Don’t forget to check your insurance, whether you are traveling for work or for play…

International SOS and Control Risks have just published an annual map of the levels of risks to visitors to various countries around the world. The risk levels are separated into extreme, high, medium and low for the use of travellers. If you are travelling overseas in 2019, it is worth checking whether or not your destination is considered to be a risky one.

This is according to Vera Nagtegaal, the executive head of Hippo.co.za, who says, whether  you are travelling for business or pleasure, it is essential to make sure your travel insurance covers the destination you will be visiting, and the activities you plan to do while you are there.

“Global travel is exciting, but there are some destinations that are deemed to be risky,” Nagtegaal says. “Obviously you don’t want to put yourself in harm’s way, but it’s also important to be aware that your travel insurance may not cover you if you have travelled to an area that’s been excluded.”

Travel insurance

Travel insurance generally covers unforeseen financial events on your trip, ranging from lost luggage, flight (or other) cancellations, to legal or medical care while you are abroad.

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Even though the area you are travelling to may be a popular tourist destination, it’s worth checking the risk ratings, either with the International SOS and Control Risks map, or by having a conversation with your insurer about which countries they don’t cover, Nagtegaal explains.

For instance, Egypt, which is a common holiday destination, is rated “extreme risk”

However, if you dig a little deeper into the map, you’ll find that only the North Sinai carries that rating, so your insurance could likely cover you as long as you don’t travel to the higher risk areas.

“Always make sure that your travel insurance is valid for all the destinations to which you are travelling – or you could risk losing out on the benefits,” says Nagtegaal.

Another important disclosure to make to your insurer is whether or not you intend on undertaking any risky activities while you are on holiday or away on business. “Again, even if you have taken out travel insurance, you could not be covered for events arising from participating in excluded activities,” says Nagtegaal.

“If your planned holiday activity is on the list of exclusions, it’s worth considering if you really want to take part in dangerous activities in a foreign country.”

Some of the activities that insurers could exclude include:

  • Any high-altitude activity, such as BASE jumping or free climbing;
  • Rafting/kayaking above Class V rapids or canoeing above Class III rapids;
  • Heli-skiing or skiing or snowboarding in an area designated unsafe by the resort management;
  • Personal combat or fighting sports;
  • Racing any motorised vehicle or watercraft other than go-karts; or,
  • Free-diving at a depth greater than 10 meters or scuba diving at a depth greater than 30 meters or, for uncertified divers, diving without a certified dive master.

If activities like these are part of your holiday plan, you can find out from your insurer if you can take out specific cover for hazardous pursuits, to make sure that you are still protected should anything go wrong.

“Holidays are meant to be fun and stress-free, but if you are taking on uninsurable levels of risk, your holiday could potentially be neither,” says Nagtegaal.

“Plan to enjoy yourself, have a bit of adventure, but most importantly stay safe while you are away from home – and part of that is having the travel cover you need to protect you financially from any unfortunate events.”