Qsaudi traces the development of Visitors’ Insurance in KSA in recent years. We analyse it from all sides of the spectrum, providing the latest information on the subject for visa aspirants.
Visitor’s Insurance in the News: A Recap
In 2016, Saudi Arabia joined the list of countries that require foreign visitors to sign up for insurance that insures them during travel particularly for health related problems.
Although before that also the wiser travellers would always purchase an insurance plan voluntarily upon their departure from home countries, there was no standardized system in place.
Initially, it was proposed that all visitors would have to purchase insurance worth around 900 SAR, however after some opposition the proposal was further revised.
The latest system in place makes it mandatory for foreign visitors to purchase an insurance plan at the time of Visa Application. This rule applies to all except those on special visits to the kingdom.
Who is exempt from Visitors’ Insurance?
Currently the following categories of visitors do not require insurance:
diplomatic and special passport holders, guests of the governmental, officials belonging to foreign missions and those on organizational visits, as well as royal guests invited by the King.
However, this is only logical since they already enjoy special status and extra facilities due to their business relations or their diplomatic passports and hence are unlikely to get into trouble.
How to Choose an Insurance Plan
The very first thing to do when chosing an insurance plan for Visit Visa Applicant is to visit the official website of Council of Cooperative Health insurance where the details of the general layout of the Vistors’ Insurance as approved by Saudi Government can be found.
One will find explanation of all legal terms, the fee, costs, benefits as well as limitations of insurance coverage. This is a wise thing to do so that information provided by private insurance companies can be rechecked.
The latest info available regarding approved insurance providers for visitors names four main insurance companies:
- Tawuniyah Cooperative Insurance
- BUPA, Arabia
- AXA Cooperative Insurance
- Saudi united Cooperative Insurance (WALAA)
As far as the fees is concerned, it varies from person to person and is calculated based on applicant’s age, Health status, length of stay in KSA etc. Initially most applicants paid insurance fees that would range between 140 SAR to 700 SAR.
However, it seems to have increased especially for older people and for those prone to some medical ailments, it is considerably higher.
One doctor based in Riyadh paid insurance amounting to SAR 2500 (50,000INR) when processing visit visa for her father, who was around 90 years of age and suffering from heart disease.
Therefore before paying for Visitors Insurance ask the concerned agent two things:
- What are the benefits and limitations fo this insurance policy?
- Is there a cheaper insurance option available, that is also recognised by authorities and has same basic benefits?
- Can you show the calculations based on factors (age, health, duration of stay) that add up to this price?
By employing the above method one can stay confident that they are chosing the best plan and are not paying anythign extra.
The Brighter Side
General public might have a tendency to take new regulations in bad taste. Some are claiming that new rules put financial strain on the lower middle class of workers. It is interesting to note that the implementation of Visitor’s Insurance has many advantages:
- While before Visitors, particularly those coming for Umrah and Hajj could not travel to other cities in KSA, now they are free to visit any Saudi province.This has only been possible when thr security and safety of these visitors has been ensured through Insurance policies thus allowing authorities to relax the earlier restrictions.
- It is anticipated that by putting in place such a policy foreign visitor’s have lower chances of falling into trouble during their visit. Whether it is a case of unforeseen medical complications that need surgery or hospitalization, or whether they fall victims to road accidents, crimes like theft or have their baggage misplaced during travel, due to standard insurance now Visitors enjoy greater protection under the law and can seek help more easily.
- By standardizing a list of authorized insurance companies the authorities have lessened the chances of agents and subagents the world over taking advantage of those visiting KSA by selling them insurance policies that no hospital entertains upon their arrival.
Although, paying for the insurance might seem like a huge burden, ultimately, it is cost effective in the long run as having insurance goes a long way when one faces a problem in a foreign land.