With the July school holiday upon us, many South African families may have plans to travel either locally or overseas during this period. However, as part of this planning process, they may have forgotten to ensure that they are covered for potential financial losses due to an accident or medical emergency while travelling.
This is according to Dave Honeyman, Executive Head: Accident & Health at SHA Specialist Underwriters, who says that insurance is usually the last thing on one’s mind before a trip. “However, it should be a priority as nothing can ruin a holiday quite like an accident which not only results in physical injuries but huge financial losses too.”
He says that families, especially those with children, are particularly vulnerable when they travel because they are often not familiar with the area or the emergency procedures in a particular province or even country. “This increases the risk of sustaining injuries or being involved in an accident.”
Children are typically more active during the school holiday as they are more likely to participate in sports and recreational activities he says. “This increased activity means they face a higher chance of sustaining an injury, especially when they are partaking in these activities in unfamiliar areas. Unfortunately parents rarely consider insuring their kids and if they are seriously injured medical bills can quickly accumulate.”
One needs to consider the financial challenges that will arise for a family if their 10 year old child becomes disabled as a result of an injury, explains Honeyman. “Consider the ongoing cost of medical care, home renovations, customising of the motor vehicle and home nursing. How will a family afford all of these costs if their children are not insured? In addition to this, the child will require assistance to continue with their schooling so that they can still work one day.”
Accidents can easily happen while travelling and can have devastating consequences, says Honeyman. “Apart from the physical and psychological trauma, the financial implications could leave the traveller indebted for a very long time. It is therefore vital that travellers have the appropriate insurance cover in place to ensure that they will not be left facing a financial disaster if they are involved in an incident that leaves them disabled with ongoing costs of specialised care.”
“Many people do not consider these risks associated with travelling locally, or abroad, until they or their families are involved in an incident and when it is too late. A Personal Accident policy provides reassurance to policyholders that they will be covered in the event of an accident, albeit minor or debilitating. Injuries that deem consumers medically unfit to continue working can also have devastating consequences on an entire family, and therefore consumers are urged to speak to a broker in order to have a sufficient Personal Accident policy in place before they embark on their holiday journey,” concludes Honeyman.