Most of us are vigilant about our preparations ahead of going on holiday. We ensure the car is serviced and also make arrangements for our homes to be looked after. But, we’re not as good when it comes to checking whether we have cover for medical emergencies. Especially when travelling outside SA.

Consider travel insurance for your holiday

‘Holidays are part of living a healthy lifestyle and we encourage our members to de-stress from the daily grind of life by taking some well-deserved time out,’ says Gerhard Van Emmenis, Principal Officer of Bonitas Medical Fund. ‘We urge all our members to ensure they take their medical aid cards with them when they travel locally to ensure that will be taken care of in the case of an emergency. For those travelling internationally, we offer an International Travel on all our plans, except BonCap.’

Medical expenses when travelling abroad can be expensive.  Van Emmenis says that to avoid having your holiday and finances totally ruined, look at what your current medical aid scheme offers in terms of medical travel cover and, if necessary, top this up with additional travel insurance.

What does your medical aid cover?

It is important that you check with your medical aid scheme to see what you are covered for and notifying them of your travel plans.  ‘Members need to activate the international travel cover when they are planning to travel out of the country,’ explains Van Emmenis. ‘The Bonitas cover is underwritten by an authorised financial services provider who needs time to activate the policy.  Ensuring you have cover prior to leaving will allow the medical aid to provide members with the necessary information needed in terms of vaccinations, as well as who to contact in case of an emergency abroad.’

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Paying for travel by credit card

Most credit card providers have some form of automatic travel insurance if you use your credit card to book your air tickets. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the medical benefits offered will be adequate. Make sure you know what is covered and what the monetary value of the cover is.

Travel insurance policies

These are an affordable a form of ‘topping up’ existing cover from your credit card provider or medical aid. However, it is wise to shop around for a plan that covers all bases. Don’t assume that because you have travel insurance you are covered for everything. In addition, check what the claim process is so you know what to do in an emergency. Remember you may need to keep all bills and receipts.

You must check for any travel warnings or restrictions for the city or country you are visiting. This will allow you to plan accordingly.  Also check that natural disasters covered by your travel plan. Remember dangerous adventure trips for adrenalin junkies may attract a surcharge or require additional cover.

‘In all honesty, none of us wants to think about ill health or possible disasters when we are excitedly planning a holiday,’ says Van Emmenis. ‘But there is nothing worse than being unprepared and in the case of an accident or medical emergency.’

Life is unpredictable so the best thing you can do before your next holiday is to be prepared.

While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.