Humans are social beings and travelling is one of the most important parts of our social interaction. Whether you’re travelling for business or for pleasure, what makes it an enjoyable trip is peace of mind, particularly if you’re travelling out of your home country for long periods at a time. So how do you get the peace of mind you desire? Travel Insurance.
How do you get Travel Insurance to travel from Nigeria to any part of the world? From either of an insurance company in Nigeria e.g. Leadway, Cornerstone, AXA Mansard or any of the other big names insurance companies you have probably heard of… OR through an insurance brokerage firm (these are companies that have specialized knowledge of the industry and partnerships with several insurance companies and help to manage business relationship between insurance companies and you, the insurance policy holder)
But if you’re reading this, my guess is that you’re not looking for as simplistic an answer as the one above; this is why we have taken the time to write this article to provide all the information you’ll need as a traveler from Nigeria, looking to protect his or herself as you travel
We aren’t just going to tell you where to get it from, No. At the end of this, you would have learned what travel insurance really is, what types of travel insurance are available in Nigeria? Why you need travel insurance at all, what the average costs and benefits of travel insurance are, as well as any other relevant information you require to decide whether or not this is something you want to invest in as you globe-trot round the world.
TRAVEL INSURANCE IN NIGERIA
To put it simply, Travel Insurance or Travel Health Insurance as some insurance companies like to call it is a type of insurance policy that protects you during your travels from several different types of risks and losses (ranging from baggage loss and damage to illness and death). This means that you have a contingency plan in place that covers all the expenses if things go wrong when you are outside the country.
Travel insurance is typically purchased from your country of residence and from insurance policy providers local to that country. In other words, Travel Insurance in Nigeria is a product for residents and non-residents of Nigeria travelling from Nigeria to another country, for a specified period of time
TYPES OF TRAVEL INSURANCE
Depending on your destination, Travel Insurance is basically categorized by insurance service providers into three types. We are going to quickly take a look at the three different types and help you determine which one works best for you
LOCAL TRAVEL INSURANCE
Like the name implies, this is a policy that covers a traveler on any journey within the borders of Nigeria (Locally). Whether you’re travelling by road on Godisgood Motors and lose a bag or your flight is unduly delayed on Air Peace or even on the newly constructed Abuja to Kaduna rail tracks, this product ensures that you are covered and reimbursed.
Although, Local Travel Insurance is a relatively new provider in the market and is not offered by all insurance service providers, it is still available from some service providers. (Talk to your broker to help you find them)
TRAVEL INSURANCE – NIGERIA TO EUROPEAN COUNTRIES/COUNTRIES COVERED BY YOUR SCHENGEN VISA
If you’re travelling from Nigeria to any of the countries in Europe within the designated coverage of the Schengen Visa, this is the product you’re probably looking for. It is popularly referred to as the Schengen Travel Insurance. This is an older product with the highest level of popularity in the market and as a result of all the international parties involved (the European Union and her constituents), it is more standardized in terms of benefits accruable to you. It is also readily available.
TRAVEL INSURANCE – NIGERIA TO THE REST OF THE WORLD
If you’re not travelling locally or to a Schengen/European Country, the worldwide travel insurance policy is probably the best fit for you; this gives you coverage for trips from Nigeria to the USA, Australia, the Middle East, China as well as every other region outside of Europe. However, unlike the Schengen Travel Insurance, this product is not standardized as there is no central body deciding what the benchmarks should be in terms of benefits. This means that, depending on your country of destination, the limit of benefits accruable to you varies. The next section explains this better
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF TRAVEL INSURANCE IN NIGERIA AND WHY YOU SHOULDN’T TRAVEL WITHOUT IT?
Now that you understand what the policy is and the types that are available, let’s talk about what your travel insurance policy protects you against and why you need it. Generally the travel insurance policy coverage has three categories of benefit. They are as follows:
- Medical Expenses: When we travel abroad, we never plan to fall ill but the reality is sometimes we do, and sometimes the illness is a little more than the common cold. If this happens, your travel insurance policy has your back. But medical expenses coverage is pretty broad so we have unpacked it so you can get a full picture as follows: Hospitalization Abroad: If you fall ill and your illness require that you are placed o admission abroad, your policy pays for it (Up to €30,000 for a Schengen Policy and between $10,000 for $40,000 for a Worldwide policy depending on destination country). Emergency Medical Evacuation: This means if the treatment you need isn’t available in the country where you are, you can be evacuated to the nearest point of available treatment (Up to €30,000 for a Schengen Policy and between $10,000 for $40,000 for a Worldwide policy depending on destination country) Repatriation of Family Member: This covers the cost of having a family member flown over to the country where you are getting treatment to come be with you (Up to €2000) Emergency Dental Care: If you’re having issues with your teeth, you can also get that sorted out (Up to €1000) Emergency Return Home Following Loss Of Close Relative: If you lose a loved one while you’re abroad and need to return home, your policy pays for that too (Up to €2000) Repatriation Of Mortal Remains: In the event of death and a body needs to be sent home back to the home country for burial, your travel insurance policy pays for that as well (Up to €5000)
- Loss of Luggage & Delays: In the event that during your travels, your airlines or cruise ship loses your luggage, your travel insurance policy covers the cost as well as the hassles of locating the lost luggage and forwarding it to you from wherever it is found
- Cancellation or Curtailment: if you miss or have to cancel your already booked trip for whatever unforeseen circumstances, your policy compensates you of the cost of your plane ticket as well as any reservations made> You could also be compensated for delayed or cancellations by the airline (Up to €1000 )
However, it is worthy to note that you would be required to cover a fractional percentage of the cost for any loss suffered as a sign of responsibility on your part, this cost is usually referred to as an excess and typically doesn’t exceed €100.
Okay, so the benefits have now been made abundantly clear but it might come to you as a surprise to learn that everything you’ve read in this section so far (protection from risk and losses) is actually the secondary reason why you should be considering travel insurance.
The primary reason is because it is required of you by law. Most countries that we visit as Nigerians either have a social program that covers the health needs of her citizens or a robust health insurance framework that ensures that everyone has access to healthcare. As a foreigner in a country, you are not covered by the system the government of that country has put in place for its people. Therefore you are required to have travel insurance so as to make sure you are able to adequately cater for yourself medically and otherwise, should the need arise. There have been several cases, particularly in Europe, where Nigerian travelers have had their visas denied at the point of entry and this is why you shouldn’t travel without an appropriate travel insurance policy
TYPICAL COST OF TRAVEL INSURANCE IN NIGERIA (2019)
The cost of travel insurance from Nigeria varies and generally depends on two factors. The first is the duration of travel and the second in the country of destination. See below:
TRAVEL INSURANCE CLAIMS
Travel insurance claims are requests made to the insurance policy provider in the event that you have encountered a situation or suffered a loss covered by your travel insurance policy. For example, if your flight was unduly delayed, or your baggage was damaged/stolen in transit or you fell ill while travelling outside Nigeria. In any of these circumstances (as in many others), you will be entitled to make a claim so you can be adequately compensated/reimbursed for any expenses suffered as a result of the aforementioned situation.
Because of the international nature of travel insurance, most travel insurance policy providers in Nigeria have partnerships with insurance service providers abroad so that no matter where you travel to, you are able to make and process and get paid on a claim in due time. However, it is important that you should ask and find out the medium by which you would be able to reach out to either your policy provider back home or to their international partners in the case the need arises.
For most policy providers, channels such as emails and their website integrated chat systems would suffice to begin the process, for others you would be required to contact your insurer, fill a claims form that explains the circumstances of the make available your travel insurance policy certificate
TRAVEL INSURANCE CLAIMS GUIDELINES
In situations like this, most people tend to find the use of an insurance broker extremely helpful because having a broker means you don’t have to worry about the technicalities of the process to making a claim and getting it fulfilled.
However, if you’re going to be handling the process yourself, it is important that you comply with the following general rules as well as you can:
- Report the claim as quickly as possible: Most insurance policies have a stipulated time period within which your report has to be made. Be sure you know what this period is and do not exceed it.
- Fill and submit the claims form: It is important that you provide your insurer with all the necessary information they require to process your claims. The earlier they get these information and any other supporting documents (where applicable like a receipt in the case of stolen items or a Dr’s note in the case of an illness), the better.
- Do not admit any liability to a third party: This simply means not to take responsibility for a y loss where a third party is involved. For example, do not take responsibility for the damage of your baggage with an airline. Doing something like this or its equivalent would make it difficult for your insurer to hold the airline or any other third party liable.
- Do not exaggerate the claim: Claiming you lost more than you actually did invalidates the entire claim if you’re found out. As tempting as this might be, do not attempt it and lastly …
- Give full disclosure of the issues surrounding your claim: When you’re giving your account of the loss you suffered, try to give as comprehensive a narration as you can, leaving out no details. This will help to provide the insurer with a full picture of the event and adds credibility to your claim
Local claims are typically resolved within 48 hours after notification while international travel resolution times vary from one insurance company to the other (depending on how good their service delivery is)
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR CLAIM IS DENIED?
Again, this is another reason why insurance brokers are advisable as they can advise appropriately and help to resolve all claims denial issues but if you do not have one, your best course of action is to reach out to the customer care unit of the insurance company which usually an arm of the business that is independent of the claims processing unit and your case can be reviewed to make sure all parties involved are satisfied