Passport? Check. Tickets? Check. Neck pillow? Check. After months of saving and thorough planning, your long-awaited holiday has finally arrived. It’s easy to switch-off and jump straight into vacation mode, but before you do that, we’ve got a quick question: have you got travel insurance sorted? With Australians flocking to warmer climates during this winter season, there are many who are potentially at risk from being uninsured, so it is crucial that you’ve got yourself covered.
Many would consider travel insurance as an ‘add-on’ while purchasing flight tickets, while others are happy to grab the cheapest insurance plan they can find. However, what most travellers are unaware of is that some of these plans have fine prints that don’t provide you with the cover you need, especially when you’re in a foreign country thousands of miles from home.
Ideally, travellers would sort out their insurance cover once they’ve determined their itinerary. A recent study by Finder has revealed that 39% of travellers seek out cover at the last minute. Further analysis shows that of the 180,000 last-minute enquiries, 18% secured their cover three days before they were due to depart, and 10% booked a week before.
The factors behind these results aren’t disclosed, however, according to an insurance specialist at Finder, Sophie Walsh, many policyholders are under the misconception that their travel insurance only begins when their holiday starts. This, fortunately, isn’t the case.
An emergency can happen at any time between booking your trip and the day of your journey. Some examples include death within the family, natural disasters, loss of travel documents, and sudden illness. Should anything happen beforehand resulting in the cancellation of your trip, your insurance plan would generally cover the costs you’ve already paid.
So what do you need to consider before buying travel insurance?
Know the fine prints
This holds the most important information about the policy, yet most people overlook the product disclosure statement (PDS) before purchasing insurance. Abigail Koch, a spokeswoman at a major insurance comparison website, urges travellers to thoroughly go through the details on the PDS to determine whether they’re buying the right insurance that’s suitable for them. Think about your itinerary and the activities you’ll be doing once you get there – it’ll help you make a more informed decision on the type of cover you need.
It’s not ‘one-plan-fits-all’
At first glance, it may seem like an adequate cover plan, but most policies have ‘exclusions’ that travellers aren’t even aware of until they want to make a claim. Be sure to know what these exemptions are as some policies do not cover:
- pre-existing medical conditions, be it mental or physical;
- lost or stolen luggage;
- death or injury from riots, terrorism, or natural disasters;
- sudden death of a loved one from a pre-existing condition that requires your urgent return.
If you’re a thrill-seeker, you should also note that most standard plans do not cover you for high-risk adventure sports such as skiing, bungee jumping, or skydiving; or riding a scooter or a motorcycle in a country where you don’t have a proper license.
Be wary of credit card travel insurance
It’s common for credit cards to offer complimentary insurance to customers who make travel purchases above a certain amount. While this may seem the obvious choice, there may be hidden terms and conditions unbeknownst to customers before they are eligible for cover. Furthermore, unlike other insurance plans, you will probably need to phone the company before your trip to activate your policy.
You should also take into consideration that while this is still travel insurance, it might only provide you with the most basic coverage. Some of these policies do not give you the flexibility of adding on to your plan for a top-up cost, so if you are someone who’s concerned about your benefits, speak to an insurance broker who can help tailor a suitable cover for you.
It’s not too late to arrange for travel insurance. Let our team help you with that.
P: 1800 809 132
*Please note all insurance policies have exclusions. Please refer to the Product Disclosure Statement or Policy Wording before deciding whether the insurance policy meets your needs.