Compare travel insurance for South Africa

With its stunning landscapes, big-game wildlife and buzzing cities, South Africa is a holiday destination like few others. Here’s what you should know about finding the right travel insurance for your trip.

With its stunning landscapes, big-game wildlife and buzzing cities, South Africa is a holiday destination like few others. Here’s what you should know about finding the right travel insurance for your trip.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update: please check the latest government travel advice that sets out what you need to do, if anything, before you travel abroad and before you return home. You should also check the latest travel advice and entry requirements for each country you visit or transit through. Travel rules can change at short notice, so check the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) for the latest information.

Josh Daniels
Travel Insurance expert
minute read
Do you know someone who could benefit from this article?
Last Updated 16 MARCH 2022

Do I need travel insurance for South Africa? 

You should get travel insurance for any trip, and it’s no different for South Africa. South Africa has a high crime rate, so you’ll want to make sure that your personal belongings are covered while you’re out there. You’ll also want to make sure you’re protected if you fall sick or have an accident and need to come home.

Customers with more serious pre-existing medical conditions

If you have a serious health condition, the price you pay for travel insurance is likely to be more expensive. However, there are still many providers out there and you should be able to find affordable cover. Whatever happens, don’t be tempted to lie to an insurance provider, because if you do and then need to make a claim, it could be rejected.

When you declare medical conditions on our website, we’ll only show quotes from insurance providers who will cover all declared medical conditions, with no exclusions.

MoneyHelper has launched a directory of insurance providers who may be able to provide quotes over the phone if you have more serious medical conditions. Find more information at MoneyHelper or by calling them on 0800 138 7777.

How much is travel insurance for South Africa? 

How much you pay for your travel insurance to South Africa will depend on what you plan to do on your trip, as well as your age and how long you plan to go for. 

You’ll probably have to pay more if you’re planning to take part in activities that are considered high risk, such as sky diving or rock climbing. You might even find that some policies don’t include these kinds of activities at all. If that’s the case, you may have to seek out additional cover, such as adventure travel insurance.

What will South Africa travel insurance cover? 

You typically want your travel insurance to cover: 

  • Medical care – the UK doesn’t have a healthcare arrangement in place with South Africa. That means if you need medical treatment out there, you’ll have to pay for it yourself. South Africa has an excellent private healthcare system, but it can be expensive. So you’ll need to make sure your cover includes enough protection to cover emergency treatment and get you back to the UK for emergency treatment, if necessary.
  • Damage, loss and theft of luggage – theft and petty crime can be a problem for tourists, particularly in cities, so you’ll want to make sure that your belongings are properly covered too. If your luggage is stolen, your insurance should cover the cost of replacing clothes, tech and other belongings. If you plan to take expensive gadgets or jewellery with you, be sure to check how much your policy will pay out for a single item and add extra cover if you need to.
  • Cancellation cover – this can protect you if you need to cancel or cut short your holiday (as long as the reason is listed in your policy). For example, if you get too sick to travel or you’re called for jury service, you could claim back the money you’ve spent. It’s a good idea to arrange your travel insurance as soon as you book your trip, so you have this cover in place right away.
  • Flight cancellations and delays – insurance will help soften the blow of cancelled or delayed flights. If you have a connecting flight, you’ll want to make sure you’re covered if you miss that too.
  • Coronavirus – you’ll want to make sure you’re covered in case you have to cancel your trip or extend your stay as a result of catching coronavirus. You can check travel insurance policies for levels of coronavirus cover by using the ‘more details’ option on our quote results page.

What won’t South Africa travel insurance cover? 

Depending on the policy you go for, you may find it contains certain exclusions, including: 

Pre-existing medical conditions – if you have a pre-existing medical condition, you’ll need to declare this when you buy your policy, otherwise you might find it’s invalid when you come to claim.

Extreme sports – South Africa is a great place to try adventure sports like bungee jumping, shark-cage diving and kiteboarding. But you’ll need to add them to your policy, as cover for adventure activities may not come as standard.

Events such as terrorism, natural disasters and civil unrest – like many countries, South Africa can be prone to floods and wildfires, it’s also no stranger to political unrest. Although you’d have to be pretty unlucky to find yourself involved in anything like this, if you are, you may find that your insurance doesn’t cover you.

What else should I consider when I choose my travel insurance? 

Before you choose your policy, make sure you’ve considered the following: 

How much cover you actually need

It’s easy to assume your belongings aren’t worth much, but the cost of replacing everything from your suitcase to your toiletries can add up pretty quickly. So when you’re thinking about how much cover to take out, make sure you have enough.

Is it worth getting an annual policy?

If you travel a lot, you could save money by getting an annual policy. And that way you don’t have to remember to renew it next time you go away.

Do you have cover for all your activities?

Planning an action-packed trip? Make sure your policy includes the cover you need for what you want to do, whether that’s water sports, extreme sports or just a round or two of golf. You should be able to add cover to your policy or find a specialist policy to cover your activities.

Do I need a visa for South Africa? 

British passport holders can visit South Africa for up to three months without a visa. The UK Government advises that you should have at least six months left on your passport when you travel. Your passport should also have at least two blank pages when you present it at South African immigration. 

More details about the entry requirements for South Africa can be found on the GOV.UK website, including rules on COVID-19 vaccines and testing.

Do I need vaccinations to go to South Africa? 

The NHS Fit for Travel suggests getting vaccinated for diphtheria and hepatitis A. It suggests you also consider hepatitis B, rabies, tetanus and typhoid. Some vaccinations, including tetanus and typhoid, are typically free on the NHS.

Any other travel tips for South Africa? 

If you’re visiting South Africa any time soon, here are a few things to think about: 

  • Safety – the government’s website has information on safety and security in the country. Take precautions while you travel, such as avoiding large gatherings and keeping valuables out of sight
  • Tipping – it’s standard practice to tip and 10%​ to 20% will be appreciated
  • Time difference – South Africa is two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)
  • Currency – the country uses the South African rand.

Where can I compare travel insurance quotes? 

We’re here to help you find the right travel insurance at the right price. Whether you’re going on an adventure-filled road trip or a family holiday, we’ll help you compare quotes to get the peace of mind you need.

Compare travel insurance Get a quote