travel insurance for south africa
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Travel Insurance for South Africa: The Complete Guide

South Africa is famous for its safari parks, bold and diverse cultures, and breathtaking scenery. If you’re planning on traveling to South Africa soon, purchasing travel insurance before you go is an absolute must.

Travel insurance will help protect you if something unexpected happens abroad. For example, it will cover your medical expenses if you get sick or injured.

This blog post is a complete guide on South Africa travel insurance – do you need it? Which is the best company? Plus all other related information. So let’s get started.

Do I need travel insurance to visit South Africa?

South African law doesn’t require visitors have travel insurance, though that being said, there are several crucial reasons why you need to be covered.

The question you really should be asking is: should I buy travel insurance for South Africa? And the answer is absolutely, yes. Let me explain why.

What’s the worst that could happen without travel insurance?

Well, I once got my bag stolen in Vietnam, and I had an electric shock in a hostel bathroom in Mexico (yes seriously). I also missed my flight twice in the space of three years.

Say, what if you got mugged in an alleyway or even in your car during a traffic stop on Jo’burg? Or suppose you’re walking down the street in Cape Town and your appendix suddenly bursts, leaving you in excruciating pain and requiring emergency treatment? Anything could happen.

Travel insurance can also help protect you from paying significant out-of-pocket expenses if something goes wrong while you’re on vacation. For example, if your flight is canceled or delayed and you have to book new flights, your travel insurance policy might reimburse you for the cost of those new flights.

If your luggage is lost or stolen, your policy might cover replacing your belongings. So it can’t be recommended enough when you’re planning to visit South Africa.

What are the best South Africa travel insurance companies?

There are two main companies and both are excellent in their own ways.

The first one is SafetyWing – perfect for those digital nomads and backpackers doing long-term travel. The second one is World Nomads – one of the biggest names in travel insurance.

With the world opening back up to all-out travel again, let’s take a look at why travel insurance is super important.

Table of Contents

This post contains affiliate links. I will earn a small commission if you use these links.

Is South Africa open for travel?

South Africa has been open for visitors regardless of whether they are vaccinated or not. A certificate of a negative PCR test is still required upon entry for all visitors (as of January 2023).

Travel Insurance for South Africa: The Complete Guide

The Benefits of Having Travel Insurance for South Africa:

There are several benefits to having travel insurance for South Africa, including:

1: Covid travel insurance in South Africa

The 2020 global pandemic changed the world, however once things began to settle and travel opened up to normal again, South Africa travel health insurance plans began to include Covid coverage for travelers. The two companies I recommend; SafetyWing and World Nomads, both have Covid-19 coverage.

2. Peace of mind while traveling 

No one wants to think about what could go wrong on their vacation, but the truth is that anything can happen. Several potential mishaps can ruin a trip from lost luggage to medical emergencies.

A good policy can provide peace of mind, knowing you’ll be covered if something goes wrong. So whether taking a stroll through Johannesburg or going on a safari in Kruger National Park, travel insurance can give you the peace of mind you need to enjoy your trip.

3. Covers medical expenses while abroad 

While many people believe that their domestic health insurance will cover them while they travel, the reality is that most policies have minimal international coverage. As a result, it’s essential to purchase travel medical insurance when going abroad to pay medical fees.

One of the most significant benefits of travel medical treatment insurance is that it can help to cover medical costs. If you become ill or injured while overseas, travel insurance can help to pay for hospital stays, emergency medical evacuation back to your home country, and even ongoing treatment.

4. Reimburses you for lost or stolen baggage 

When you travel, there’s always a risk that your baggage will be lost or stolen. This can be a major inconvenience, especially if you’re traveling more often. However, many travel insurance policies reimburse you for lost or stolen personal belongings.

This benefit can give you peace of mind knowing that you won’t be stranded if your luggage is lost or stolen while on vacation. South Africa is an absolutely stunning country to visit, and with travel insurance, you can rest assured that your trip will be as smooth as possible.

5. Provides emergency evacuation coverage 

Imagine you’re enjoying a relaxing vacation in South Africa when suddenly, a natural disaster occurs, and you need to evacuate immediately. Unfortunately, you’ll have to pay for your evacuation and accommodation expenses if you don’t have travel insurance.

But if you do have travel insurance, you’ll be covered for the cost of your evacuation and any additional expenses incurred as a result. That’s just one example of how having travel insurance can benefit you while traveling.

6. Offers a variety of other travel-related benefits

When most people think of travel insurance, they think of medical coverage in case of an accident or illness. However, travel insurance offers a variety of other benefits as well. For example, many policies include trip cancellation and interruption coverage, which can reimburse you for certain expenses if you have to cancel your trip due to a covered reason, such as sickness, bad weather, or a family emergency.

Some policies even offer 24-hour assistance services that can help you with everything from getting your passport replaced to finding a doctor in a foreign country.

What to look for in a travel insurance policy?

When you’re planning a trip, it’s important to think about what could go wrong. Will your flight be delayed or canceled? What if you get sick while you’re away from home?

Travel insurance can help to protect you from financial losses in the event that something goes wrong on your trip. But with so many different policies available, it can be difficult to know what to look for. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when shopping for travel insurance:

1. Type of travel insurance

Firstly, consider what type of coverage you need. Do you need medical coverage in case of an emergency? What about coverage for lost luggage or canceled flights? Once you know what types of losses you need to be insured against, you can start comparison shopping.

2. Check the deductibles and limits

Next, take a look at the deductibles and limits for each policy. Deductibles are the amount of money you would have to pay out-of-pocket before the insurance company would start covering losses. Limits are the maximum amount that the insurer will pay out for a covered loss. The lower the deductible and the higher the limit, the more expensive the policy will be. However, it’s important to make sure that you choose a policy with deductibles and limits that are appropriate for your needs.

3. Read the small print

Finally, be sure to read the fine print before purchasing a policy. Don’t wait until you need to make a claim to find out that your policy doesn’t cover the type of loss that you’ve incurred. Carefully review all of the terms and conditions so that you’ll know what’s covered and what’s not. By taking these steps, you can be sure that you’re getting the right travel insurance policy for your needs.

Related Post: What to See and Do in Lesotho – Africa’s Best Kept Secret

Best South Africa Travel Insurance Companies

What is the best travel insurance for South Africa? This is a question I get asked a lot as a travel blogger.

There’s no definitive answer for this because the best travel insurance for South Africa depends on you and your trip. To help determine which is best, take into account the different factors such as the policy’s total cost, your deductibles and limits, the duration of your trip, etc.

Personally, I only ever recommend two companies for South Africa travel insurance: World Nomads and SafetyWing. These two will work for most travelers of all different types – backpackers, digital nomads, families and more.

World Nomads Travel Insurance Bali

Best South Africa insurance for general travel and adventure travel

When it comes to travel insurance, World Nomads is the company recommended by more travel bloggers and agencies than any other. They keep it really simple with 2 plans: the Standard Plan and the Explorer Plan (you can also customize the coverage to suit your needs).

World Nomads: Standard Plan vs Explorer Plan

  • Standard Plan: this is the standard (minimum) coverage you can get, as the name states. Included in the plan are a range of benefits such as coverage for your belongings, overseas medical care, pre-trip cancelation, and some adventure activities.
  • Explorer Plan: this plan has all the benefits of the Standard Plan plus extras – like emergency medical evacuation. This plan is ideal for those planning to do a lot of adventure activities, or traveling with very expensive gear, as it offers more extensive coverage.

>> Get your FREE World Nomads quote:

SafetyWing Travel Insurance South Africa

Best insurance for long-term travelers and digital nomads

SafetyWing is the company that’s used most by long-term travelers, such as digital nomads intending to reside in South Africa, or those who prefer slow-travel around a certain region. SafetyWing is the perfect choice when exploring South Africa for a much longer time period.

Starting at just $40USD per month, which works out less than $50USD in a year, this is superb value for money. The basic policies cover your medical expenses and travel emergencies while in South Africa, meaning you can visit for complete peace of mind at minimal cost.

>> Get your FREE SafetyWing quote below:

How to Make a Claim with Your Travel Insurance Policy?

If you need to make a claim while you’re in South Africa, there are a few steps you’ll need to follow:

  1. Gather all relevant documentation – including your policy paperwork, medical records, and receipts for any expenses you’ve incurred.
  2. Contact your insurer and let them know that you’ll be making a claim. They may require you to fill out a claim form, and they may also ask for additional supporting documentation.
  3. Receive a payout from your insurer that will cover your expenses. Making a claim with your travel insurance company doesn’t have to be difficult as long as you’re prepared and have all the necessary documentation.

Exclusions and Limitations of Travel Insurance Policies: 

There are a few things that most travel insurance policies will exclude coverage for. These exclusions can vary from policy to policy, so it’s essential to read the fine print of your particular policy before you buy it.

But in general, most policies will exclude coverage for any pre-existing medical conditions, adventurous activities (like bungee jumping or skiing), and alcohol-related incidents. Most policies will also limit the money they’ll pay for lost or stolen belongings. So if you’re planning on traveling with expensive items, you may want to purchase additional coverage.

Finally, most policies will not cover any expenses incurred as a result of political unrest or natural disasters. So if you’re planning on traveling to a country experiencing volatile political conditions or at risk for hurricanes or earthquakes, you may want to purchase additional coverage or look for a policy that explicitly covers those risks.
Read More: 55 Fun Facts About South Africa

Wrap up:

So, whether you are traveling to South Africa for a vacation or business, I cannot stress enough the importance of being covered by travel insurance. Not only will this give you peace of mind while you are away, but it could also save you a lot of money if something goes wrong.

Have you ever traveled without travel insurance? What was your experience like?


Do I need travel insurance to visit South Africa?

While South African law states that it is not mandatory to have travel insurance, it is strongly recommended to be covered for a trip to South Africa, as with a trip anywhere in the world. South Africa has been linked to high crime rates in certain areas, but if your belongings are stolen, lost or damaged while in the country, you may be able to make a claim on your policy.

Can I get travel insurance to South Africa?

It is highly recommended to buy travel insurance to cover your South Africa trip, but more importantly, you medical expenses in case of emergency. Comprehensive cover gives you peace of mind, ensuring you’re covered in case of any unexpected event that might happen.

Do you need COVID travel insurance for South Africa?

It is not mandatory to buy travel insurance, but it is strongly recommended that you take out a travel insurance policy that includes medical cover in order to have sufficient financial protection during your trip.

How much travel insurance do I need for Africa?

Depending on how long you are visiting the country for, you’ll likely need insurance that covers emergency travel medical insurance, as well as cover in case of severe illness or accidents, and protection of your belongings from theft, loss or damage. 

Do you still need a PCR test to enter South Africa?

Currently all travelers entering South Africa regardless of vaccination status, are still required to present a negative PCR test which is not older than 72 hours from the time of departure at the country of origin to South Africa.

Do I need health insurance for South Africa?

Travel insurance isn’t mandatory for visitors entering South Africa. That being said, it’s highly advised to buy insurance when traveling abroad, to ensure you are covered in case of any accident, injury or illness that might occur, as well as cover for other things like theft, loss or damage of belongings.

South Africa Day Trips and Activities:


A guided tour and sightseeing events are some of the best ways to experience South Africa. Here’s some excellent deals for the most popular trips and activities. (Remember, you can cancel your bookings at anytime!)

Southern Africa Travel Guides


For more in-depth reading about South Africa, Lesotho and Eswatini, you can get your hands on a copy of these bestsellers below:

Book Your Trip to South Africa: Budget Tips & Tricks


Flights: As always, I source the cheapest flights on the web from Skyscanner and They are considered the top flight search engines for the best deals.

Accommodation: I use Booking for the best hotel deals. If you’re considering Airbnb, be sure to check Vrbo to find cheaper vacation stays. 

SIM cards: DrimSim is a universal SIM card that isn’t tied to an operator and works in any country/region.

Tours & Excursions: I book all my fave activities and guided tours on Get Your Guide & Viator – they do superb deals whilst offering excellent customer support.

Renting a car? I always use DiscoverCars, make sure you book your car hire in advance. For airport transfers, I use KiwiTaxi for the best deals.

Need to store your luggage in a locker? Use Radical Storage to store your stuff in a locker in any city for just $5 per day.

Head over to my Travel Tools page for all my best travel tips & advice and everything you need for your trip.

I hope you enjoyed reading my post: Travel Insurance for South Africa: The Complete Guide, and feel inspired to visit this amazing country one day!

Let me know what you thought in the comments, thank you!

Further Reading: Southern Africa Travel

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