Is travel insurance actually worth buying?


Hospitality and tour operators' liability insurance not only safeguards the business but also instils confidence in tourists, assuring them of their well-being.

A few years ago, travel insurance take-up was low. But now more Kenyans are signing up. Do you need one this season?

“Yes, you need travel insurance. In most cases it is mandatory. You cannot get a visa without travel insurance. Also, just for yourself, you would not want to have your flight delayed and you'll have to book a hotel with your own money which you had not budgeted for yet you have an option of travel insurance,” says Isaac Maina, a financial advisor at Britam insurance.

Mr Maina says travel insurance is becoming more and more accepted. People are willingly taking the cover, with a few others still needing to be convinced about the benefits of the cover.

The insurers pay for medical expenses during travel, loss of luggage, and delayed flights. Some have also added Covid-19 to the package.

“Currently, the penetration of insurance is still below three per cent in Kenya. The increase is marginal. As more people travel, demand for travelling insurance is expected to increase,” the financial expert says.

Louise Ojung’a, who works at Incentive Travel, a tour agency that purchases travel insurance for its customers from AIG Insurance Kenya says most Kenyans are still not aware of how important it is.

Ms Ojung’a says something might happen to you or your luggage.

“That is where insurance comes in. If you are going on a business trip, and it doesn’t materialise, insurers cover you. We also insure you against an accident that could happen in the place you travelled to, and against sickness you get while there,” she adds.

Different insurers offer different plans. Some cover premature return in case of the death of a relative or business associate, and wrongful detention, among others.

“We have daily rates ranging from $5.50 (Sh676) to $4.50 (Sh553) depending on your package. This means that you are charged only for the days you were in that other country. There is a plan for frequent travellers. We put you on a yearly annual travel plan,” says Ms Ojung’a.

For Britam, the insurance plans range from those covering loss of checked baggage, personal accidents up to $27,500 (Sh3.3 million), emergency medical expenses up to $150,000 (Sh18 million) and loss of passport among others.

War and terrorism are covered at an additional cost.

Since the pandemic, Ms Ojung’a says they have seen an increase of about 12 per cent of people taking insurance covers.

Part of the reason is medical care abroad has gone up, making travel insurance vital for all travellers.

Death or disability

Other insurers have partnered with tour agents to increase uptake.

In May, Britam partnered with tour and travel company Bonfire Adventures which will see clients get covered against accidents resulting in death and disability for Sh100,000.

Speaking to BDLife, Simon Kabu, CEO, of Bonfire Adventures said clients have so far embraced the cover.

“The response is good,” he said.

Bonfire, one of the most popular travels and tours agency in Kenya, organising trips across the world says this festive season, the most-booked destinations are Malindi, Samburu, Chalbi, Diani, Dubai, and Thailand.

Other insurers that offer travel insurance include Standard Chartered Kenya, AAR, I&M Bank Kenya, and Jubilee.

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