Cheesemans' Ecology Safaris
What is Travel Insurance?
There are many types of travel insurance, including emergency medical insurance and trip cancellation insurance. Be sure to compare benefits and exclusions carefully so you will purchase the policy that you desire and need. As always, don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns.
Emergency Medical and Evacuation Insurance
Covers emergency medical treatment and emergency evacuation to a treatment facility and to your home. It should be reasonably priced, usually below $150 depending on the duration of the trip and your age. This coverage can also provide helpful services, often 24 hours a day, 7 days a week that can include concierge services and emergency travel assistance. If you are not worried about pre-existing condition coverage, you can purchase this policy at any time before your departure. There may be other benefits available such as lost luggage and missed connection coverage.
Trip Cancellation Insurance
Trip cancellation protection provides trip reimbursement for non-refundable trip payments and deposits if you must cancel your trip before you start. Trip interruption protection provides trip reimbursement for non-refundable trip payments and out-of-pocket expenses if your trip is interrupted after you leave home. It usually includes emergency medical coverage also. This coverage is more expensive, usually costing 5-7% of your trip cost.
We are very concerned about, but not responsible for, the safety of your valuables. Generally speaking, while on a guided tour, it is safe to leave equipment in the vehicle under the care of the driver, but we do not guarantee the safety of your valuables. We do recommend keeping items of significant value with you or in hotel room safes. Some items may be covered by travel insurance, but you should check your policy carefully for limitations and restrictions. If you have expensive camera equipment, you may consider purchasing an additional insurance policy; contact your insurance agent for information. It is best to leave expensive articles that are not needed, such as jewelry, at home.
What are travel insurance limitations?
Whatever insurance you purchase, be sure to carefully check the up-to-date terms and limitations of your coverage, especially those for:
- Pre-existing conditions. Important note: Before you purchase a policy, carefully read about pre-existing condition coverage. Some policies require that you buy insurance close to making your reservation deposit to cover pre-existing conditions, so we recommend that you buy insurance when you make your initial payment to maximize your coverage.
- Trip cancellation reimbursement rules.
- Valuables such as cameras, cash, jewelry, and computers.
- Exclusion of coverage in the event that a disease outbreak, such as a flu, is classified as pandemic.
What are your travel insurance requirements?
We do not sell or include insurance for most of our trips. There are many providers that offer travel insurance and we encourage you to do your own research to determine which company is most suitable for your needs.
Please note that, in the event of your medical evacuation while on safari, you are personally responsible for any costs associated with your evacuation, whether you are insured or not.
Refer to your trip itinerary and insurance form to find out if emergency medical insurance is optional, included, or not included but required for you to purchase.
If you purchase travel insurance, provide us with details, including provider, policy type, policy number, and the provider’s emergency phone number.
Optional Emergency Medical and Evacuation Insurance
For those tours where insurance is not required, we still strongly encourage you to purchase a policy due to our remote destinations. Emergency evacuation and medical care can be very costly and difficult to coordinate in international locations. If you decide to decline this insurance, you must tell us in writing on your insurance form.
Required Emergency Medical and Evacuation Insurance
For some of our most remote expeditions, such as to the Antarctic and Arctic regions, we do require you to purchase emergency medical and evacuation insurance. Sometimes this insurance is also required by the country you will be traveling in or the regional outfitter that we use.
Trip Cancellation Insurance
We do not require trip cancellation insurance for any of our tours, but we encourage you to consider purchasing this coverage if there is any chance that you may cancel your reservation close to your departure date. Once close to this date, we will not be able to refund anything or perhaps only the very small amount stated in your itinerary. Do understand that in the event of your cancellation, you will be responsible for the cancellation fees as stipulated in your trip itinerary.
What are good questions to ask about a travel insurance policy?
- What is the maximum trip cost limit? Is it enough for my trip?
- Is emergency medical/dental and evacuation covered with no deductible?
- Is the amount of emergency medical/dental and evacuation coverage enough for my trip?
- Is trip cancellation and interruption included? What are the covered reasons to cancel or interrupt my trip?
- Does my credit card insurance extend to my traveling companions? For instance, can children be included at no additional cost when traveling with an insured adult?
- If I become injured or ill while traveling, can I be transported to the nearest hospital of my choice?
- Are pre-existing medical conditions covered?
- If my trip is delayed, can extra expenses like hotel stays, meals and taxi fares be reimbursed?
- If my luggage is lost or stolen, can I be reimbursed?
- What if my luggage doesn’t arrive when I do? Can I be reimbursed for essential personal items to help me enjoy my trip?
Do you recommend any travel insurance providers?
We have good experience with Travelex. Many of our travelmates find that they offer reasonable prices and good service. If you contact them directly, please give them our location number: 05-0911.
For Travelex, coverage of existing medical conditions is only available if insurance is purchased within 21 days of making your first trip deposit.
Travelex is not available to those living outside the USA.
Hint: TravelEx no longer sells policies for only Emergency Medical and Evacuation; it is bundled in their Travel Basic and Travel Select policies. If you purchase through their website and don’t want Trip Cancellation insurance (which can be expensive), simply enter “$1” for the Trip Cost amount. This results in a policy with a negligible cancellation benefit ($1) but with full Emergency Medical and Evacuation benefits.
Part of the African Medical and Research Foundation, AMREF Flying Doctors provides air evacuation services in medical emergencies across East Africa, as well as air ambulance transfers between medical facilities. Note that this insurance will only cover extreme emergencies. The Maisha Tourist Plan for an individual tourist costs about $20 to $130 depending on countries covered. If you do not use your subscription for an evacuation, your contribution goes to evacuate somebody who urgently needs medical attention who cannot afford it.
Important! The Flying Doctors do NOT cover the cost of hospitalization or medical care.
You can compare different travel insurance to make sure you get the best benefits for the best price at Squaremouth. Their website also has lots of information on travel insurance.
Squaremouth also sells insurance for travelers from the United Kingdom and other countries around the world.
You can also compare different travel insurance at QuoteWright. They include many insurance companies in their comparisons.
What about dive insurance?
Some of our safaris that involve snorkeling or diving require you to purchase dive insurance. While in underwater submersible and surface cages, you usually use a hookah breathing system; most insurance companies consider this a diving activity, which is not usually covered by regular emergency medical and evacuation insurance policies. Dive insurance covers you for possible injuries that may occur in the water.
Consult your regular travel insurance company to check if they have policies that cover in-water activities. Here are a few insurers:
- DiveAssure – offers annual and short-term dive and travel insurance to residents worldwide, but does not cover anyone over the age of 75.
- DAN – offers annual dive insurance, plus annual and short-term travel insurance to US and Canada residents, and covers anyone over the age of 75.
- Travelex – offers a Travel Select Insurance plan which covers diving activities, but only for US residents. Please verify this again when purchasing insurance as this policy may change.