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An uncovered emergency far from home can be costly. Unless you can withstand a big knock, insurance against travel losses - particularly for medical expenses and emergency evacuation home - is often an appealing investment.
Travel insurance is intended to finance medical, financial and other losses incurred whilst travelling. There are a wide range of risks which are often covered by travel insurance:
Accidental injury, disablement or death benefit
Overseas funeral expenses
Cancellation of trip
Trip is cut short
Luggage is delayed (requiring emergency replacement of essential items)
Theft, damage or loss of money or personal possessions (e.g. travel documents)
rental car damage excess
Expenses related to pregnancy are usually excluded, as are pre-existing medical conditions. If you use drugs (including the alcohol drug), any injuries or illnesses as a result of this are for your own pocket. Usually terrorism and war is excluded.
Loads of travellers use the credit cards to purchase their travel tickets, and rely on the automatic travel insurance cover provided by credit card companies - what some don't realise is that the automatic credit car travel insurance is far from comprehensive.
Wherever you've purchased your travel insurance, make sure you study the policy (a copy of the policy for credit card travel insurance is usually downloadable from the credit card company's website) - do not rely solely on any "abridged versions" or summaries, the law will usually hold you to the terms of the policy. When you've got the policy, make sure you read the whole thing (the small print often contains crucial informaion):
The schedules of the travel insurance policy are a good place to start
Know the procedures to be followed in the event you need to claim.
Usually the medical cover falls away on your return to South Africa - but check that this is the case
look out for any exclusions or special conditions.