Travel Insurance...Don't leave home without it???

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Mar 18th, 2003, 12:21 AM
  #1
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Travel Insurance...Don't leave home without it???

OK, I will probably book my safari in the next 48 hours and then I can shut up for awhile!

How necessary is travel insurance for a 17 day trip to South Africa and Zimbabwe???

I am likely going to book my air on a website like www.airgorilla.com, an air consolidator website that will allow me to save about 15-20% over a website like www.travelocity.com or www.orbitz.com.

With air consolidator flights, the customer is really accepting all the risk in the event of missed flights, etc.

Then I am staying four nights at the Twelve Apostles Hotel in Cape Town (Camps Bay to be exact). This stay was purchased on a travel auction website, www.luxurylink.com. While I have an unbelievably low price, the stay is only valid until October 31st, meaning that if I had to postpone my trip that I would have to use my stay by October 31st or lose it (and the hotel is closed in the entire month of September).

From there I am off to Zimbabwe. I really tried to get myself motivated about Botswana or Zambia, but it just did not happen. I realize that these countries are probably safer than Zimbabwe but they didn't have the same karma as Zimbabwe did, all politics aside.

I will be in Hwange National Park at Makalolo Plains for 3 nights, followed by 3 nights in Mana Pools at Chikwenya and ending with 2 nights in Matusadona at Matusadona Water Wilderness. I did not have time to allow Victoria Falls this time around (I was just there on the Zim side last year).

I will end my trip with 2.5 nights at the Michelangelo Hotel in Joburg. I actually paid for a four night stay, but I will check out very late on my third night for an evening flight home. I hate to lose that last night but I would hate to give up Matusadona even more.

Would I be crazy not to want to spend about $400 USD on travel insurance? My ENTIRE itenerary will come out to about $9,500 USD.
The Zimbabwe ground package (8 nights lodging with all transfers between airports and lodges) is only $4,800 USD.

Anybody reading this that has been to Southern Africa recently, please let me know if you insured your trip. Thanks.
Roccco is offline  
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Mar 18th, 2003, 02:32 AM
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Yes I think you would.

Our operator won't even book the trip for us without a promise from us that we WILL be insured. They aren't pushing for us to insure through them, just aware of the importance of insurance.

If anything does go wrong, particularly from a medical standpoint, you will incur a great deal of extra expense in emergency use of private chartered flights to get you out of the lodge and to hospital. That, added to the expenses of a lengthened stay, would be hefty.

As you are booking independently you would not even have the support of a tour operator to fall back on.

Shop around for insurance as you have done with the trip elements - but do make sure the cover is appropriate and includes what you need.

Kavey
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Mar 18th, 2003, 02:35 AM
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Rocco, when we took our group fof friends to southern Africa last year, a few of them purchased insurance. One of the families who purchased insurance were very happy that they did.

When we flew to Vic Falls on Saa, the flight was overbooked. SAA do not request volunteers to voluntarily give up their seats to receive compensation. Rather, they just tell the last people who check in, (regardless of how early they actually check in), sorry, you are not on this flight. Tough sh..t! We'll maybe get you on the next flight which leaves tomorrow. Oh yes, and tomorrow's flight is also overbooked so make sure you get here very early so that you are not last in line for that flight. Oh, you are part of a group. Oh well, that is too bad. Maybe they will show you their pictures of what you are missing.

We held up the flight for about 45 minutes trying to get this sorted out. Well, they did not get on the flight but we did manage to get them compensation in form of a hotel stay and a free domestic ticket (which our travel agent managed to use to get them upgraded to business class on the return flight home). However, this is NOT the norm for SAA and my husband really had to fight for it.

Back to the travel insurance. The travel insurance compensated them for all the expenses incurred over the missed flight, missed hotel night, excursions that we had booked that they missed, even for the many phone calls we made trying to get things sorted out.

So, my answer to you, is as you are traveling in countries which have different systems than what you are used to, I would recommend to definitely get the travel insurance. The unexpected can and does happen and you don't want to rely on the largesse of companies or hotels that you have booked through. You are spending a lot of money on this trip and it is worth it for your peace of mind.

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Mar 18th, 2003, 03:16 AM
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would = should

in my post above


Kavey = Typo Queen
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Mar 18th, 2003, 05:03 AM
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Rocco - I think you'd be mad to travel without insurance. My partner and I have an annual joint policy, which gives us worldwide cover. Wouldn't leave the country without it. Covers us for just about everything - if we have to cancel due to illness etc, for flight cancellations and delays, theft or loss of luggage etc., for medical bills abroad.

A friend of ours (without insurance) was involved in a nasty car accident in SA a year or so back and it cost him a LOT of money. Thankfully he has now recovered but he ended up taking out a second mortgage on his house to pay the bills!

For peace of mind I would definitely recommend it. Enjoy your trip, sounds good. Look forward to your trip report.
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Mar 18th, 2003, 05:08 AM
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Thanks for the advice. I will definitely be getting it.

Fortunately, with the way I have shopped around, it will be like I have got it for free.

My Zimbabwe ground package has been quoted anywhere from $4,820 USD to about $5,500 USD, with the average being $5,300 USD. Fortunately I just kept sending out those emails to every African travel website that Google could spit out.

The eventual low price beat the next lowest by $400 USD and fortunately has a very established looking website and an agent that has been very responsive to all my questions.

I guess I'll just take that $400 savings and buy travel insurance with it.

So, I guess I have to complete all my bookings before I purchase the insurance, is this correct???

Thanks.
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Mar 18th, 2003, 06:37 AM
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When you buy insurance, make sure it covers medical evacuation for you if you become seriously ill or injured. Some also cover for a family member to fly to meet you. We just purchased insurance for a trip our daughter is taking in June - it included a terrorism/war clause - if the US Dept of State issues a travel warning to any of countries she is visiting, we can cancel and get refund.
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Mar 18th, 2003, 03:57 PM
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when i tried a few years ago to get insurance for my son who was going away for 2 months and wanted to include war etc I could not find anything - with which companies are you finding this insurance?
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