If you’re planning a splurge-worthy safari, the best way to protect your investment is with safari travel insurance. While there generally aren’t policies specific to safaris, some of the coverage options are particularly compatible with this kind of adventure travel.
Safari Travel Insurance
Most travel insurance policies offer basic coverage for trip interruptions and delays, cancellations, medical emergencies and luggage mishaps. This coverage applies to any type of travel— road trips, cruises, international flights, and yes, even safaris.
Travel insurance policies can reimburse you for any pre-paid, non-refundable expenses if your trip is interrupted or cancelled for a covered reason. These reasons might include an injury that causes you to reschedule your trip for a later date or to return home early. Your policy protects your investment if you must cancel your trip because a natural disaster occurs at your destination. Jury duty, family emergencies, and weather-related flight disruptions are also generally considered eligible reasons for reimbursement under many standard travel insurance policies.
Travel insurance policies can also cover emergency medical and dental care overseas including transportation to the nearest appropriate hospital or other medical facility. They can also reimburse you if you need to replace clothing or other essential items when your luggage is delayed, damaged, stolen, or lost.
Many travel experts note that trip cancellation is among the most common travel insurance claim type for safari trips, followed by trip delay and emergency medical expenses due to illness while abroad.
It goes without saying (or at least it should) that a standard travel insurance policy is a must whenever traveling internationally. Travel insurance is a good idea for domestic travel as well, but when traveling abroad, it offers additional peace of mind when circumstances arise that can be difficult to navigate in an unfamiliar setting.
While standard coverage is a good start for any trip, you may want to consider purchasing supplemental coverage like CFAR (Cancel For Any Reason) coverage. When you purchase CFAR coverage, you can get reimbursed for up to 75% of any pre-paid, non-refundable expenses even if they don’t meet the criteria for reimbursement under your primary policy’s covered reasons. This upgrade can give you peace of mind in times of civil unrest, international conflicts, and global pandemics. Other optional upgrades to standard travel insurance policies include exclusion waivers for high-risk activities and pre-existing medical conditions.
Let’s take a look at each of these options and how they offer you the best protection for your upcoming expedition:
Trip Delays, Interruptions, and Cancellations
Safaris are generally quite expensive and must be planned well in advance. Shannon Kircher, head of Compass & Vine, a boutique travel company based in the United States, recently told CNBC that she expects that booking a safari up to 18 months in advance will become the new norm. The amount of time between booking a trip and the actual departure date increases the odds that you may need to reschedule or cancel your trip. CFAR coverage will offer you greater flexibility than standard coverage if cancellation becomes your only option. This add-on also offers greater financial benefits as it allows you to claim reimbursement for pre-paid, non-refundable expenses if you must cancel for any reason not already covered under the standard policy.
Another consideration is that safaris are usually in remote areas which requires multiple legs of travel to reach your destination. This increases the risk of cancelled flights, delayed departures and arrivals, and interrupted itineraries. Layovers can be so short that you miss your connection or so long that you end up needing to stay overnight to catch the next available flight out in the morning.
A trip to South Africa from the United States typically includes a layover in London with a connecting flight to O.R. Tambo International Airport near Johannesburg, South Africa. It is important to note that connecting flights generally increase the likelihood of experiencing travel delays. In the event that your flight is delayed or cancelled, your travel insurance policy can reimburse you for unplanned expenses like transportation, accommodations, and expensive airport meals. Travelers should maximize their benefits by choosing a policy with the shortest possible delay time before it takes effect.
In a recent blog post for Seven Corners, one of TravelInsurance.com’s trusted providers, president Jeremy Murchland explains why medical coverage is recommended for safari trips: “If a safari trip includes camping, exploring in a vehicle or on foot, or close exposure to wildlife, having medical coverage is recommended so any new illnesses or injuries are covered.” He reminds potential customers that they can have an allergic reaction to an insect bite or even be harmed by one of the animals. You may also be at risk of heat stroke, infectious diseases, and food-borne illnesses which may require medical care.
Something many travelers don’t realize is that their U.S. health insurance doesn’t usually cover medical care in other countries. Senior travelers should be aware that Medicare only covers health care expenses in very specific circumstances if you’re traveling beyond the borders of the United States and its territories. An article from TravelInsurance.com’s Learning Center notes that “industry experts recommend purchasing a travel insurance policy that includes at least $100,000 of medical emergency coverage and $500,000 of medical evacuation coverage.”
It is important for travelers to purchase a travel insurance policy that gives them maximum coverage and access to assistance including medical evacuation services. A comprehensive safari travel insurance policy can cover the cost of transportation to the closest medical facility that provides adequate care or even the cost of transportation back to the United States if it becomes medically necessary.
Lost, Stolen, or Damaged Luggage
It is also important for travelers to purchase travel insurance that covers their personal belongings. A travel insurance policy can reimburse you for the cost of expensive equipment that you might bring on a safari such as binoculars, drones, or video cameras that are at risk of damage, theft, or loss during travel. Travelers should take note that most personal effects coverage will have per article limits that vary by policy and provider.
Exclusion waivers for a safari trip can include coverage for activities that are considered to be in a high-risk category like scuba diving or hot air balloon rides. Travelers participating in risky activities during their safari should seriously consider adding an exclusion waiver to their travel insurance policy for maximum coverage if an accident occurs.
How to Book Travel Insurance for Your Safari
Booking safari travel insurance is easy when you use a comparison site such as TravelInsurance.com. Simply enter your trip details into our online form and get quotes from top-rated companies like GoReady Insurance, Seven Corners, Trawick International, IMG, AIG and Travelex Insurance Services. Choose the price point and benefits that work best for your travel plans and get immediate coverage when you buy your policy through TravelInsurance.com.
Compare and Buy Travel Insurance