Most insurance is placed through intermediaries – brokers or agents (Econorisk, Barker Insurance Brokers, Price Forbes etc.), or directly with the insurance divisions of the major banks, for example Outsurance (First National Bank) and SBIB (Standard Bank).
For the protection of your property and your family, we recommend that you take out the following insurance cover:
Motor Vehicle Insurance (comprehensive) to cover balance of 3rd party injury, fire, theft, accidents - and hail damage! Some insurance policies offer an option of the provision of a hired car in the event of your car requiring lengthy repairs.
Household Insurance to cover all your household goods and personal belongings from risks occurring at home, including burglary, fire, flood, lightning and other perils.
All Risks Insurance. To provide you with additional cover for items of value you have on your person or while you areoutside your home (clothing, luggage, cameras, bikes, golf clubs, jewellery, cell phones etc.)
Personal Liability Insurance which provides cover against your possible legal liability for bodily injuries to third parties and / or damage to their property.
The following cover may also be required, depending on your circumstances:
Comprehensive Medical Insurance. If your employer does not provide you with this, we strongly advise that you make arrangements for such cover in order to provide your family with private medical care and protection.
Homeowners Insurance. If you are purchasing a property, comprehensive homeowners insurance to cover any major repairs required to your property (flood damage, fire, lightning, burst geysers, etc.) is essential.
What if I get sick in South Africa?
The possibility of becoming ill and requiring medical attention is one of the most common concerns in preparing for a move abroad. The quality of private health care in South Africa is probably comparable to that in your home country so there is no need for undue anxiety.
Medical facilities in major South African cities are the best on the continent.
Equipment is up-to-date and medical supplies and drugs are readily available. Hospitals are public or private, but the standard of private health care is much higher than that in state hospitals.
There are maternity clinics, trauma centres, excellent laboratories and other specialised services and specialists of every medical discipline.
It is essential that you have health care insurance that will provide coverage in South Africa as private medical care is relatively expensive and you will be required to make payment up-front if not properly covered by a local medical insurer.
Should a medical emergency arise, you will not be left on your own. Your employer, Corporate Relocations or Embassy will be able to provide you with pro-active assistance.
It is advisable to establish a relationship with a general practitioner on arrival. Our Practical Guide to Living in South Africawill provide you with a list of hospitals, clinics, pharmacies and recommended doctors.
Expatriates who have already settled can also help, easing concerns about the quality of health care you can expect to receive and advising on any idiosyncrasies it would be useful to be aware of in advance.
Private sector health services in South Africa are of a high standard. Subsidized state medical care is widely available and government trauma units are an alternative, but only in an emergency
Emergency medical services are also widely available county-wide. Airborne medical rescue and extraction teams also service large cities like Johannesburg and medical facilities in major South African cities are the best on the continent. Equipment is up-to-date and medical supplies and drugs are readily available. Johannesburg has many private and government hospitals but the standard of private health care is generally much higher than that in state hospitals. The city is well supplied with maternity clinics, trauma centres, excellent laboratories and other specialised services and specialists of every medical discipline.
It is essential that you are covered by health care insurance that will provide coverage in South Africa or a local Medical Aid, as private medical care is relatively expensive and you will be required to make payment up-front if not covered by a local medical insurance organisation.
It is important that you have your Medical Aid Card on you at all times and a Medical Aid Disc displayed on your car. In the event of an accident or emergency, paramedics will ensure that if you have medical insurance any injured member of your family will be taken to a private hospital or clinic.
The possibility of requiring urgent medical attention is obviously a common concern. We have provided a list of private Hospitals / Medi-Clinics below – it is a good idea to familiarise yourself with the location of one close to your home should a medical emergency arise.
We recommend that you register with a General Practitioner (GP) in your neighbourhood as soon as possible after your arrival. Your GP will recommend an appropriate hospital and or specialist if necessary. Hopefully you or your family will not be involved in a car accident, however, you can take comfort from the fact that the city is serviced by excellent ambulance services, trauma and high care facilities.
Most South African families have a GP (General Practitioner) who will attend to routine medical problems. There are no specific requirements for registering and you may choose any GP you wish – just a simple matter of making an appointment and providing the doctor with copies of your medical records if you have them. Should any member of your family become ill, your GP will usually be your first point of contact and should it be necessary, he/she will refer you to an appropriate specialist, as it is difficult to get an appointment with a specialist without having been examined by a GP first – see below.
Cape Town is well serviced with specialist physicians in every field of medicine. As above, other than for Gynaecologists, Dentists, Dermatologists, and Optometrists a referral from your GP is the first step and will fast track an appointment time.
The standard of dentistry and dental surgery is high. It is difficult to get an appointment at short notice with a good dentist unless you are a registered patient. It is good idea to make an appointment for a regular check-up soon after you arrive, so that in the event of needing urgent care for acute toothache you are at least already a registered patient. Most of the larger dental practices have Oral Hygienists practicing from their rooms, and dentists will typically refer you to an appropriate specialist or surgeon if necessary.
All pharmacies have resident qualified Pharmacists who are an excellent source of general health care information, especially for minor ailments and routine medication. They will also know or be able to source the local brand names of over-the-counter and prescription drugs. Some will deliver prescription medication to your home. Depending on your Medical Aid Plan, charges for prescription medication are either COD, and claimed back from your Medical Aid Administrator or are debited directly to the Medical Aid Scheme.
Pharmacies are located in most shopping centres and shopping malls and there are large pharmacy chain stores like Dischem and Clicks throughout Cape Town.
Drinking Water: It is perfectly safe to drink tap water in urban centres in South Africa. Our water has been rated 3rdsafest in the world, however, if you prefer, many local and international brands of mineral and bottled water are available, as are water purification and domestic filtration systems.
Lightning: Less of a concern in the Cape, however Johannesburg and Pretoria in particular are subject to spectacular and ferocious thunderstorms in the summer months – please watch them from the safety of your home, a building or car, not on the golf course or in the swimming pool! Lightening is the cause of a surprising number of deaths and at the start of an electric storm it is advisable to get indoors – trees and water are dangerous conductors.
The sun and altitude: The sun is strong in Africa and has a high ultraviolet rating, especially at Johannesburg and Pretoria’s high altitude. Protect yourself and your children by using sunscreens, hats and dark glasses. The altitude may make you feel unusually tired until you become acclimatized.
Swimming: Many South African homes have swimming pools. Aside from making sure that the pool has adequate safety fencing or net (which must be in place whenever you are not in attendance), please ensure the safety of your children by having them learn to swim as soon as possible. There have been an increasing number of shark attacks off the Cape coast. It is a good idea to avoid swimming at dawn and dusk and only swim from beaches protected by lifeguards.
Although it is unlikely that you will come into contact with diseases such as Cholera and Yellow Fever, it is just as well to be aware of other diseases commonly occurring in Southern Africa, especially if you will be travelling across some of South Africa’s borders, and into remote rural areas.
Malaria is a common disease throughout Africa and although Cape Town , Johannesburg and Pretoria are not in the malaria belt, Kruger National Park and areas in the North and East of the country are. Malaria is a preventable disease. It is caused by a parasite that is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected Anopheles mosquito. The mosquitoes feed from dusk to dawn – so that’s the time you need to be most cautious. Before you travel into a malaria region, consult a travel clinic – see below. Protect yourself from mosquito bites as much as possible as this is the best form of prevention. There are prophylactics available, and it is essential that you take them as instructed.
Tick bite fever is a non-lethal but unpleasant disease occasionally contracted when hiking or walking through long grass in the bush. Tiny ticks transmit the disease from animals to humans. Wear protective clothing (long trousers and socks), and search and remove ticks from the body. It is also a good idea to apply DEET containing repellents and avoid walking barefoot. Treatment is not particularly successful, and it is best to let the disease take its course if you are unlucky enough to contract it.
Have all required vaccinations.
Be conscious of the health risks that you are exposed to in the areas in which you are travelling and it is advisable that you take the most advanced preventative measures and precautions.
If you have flu-like symptoms (headache, fever, aches and pains) a week or so after visiting a malaria area contact your GP immediately for a check-up.
Prior to travelling into malaria areas in South Africa or countries north of our borders, it is highly recommended that you contact a Travel Clinic, which offers:
Free Specialised Medical Travel Advice
All Travel Vaccinations
Preventative Medication (Malaria, Anti-Diarrhoea)
First Aid Travel Kits
Specialised post travel diagnosis treatment and care
Emergency Medical Assistance on 082 911
For more information visit : www.netcare.co.za
The majority of multinational corporations are contracted to global Healthcare Insurance companies like CIGNA and typically your company will provide you with extensive information on your medical cover and claims process. Be prepared to pay for services yourself as mostly you will be required to pay up-front at both hospitals and for doctors consultations and treatment (most will accept credit card payments) and claim back from your service provider, who typically also provides 24 hour Help-Line assistance and pre-authorisation for treatment and hospitalisation. In addition, claims can be submitted and processed on-line.
Important Note: Carry your Medical Insurance Identity Card with you at all times.