Be sure to check the requirements of your travel destinations as some, like South Africa and Brazil, are requiring that foreign national arrivals have COVID-19 travel insurance. (However, in the case of South Africa, this requirement for travel insurance appeared in Minister Naledi Pandor’s briefing on 30 September but has not been gazetted and we are seeking further clarity on this issue.)
Travel insurance policies will differ based on factors such as your age, the length of your trip, and what you want to be covered. A standard insurance policy may cover cancellation for events such as the sudden bankruptcy of a travel company, unexpected illness, or a natural disaster or unrest in the destination.
When looking for travel insurance that covers COVID-19-related events, consider the following:
- Travel medical: cover your expenses if you or a travel companion, such as your spouse or child, contract COVID-19 while travelling and require medical care or evacuation.
- Trip cancellation: cover any expenses incurred as a result of cancelling your trip prior to departure because you, or someone you care for, contracted COVID-19.
- Trip delay: cover any expenses incurred as a result of changing COVID-19 regulations e.g. travel bans.
Also note that most travel insurances will not cover disinclination or fear to travel. The exception is ‘cancel for any reason’ (CFAR) insurance. This is usually available as an optional upgrade to a standard travel insurance plan and may cost up to 50% more than a standard plan. It typically needs to be purchased within one to three weeks from the time you booked your trip or made the initial deposit, and you must cancel your travel 48 hours prior to departure. Often available in two tiers, CFAR insurance can cover you for 50-75% of your total travel costs. However, CFAR is not yet a common insurance product in South Africa.
Know that there is no-size-fits-all travel insurance plan and each additional cover comes at a cost. Whichever you choose, be sure to read the full insurance contract before buying to check whether it covers specifics like quarantine, testing, and flight disruptions.