Trip Insurance for Africa Trip

Jan 28th, 2012, 12:06 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 7,726
Trip Insurance for Africa Trip

I have never bought travel insurance before but think I should for our upcoming trip to Tanzania as most of our expenses will be pre-paid. I am already confused by looking at the various options. Our medical insurance will cover us for emergency conditions while we are abroad but my husband's parents are elderly so their health issues could possibly require us to cancel.
Can anyone recommend what insurance we should purchase? I've been told the Flying Doctor's coverage will also be important to get.
KTtravel is online now  
Jan 28th, 2012, 12:30 PM
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insuremytrip dot com is what I use.

Different companies different times depending on what is offered and the price.

I always get a high evacuation policy. Flying doctors gets you out of the bush but maybe not to the next location you'd need.

For cancellation, often times the policy only pays if you are the primary caregiver and MUST be home or if there is a funeral of a close relative. It is all spelled out on the insure my trip site or you can call the toll free number. I've found the staff to be helpful and knowledgeable.

Depending on who you booked with, sometimes they offer insurance too and can help explain things.
atravelynn is offline  
Jan 28th, 2012, 12:31 PM
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Whenever I've booked a pre-paid vacation, which mostly includes cruises and safaris, I will purchase cancellation insurance. I opt to buy my own insurance, normally through Squaremouth ( ), rather than that offered by the cruise line or other vacation package provider. At that one site you can compare policies from any number of companies and for any ranges/types of coverage that will suit you. Through them I have purchased many policies from companies such as TravelGuard, Travelex, MH Ross, and Travel Insured. In most cases you can get a waiver on pre-existing conditions if you buy the insurance within 2 weeks of your trip deposit. Some of the policies allow upgrading to "cancel for any reason." I don't necessarily recommend that, but it's an option that may appeal to some travelers depending on what's going on in their lives.

Because you're going to Tanzania, you can always make a really very small contribution to , apart from your travel insurance. In case of an emergency, they medivac to Nairobi from anywhere in EAC. Very hopefully you won't need their services and the money goes to help others.
sdb2 is offline  
Jan 28th, 2012, 01:09 PM
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Make sure whic hever policy you get covers pre-existing conditions. For instance if it is already known that his parents have a heart condition and one of them has a heart attack, that would not be covered unless you have a policy covering pre-existing conditions.
schmerl is offline  
Jan 28th, 2012, 01:35 PM
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For any prepaid holiday, regardless the destination... best to have Trip Insurance - Comprehensive that includes: cancelation/interruption, flight/baggage delay, baggage loss, medical/dental, medical evacuation. Or only Medical/Evacuation.

Even if not a prepaid trip, anyone can take ill anywhere, break a leg, or whatever... so having a Medical/Evacuation policy is a good idea. Better than having to pay (assuming sufficient funds on a credit card) for a first class seat or a few coach seats if wearing a leg cast... ugh!

As Lynn, I use Insuremytrip, There's also the 800# to speak with a human.

Understand that Squaremouth is another good resource, though have not used them.

Because immediate family member has 'a condition' it is considered pre-existing (or if either of you), purchase of this type of policy should be within 14/days of initial deposit.

Also, unless your tour operator has included, do purchase Flying Doctor's, at: select Flying Doctor's which can be done online... cost for Tanzania is about $25-30/person for standard 14/days (all details on their site) They're the only folks who can fly into the bush to extract in case of accident, serious illness - to hospital in Nairobi, from where your Trip Insurance (above) takes over. If any questions, email Amref, for assistance.
sandi is offline  
Jan 28th, 2012, 05:19 PM
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Most insurance is bought to give the buyer "peace of mind".

But unsure only what you can not afford to lose. If you lose a suitcase of dirty close, will it ruin your life? If you lose the trip, all of it, will it ruin your life? If you have a medical emergency on your trip and it requires private jet evacuation back home, can you pay for it up front? I never get trip insurance, if I lose the trip, well there's always next year. But I always get emergency medical evacuation insurance.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Jan 28th, 2012, 05:21 PM
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dirty close = dirty clothes
when, Fodors when, will you get a text editor?
cary999 is offline  
Jan 28th, 2012, 06:19 PM
Original Poster
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Thank you, all, for your replies. I have never looked into trip insurance before but we are paying so much upfront for this trip that this seems to be the time to consider it.
KTtravel is online now  
Jan 28th, 2012, 06:23 PM
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Sorry to bring this up, tom, but younger people pay MUCH less for trip insurance (and med). The first time I got it I was only 35 and it was dirt cheap. Now, not so much. Law of averages whether one will have to cancel. I haven't gone on a trip that req'd a lot up front in a long time, so, like tom, I take my chances. If I were paying a lot up front on a long time scale, I would get the insurance, but for only what I "couldn't" lose. It's a crap shoot. Some things can be cancelled and get your money back. But get at least $1 million in evac. I use too. To check for a price for only med, put $0 in the "amount to be insured" box. That way you get an idea of what you are paying for - med is cheaper than trip cancellation. Again, law of averages. Many camps won't let you come without prior proof of evac, some include it in their price. Go figure.
christabir is offline  
Jan 28th, 2012, 07:00 PM
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Well, younger people may pay less in insuranace but I can get the "senior early bird dinner special"!!!

Cost and age. I went to insuremytrip to compare insurance versus age. Using as a base of a trip costing $10K to South Africa. It came back with a lot of companies so I chose Travel Guard since they have been around many years. Here is age vs cost comparison for TG Gold quotes - age 35yrs $559, 50yrs $559, 60yrs $753, 80yrs $1,546. Yep, goes up with age. But I'm not worried, yet, I have still have several more 40th birthdays before I'm 80 .

FWIW, of the perhaps 20 camps I've been to, none have asked about my medical insurance. Insurance, of all types, is a gamble with the insurance company setting the odds - to their favor. As when I go to Las Vegas I gamble only what I can afford to lose. My house I don't gamble with, I insure it because I can't afford to lose it.

regards - tom
ps - sorry those of you who've heard insurance rant many times, but I feel most people think insurance is almost "free". It's only pennies a day!!!
cary999 is offline  
Jan 29th, 2012, 01:29 AM
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Do this always when I travel has saved me numerous times.
Thousands during the Iceland volcano fiasco not long ago.
NO ONE saw that coming LOTS of financial issues in Europe this year that might impact world travel like a disorderly collapse of Greece possible not probable.

I always choose companies with an AM Best rating of A
inthese uncertain financial times many lower tier companies
are failing. insuremytrip.con 2 best comp sites.I usually end up with Patriot US based or Amex Global Travel Shield.

Good luck!
qwovadis is offline  
Jan 29th, 2012, 07:33 AM
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On the Comprehensive policies that cover cancel/interrup, the baggage loss portion premium is very small. Besides, if you have a homeowners/renters policy, they'd cover the lost luggage regardless whether at home or traveling.

As to the insurance some tour operators provide (they do get a small commission on such policies), it's for minimal coverage and rarely covers medical and certainly not evacuation homebound.

And, while I take out Comprehensive, even as the age moves up, year-to-year, if as Tom (cary999), you can afford to loose the cost of trip, then insure only for medical/evacuation.

Do note when checking either of those trip insurance sites, or others... some of the insurers providing plans, offer two or three different types of policies, so read all of them before deciding.
sandi is offline  
Jan 29th, 2012, 08:39 AM
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I am in Tom's camp. Although we do not often pre-pay for much on our trips, even if we did, I'd likely take that chance, since over the course of a lifetime of traveling, the costs of the insurance is very likely to be greater than the cost of the one trip that gets cancelled. I might change my mind if there were a particular reason I might have to cancel (like ill parents). It's simply a cost-benefit analysis.

On the other hand, for the first time last year, we did purchase MedJet Assist evac insurance and will continue to do so. I'd like to have the option of being flown home or to the nearest great medical center (with MedJet, that's your choice). It was because we were going to Vietnam, and I hadn't heard anything good about medical care there that we first considered getting it. On top of that, my BIL did have to be med-evac'd out of the Amazon, and flown to LA (first class) a few years ago, and TravelGuard paid for it, so they're obviously good too.

We didn't need medical insurance because ours covers us even outside the USA.
sf7307 is offline  
Jan 29th, 2012, 01:30 PM
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I've always gotten trip insurance for all of my safaris, and I made especially sure I was covered for for Kilimanjaro climb.

I got paid by my travel insurance for my last trip, but not for medical reasons. I compared a number of policies through insuremytrip dot com, and picked Travelex. On my flight to Zambia, my flight from FRA to JNB was delayed, and I missed my onward connection. So, I had to rebook my flights and find a place to stay in Lusaka which was as far as I could get that day.

Travelex paid for my night in Lusaka, as well as, the lost night at my lodge in S. Luangwa. I had fully refundable internal air, so I was able to rebook those flights at no additional cost.

One thing I learned was that when things do go wrong, you have to get quite a bit of documentation together. I needed my itinerary, receipts for everything, invoice from my agent for my safari lodgings, a letter from the airline attesting to the fact that they had a delayed flight, and, of course, all of the insurance forms filled out. Even then, the insurance agency called my agent to double check the info I submitted. But, once that was resolved, they cut me a check a few weeks later.

One thing I also did, on the advice of my travel agent, was call the insurance company as soon as I knew I was delayed to make sure my plans would be covered. For example, I had coverage for several hundred dollars for trip delay, but that coverage was only good for something like $150 a day up to the total amount. So, I adjusted my plans to make sure that my daily lodging, meals, and transport didn't exceed the daily amount.

Another thing to watch out for regarding medical insurance is to find out whether the trip insurance is primary or secondary coverage. If its secondary coverage, then they'll wait for your primary health insurance to pay out before they step in to cover the rest. If it's primary coverage, then they pay up front. This was an important distinction for my Kilimanjaro trip because my agency for that trip noted that some hospitals want cash payment up front before rendering treatment. I wanted to make sure I had insurance that was primary so that I didn't have to worry about access to cash in case things went wrong.
lifelist is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2012, 02:04 PM
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We started buying trip insurance only when our trips started to cost over $10K. The second time we bought it, back in 2009, we had planned a long safari trip with OAT, all inclusive. The week before we were going to leave, our 32 year old daughter was diagnosed with Phase 3 Melanoma. It was quite a shock, and we did have to cancel. Because we had all the documentation we needed, everything was handled in a matter of days. She is 100% cancer free now, and we are finally going back to Africa this fall. I use to compare available plans, and this year also checked squaremouth. It's worth it, IMO. And the medical coverage is good to have, as my DH is now on Medicare, and that covers zilch when you are overseas!
uhoh_busted is offline  
Feb 4th, 2012, 08:09 AM
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Even if your personal health insurance pays for care when out of country, you still have to pay the bills and then submit to the insurer for reimbursement. Have never heard of any insurer paying direct to a foreign country's hospitas or doctors.

With few exceptions, medical care overseas is rather inexpensive and something most travelers can pay-out-of-pocket, or if higher... credit card comes in handy, as would those Travelers Checks, which if some wish to purchase though a PIA to convert, come in handy.

Why again, at minimum you should purchase medical/dental and evacuation. And, if loosing the cost of the 'trip' itself isn't a concern, is all you need and at a more reasonable cost.
sandi is offline  
Feb 4th, 2012, 02:59 PM
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Here's another tip - remember to only get insurance for your PREPAID expenses. For example, if you have placed a deposit on your safari and want to get your insurance within the time period for the pre-existing waiver, only pay for the deposit - not the entire cost of your safari. When you pay the balance, call your travel insurance company and give them the policy number and tell them you want to increase coverage. This way if you cancel between deposit and final payment and you get a portion of your deposit back, you're only out in the trip insurance payment up to that point, not what an entire coverage policy would cost.
patandhank is offline  
Feb 4th, 2012, 06:34 PM
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PandH - nice, but are you sure this will work with the insurance companies? I know they are happy to take more of your money when you increase coverage, but will such change nullify the pre-existing coverage?

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Feb 4th, 2012, 07:03 PM
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tom - I think it does work that way. I was told that and read it in the rules. And as long as you call within the "pre-existing" condition timeframe for each payment it remains in tact. Of course one should check first. Good reminder.
christabir is offline  
Feb 9th, 2012, 02:47 PM
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We spent 22 days in southern Tanzania. The cost of the trip was $9000 per person, so $18,000 most all pre-paid. Although we live in the US and departed from same, I insured the trip with Campbell Irvine in the U.K. at a cost of $524. The policy covered trip cancellation, medical repatriation, emergency dental, hospitalization, personal liability etc etc in very liberal amounts. It was much less expensive than any policy I found offered through a U.S. agent. We also have a AARP discounted Medjet annual policy at a cost of $315, which covers all of our travel for the entire year. There are policies available that are "cancel for any reason" policies. They are pricey, but might put you at ease with elderly parents.

Standard policies will not cover your canceling for ill parents......I checked this out when we traveled. Our families knew that if Dad died, we would not return for the funeral.
TC is offline  

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