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travel insurance Kenya

Travel Insurance in Kenya

Travel insurance is one of the most popular products in Kenya driven being one of the mandatory requirements before applying for a visa at most foreign embassies and consulates in Kenya.

Among the most commonly covered risks in travel insurance covers for emergency medical expenses overseas, repatriation in case of death, terrorism and hijack, travel delay and cancellation, baggage delay or loss, loss of passport/ID and a number of public liabilities while in the destination country.

Most of the local insurance companies are partnered with international insurance countries to provide travel insurance, this is to increase their reach worldwide and be able to provide assistance to clients worldwide. Among the most international partnerships are MAPFRE, ASSISTENCIA, AXA and several others. While most travellers buy a standalone travel insurance cover, some medical insurance plans have an inbuilt travel insurance e.g. BUPA, AETNA. Before purchasing travel insurance, it is important to check with the embassy/consulate you are applying to, to confirm the accepted insurance companies and the scope of the travel insurance cover that is required. Here is an example of a guideline from one of the European consulates on their travel insurance requirements

FAQ's

Can I buy this travel insurance online?
Yes, you can compare and buy your travel insurance online and it will get issued right away during business hours. No need for paper, forms and queuing up.
Do I need travel insurance?
If you are applying for a visa to travel to foreign countries, you may need a travel insurance as a requirement for your visa application. Check your visa requirements carefully to know what type of travel insurance you will need.
What is outbound and inbound travel insurance?
In bound travel insurance is for travellers whose destination is Kenya e.g. foreign tourists, business people, etc. Outbound travel insurance is for Kenyan nationals and residents departing for travel from Kenya.
How soon will I get my travel insurance issued?
After full payment and submission of a copy of your PIN certificate and passport, your policy will usually be issued in less than 30 minutes in soft/digital copy. It will be a signed and stamped document that is admissable for visa application requirements.
What is needed in order to compute a quote?
Duration of travel in number of days,
Age of applicant : older applicants may be charged higher rates, this will normally apply from 60 years and older
Country or countries destination : worldwide cover is more expensive than single country cover. You may also be charged higher rates for travel to countries or regions deemed to be of high security risk
Purpose of travel : travel insurance for hazardous activities like winter sports will be charged at higher rates,
Scope and limits of travel insurance : higher insurance limits for benefits like emergency medical expenses are charged higher.
Can I get a discount?
Absolutely, discounted are applicable for group travel insurance packages and also student packages.

What is covered on an international travel insurance policy issued in Kenya?

Travel insurance covers different areas to ensure a comprehensive coverage when travelling to USA/Canada, Schengen countries, Middle East, Asia and even within Africa. In order to save money on your policy, it is advisable to compare cheap travel insurance policies especially online offered by different companies. In addition, some companies in Kenya also offer customers an online self service portal from where policies are automatically issued upon payment. Different embassies in Kenya have varying requirements on a travel insurance policy but the following risks are covered in most overseas travel insurance policies issued in Kenya:

  1. Medical Protection this includes: emergency medical related expense, medical transportation and repatriation, in-hospital cash benefit, dental and optical expenses, burial, cremation and return of mortal remains, follow up treatment in your country of residence, terrorism, hostage, hijack and wrongful detention.
  2. Personal Accident
  3. Cancellation or curtailment of journey
  4. Travel Delay
  5. Personal Liability
  6. Hijack, hostage or wrongful detention inconvenience
  7. Luggage
  8. Luggage delay
  9. Loss of currency and/or travel credentials
  10. Emergency travel assistance

Emergency medical expenses

In the case of a medical necessity, the travel insurance company will compensate you in the form of a reimbursement you up to the paramount amount shown schedule benefit and service as shown on the schedule subject to the deductible, if as a result to bodily injury or sickness while on your trip. Necessary covered medical expenses (covered medical expenses are necessary medical assistance and necessities commended by the ministering physician and include the services of a legally qualified physician, charges of ward confinement and use of hospital rooms, cost of anaesthetics including execution, x-ray exams or treatment and lab tests, ambulance services, drugs, medicine, prosthetics and remedial applicability and supplies, emergency dental and/or optical medication for the relief of pain.

Death & repatriation

In case of death during the insured trip or journey, the insurance company will pay tentative to the ceiling shown in the schedule; pay a justifiable figure in regard to funeral, burial or cremation costs in the country where the death has happened or the acceptable amount of returning your body/ashes to your country of usual residence. For some of the cheaper packages available on the market, this limit might be so small that it does not make sense to the insured.

Personal belongings and luggage, passport ID

If your luggage has been delayed, misdirected or misplaced for somewhat 12 hours, the travel insurance company will refund the amount of acquiring emergency necessary pieces of clothing and personal effects. Written evidence of delay from the transport provider must be provided with any claim along with the original receipt in support of the acquiring of emergency essential pieces of clothing and personal effects.

The insurance company will also reimburse you in respect to accidental loss/destruction to own cash to mean currency notes, and non-refundable accommodation vouchers, prepaid and non-refundable entertainment tickets, the reissuing cost of existing travel tickets, traveller’s cheques, credit cards, visas, passports and vouchers.

Claims will not be paid if the arose from:

  • You decline to check your baggage according to the appointed times.
  • Delay, hold up, carnage or confiscation by customs staff or other authorities.
  • Delayed luggage at your final destination.
  • Wear and tear
  • Loss or destruction to bonds, stamps, negotiable instruments, manuscripts, deeds, securities of any kind or bullion.
  • Any claim not recorded by police or transport carrier immediately and a written police or irregularity affidavit obtained.
  • The first USD 50 of every claim.

Delay and cancellation of journey

If the planned and paid for departure of an insured trip or your public movement is deferred for not less than 6 hours or longer if stated in your insurance policy document or cover note due to any cause outside your control, the insurance company will reimburse you for a fair cost incurred for meals, drinks, travel costs, accommodation etc. if your carrier does not offer them. You must give the insurance company the original receipts of all the buys when making a claim. For some of the cheap insurance packages, this limit might have a very high excess/deductible that it doesn’t make sense to the insured.

The insurance company will not be responsible for:

  • The first 6 hours delay in respect of this benefit.
  • For the first USD 12 for each and every claim
  • Any costs or expenses incurred for periods exceeding 50 hours for each and every incidence or delay.

If you cancel your paid for scheduled trip or journey before departure due to unexpected or impromptu illness or injury of you, a travelling companion, a member of your immediate family or business associate as allowed by a medical doctor, then the company will reimburse you the non-refundable portions of your travel or lodging arrangement paid by you or which you are legally entitled to up to the policy limit.

Cover is structured between local seller and international insurer, examples

For a overseas travel insurance cover to be effective and ensure that it works seamlessly without inefficiencies, most insurance companies have partnered up with local sellers at the countries of travel outside Kenya to provide immediate emergency assistance.

For example, if you purchase travel insurance with CIC Insurance, you can contact Speciality Assist Limited for the following regions for travel and medical emergencies. With other companies like Jubilee Travel Insurance and AMACO international travel insurance, the provider is MAPFRE, a renown Spanish Insurance Company.

Others like this are Assistencia, AXA PPP and Allianz.

Cover can be bought from agents, brokers, travel agencies, attached to airline ticket etc.

Most overseas travel insurance covers can be easily obtained from insurance agents, brokers, travel agencies or even attached to airline travel tickets. In addition to that most insurance companies have set up online platforms where you can get these insurance directly from them. Other faster and cheaper platforms are the online comparison platforms where you can compare different companies and make a more informed decision in regards to which package best suits you. Although most travel insurance covers can be considered cheap as the premium rates are low, a good commission is still to be won.

Factors that determine the price of cover

The factors that determine the price of travel insurance packages include:

  • Duration of visit-the longer the visit, the more you pay, most insurance companies will charge per block of days you will be travelling e.g. 1-8 days, 12-20 days while others charge per single day which tends to be cheaper.
  • The level of coverage you choose that is the limit of coverage picked, the more benefits offered by a package the higher the price
  • In case you would require coverage when one has got a pre-existing condition.
  • In case you opt for the adventure sports, hiking, winter games insurance, this more costly than the standard kind of online travel insurance owing to the fact that such activities are higher risk.
  • Destination: Some destinations are more expensive than others owing to the higher cost of services in those destinations e.g. North America is a high cost of living area than Asia so any liability incurred there would cost insurance companies a lot more expenses.

In addition, for travel to some countries that are deemed high risk, the premiums will naturally be loaded for the security factor.

Family, Group & Student Discounts

Most insurance companies will give a discount on travel insurance premiums for families, groups and students. This means that it will be cheaper if you get travel insurance as a group instead of individuals.

Inbound vs Outbound travel insurance

Inbound travel insurance is generally taken by non-residents or immigrants to a foreign country rather than their country of residence for a short term stay or a longer stay. This kind of insurance is usually ideal or visitors to that country or people, who are to stay longer if on other form of visa rather than travel visa.

Outbound travel insurance is the most common of travel insurance and it is taken by the residence of a country when travelling to a foreign country. Most insurance companies offer this kind of travel insurance to their resident members as they travel abroad, this is the most common type of travel insurance sold in Kenya.

Special cover for sports, mountain climbing activities

For the standard online travel insurance, hazardous sports activities are not covered. These include: hunting racing (other than on foot), any organized bodily contact sport, football, rugby, gliding, skydiving/parachuting, rapid rafting, ski jumping, guided glacier walking, mountaineering using ropes, crampons, ice axes or guides and potholing or where you are required to acclimatize to altitude or your participation in underwater diving involving the use of any artificial breathing instruments, unless you have an open water diving certificate or are diving under the supervision of a qualified instructor.

You can enquire to the country of travel if there some insurance companies that offer adventure sports insurance as in Kenya there is none that offers this kind of insurance.

Travel insurance as part of medical insurance?

Most private medical insurance in Kenya offer a travel insurance benefit limit up to a specific limit upon travel. This limit is also subjected to number of days and at what point of travel.

Majority of the medical insurance providers have stated the maximum number of days mostly between 1-to a maximum of 30-45 days of travel as from the day of travel. The coverage is subject to a sublimit and also it is done on reimbursement basis only.

For the insurance company in Kenya to activate this travel insurance aspect of the medical insurance, you will need to inform your medical insurance provider which country you will be going to and for how long.

However, this travel insurance part of the medical insurance doesn’t cover most of the other aspects like travel delay, loss of baggage, ID, passport or public liability during the journey if travelling outside Kenya. It will only cover the emergency medical expenses part of the journey.

Some international overseas companies like AXA, AETNA, BUPA and others offer this type of insurance among their packages.

Common terms and exclusions

Most common exclusions are below, note that the cheaper the overseas travel insurance package, the likelihood of increased lists of exclusions:

  • Your participation in motor cycling except as a driver of a motor cycle and/or quad bikes with an engine capacity of 150cc or less.
  • Your participation in underwater diving with the aid artificial breathing tools, unless you have an open water diving certificate or are diving under the supervision of a qualified instructor
  • Your participation in any hazardous or professional sport
  • Consequential loss, loss of enjoyment or financial expense not directly covered in this Policy
  • Acute and chronic psychiatric or psychological or emotional illness of any kind.
  • The effect and influence of alcohol, drugs, narcotics upon you unless administered by a member of the medical profession
  • Flying or air travel of any kind other than: a flight arranged by the assistance company or any fully licensed passenger carrying aircraft but not as a crew member) and not for the reason of doing any trade or technical operation
  • Any child born whilst on a journey
  • Manual work in connection with a business or a trade
  • Any unlawful act committed by you or being dishonest and untruthful with all answers, statements and submissions made.
  • Your willful exposure to or active participation in war, invasion, riots and strikes, and any other civil commotion.
  • Loss or destruction of, or damage to, any property
  • Any person who has attained the age of 81
  • You traveling with the intention of emigrating
  • You engaging in or taking part in armed forces service or operations
  • Your intentional exposure to great danger (except in an attempt to save human life)
  • Your participation or taking part in any mining operations.
  • Sexually transmitted infection, and Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) or any condition related thereto

DEFINITIONS

For any international travel policy cheap or executive issued in Kenya, the

  • “Accident” means a sudden, unexpected, unusual, particular instance which occurs at an unknown time and location, but also including a mishap from the conveyance in which you are traveling.
  • “Accidental Injury” means bodily harm caused by an disaster (of external origin) being the plain and sovereign cause in the loss
  • “Pre-Existing Condition” means any injury. Sickness or condition of yourself, for which medical advice, diagnosis, cans or treatment was recommended or received with the 180-day period ending on the Effective Date. Conditions are not considered pre-existing if the condition for which prescribed drugs or medicine is taken remains controlled without any change in the required prescription purchased.
  • Emergency Illness or Sickness: shall be deemed to mean an illness or disease, diagnosed by a legally licensed physician which meets all of the following criteria;
    1. there is present a severe or acute symptom requiring immediate care and the failure to obtain such care could reasonably result in serious deterioration of your condition or place your life in jeopardy
    2. the severe or acute symptom occurs suddenly and un- expectedly
    3. the severe or acute symptom occurs while your coverage is in force and during your Trip
  • Personal Effects: means spectacles, dentures, purses, wallets, bangles, watches, cameras, rings, necklaces. video cameras, video cameras, mobile phones, cosmetics and other personal effects normally worn or carried on the person
  • Physician means a licensed practitioner of medical surgical or dental services acting within the scope of his/ her license. The treating Physician may not be yourself, or a Family Member.
  • Emergency Illness or Sickness: shall be deemed to mean an illness or disease, diagnosed by a legally licenced physician which meets all of the following criteria;
    1. there is present a severe or acute symptom requiring immediate care and the failure to obtain such care could reasonably result in serious deterioration of your condition or place your life in jeopardy
    2. the severe or acute symptom occurs suddenly and un- expectedly
    3. the severe or acute symptom occurs while your coverage is in force and during your Trip.
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