Oct 27 2012
Though travelling is usually an extremely positive and fulfilling experience, unfortunately things can sometimes go wrong. For example, in Australia, the Department of Foreign Affairs deals with over 25,000 Australians facing difficulties each year – including over 1000 hospitalisations overseas. Not only can unforeseen medical emergencies arise, there are other things to consider: missing flights due to weather or traffic jams, having luggage, money or medication stolen, credit card fraud, and even emergency dental.
Here’s a few things to consider before you buy travel insurance:
Destination: Are you heading off on a romantic island getaway to Bali, or are you heading to New Zealand for some adventure sports with friends? Perhaps you are heading somewhere for work or as a tourist that is considered more dangerous than elsewhere – most countries will have a list of no-travel or cautious travel zones – currently these would include areas in the Middle East and Africa. Though you should get travel insurance either way, your destination (or destinations!) are key when acquiring insurance. If you’re simply going to be lounging around on the beach and trying out local food, you may be able to get lower risk coverage, whereas if you’re going to be skiing and snowboarding in potentially dangerous conditions, you would be best to get a higher risk policy. It’s also important to note that some travel insurance providers and packages do not include adventure sports or activities like bungee jumping, parasailing or white water rafting at all – so make sure you check aspects like this when choosing coverage.
Are you already covered?: Some private health care companies, particularly in Australia and America, include a certain level of travel insurance – generally to ensure that you will have medical cover overseas. However, if you do have travel insurance through a health provider, ensure you read up on what exactly you are covered for – being covered for medical needs won’t necessarily mean that your insurer will be able to help out if your passport is stolen. You may also be covered if you are travelling for business – many companies will include travel insurance if they are paying for expenses. Usually these will be high coverage policies, but just make sure that you are covered for everything before you head off.
What sort of insurance do you need: Again, this comes down firstly to where you’re travelling – the more dangerous or potentially dangerous the trip, the higher level of coverage you need. Another thing to take into account is your health – or the health of those travelling with you. Are you on any medication, or require constant medical assistance? Are you likely to fall ill, or are you going somewhere where you may easily contract an illness? What age range are you in? Consider all these when choosing a policy. Also consider what type of travelling you are doing – those staying in luxury hotels may be less likely to have bags or wallets stolen than those travelling rough with backpacks and in hostels.
Read the fine print: This can’t be stressed enough! Though it is all too easy to skip over the terms and conditions, and admittedly most of us do in many situations, this is one situation where you should at least skim through it. Things to look out for include cancellation fees – if you’ve already bought travel insurance then cancel your trip, you’re likely not to get the whole amount back. Also ensure that the country (or countries) you are travelling to is covered by the insurance you’re buying – many will exclude ‘dangerous’ or ‘risk’ countries. If you are travelling for business and are carrying large amounts of cash or product, ensure these will be covered. Another thing to consider is the weather conditions at your destination – heading somewhere where it is snowing could more than likely mean flight delays, cancellations, and luggage loss – all of which may or may not be covered by your travel insurance.
Getting travel insurance is simply another vital chore to put on the list before heading off on your trip – just like packing a toothbrush or calling your parents. So do your research online, ask friends and family, talk to your travel agent, and ensure that you find the best policy so that you can have a stress-free trip.
Chloe works on behalf of Bruce Insurance, an Australian company who offer a wide range of business insurance solutions, and have over two decades of specialist insurance broking expertise.