Many people do not often factor in travel insurance when planning a journey, a vacation, family visit or a business trip. Yet, this type of insurance offers crucial protection against financial risks associated with travel like illness, injury, trip cancellation and luggage loss.

AAR Insurance Kenya Managing Director, Nixon Shigoli says that the purpose of travel insurance is to guard the insured against financial losses arising from a particular activity. Anything can happen when travelling, hence the need to plan for emergencies that may potentially ruin the trip.

Despite the popular belief that one does not need travel insurance if they already have a medical cover, it is important to note that such policies only offer limited protection particularly if you are travelling abroad. Travellers will still have to settle hospital bills out of their pocket. Travel insurance takes care of such unanticipated costs in the event travel plans go awry.

Apart from managing the risk of unexpected health issues, a travel policy also covers unbudgeted expenses related to delayed flights, like extra hotel and meal charges. If it has a personal liability clause, the policy will cater for legal expenses related to third party claims for damage to property or person injury. The insurer may also compensate for loss of luggage and personal valuables like money and documents. Such events are unfortunately quite common, hence the need to plan for any eventuality.

For as little as Ksh. 2,500 per cover, you can insure yourself and family against any inconveniences encountered during the policy term. In the digital era, one can easily buy travel insurance online and get the policy. This allows them to get covered at short notice in the event of a vacation or quick business trip.

Additionally, travel insurance claims are usually settled within a short time and one is guaranteed they will not suffer financial loss. If not insured, travellers will have to pursue compensation with the airline for lost luggage, which may take long and there is no assurance that you will be reimbursed. However, for the claim to be paid promptly, the insured must furnish the insurance company with all the relevant documents.

Some trip insurance policies include compensation in the unlikely event of a hijack and detention and even studying abroad. Additionally, some countries, including those in the Schengen region require travel insurance as mandatory criteria for entry. Travellers are encouraged to consult their insurer on the best package for their trip.