Travel Insurance for African Safaris

Before purchasing travel insurance, here are some commonly asked questions to help you make the best choice for your travel insurance. When you are ready to purchase your travel insurance, click ‘Go Purchase My Insurance’.

Why is it important to get a waiver for pre-existing medical conditions?

  • You may not realize you have a pre-existing medical condition. If you received medical treatment in the last 180 days, or had a prescription medication adjusted, up or down, then you have a pre-existing medical condition.
  • If you have a pre-existing medical condition and need to cancel your trip because of illness or you get sick on your trip, and that illness can be traced to your pre-existing medical condition, you are not covered unless you have the waiver for a pre-existing medical condition.
  • If you need to cancel your trip because of illness of a family member or a business partner, then the pre-existing medical condition pertains to them, and you probably have no idea if they have such a condition.
  • Even if you get sick and it is not due to a pre-existing medical condition, if you don’t have the waiver, it will take a lot longer to get reimbursed, because the insurance company will first have to determine that the illness was not the result of a pre-existing medical condition. This will usually involve them asking for your medical records. 

Is it easy to get a waiver for a pre-existing medical condition?

  • Yes! You need to purchase travel insurance as soon as you make your first payment for the trip, whether it is for your safari or for your international airfare. Depending upon the plan you select, you have 15 days for the Gold Plan or 21 days for the Travel guard Plus Plan, from the time you make your first payment. It’s best not to wait that long.
  • You must insure the total non-refundable cost of your trip.
  • You must be medically able to travel on the day you buy the insurance.

How can I be careful to insure the total non-refundable cost of my trip?

  • Be aware that even if you use miles to pay for your international trip, the taxes associated with the flights are part of your non-refundable costs.
  • It is always a good idea to round up the total non-refundable cost of your trip to the nearest $500. If the cost of your trip is over $7,000 round up to the nearest $1,000. For example $3, 349 becomes $3,500 and $7,275 becomes $8,000. None of this will increase the cost of your insurance, as these are the price breaks in pricing a policy.
  • If, for example, you have not yet bought your international airline ticket, it would be best to estimate the cost of the ticket, add it to the cost of your safari and round up the total as indicated above. If later, it turns out that that the new total non-refundable cost of your trip is greater than previously estimated (even after it is rounded up), you must call Travel Guard within 15 or 21 days (depending upon the plan) of when you paid for your international airline ticket, and increase the value of your policy. If you fail to do this, you will lose your waiver for a pre-existing medical condition.

What makes the Travel Guard Plus plan such a great value?

  • The cost of almost all travel insurance plans is determined by only two factors, the cost of the trip and the age of the traveller. The cost of Travel Guard Plus, which provides the highest level of coverage, is determined by many factors, one of which is destination country. It happens that travel from the US to countries in Sub-Sahara Africa present the lowest risk to travel insurance companies than anywhere else in the world. This is because people with significant health problems generally do not go on African Safaris. Consequently, the cost of the plan is less because there is less chance that they will cancel and less chance that they will get sick while on safari.

How do I know which plan to choose?

For 95% of travelers, the Travel Guard Plus plan will be the best value. However, there are a few cases where the Gold Plan may be a better choice:

  • The state of Washington does not offer Travel Guard Plus. The state of New York offers Travel Guard Plus, but the rates are much higher.
  • The Gold Plan includes children under 17 for no charge. Travel Guard Plus charges for children, but at a lower rate.
  • If you do select the Gold Plan, you should also select the medical upgrade option, available in most states. In the state of Washington it is called the umbrella package. It doubles the emergency medical coverage to $50,000, the emergency evacuation to $1,000,000 and includes evacuation to hospital of choice. This brings it close to Travel Guard Plus, at least in this area of coverage.
  • In any event, it is a good idea to compare the costs of the 2 plans. Keep in mind that the coverage of Travel Guard Plus is far superior to that of the Gold Plan.

What if I only want to insure against something happening to me on my trip?

  • You probably will want to select the Pack ‘n Go Plan. It is designed specifically for last minute bookings, when there is little chance the trip will be cancelled.
  • Enter any amount or zero for trip cost. It is an unnecessary “required” field that has no effect on the cost of the policy.
  • Be aware, that there is no waiver for pre-existing medical conditions. Also, if you have to cancel your trip, you will not get any refund.
  • You may want to take a moment and compare the cost of Pack ‘n Go with Travel Guard Plus. The cost of Travel Guard Plus will be higher, but it may be worth it because of the superior coverage. If you do select Travel Guard Plus, remember to insure the total non-refundable cost of your trip.