A model regulator of a secure and developed insurance industry

The year 2020 was like no other year we have experienced before, many had to put their travel plans on hold partly because of the fear and anxiety of contracting the COVID-19 virus and prolonged lockdowns that were being imposed around the world.

As the pandemic continues and months go by, since the first case was registered in Uganda on 21st March 2020, many have realized that we ought to learn to live with the situation while doing all we can to keep safe and alive. Like with the steady reopening of various sectors of the economy, so has the travel industry with many travelers flocking the airport back to their home countries and a few brave ones taking vacations and going for work and business in destinations that have opened their boarders.

Travel remains an essential part of our lives that may not be put on hold indefinitely. Whereas travel insurance may sound like one of those types of insurance you may not necessarily need or you may not consider as worth it, current times have taught us that opting for travel insurance for your next trip whether for business or leisure is the best option given the high cost of health care and the need to protect yourself from the unexpected.

Today, travelers need to be conscious of the risks involved while traveling and more ground work should be done before setting off in order to protect themselves. Some governments have become increasingly concerned about the health and safety of their citizens and thereby mandating medical coverage for COVID-19 as a prerequisite for entering their countries. This is why travel insurance is going to play a vital role in ensuring the safety of travelers for the years to come considering the risks that have been highlighted by the pandemic.

Travel insurance protects you against unforeseeable events that occur after booking and paying for your trip. It assures a traveler of a stress-free and hassle- free travel overseas. With travel insurance, trip cancellation, delays or other interruptions may be compensated for non-refundable travel costs.

In the event of loss of baggage and personal items, travel insurance provides cover for such items throughout the entire trip and not just during a flight. Likewise, Medical coverage and medical evacuation for out-of-country emergency medical expenses is provided with travel insurance in case of an illness. Lastly travel delays provides for compensation for additional transportation costs or additional expenses for meals and lodging should the flight be delayed by inclement weather or in case your travel documents are lost or stolen.

It is therefore important to note that at the beginning of the pandemic, many travel insurance policies were not covering COVID-19 related trip interruptions and cancellations because they excluded pandemics. But since then, some companies have extended cover in their travel policies to cater for compulsory quarantine due to diagnosed COVID-19 up to specific limits depending on the company’s offering and pricing. Others are including cover upon request from the client at an addition cost.

While purchasing a travel insurance policy, always remember to take time and carefully read and understand the terms and conditions, paying extra attention to the exclusions, limits, benefits and coverage and also ensure that you purchase travel insurance from players licensed by the Insurance Regulatory Authority of Uganda. In the market, there are over 8 insurers from whom you may wish to source from before making your final decision.

Remember, travel risks and threats are real. So, plan to get a travel insurance policy before embarking on the next trip to avoid any inconveniences.

By Sheeba Ddungu

Market Development Officer

Insurance Regulatory Authority of Uganda