By: Tony Singleton, CEO at Turnberry Management Risk Solutions
Staying or going away
2019s Easter season has come and gone with countless families having made their way to local accommodation across the country and many others having gone overseas. During holiday seasons, we see an increase in car accidents and this Easter weekend was no exception as 104 lives were claimed on South Africa’s roads. However, medical aid on its own does not always cover one’s in-hospital medical expense shortfalls, and when you are on holiday, this is no exception. Conversely, those travelling abroad also seem to fall ill, get into accidents while on holiday and often return sick from their journey. So, what can be done to ensure that families are covered during this time, regardless of whether they stay in-country or travel abroad?
Local is ‘lekker’ and so is Gap Cover
Most South African’s opt for a local vacation, especially during Easter. These individuals always check that they have packed the essentials, ensuring there is an enough food packed and their tooth brush is not left behind, and sometimes even check that their car insurance and medical aid is up-to-date. However, travellers should also look to Gap Cover as an inexpensive way to ensure they are protected against medical expense shortfalls – whether they are the result of accidents or medical emergencies.
Although life-threatening injuries sustained in an accident is designated as a Prescribed Minimum Benefit, the total cost of your hospital stay is often not fully covered. This is especially relevant if you make use of a Non-Designated Service Provider once stable, which could be the case if you are travelling from Johannesburg to Durban and are involved in an accident – let’s say – close to Warden.
In order to minimise these unforeseen costs, individuals should therefore speak to their financial advisor and ensure that Gap Cover is in place and provision is made for any medical expense shortfalls. But what about travelling overseas?
Tickets booked, travel insurance set
Whilst most of us have heard of travel insurance, many people exclude it when planning for their trip abroad. However, international travel insurance should be an essential when journeying to other countries. Accidents and medical emergencies occur frequently and can be a terrifying experience in a foreign country. Now, imagine not being covered and having to pay for your medical expense in dollars, euros or pounds. International travel insurance is offered as an added benefit by certain Medical Schemes, Gap Cover Providers and Credit Cards Providers.
It is good to note, however, that travel insurance needs to be in place prior to departure from South Africa. Cover usually lasts for a period of 90 days with a maximum of R5 million per traveller – excluding pre-existing medical conditions.
While each insurance provider has their own requirements, obtaining travel insurance cover usually involves an application form to be filled out in order for a travel certificate to be issued for the trip. Although travel insurance should be a must-have while abroad it has also been well-known that travellers frequently return sick from their trips.
Going local, international or returning from your trip – ensure you are insured
It is good to note that Gap Cover is important when travelling locally, whether it is via car, bus or plane. Conversely, Travel Insurance must be taken out before the departure of a country and covers medical expenses abroad. Whether you embark on a local holiday to Hermanus or travel to Amsterdam it is always important to ensure. that you have the correct coverage. Both Gap Cover and Travel Insurance will provide you with peace of mind that your family will be covered during holidays and hopefully help you enjoy your trip a little more – wherever you go.