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If you are fortunate enough to plan a safari vacation, it can be essential to seek out a solid travel insurance plan for your adventure. A unique trip to Africa is likely to include outdoor experiences in remote territories and terrains, several flights to get there, and exciting excursions.
All of this will generally require prepaid deposits which may be non-refundable. Those large, non-refundable deposits are what you want to insure with a travel insurance policy. And because the nature of the trip can include multiple stages of travel, potential delays, and an element of risk, purchasing a travel insurance policy with many benefits is essential.
Lisa Cheng, spokesperson for World Nomads, a travel insurance company, reports that trip cancellation is the most common travel insurance claim for safari trips, followed by travel delay and medical bills. emergency due to illness abroad. Here’s how to buy the right coverage for these issues.
Trip Cancellation Insurance for Safari Holidays
Jet-set around the world is expensive, and a safari is likely part of a tour package that requires large deposits and prepayments for tours and specialized transportation.
If you need to cancel your trip for a reason covered by the policy, you can request a trip cancellation. Reasons that are commonly covered include:
- Illness or injury to you, a traveling companion or a family member
- The death of a family member
- Severe weather
- Civil unrest
- Unexpected jury duty
As part of a trip cancellation request, you may be reimbursed for prepaid expenses such as airline tickets, hotels, private excursions and tours.
For example, if your father suffers from a stroke and is hospitalized just before your vacation, trip cancellation benefits may apply.
Not all reasons for canceling a trip are covered by standard Trip Cancellation Insurance. For example, if your daughter was having marital problems and asked you not to travel, that would not be a covered reason.
For the greatest level of flexibility in canceling travel, consider a “cancel for any reason” travel insurance upgrade. This upgrade will add about 50 percent to the cost of a travel insurance plan. If you splurge for this coverage, you can cancel your trip for any reason not listed in the base policy and receive a partial refund of your lost travel expenses, typically a 75% refund. You must also generally cancel the trip at least 48 hours before departure in order to make a “cancel for any reason” claim.
Check the reasons for cancellation covered by your basic travel insurance plan. You may decide that these reasons are perfectly adequate and that you don’t need to spend any money on a “cancel for any reason” upgrade.
If you need to cut your safari short and return home, Trip Interruption Insurance can reimburse you for expenses associated with returning to the United States. This may include transportation to the airport and a one-way economy class plane ticket. In addition, if you miss hotel stays and excursions, the trip interruption may reimburse you for the non-refundable portions.
Consult the policy for the list of grounds required for a trip interruption claim. For example, if you are told that your mother has been hospitalized with a serious medical condition, it is likely covered by your policy.
Delays to get there
Because you likely have a connecting flight on your way to Botswana or South Africa for your safari, travel delay coverage is a good idea and is usually included in comprehensive travel insurance plans.
It may cover additional costs due to a delay covered by your travel insurance plan, such as extreme weather conditions, air travel issues, or a transport strike. You can be reimbursed for expenses such as meals, hotel stays, and personal necessities that you need to purchase until you catch up on your planned itinerary.
Make a plan for medical expenses
It is important to anticipate potential medical issues during the safari. You might encounter wildlife, be exposed to disease, or hurt yourself as you glide across the rain-soaked Serengeti while watching the wildebeest migration. Your US health insurance plan may not cover you overseas, so it’s important to check with what level of global coverage you have. And senior travelers should be aware that Medicare typically doesn’t provide benefits outside of the United States, so don’t count on it in Africa.
Medical expense insurance, which is usually included in a travel insurance policy, can cover medical expenses in the event of injury and illness.
“If a safari includes camping, exploring by vehicle or on foot, or close exposure to wildlife, it is recommended that you have medical coverage so that any new illness or injury is covered,” says Jeremy Murchland, president from Seven Corners, a travel insurance company. . “Imagine driving a vehicle on your safari when you are bitten by an insect that gives you an allergic reaction. You may need to see a healthcare professional to find out how to properly manage the reaction.
Murchland notes that game drives allow you to explore on foot with a tour group to see wildlife up close. “In this case, there is a risk of a fall, of a broken bone or even of being injured by one of the animals,” he explains. “Whether you sustain a minor or large-scale injury, you’ll want to make sure you have maximum coverage and access to assistance. Travel medical insurance provides assistance in the event of an emergency, including when a medical evacuation is required.
Travel medical insurance coverage limits typically range from $ 50,000 to $ 500,000 per person, depending on the policy, so be sure to choose a plan that will adequately cover any potential pitfalls you may face.
Due to the remote nature of safaris, make sure your policy also provides emergency medical evacuation coverage. This can cover the cost of transportation to the nearest suitable medical facility, or even back to the United States if necessary.
Lost safari gear
Sometimes your luggage does not reach your destination. You can have your beige safari sets and other necessities like sunglasses, binoculars, hiking boots, and sun hats packed in a bag that’s gone on its own travel adventure.
If your luggage is delayed or lost, a travel insurance policy can reimburse you for lost items, and even cover reimbursement for basic necessities that you need to purchase if you are waiting for your luggage to arrive, such as a safari vest. and a hat.
“Covering your belongings is essential when traveling to a new exotic location,” observes Murchland at Seven Corners. “This is especially important on a safari where it is necessary to have appropriate clothing and items that protect you from insects, wildlife, sun damage and potential allergens. If you have packed beige or otherwise appropriate clothing required for your safari in a bag that has been lost, you will need to purchase these items.
Baggage loss coverage claims are typically paid at a depreciated value, so don’t expect a refund that pays for brand new baggage or the latest version of a lost iPhone. Also check your policy for limits and exclusions by item, such as cash and expensive jewelry.
Erica Lamberg is a personal finance and travel writer based in the suburbs of Philadelphia. She is a regular contributor to USA Today and her writing includes NBC News, US News & World Report, Business Insider, Oprah Magazine and.