When taking out travel insurance, some people think that only older persons or those with pre-existing medical conditions such as heart conditions need comprehensive travel medical cover. Although it is true that older people are more likely to claim from their travel medical cover, young people should not assume that they will not have a need for the maximum medical cover. There have been cases of young people who become the victim of a car accident or who fall ill whilst travelling with a condition that has not been diagnosed before e.g. cancer. In these highly stressful situations, we would hope that neither you nor your family has to worry about medical cover and money. Again, regardless of your age the maximum travel medical cover is advisable.
Certain countries are considered higher risk than others in terms of the likelihood that medical treatment will be required. For example, many African countries, remote places in South America and remote places in Asia and Papua New Guinea are considered a high risk for travellers. This risk is attributed to the prevalence of tropical diseases and also the risk of motor vehicle accidents from badly maintained vehicles and poor driving practices. These countries often have inadequate medical facilities and if you fall ill or become the victim of an accident, it is more likely that you will require evacuation to the nearest country where you can receive adequate medical care. Generally you will find that you can get cheaper travel insurance premiums for countries in Africa and Asia. See our Africa and Asia travel medical cover.
In the USA and some European countries the costs of medical care can be very high and although the risks may be considered less than other countries, the cost of medical care, should something go wrong could be very high. Here you are likely not to be evacuated for treatment so the costs of evacuation may be low but costs of treatment very high. Once again the more travel medical cover you have the better.
There are many examples of people who have been severely let down by credit card insurance. Although some do offer adequate cover, many fall far short of the cover required, and have high excess amounts. Always check your policy and buy more insurance if required. Add the combined medical cover and read each policy to ensure you have enough. Always make sure you receive the terms and conditions prior to departure.
Analysing how much travel medical cover you may need cannot be predicted. A 60-year old with a heart condition may travel without any need to use insurance cover. On the other hand, a fit and healthy 20-year old could become the victim of a serious motor vehicle accident and be critically injured. In this case, your medical expenses could quickly add up to millions of Rands whether you are visiting a country with high costs of medical care or not.
The best advice is to read your policy very carefully, especially relating to the amount of medical cover it offers and purchase as much cover as you can afford. It is advisable to read the exclusions of your policy carefully to make sure you are covered for the activities you intend to take part in whilst on holiday. We would not recommend that you take out a travel insurance policy where the medical cover is less than R3 000 000 as bare minimum. The basic rule is that you get what you pay for and therefore, the more medical cover you can afford to buy, the safer it is for you in the event that you need medical treatment.