Why you need travel insurance in a Covid-19 world

Elderly traveller’s R2,9m medical bill: Why you need travel insurance in a Covid-19 world

If you’re planning on travelling abroad, you need to be aware of the symptoms of Covid-19, as well as take all precautions possible to avoid contracting it….

However, should you end up getting ill, it’s important to ensure your travel insurance will cover you while you recover.

In March this year, a 71-year-old man from South Africa was on a cruise ship near Germany. He started having breathing difficulties and was admitted to ICU in Germany. He consequently tested positive for Covid-19 which resulted in severe pneumonia. The traveller was kept hospitalised and ventilated for over two months.

With his last Covid-19 test was conducted on the 25th of April 2020 his results came back negative. The man was subsequently declared fit to fly by air ambulance and the process was initiated at the end of May 2020.

Luckily, this senior citizen was repatriated and landed at Cape Town (RSA) International Airport where he was immediately transferred to a medical facility in order to be further treated.
This 71-year-old man’s medical costs accumulated to a total of R2 934 180,00.

“Without the cover that his Travel Insurance provided he would have certainly faced unprecedented financial pressure for the rest of his life,” says Tony Singleton, CEO of Turnberry.
“Travel insurance is especially important given that the South African Port of Health Authorities may refuse to repatriate a patient in order to protect the country. Without cover for medical expenses overseas, you could find yourself severely ill and at risk of significant out of pocket medical expenses,” he concludes.

Recognise the symptoms and take precautions

Symptoms of Covid-19 include fever, congestion and breathing difficulties. However, nCoV can cause a rapid decline in the health of a patient and people have died from complications such as pneumonia and kidney failure,” explains Dr David Samuel, Clinical Advisor at Turnberry.

Check your insurance if you are travelling internationally

Since the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the spread of COVID-19 a pandemic, many measures have been put into place internationally to curb the spread of the disease.

This included travel restrictions to and from countries with high infection rates as well as screening and self-isolation of persons who come in and out of the country. Now that travel bans are being lifted, individuals need to be aware of their medical insurance to stay safe and covered.

“Travel insurance with medical cover is more critical than ever in light of the pandemic,” says Singleton.