Sunday, 5 October 2014

6 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CUBA AND MEDICAL INSURANCE

I would never consider travelling to Cuba without travel insurance.  I always travel to Cuba with a positive attitude; I never expect to make use of my travel insurance in Cuba, but at the same time I never travel to Cuba without it.  This may be obvious to me and maybe to some of you out there, but just in case you haven’t given it a second thought or you are wondering whether it is necessary or not, consider the following points before getting on the plane to Cuba:

1. CUBAN AUTHORITIES REQUIRE PROOF OF MEDICAL INSURANCE

Cuban authorities require proof of medical insurance to gain entry to Cuba. This has been a requirement set by the Cuban authorities since 1st May 2010.  Therefore, ensure you keep a copy of a valid travel insurance policy confirming your medical cover in your possession on arrival at the airport in Cuba. 

2. YOU WILL HAVE TO PRESENT A COPY OF YOUR MEDICAL INSURANCE WHEN YOU CHECK-IN ONTO YOUR FLIGHT TO CUBA

As comprehensive travel insurance with medical insurance cover is a requirement in Cuba you may be asked to present a copy of your travel insurance when checking onto your flight to Cuba.  

Whilst I have never been asked by an airline to present a copy of my travel insurance when travelling to Cuba, it caught me by surprise to learn that it can actually happen.  

In August 2014, Experience The Real Cuba organized a personalized itinerary of Casas, Spanish and Salsa lessons in Havana and Trinidad.  The customer planned for a family member to meet them in Havana.  When our customer went to meet their family member at the airport, they never arrived.  We discovered that this person was refused entry onto the flight because they did not have travel insurance. The flight was from Taipei via Hong Kong and Paris.

One of my contacts in Havana did some research and we found out that if an airline travelling to Cuba allows passengers to board the plane without comprehensive travel insurance or medical insurance cover, the airline will be fined by Cuban authorities.  

So in order to avoid ruining your holiday to Cuba, make sure you have comprehensive travel insurance with medical insurance cover and that you can present the required documents if asked to by your airline.

3. YOU WILL HAVE TO PRESENT A COPY OF YOUR MEDICAL INSURANCE ON ARRIVAL INTO CUBA

Ensure you keep a copy of your travel insurance policy easily to hand with your travel documents and passport when travelling to Cuba. If you arrive in Cuba without any proof of medical insurance cover you will be required to purchase medical insurance at the airport in Cuba.  

I have travelled to Cuba many times since this regulation has come into place.  I have travelled to Cuba from the UK, from Central and South America, yet I have never been asked to show my travel insurance documents at the airport when travelling to Cuba. Nevertheless, I always keep a copy of my travel insurance policy in my hand luggage; it is easily accessible just in case immigration wants to inspect it when I arrive into Cuba.  

4. YOU CAN BUY A TRAVEL INSURANCE POLICY AT THE AIRPORT IN CUBA

If you manage to arrive to Cuba without any medical insurance cover and the Cuban authorities discover you cannot provide proof of medical insurance, you will be required to purchase medical insurance at the airport in Cuba.  

The Cuban authorities will sell you a medical insurance policy from Asistur. Check out Asistur travel policy, for more information about the details of the medical insurance policy sold by Asistur.

5. BUY TRAVEL INSURANCE BEFORE COMING TO CUBA

Hence, since as all tourists coming to Cuba MUST have medical insurance cover, I would recommend anyone coming to Cuba to purchase comprehensive travel insurance from their home country before coming to Cuba.  Whilst most travel insurance policies include medical coverage, read the small print and make sure it covers all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation for the full duration of your stay in Cuba.  Remember to read the small print in your policy and make sure it covers everything you are planning to do.

6. ENSURE CUBA IS COVERED IN YOUR TRAVEL INSURANCE POLICY

What travel insurance do I need for Cuba? Not all travel insurance companies include Cuba in their policies so when you are looking for travel insurance to Cuba, read the small print and ensure that Cuba is not excluded from its list of covered destinations.  

SHARE YOUR CUBAN TRAVEL EXPERIENCE

Have you had any travel issues going to Cuba?  Please share your story……..


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