Frequently Asked Questions

Volcanic Ash

  • Is there still a possibility that further volcanic eruptions could take place in Iceland?
    Definitely!

    A geophysicist in Iceland, Magnus Tumi Gudmundsson, says it's not possible to say with any certainty at all that the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland won't erupt again. There are continuing tremors and seismic activity, which indicate that another eruption could well take place.

    Even more worrying is the smaller volcano's larger neighbour - the Katla volcano. And when we mean larger - five times bigger!
  • The position being taken by many travel insurance companies (but not us!)
    Many people's travel insurance claims that were related to the volcanic ash were declined because their travel insurer was not covering such claims. They said the situation was not 'adverse weather conditions', which is one of the criteria to be met before travel insurance claims for delay and trip abandonment claims will be considered. Many travel insurers are arguing that the wind on which the ash is being carried is not, in itself, adverse. A gale force wind, which, if causing air traffic delay, would therefore meet this criterion.
  • I have been delayed by my airline due to volcanic ash, what does my Oojah travel insurance policy cover me for?
    Providing you take out the policy at the right time (see below) you will be able to make a travel insurance claim for Trip Delay or Cancellation on your Oojah Travel Protection policy.Please note that you will not be able to make a travel insurance claim if you took out the travel insurance after an announcement had been made that the airport you were travelling to or from was being closed or that the airspace in which you were due to fly was having a ban placed on it.
  • I am scheduled to travel later this year and have not yet purchased a travel insurance policy. If I purchase a travel insurance policy today and a future eruption of the Iceland volcano occurs would I be covered?
    If the current Iceland Volcano situation subsides and commercial airlines resume normal schedules prior to your trip, any new eruption would be considered a new event.
  • What cover do we provide?
    If you're delayed in South Africa for longer than 12 hours, you can choose to abandon your trip. You will then be able to claim for your irrecoverable expenses. You will be able to claim to the limit covered by the Cancellation section, depending on the level of cover you choose.

    Written proof of the delay must be obtained from the transport provider/carrier, and original receipts of items purchased. All claims must be submitted to our claims department.
  • If you are already being affected by the volcanic ash:
    If your flight is delayed or cancelled but you are not at the airport: your airline is technically in breach of contract if they cancel your flight. They have to offer you a refund or an alternative flight. If you have accommodation booked, try to get a refund or new dates with them. If you have booked through a package holiday company, they will usually meet a claim for accommodation costs.

    If your flight is delayed or cancelled and you are at the airport: If you airline is an EU airline, they are bound by EU law to offer you a refund or alternative flight. They are also bound by a duty of care to provide you with food and accommodation. You will be able to make a claim for travel delay for each block of 24 hours' delay.
  • I have not been able to leave South Africa on my due date because of the volcano, can I change the dates of my travel insurance policy?
    Yes, travel dates can be amended prior to departure. You must contact us so that we can apply an endorsement to your policy. Please note that if the duration of the trip is longer than your original dates then your premium might be affected.
  • Can I extend my travel insurance policy until I get a flight back to South Africa?
    Yes, your policy can be extended. An additional premium will be required and we endorse your policy for the extra days of cover.
  • I have travel insurance and am scheduled to fly out later this week. What should I do if my flight is cancelled?
    The first call you should make is to your air carrier as all airlines have made rebooking passengers impacted by this event a priority. That said, please contact us for additional assistance, both for flight rebooking and to initiate a travel insurance claim if applicable.

Pre-existing medical conditions

  • If I have a medical condition, will an ordinary travel insurance policy cover me?
    Your travel insurance policy contains restrictions regarding pre-existing medical conditions, which unless declared and accepted by us in writing prior to travel may invalidate any subsequent claim.
  • What do you consider to be a pre-existing medical condition?
    Example: Sometimes people think they don't have a medical condition because it's controlled by pills. For example, someone might have been diagnosed with high blood pressure or cholesterol but because of the medication being taken, their blood pressure and cholesterol readings are normal. However, these are medical conditions that need to be declared to us, due to risks involved with travel the blood pressure and cholesterol levels would probably change and potentially be a risk to health.

    Our definition: Any condition, during 6 months prior to departure, where you have received:
    • Any form of treatment
    • Prescribed medication
    • Medical consultation
    • Investigation or follow-up/check-up
    • Any heart condition, hypertension, blood clots, raised cholesterol, stroke, aneurysm, etc.


    Rather than not declare something and risk it not being covered, we advise calling (012) 482 6706 and talking with one of our specialist staff. They will let you know if we need to make a note of it, to ensure that any claims related to the medical condition are covered by the policy.
  • I have purchased pre-existing medical conditions cover, are there any exclusions applicable to my travel insurance policy?
    Yes, even if we have agreed to provide you with pre-existing medical conditions cover, the following will NOT be covered:

    Outpatient expenses

    Hospitalisation of less than 48hrs

    Terminal prognosis

    Medicine used to control and stabilise a chronic condition
  • Why can't you cover every medical condition?
    Insurance premium and cover is determined by calculating the level of risk that a claim will have on a policy.

    Claims are paid from the amount of money collected by premiums. Any insurance needs to ensure that the amount of money in the 'pot' of premiums collected is sufficient to pay all claims made.

    Sometimes an insurance company will charge very high premiums but will then be able to cover a higher level of risk. We try to keep our premiums on the lower side, so therefore have to place a limit on the types or seriousness of the medical conditions we're able to cover.
  • What is different about Hollard's pre-existing medical travel insurance?
    In order for our travel insurance policy to include cover for pre-existing medical conditions, you need to declare them to us prior to departure, otherwise they will not be covered by the policy.

    We will need to know what conditions you have and sometimes other details such what medication you are taking. We have specially trained staff who will ask you questions about your medical condition and, based on your circumstances, be able to tell you if we are able to include it in the cover.
  • What might happen if I didn't declare my pre-existing condition?
    If you have a medical condition that is not specifically covered by our policy, you will not be able to claim for any costs associated with advice or treatment that you have received because of it.

    It's possible that if you have not disclosed a material fact that might increase the risk of you making a claim, we could void the entire policy.
  • How do I declare a pre-existing medical condition?
    Contact our helpdesk on +27 12 482 6706, or alternatively download and complete a pre-existing medical questionnaire (refer to our Downloads section on the website).

General

  • Who is Oojah Travel Protection?
    Oojah Travel Protection is a underwriting management agency, and we have a mandate to enter into, vary and terminate contracts of travel insurance, and to collect premium on behalf of The Hollard Insurance Company Limited. Assistance Services and claims management are provided by Europ Assistance S.A.
    • Hollard is the insurer
    • Premiums are paid directly to The Hollard Insurance Company
    • Hollard will meet all valid claims covered by the policies, subject to the terms and conditions thereof


    Oojah Travel Protection's focus is solely on travel insurance; it's what we specialise in.
  • Who is The Hollard Insurance Company?
    • South Africa’s largest privately-owned insurance group with turnover exceeding R15 billion
    • Truly independent, having no bank or any institutional shareholders
    • Hollard holds both short-term and life insurance licenses, but share infrastructure and capabilities in order to offer seamless and integrated insurance solutions
    • An impressive track record in innovation for insurance distribution and product development
    • Hollard underwrites most classes of insurance business in South Africa, either directly or through our partners
    • Hollard currently delivers insurance solutions to more than 6 million policyholders
    • A team of 1,000 passionate ‘Hollardites’ in South Africa, with operations all over the world – including Australia, China, India, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Mozambique
  • What does the word Oojah mean?
    The word is rather old-fashioned British English slang. Its heyday was the First World War, when British soldiers created it as part of a private vocabulary. An eyebrows-raised article about the slang of an Army hospital that I found in the Washington Post of 22 July 1917 provides one of its earliest recorded appearances:

    What is the oojah? The oojah is any object in Heaven or Earth.
  • What is travel insurance?
    Travel insurance helps to protect you against unforeseen emergencies which can occur at any time. It also helps protect you against other circumstances like travel delay, lost or stolen baggage and personal items, missed connections and so much more.

    In short, travel insurance is Peace of Mind, protection against the unexpected and assurance that you won't lose your financial investment in a trip. It allows you to relax and enjoy your vacation without worry. If you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel.
  • Why would I need travel insurance?
    Ask yourself, "Can I afford to lose my holiday investment?" Sickness, injury or worse can occur when you least expect it. And not only to you, but to your non-travelling family members.

    To demonstrate the importance of purchasing travel insurance, here are some common examples of what could go wrong:
    • You arrive at your destination but your baggage doesn't. If it's delayed, who will pay for your necessities? If your baggage is stolen, who will pay to replace it?
    • You are involved in an accident and adequate medical treatment is not available at the location. Who will help arrange for medical emergency evacuation and who will pay to cover the medical expenses?
    • Your passport and wallet are stolen, and you need emergency cash and a replacement passport.
    • You missed your connecting flight because of a flight delay. You arrive in your connecting city but your flight is long gone and the next flight is not until tomorrow morning. The travel delay offers coverage for accommodations and meals.
  • When should I buy my travel insurance?
    As soon as you have bought your airline ticket, as Cancellation cover is effective from date of purchase.
  • How will you determine my risk and premium?
    The premiums for our insurance will depend on your individual circumstances. Factors that influence the price include:
    • the number of days you're away
    • where you're travelling to
    • the medical conditions to be insured
    • your age


    Please call us on (012) 482 6706 for your quote.
  • Isn't it the case that insurers just take my money and rarely pay out on claims??
    No. We pay out many thousands of rands in claims each year!

    No insurance is designed to cover absolutely everything. It's important that you read the policy wording to ensure it is meeting what you need and what you expect.

    Furthermore, you have a 15 day cooling off period, which gives you the opportunity to check the details of our policy.
  • What do I need from my insurance when I travel overseas?
    When you purchase a travel insurance policy, be sure that you have the international help line with you when you go, as well as a copy of your insurance policy. Keep your policy along with a 24-hour phone number for your insurance company with you at all times. Many people make the mistake of keeping the information in their hotel room, which, in the case of an emergency won't do you too much good.
  • When does the coverage begin?
    Cover for cancellation purposes starts when you purchase your insurance policy from Oojah or when you have paid for your trip, whichever is the later. Cover for all other benefits will begin when you pass through passport control from your home country, and ends when you pass back through passport control in your home country.
  • Aren't all travel insurance plans the same?
    With a Hollard travel insurance policy you can expect:
    • Calls answered by an experienced representative.
    • 24-hour access to emergency travel assistance. Whether you need help finding medical care halfway around the world, making emergency arrangements to return home or obtaining an emergency cash advance, access to an emergency hotline from anywhere in the world, any time of day.
    • Assistance provided until emergency is over.
    • Fast, fair and accurate claims service.
  • What should I do before going abroad?
    Make sure you have checked the FCO Travel Advice for the countries you are visiting (http://fco.gov.uk/travel). Check that you have sufficient money and that your passport is up-to-date. Take a photocopy of your passport details and keep it in a safe place. Check which inoculations and visas are required. Note down the numbers and addresses of the S.A. embassy in the country you're travelling to.
  • What about discounts for family travel insurance?
    If you are travelling with your family you will want to make sure that all members have the appropriate level of travel insurance cover. We offer families travelling together the chance to save significant amounts of money by providing FREE cover for your children under the age of 21 years! Children will be able to share in the cover with the adults.
  • Can you send me a travel insurance brochure?
    We prefer to provide a personalised quote - either over the phone or through our online insurance engine - providing you with all the guidance and information you require at the best possible price.  Should you wish to download our brochure, please refer to our Downloads section.
  • Can a foreign citizen purchase a travel insurance policy?
    No. Except for Inbound cover, our policies are available to residents of South Africa, Botswana and Mozambique, where you have not spent more than 6 months abroad in the year prior to buying your policy.
  • Is it safe to pay online?
    Yes, we use Nedbank's payment gateway to process all credit card transactions. When you click on “buy now”, you exit our website, and enter the Nedbank secure website. We don't store any credit card information on our website. The Nedbank secure site is PCI compliant.
  • Big Freeze Warning to South African Travel Professionals

    The current big freeze in the UK and parts of Europe is yet another wake up call to travel professionals to protect their business and holiday travellers with ample protection – particularly in view of the exchange rate of the rand.

    This comes on the back of equally unprecedented manufacturing defects in Rolls Royce engines.

    "Ample protection for hotel accommodation and guarantees against long delays are essential to the traveller of today who are not being adequately insured against today's travel risks," says Uriah Jansen, MD of Oojah Travel Protection, new tailoring experts in the travel field underwritten by Hollard.

    The problem is that the standard one-size-fits-all protections which are the current norm do not adequately cover the high financial risk that face today’s traveller whether for business or pleasure. We encourage travel agency professionals to use their strong and trusted positions to make sure their travel clients don’t have to sleep on cots in airports and that the risk of time delays is minimum. We believe that after 12 hours a traveller should have the option to cancel and get compensation.

    "It is also essential that travel insurance is purchased at the same time as the airline ticket to obtain travel delay cover which is why travel agents need to be proactive. If a traveller tried to buy protection against the current 'big freeze' now, it would be like someone buying motor insurance after the accident."


Health

  • Do you cover pregnancy on your travel insurance policy?
    Pregnancy and childbirth are not considered to be either an illness or injury. Cover is provided for unexpected complications relating to pregnancy, occurring more than 15 weeks prior to your expected delivery date (as long as you are not travelling against any health requirements stipulated by the airline or other public transport provider) . If you were to give birth whilst away, the child would be covered as well automatically under the existing policy (share in cover). However there is no cover available under any section of the policy for a pregnancy where any of the following applies:
    • your trip extends beyond the 25th week of pregnancy;
    • where you are travelling against doctor's advice;
    • complications exist with the pregnancy;
    • it is a multiple pregnancy; and/or
    • the pregnancy resulted from assisted reproductive programmes.
  • What am I covered for if I have Swine Flu or if I contract Swine Flu whilst away?
    Provided the swine flu was not already contracted prior to purchasing the insurance or booking the trip you will be covered against any cancellation of your holiday due to the contraction of Swine Flu should the doctor advise it is medically necessary to cancel the trip. The cancellation section will not cover you for disinclination (not wishing to) to travel due to fear of contracting Swine Flu. As long as you are not travelling against Foreign Office advice, and the condition is not pre-existing, you would be covered for any medical treatment relating to this.
  • What's the difference between Overseas Medical Expenses and Hospital Daily Benefit?
    Overseas Medical Expenses provides cover for the cost of your treatment in respect of emergency medical, surgical and hospital treatment, doctor's fees and transportation fees for sending you to hospital whilst outside your Country of Residence. The Hospital Daily Benefit is a daily allowance towards your personal expenses (for example calls home) in the event that you are hospitalised during your trip.
  • What happens if I get sick or is involved in an accident whilst overseas?
    Oojah's travel insurance policies entitle you to medical assistance and cover for the costs of treatment as detailed in the policy wording. When you buy a policy, you're provided with a policy number and an assistance number that you can phone from anywhere around the world, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Contact Europ Assistance immediately if you have a medical problem whilst overseas (011) 991 8610. We have to pre-authorise all expenses incurred in excess of R5,000.
  • Why do Oojah Travel Protection policies not cover medical expenses within South Africa?
    We don't cover medical costs incurred within South Africa because of South African legislation. We are a registered short-term insurance provider, not a medical aid, and under the demarcation of the medical schemes act we are not allowed to defray from medical expenses.

Baggage and valuable items

  • Can you cover my digital camera and other valuable items on my travel insurance policy?
    We can cover certain more valuable items however limits do apply. The single item limit for Valuables – as defined in the policy – is R1,500. You may find that certain more valuable items are covered by your home contents policy even if you are taking them on your trip (you will need to check this with your home contents insurance provider direct).
  • Do you cover my luggage on my travel insurance policy?
    Your luggage is covered, depending on the level of cover you selected, but your claim may be refused if you do not take all reasonable precautions to protect your luggage. This means ensuring that you do not leave it unsupervised and taking all necessary steps to avoid any loss or damage.
  • What should I do if any of my belongings are lost or stolen?
    Report the theft or loss to the Police within 24 hours of discovering it and ask them for a report in writing. If appropriate, report the theft or loss to your hotel or apartment manager and ask them for a report in writing. You are not allowed to leave the airport without reporting the loss to the carrier.
  • What do you consider Valuable items?
    Cameras, photographic, and video equipment, and associated equipment of any kind; computer hardware and software; games consoles (Playstation, Gameboy, Nintendo, etc) accessories and games; personal organisers; mobile telephones; televisions; portable audio equipment (DVD, CD, mini-disc, MP3 players, i-pods, etc) and all associated discs and accessories; spectacles; prescription sunglasses, telescopes; binoculars; jewellery; watches; furs; leather articles; perfumes; precious stones and articles made of or containing gold, silver or other precious metals.

Travel Insurance Policy terms and conditions

  • What is the maximum age you cover?
    Standard policies: 70 years (inclusive): cover ends on your 71st birthday.We do have cover available for travellers aged 71 years to 81 years (Senior Cover).

    Cover ends on the day you exceed the maximum age limit.
  • Why is Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption protection important on a travel insurance policy?
    All travel suppliers, whether they are tour operators, hotels, travel agencies, cruise lines or airlines, have cancellation penalties. These published penalties inform you that if you cancel, the supplier will hold all or a large percentage of your monies placed as down payment, deposit or final payment. You will lose this money. Trip Cancellation and Interruption is designed to reimburse you for your loss if you cancel or interrupt for a covered reason.
  • What is covered under Cancellation Cover?
    When you are forced to cancel your travel plans because of one of the following unexpected reasons:
    • Illness, injury, death, travel delay exceeding 12 hours, if you are made redundant, accidental damage affecting your home, your compulsory quarantine, a terrorist attack in a city listed in your itinerary within 14 days prior to departure.
  • What is covered under Curtailment Cover?
    When you are forced to cut short a trip you have already started due to one of the following unexpected reasons:
    • Illness, injury, death, travel delay exceeding 12 hours, if you are made redundant, accidental damage affecting your home, your compulsory quarantine, a terrorist attack in a city listed in your itinerary within 14 days prior to departure.
  • What is covered under Trip Interruption Cover?
    When you need to make an unscheduled trip home, we will pay the additional costs to return you back to your location abroad, due to the unexpected death, or hospitalisation due to a serious accident or illness of a close relative.
  • Am I covered if I work overseas?
    Our travel insurance is designed for the leisure traveller or the business traveller travelling on behalf of his South African company (salary paid in South Africa Rands) and typically does not cover events linked to employment overseas (salary paid in foreign currency). We do have Expatriate cover available. Please contact our helpdesk to discuss your employment, and cover options on (012) 482 6706.
  • I am currently overseas and have no insurance – can I still take out your policy?
    No. Oojah's Travel Insurance policies are all designed to be taken before you commence your journey from South Africa and cover you from when you leave S.A. until you get back to S.A.
  • How do you define country of residence?
    Your main home in the listed countries (South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique), where you have not spent more than 6 months abroad in the year prior to buying your policy.
  • If I return home earlier than my policy dates, do I get a refund?
    No refund is due once a trip has commenced, or after the policy has expired.
  • Does the travel insurance policy provide financial default coverage in the event of a supplier/airline bankruptcy?

    Yes, under our Comprehensive and Business Cover.  Please note that you have to purchase our policy within 24 hours of paying for your trip, and cover is effective 14 days after date of purchase.

  • Would my children or grandchildren be covered if they are travelling with me?
    Yes. Children (natural or adopted child) under 21 years travelling on the same itinerary as the insured adults are covered, as long as their names are reflected on the policy certificate.
  • Once I've started my trip can I extend the travel insurance policy?
    Yes, as long as it's arranged before your existing policy expires, you have not submitted a claim and you are intending to return to South Africa at the end of the extension period. Extensions are at the discretion of the underwriters. Should you wish to extend your policy you should contact us for an extension form which will need to be completed and returned at least 3 working days before your policy expires.
  • What happens if someone not travelling with me becomes ill or passes away? Is this covered?
    An unexpected illness or death of a family member not travelling with you may be considered a covered reason for Trip Cancellation or Trip Interruption. The definition of family member and explanation of coverage is included in the Policy Wording.