Trip Insurance - a must?

Oct 8th, 2014, 04:03 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 29
Trip Insurance - a must?

Just booked some very expensive direct flight tickets for next summer. We are looking forward to our first Family Safari in S. Africa, Botswana, Zambia and Namibia!

However, knowing that this is a "once in a lifetime" kind of trip and due to recent Ebola scares in West Africa - travel insurance seems appropriate.

I have travelled all my life and perhaps was lucky, but never purchased insurance.

Could anyone recommend a good company and good value? What insurance would we need? Would it cover cost of plane tickets as well as any air lifting/emergency evac?

Thank you for your advice!

We are a family of four - kids are 10 and 11yrs.
kthompson360 is offline  
Oct 8th, 2014, 04:51 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
If you have prepaid for a trip to anywhere and you can't afford to throw away about USD$25-30K (guessing), you should absolutely have Trip Insurance covering cancellation and interruption, also flight/baggage delay, baggage loss, medical/dental and evacuation. And you can compare various policies. Will cover pre-existing conditions if purchased within 10.days of deposit made.

Check our InsureMyTrip - - with many offerings and their agents (an 800# on the site) are most helpful. There's another company Squaremouth that some have used though I haven't... so check them also.

Read all drop down menus on both sites and know that the first (as I'm aware) can insure 'for any reason' at a supplement.

Sounds like a great holiday. Good luck!
sandi is offline  
Oct 8th, 2014, 08:15 PM
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 767
Agree with above. When you prepay a large amount for a trip (cruise, safari), it makes sense to protect yourself with trip insurance. You can expect to pay ~5-10% of your trip cost, with an average of ~8%. and (I've used the latter to insure my Africa trips for many years) are easy to use. Enter some basic info (# insured, ages, destination, total cost---if you want air fares covered add it to the land costs), press submit, and you'll get many policies to consider. Choose what best suits your needs. Preexisting health conditions and 'cancel for any reason' will be covered if purchased within 7-21 days, depending on policy and insurer.

If you are purchasing insurance primarily to cover yourself if you decided to cancel because of a wider outbreak of Ebola, I'd speak with the insurer of the selected policy before purchasing to see if Ebola is a good enough reason to cancel. If they say it is not, you would probably want to add 'cancel for any reason' to the policy. It will cost you more but it would probably be worth the peace of mind.
sdb2 is offline  
Oct 8th, 2014, 08:28 PM
Join Date: Jan 2009
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PS - that should have been within 7-21 days of deposit.
sdb2 is offline  
Oct 9th, 2014, 10:54 AM
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 689
Never leave home without it!
KathBC is offline  
Oct 9th, 2014, 11:00 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 29
very helpful - thank you both - will go online now to find the best fit!
kthompson360 is offline  
Oct 9th, 2014, 11:49 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,859
Absolutely agree with all the fine print before purchasing to make sure it actually covers what you think it covers. We always have TI on our safaris and also add an evacuation policy through MedJetAssist.
TC is offline  
Oct 9th, 2014, 12:38 PM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,215
Why do you want/need insurance?
Ask yourself that question.
What is your answer??

1) Answer - you think that in the long run you will be (money) ahead if you have insurance.
If you believe this, then you do not understand the insurance business.
You also likely believe that if you go to Las Vegas and play Keno you will come away a winner. The same logic applies to both insurance and Keno.

2) Answer - you feel more comfortable with having insurance. Fine, if it feels good and makes you comfortable, go for it.

3) Answer - you want to cover a possible loss that would be very difficult for you to recover from. NOW this is where/when you need to buy insurance.- If the garage door on my house breaks, I shell out a couple grand and get it fixed. In a year my savings account will have recovered. However, if my house burns down, I can't afford to rebuild it. I hate it when I have to live at the YMCA for years. That is why I have fire insurance on my house.

As sbd2 above says, insurance will cost about 8% of your trip cost. In last say 10 years I have taken 14 trips. By not paying 8% insurance each one I have saved more than the cost of a trip. If I loose my next trip entirely, then I've broken even. But chances are my next trip will be fine.

But wait, yes I do indeed get insurance!!! Medical. Make sure your medical insurance covers you in Africa. And as TC says I also have MedjetAssist. At some foreign hospitals you will not be admitted without proof of medical insurance. Either insurance or you write them a blank check.

regards - tom
ps - read the policy T&C, the fine print. Nothing like trying to collect on insurance that was not covered in policy.

ps ps - Yes, I know someone who missed their trip and got money back. But I also know 20 people who have never had significant loss. (A suitcase of dirty clothes does not count!!)
cary999 is offline  
Oct 9th, 2014, 10:36 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 5,285
If your credit card insures the flight, no need. Med/evac is very important if your insurance doesn't cover you outside of the USA. Many, probably most, don't. If you are traveling with &Beyond, they include some evac. Any preexisting conditions? Read the fine print, call if needed, and get med/evac within about a week for them to be covered, and all of your travel needs to be insured - unlike without preexisting conditions, you can choose any amount to insure. Price depends on age and time between booking and traveling. Children are cheap, seniors are more. As tom says, it depends on what you can afford to lose. And your credit card will likely cover a lot of the flight, but not the safari. Before my preexisting condition, i got $100,000 med/$1 million evac per person with no insurance on the travel. Now I have to insure it all to be covered and it's very expensive, by comparison. I use and call before booking to make sure I read everything right and I will be covered. I don't leave the country without it - never have (well, once).
The countries you are visiting have good health infrastructure, so don't worry too much about Ebola spreading to them - Nigeria and Senegal stopped it from spreading and we hear very little about it - because they have good health infrastructure. That is not the case in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Check with your safari agent. Med/evac might be required by the camps.
Have fun!
christabir is offline  
Oct 10th, 2014, 05:59 AM
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 210
After having to nearly pull out of a family safari due to my mother's failing health, I never go without it! You can lose quite a bit of money as safaris are all prepaid. Travel insurance is really small dollars to pay for a piece of mind. Just like car insurance or homeowners, it's there when you need it.
But here's a couple key points. I would write down all your questions and get answers first from the travel insurance companies. You should be very clear what's covered and what's not. I would only include the airline ticket cost if the airline's change fee is more than the upcharge to include the flights into the travel insurance. It usually is but I would check that. You can check with your lodge/camp as to what they offer, if anything, as far as cancelation or med evac. Just remember that because Med Evac may be offered, it doesn't mean that you would be taken to the hospital of choice. It could mean the nearest triage facility. I would also carry all your medical insurance info/contact details and call your med provider to make sure you have some sort of reimbursement/coverage. As far as Ebola, it is not a reason to cancel that would be covered UNLESS the government restricts flying and you are therefore not allowed to get on the plane. I have been asked this by my clients. As long as the planes are flying, you can't cancel. You can opt for Cancel for Any Reason but the added option is very pricey! But again, having a piece of mind is available to you at a price. Travelex has a Professional Pak upgrade for $99 on the plan. If you have to cancel your trip for business reasons then this option is available to you. There are requirements like signed and authorized info from management at one's company etc. You can look into that if you think your work may cause you to cancel. I personally have always used Travelex. The policy I like is Travel Select and they have a Under 21 Child free plan for every paying adult. It's very cost effective. It has always been my personal choice. I offer the full range of their travel products to my clients but this one seems the most attractive. I would compare Travelex plans to any of the others recommended above. If you have further questions and I can help, you can email me (on my profile). Have a great trip! You will love the safari experience as seen through the eyes of your children! Enjoy!
Dianne, Africa Direct USA
diannelovestravel is offline  
Oct 10th, 2014, 09:55 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,894
I think the biggest difference between safari travel vs. other (ie: European or US) travel is that it's an enormous up-front cash outlay where everything is paid for before I leave. If I'm going to Europe, I reserve hotel rooms that I can cancel without penalty up to the day before I arrive at them, so no need for insurance there and no money lost unless I cancel that close to the trip and at most, it's only one night lost. Activities and meals are paid for as I go, not up front, so no money lost there. Airfares are usually cheaper (for me) to Europe than Africa, so at most I'm out $1000, not the $5-7000 of a safari. I insure only those trips where it's all out of pocket up front.
amyb is offline  
Oct 10th, 2014, 12:06 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,859
"After having to nearly pull out of a family safari due to my mother's failing health,"

Dianne; Would this reason for cancel have been covered without a cancel for any reason policy? Was your mother one of the traveling party? If so, she may have been able to cancel; but would others in the party? If she wasn't traveling, I doubt your insurance would have covered your cancellation. We had this situation when my FIL was very frail. We knew that if anything happened, we would be stuck eating the loss. This is why it is so important to read every inch of the fine print and make sure you understand what it says. No assumming.
TC is offline  
Oct 10th, 2014, 04:58 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 8,675
While Tom has always been in favor of 'no insurance' but who knows his financial circumstances vs others. While insurance (any kind) is always in the favor of the insurer, you have to decide how much you can afford to toss in the trash. We're not all the same.

Though the policy I mentioned above for cancel and interruption, the segments for flight/baggage and baggage* loss are a very small portion of the premium, but you shouldn't discard Medical and Evacuation. So read all the options available and decide what type of coverage you require. Remember, you can be delayed just getting to the airport and you miss your flight, or some other simple something that is unexpected.

*loss of cloths, baggage is usually covered under your homeowners why such a small amount in the actual premium.

I just purchased Med/Evac only for an upcoming trip as departure was too close that I didn't qualify for cancel/interrupt, why insurance for a prepaid holiday is an item that should be on the top of your list so it doesn't get away from you and you forget. And remember, anyone can take ill, children as well, elderly parents (if ill prior your departure know the insurer will request docs) and you probably don't want to get stuck with an empty bank account not being able to get some refund on what has been paid. Or broken/stolen cameraa or other electronics you've brought with you. It's not just you packing bags and going on holiday. Even if a trip to Europe where one usually pays for 1st nt hotel and easy to cancel most of a holiday, all you need is taking a 'header' over cobblestones and one is in a cast requires 3/seats on home bound flight... someone has to pay for those!

And as mentioned above, know that safari operators do require that travelers have at minimum Med/Evac and request the info re your insurer, policy # and contact.
sandi is offline  
Oct 11th, 2014, 02:56 PM
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 210
TC: Yes, coverage is there if something happens to non traveling family members. Check out Travelex. I think they have great coverage!
diannelovestravel is offline  
Oct 16th, 2014, 11:23 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
You may be able to afford the loss of the trip cost--that is a finite amount. But an evacuation can be hundreds of thousands of dollars and could wipe out your entire net worth. I'd insure for evac if nothing else.

I use insuremytrip dot com.
atravelynn is offline  
Oct 16th, 2014, 05:15 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,937
My husband got sick a few weeks before our planned safari. Our insurance paid everything we had prepaid. Very complicated since we had 7 different flights, many lodges, all kinds of stuff. And, we had to provide documentation, doctors' letters, airline tickets, hotel, etc. So insurance works when the insurer is proper and and your claim is proper.
Elainee is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2014, 12:54 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,657
Our 32 year old daughter was diagnosed with Phase 3 Melanoma the week we were to leave on a prepaid 2-week safari. The travel insurance covered everything when we cancelled. (She wasn't going on the trip with us, but we felt we needed to go be with her for surgery, and whatever else.) This was a couple years ago, and ALL is A-OK now. We will never go anywhere "expensive" without trip insurance.

DO read all the fine print and what the insurance does and does not cover. A friend of ours was on an ultralight flight over the Zambezi river in Zimbabwe just this September. It crashed into the river and he suffered a horrible broken leg. Medevac was provided for his (and wife's) flight to Lukasa and then Johannesburg for hospitalization, etc. BUT that particular activity was not a covered reason (His own health insurance DID cover his hospitalization, but not her necessary hotel and other expenses) and I think they did have to pay (read negotiate but ultimately pay a good bit of the airline fare involved) for their own flights back to the US. They aren't litigious people, and the camp involved was tremendously helpful (and I expect did not charge them as they WILL be back). BUT having to deal with what they thought would be covered by trip insurance but wasn't, in the midst of some serious treatment and hospitalization was pretty stressful.

SO. Accidents do happen. Just be sure you know before you indulge in something exotic.
uhoh_busted is offline  
Oct 25th, 2014, 02:03 PM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 1,593
good tips
deladeb is offline  

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