A lesson in (travel) insurance

Life is about stories. Stories and lessons. They say life is too short to learn all the lessons yourself which is why you should listen to the stories of others. I’m all for learning lessons. And sharing the stories. But a lesson that’s not fun to learn is that of travel insurance.
The thing with insurances is that you never feel like you’re winning by paying them. The only insurance that’s really worth it, even though it’s not you that will ever benefit from it, is life insurance. The rest, are grudge purchases for the ‘incase’ and ‘what if’. (Granted when what if appears to be real, you are grateful for it.)

Us risk averse folk, usually have all sorts of insurances, and pre 2009, I never booked or went on a trip without travel insurance.
2009, the year I moved back to South Africa, and stopped seeing print and web ads for £90 annual travel insurance packages, or £110 worldwide globetrotter insurance and similar. Travel insurance in SA is just not sold as readily as it is abroad. Perhaps it’s because South Africans just don’t travel as much, or perhaps actually it’s worked into all the many other insurances we do pay. My basic and assumed understanding of what we are covered for is something along the lines of this:
Medical aid covers emergencies abroad of a medical nature, paying for your flights with your credit card covers you for flight screw ups and cancellations, and if your camera gets stolen, that’s covered by household insurance – if you have it.

But really, that’s an assumption and I have no idea what I’m covered for, if I am at all covered while in the UK, Switzerland or France (or anywhere else I’ve been in the past 5 years: South America, Thailand, islands off Africa!)
At this point, I have a feeling I don’t have the insurance that I really wish I did have. The insurance that covers me for instance where the company I had planned to travel to La Tania in the three valleys to go snowboarding with, goes under just a day before I’m booked to fly out. Because that happened. And it wasn’t pretty.

Talk about a life lesson in the positive side of being (even more) risk averse.

So, my challenge now – to find out if, at all, I am covered by any of the insurances I do pay to recoup the money I trustingly EFT’d over to a UK company for our snowboarding holiday. My second task, is to find out about travel insurance and if South Africans need to buy it (and possibly if there’s a gap in the market).
And finally, my third task is to never write a blog post again about something as boring as travel insurance, but instead to learn the lesson and just share a story.


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