Travel Insurance Requirement to Enter South Africa Scrapped

Visitors travelling to South Africa will no longer require travel insurance to enter the country- a condition put in place due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The requirement, which was announced during the National Coronavirus Command Council ministerial briefing ahead of the reopening of South Africa’s borders on October 1, had specified that travellers could only enter South Africa if they were in possession of travel insurance to cover the cost of COVID-19 tests and quarantine costs.

At the time, the requirement was described as “impossible” by local travel insurance providers who explained that insurance worked on the premise of uncertainty of an event occurring and that there was no way the insurance policy could be expected to cover mandated government testing requirements and quarantine costs for a known event.

“It appears that the government has made these unilateral decisions in an attempt to pass the costs relating to their testing and quarantine regulations on to a third party without engaging with the sellers of insurance about what their policies cover. As insurers are under no obligation to take on this level of risk, the government is creating a situation where it is impossible to travel to South Africa,” Jason Veitch, Head of Travel Insurance for TIC, said at the time.

The need for a travel insurance does not appear in the latest regulation amendments of South Africa’s Disaster Management Act which focuses on preventing and reducing the risk of disasters in the country.

Travellers are now only required to provide a valid certificate of a negative Covid-19 test which was obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of travel, or to quarantine in the event of a failure to submit proof of a negative test.

Rita Osakwe

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