AXA, the UK’s largest travel insurer, offers advice to fans heading to SA for the World Cup

If you're one of the estimated 20,000 England fans expected to be in South Africa for the World Cup this summer, AXA is offering some advice on protecting yourself and your belongings while you're there.

12 April 2010

Posted in Product

by Miranda Bellord (see media contact)

  • Large crowds of people in unfamiliar territory always make easy pickings for pick-pockets and other petty criminals. Keep your belongings to a minimum (especially valuables) and keep anything 'nickable' somewhere securely on your person - a zipped pocket or 'hidden' bag at the front of your body is best.
  • Carry only small amounts of cash and be very vigilant at ATM machines - a favourite target area for thieves in South Africa.
  • If you must take valuables with you on your journey, pack them in your hand luggage. They won't be covered on your travel insurance during the flight if they go missing in the hold.
  • Similarly, keep your match tickets with you - if your luggage and tickets end up missing the plane, you may end up missing the game. Following a valid claim for accidental loss, theft or damage, AXA will cover the 'face value' of event tickets but cannot offer a replacement ticket.
  • If you are travelling anywhere in a car, keep the doors locked, be alert and don't leave valuables on the spare seat - car-jackings and smash'n'grabs are a real issue in South Africa.
  • Drinking excessively or taking drugs is not only a threat to your health and general well-being but could invalidate your travel insurance cover. Every year there are incidents of travellers who come to harm as a result of over-indulgence and find that they can't claim on their insurance because they were 'over the limit'. Enjoy a drink but don't over do it.
  • Be aware of other potential health issues. Generally, tap water in South Africa is seen to be safe to drink but other potential hazards include the sun (even in winter months there can be quite a lot of it), food from street vendors, HIV/Aids and in some outlying areas malaria is a possibility.
  • If you're planning on incorporating some other activities into your trip then make sure you're covered under your insurance. The coast of South Africa may be great for cage diving with Great Whites, or trying your hand at a bit of kite-surfing, but check your insurance policy allows for these activities.
  • If you're making your own travel arrangements, think about upgrading your travel insurance to a policy like AXA's Independent Traveller cover, which will cover you for a number of areas that a regular policy may not such as problems with flight cancellations or delays, missed connections or being denied boarding. If you've got lots of internal connections to make in South Africa this could prove invaluable.
  • Do make sure you get some travel insurance before you leave - while prevention is better than cure, if the worst does happen and you end up being robbed, sustaining an injury or having your travel plans disrupted by forces outside your control, then at least some insurance can ease the pain.
  • Keep your insurance details to hand. If you need police support or medical attention you may need to present these. And if the worst does happen, record as many details as you can, get witnesses (if applicable) and let your insurer know as soon as possible.

Alison Patrick, AXA's head of travel says: "We don't want to ruin anyone's fun while they're at the World Cup but it is really important people understand the risks and that they mitigate those risks by being sensible while they're away and taking out some insurance before they go. At a big event like this, the potential for things to go wrong are even higher than on a regular holiday - we anticipate one in 18 people might end up in a situation where they could claim on their insurance.

"Every year we see lives ruined by holiday misadventures with the worst of these costing hundreds of thousands of pounds. Insurance can't stop these things happening, but it can at least ease the financial burden for the victims and their families."