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.

Josh Daniels
From the Travel team
3
minute read
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Posted 01 FEBRUARY 2021

Getting travel insurance for South Africa

You should get travel insurance for any trip, and it’s no different for South Africa. When comparing insurance policies, ask yourself:

Am I insured if I need to cancel my trip? 

Add up the cost of flights, accommodation and anything else pre-booked, such as day tours. Cancellation cover – which is typically included in travel insurance policies – is the most you can claim back 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.

Will I be doing any high-risk activities?

 Check if any activities you’re planning are covered by insurance. A provider will consider some pursuits to be high-risk, such as rock climbing or sky diving, and these might not be covered by basic travel insurance policies. If your chosen activity isn’t included in a policy, you might need to get additional cover, such as adventure travel insurance.

How much are my belongings worth? 

Like many popular destinations, South Africa has areas with high crime rates – extra caution is advised in the country’s major cities. Look the single item limit on the travel policy, as this is the most money you can claim back on any single item if your belongings are stolen, lost or damaged. Check with your provider to see whether extra cover can be added to your policy if required, or find a specialist insurance provider who offers the level of cover you need.

Am I covered for medical emergencies?

The right travel insurance will cover the cost of medical bills if you get sick or injured during your trip and need private treatment. Generally speaking, your policy should include at least £2 million in medical cover for areas outside Europe.

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE 

From 17 May 2021, a travel traffic light system has been introduced and trips to green listed countries will be legally permitted if you live in England and Scotland. If you live in Wales and Northern Ireland, you still need to follow the rules for your relevant local authority, which can be found here.

If a country is on the green list, you still need to check the latest travel advice and entry requirements for each country you visit or transit through. This is to ensure you're aware of any specific requirements relating to entry and to check travellers from the UK are permitted. Countries can have their traffic light status changed at short notice and you should take this into consideration when looking to travel. Please check the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advice for the latest information.

The FCDO advises against all but essential travel to most amber and red listed countries. Should you choose to travel against the FCDO rules, you will not be covered by any travel insurance policy you purchase. Some providers do offer cover for international travel if you’re travelling for essential purposes, however most do not. In all cases, should you have any queries please check the policy wording or contact your chosen provider before purchasing to ensure the cover meets your needs.

Travel within England, Scotland and Wales is permitted under the current guidelines. However, public health rules and lockdown restrictions continue to vary, including entry restrictions for Northern Ireland. Check the latest guidance from the official tourism boards for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Find out more here

Customers with more serious pre-existing medical conditions

Our panel includes insurance providers who quote cover for all medical conditions declared on our website, with no exclusions.

The Money and Pensions Service (MaPs) has launched a directory of insurance providers on its Money Advice Service website that may be able to provide quotes over the phone, if you have more serious medical conditions. Find more information at the Money Advice Service or by calling the British Insurance Brokers’ Association on 0370 950 1790.

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 validity on your passport when you travel. Also, your passport should have at least two blank pages when you present it at immigration at South Africa.

Do I need vaccinations before I go to South Africa?

You may need to get vaccinations, so visit your doctor four to eight weeks before your trip. Some vaccinations, such as for tetanus and typhoid, are typically free on the NHS.

Any other travel tips for South Africa?

Safety The government’s website has information on safety and security in the country. Take precautions while you travel, such as keeping any valuables out of sight.

Tipping It’s standard practice to tip - 10 to 20% should be appreciated.

Time difference South Africa is two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

Currency The country uses the South African Rand.

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