Business travel insurance: the basics

If you pay for your flight using a credit card, you may qualify for complimentary travel insurance. But are you covered if you have to cancel your trip, get ill as result of a pre-existing medical condition or are denied a visa at the last minute?

Here are eight questions you should ask yourself before setting off on a work trip abroad:

1. Do you have sufficient cover?

While free credit card insurance is convenient and cost effective, it is often not sufficient if you have a medical emergency. Most credit card providers will cover you for around R1million for medical expenses but in some instances as little as R150 000. A TIC policy provides up to R50 million cover for medical and related expenses. This cover from TIC can be obtained through Corporate Traveller from as little as R 45 per day.

2. Do you have a pre-existing illness?

A pre-existing illness is anything that you have been diagnosed with in the last 6 months or anything that you are taking chronic medication for. Free credit card insurance usually does not cover pre-existing illnesses – so if you suffer from conditions such as high blood pressure or asthma and need hospitalisation, you won’t be protected. A TIC business policy will cover you for hospitalisation due to a pre–existing illness up to R 750 000.

3. What about terrorism or war?

Complimentary credit card insurance may exclude or limit medical expenses relating to war and terrorism. So if you’re injured during protest action or a terror attack, you won’t be able to use the medical cover in your free policy towards treatment. The TIC policy does include war and terrorism related medical treatment.

4. Does free cover apply in all the countries you are travelling to?

Some countries – including a number of African destinations – are excluded from free credit card cover, so don’t take it for granted that you’re covered for medical assistance wherever you go for work. In addition, some African destinations do not have adequate medical facilities, so make sure you understand the evacuation policies included in your cover, and whether you will be transported to an appropriate hospital, if necessary. Check the fine print and, to be safe, opt for a TIC policy for peace of mind.

5. Other logistics to consider?

The business travel policy from TIC includes specific business travel issues, such as cover of up to R10 000 for sending replacement personnel if you cannot complete your work trip, and R30 000 respectively for international journey cancellations, travel delays, and denied visas. You’re also covered for legal assistance (for example, in the case of wrongful detention) and hijack, hostage or wrongful-detention inconvenience.

6. Will you have to pay an excess?

With free credit card cover, you’ll be liable for a minimum excess of R2 000 for any claims, whether they are for doctors’ visits or hospital treatment. There is no excess payable on a TIC business policy if a traveller is hospitalised. Other medical expenses carry an excess of R 350.

7. Are you covered for manual labour?

50% of South African travellers are travelling into Africa and engaging in manual labour. A regular travel insurance policy, including all complimentary credit card options, exclude cover for any manual labour related injuries.

8. What about top-up cover?

While you can pay to have additional items – such as higher medical and pre-existing illness cover – included in your free credit card insurance policy, this can work out more expensive than opting for a TIC business policy, and you still won't get the other business-related inclusions.

With all this in mind, make sure you know exactly what you’re covered for, understand all your options and be aware of any excesses you may be liable for if you need to claim. Have a safe trip!

If you have any concerns or questions, please contact us or your Travel Manager