwe. If the mood starts to turn a little ugly at public gatherings, discreetly, but speedily, leave. Riots are bad enough, but handguns are very common in South Africa.
South Africa can at times have heavy storms. These can wash away some roads and cause confusion to the infrastructure. Use common sense to get to your airport to return home. If the weather forecasters are predicting a major storm, leave for the airport before the weather becomes too severe.
General Travel Insurance Guidelines
Travel insurance is a safety net when abroad. A good travel insurance policy should cover you for medical and health cover for an injury or sudden illness abroad, 24 hour emergency service and assistance and personal liability cover in case you are sued for causing injury or damaging property.
Other things to consider when purchasing travel insurance are, what is the value of your lost and stolen possessions cover? What’s the maximum you can claim on a single piece of your inventory? Are you covered for cancellation and/or curtailment of your flight or ferry? Does your policy have extra cover for activities that are usually not included standard policies, such as jet skiing or adventure activities? Are there any financial insurances in case your carrier airline becomes bankrupt before or during your excursion abroad?
Specific Insurance Requirements for South Africa
South Africa has many wonderful areas of outstanding natural beauty. From the shores at Durban, to the peak of Table mountain, to the Kruger Wildlife park, there is an awful lot to see and do in South Africa.
It is important to have full medical and travel insurance when in South Africa. Emergency repatriation flights are not to be forgotten when choosing a travel insurance policy. The medical care is of a high standard, however waiting lists can be long and treatment is expensive.
It is important when selecting your travel insurance policy to factor in which activities you are choosing to do. If visiting Durban, its fair to assume you’ll be visiting the wonderful beaches. If so include water sports in your policy. This covers you for all most all beach and ocean sports and explorations.
If you are visiting the Limpopo region the Kruger national park is a major attraction so factor in the policy adjustments you are likely to require. Travel insurance policies can be a wide as the horizon across the Polokwane game reserve, so why restrict your activities due to lack of travel insurance cover.
If you need additional help after your medical and travellers insurance the British Consulate can be found atBritish High Commission in South Africa255 Hill Street,Arcadia 0002,Pretoria,South Africa
Consular Section: 256 Glyn Street, Hatfield 0083, South AfricaPretoriaTelephone: (27) (12) 421 7500Fax: (27) (12) 421 7555 Switchboard(27) (12) 421 7599 General Enquiries(27) (12) 421 7877 Passport Enquiries(27) (12) 421 7888 Visa Enquiries