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Travelling is a good thing; it enlarges the soul and enriches the mind. But on the other hand, there’s an old adage that if you can’t afford travel insurance then you can’t afford travel. Sounds a bit contradictory, right? Well, not really!

You see, we so often concentrate on the fun and excitement of the places we’re visiting that we end up downplaying the small, inevitable mishaps. Regardless of how well you think you have planned your trip, there’ll always be unexpected twists and turns along the way. Some that are slightly inconveniencing, others are tremendously costly. Take for instance the example of Thomas Cook. For over 178 years, Thomas Cook has been synonymous with budget traveling, with millions of Britons booking overseas holidays each year via the company. However, Thomas Cook recently collapsed and closed down abruptly. One the day that the company announced its closure, hundreds of thousands of vacationers were left stranded abroad. Many were held in hotels in Tunisia over unpaid bills. Others had to sleep on the cold concrete floors of airports as they waited for a flight to evacuate them back to the UK.

And if you think this is something that happens only in Europe, think again! Closer home, former Justice Minister Martha Karua recently made headlines when she announced that she’ll be suing British Airways for losing her bag onboard a BA flight. According to Karua, she lost her bag on a flight from Edinburgh to Nairobi; the bag contained vital documents and personal items. And what of the Nairobi MCAs who went for a retreat in Mombasa, only to come back from their lunch break to find their hotels broken into, all laptops stolen? The hotel denied responsibility, the police said they’re investigating and Kenya being what we know it, you can bet that the ‘investigations are still ongoing’. These are just but a few examples. Travel Insurance is the body armor that seeks to protect you from such mishaps and inconveniences.

Traveling to Nakuru aka Naxvegas;

While Kenya has many beautiful spots and destinations worth visiting, few places rival Nakuru. Nakuru is the uncrowned tourism Capital of Kenya. Here, the flora and fauna has mesmerized locals and foreigners for decades. From the world famous Lake Nakuru National Park to the scenic Menengai Crater, the diverse wildlife; Nakuru has it all. Not to forget the many beautiful and hospitable hotels offering accommodation to visitors.

Now, if you’re planning on traveling to Nakuru this December holidays then there are a few things you’ll need to do. Most tourists visit under tour companies that book travel packages and plan their itineraries. A few visitors come alone or with family, without having to rely on a tour company. Whatever the case, always remember that hardly does everything go as planned. There are times you’ll get sick during the trip and need medication. Your child may innocently damage that water faucet or TV set in the room. There are also injuries incurred during sports like swimming, horse racing, and bike riding, and so on. In such instances, you have no option but to dig into your pockets to cover such scenarios.

Thankfully, there are reputable and affordable agencies that offer travel insurance. The concept of travel insurance is still new in Kenya and most people often wonder, is travel insurance really worth it? Is it important? Oh yes, it is! The benefits of travel insurance can be categorized into 5 major aspects;

Loss of baggage and personal belongings;

this is one of the most common mishaps when traveling. While you have an obligation to take reasonable care of all your items and belongings, travel insurance comes in handy In case you lose your valuables. The items covered include laptops, cameras, cash, suitcases, and such. However, be sure to read the policy benefits keenly as some travel insurance companies require you to list such items well in advance.

Cancellation of the trip;

supposing you’ve booked your trip, paid for everything but before the D day, you’re forced to cancel the trip! Could be as a result of a sudden illness, death of a relative, and so on. While few tour companies will refund you, an insurance policy ensures that all is not lost. The insurance company may cover the non-refundable costs like funds spent in booking hotels and rooms. Again, different travel insurances have different packages and you’ll need to thoroughly understand what the insurance policy covers. Most policies cover you in case the trip gets canceled before you leave home.

Personal liability;

travel insurance can also cover you against damages that happen accidentally. For instance, car accidents that cause damage to property, your child damaging items in the hotel you’re staying, and so forth. The policy covers you from the material damage and legal fees involved as a result of such accidents. Medical emergencies/evacuation; remember the sad story of the family that got swept away by floods at Hells Gate in September? A travel insurance policy would have come in handy during such moments, helping in the medical evacuation of survivors. Even costs incurred by the family in the search, rescue and recovery efforts can be reimbursed if the insurance policy covered such aspects.

Returning home early;

so you’ve had to cut short your trip due to an illness or whatever. After a few days, you feel much better and want to resume the trip. Would you be refunded for such? Well, most travel insurances are automatically invalidated the minute you arrive at your home; there’s nothing like ‘unused’ portion when claiming a refund. However, some insurance companies will allow you to resume the trip with the same policy (excluding time you’re at home).

In Summary;

We all love free and cheap things, right? Yet, as domestic tourism becomes more popular and hotels give super affordable holiday offers, more travelers are appreciating the importance of travel insurance. Thus, when planning and budgeting for your trip, be sure to set something aside to cushion you from unforeseen mishaps. It’s the better to spend a little and be safe, than leave everything to luck hoping that everything will go right; it may not. Travel insurance is not a luxury, it is a necessity and a sign of responsibility.

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