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By Brett Dyason, CFO Hepstar Insurance Distribution

If travel insurance is the footnote to your assistance in the travel planning and booking process, let it be the headline.

As the December holidays loom and your clients knock on your door for advice about their trips to Europe, Thailand and the beautiful resorts of the Indian Ocean Island, among other destinations, your search for the best fares and accommodation, and travel advice including visa requirements should be accompanied by travel insurance.

While you may believe that travel insurance is a grudge purchase and the very last thing you happen to mention to your clients because it’s just another cost to their journey, take note that the cost of not taking travel insurance could be a great deal higher.

Despite covering medical expenses in a foreign country, the premium for a 30-day travel insurance policy is comparable to a medical aid premium across most age groups.

So, if your clients are ready to foot the bill of a medical aid in their home country to make sure they’re not faced with bank-breaking medical expenses, why would they want to skimp on the same kind of policy when they travel to a foreign country where the costs of medical treatment is potentially tenfold?

Worse yet, by not taking out travel insurance, they could risk not getting the proper treatment required in their hour of need. Often, destination countries do not want to provide travellers with the proper medical attention they are accustomed to in their home country unless someone is footing the bill.

Travel insurance will also protect the money your clients have spent on flight tickets, accommodation deposits and car rentals in the event they need to cancel their trip due to unforeseen events. Additional benefits also include cover for missing a connecting flight, flight delays, baggage loss and denied visas.

As a travel agent, you have a duty to inform your clients of travel risks and the means of preparing or protecting oneself against such risks. A client that uses the services of a travel agent expects all aspects of their trip to be arranged without significant effort on the part of the client. Furthermore, a client will associate its experience, whether positive or negative, with the services of the agent. Travel agents are not only a source of significant knowledge of the travel destination, but also the client’s travel itinerary or budget constraints.