Travel Insurance

Not too sure what kind of travel insurance to get or who from? We're here to guide you through everything you need to know to make your trip a success.

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Travel Insurance in Case Your Trip Goes Pear-Shaped

Travel Insurance in Case Your Trip Goes Pear-Shaped

You’ve done it. You’ve finally booked the trip of a lifetime and have everything organised. Your flights, hotels, tours, must-see attractions, everything seems to be sorted. That is until you realise you haven’t purchased any travel insurance. But, you’ll be fine without insurance, right? You don’t really know a whole bunch about travel insurance but realistically what are the odds that something will happen to you on your trip?

When many people travel, insurance is often the last thing on their minds. So, we’re here to give you all the information you could ever need on travel insurance and why it’s so important. So, rather than taking the chance and jetting off without covering yourself, why not kick back and take a look at why travel insurance is so important and how it could get you out of a sticky situation.

What is travel insurance?

Travel insurance is a type of insurance that is designed specifically to cover you and your belongings when you’re planning to travel, both domestically and internationally. It usually focuses on covering you for emergencies, accidents and unexpected situations that might happen to you and your belongings while you are away on holiday, but may also cover you for non-refundable expenses in case you decide you need to cancel your holiday for a number of different reasons. In a nutshell, it’s peace of mind.

Travel insurance is basically a way to minimise the considerable financial risks of travelling if something were to go wrong before or during your travels. But, what exactly does travel insurance cover?

What costs can travel insurance cover?

Travel insurance covers a bunch of different situations, depending on the level of cover that you choose. When most people think of travel insurance, they tend to think of medical expenses being covered, but it doesn’t stop there. Travel insurance encompasses so much more and really can make such a big difference to your travels if the worst were to happen. Depending on what provider you choose to go with and the level of cover you choose, here are some of the situations that you could be covered for:

  • Lost, damaged or stolen luggage and personal belongings
  • Cancellation of trips due to unexpected illness, accidents, natural disasters, change in work situations, etc.
  • Overseas medical and hospital expenses if you’re in an accident or injured while you’re travelling
  • Rental vehicle excess that has to be paid if you have an accident in a rental vehicle
  • Legal liability while overseas
  • Cancellation and delays of trips by suppliers, or amendment fees
  • Additional expenses incurred if your trip is disrupted or cut short by an insured event above and beyond what you budgeted for. These can include extra travel, meal expenses and accommodation.
  • Repatriation:

These are just some of the eventualities that travel insurance can cover. Many people will put off purchasing cover as they assume that these won’t happen to them, or that it costs too much. However, when you consider the fact that overseas medical expenses can cost in the thousands if not tens of thousands of dollars, travel insurance is a relatively inexpensive cost that can pay for itself ten-fold. When you consider just how many different situations and eventualities travel insurance can cover, it really is a good investment.

Are ‘high-risk’ activities covered?

This all depends on what insurance provider you sign up with. Many companies will not cover what they consider to be high-risk activities, however, some will, but expect you to pay a higher premium. Having such activities included in your policy can often be done at an extra charge if you know you are definitely going to be partaking in these while on your trip. But what do travel insurance companies consider high-risk activities? Take a look here:

  • Scuba diving (most policies will have a depth limit before they won’t cover you anymore)
  • Bungee jumping
  • Skydiving (you may be covered if you perform a tandem jump with a licenced instructor)
  • Hang-gliding
  • Snowsports such as skiing or snowboarding
  • Jet skiing
  • Water sports
  • Rock climbing
  • Yachting or sailing in international waters
  • Cycling
  • Professional sports
  • Kayaking
  • Deep-sea fishing
  • Horse riding
  • Racing (other than on foot)
  • Hiking and trekking (some policies include an altitude limit)

If you are planning to do any of these high-risk activities it’s important to inform your provider before-hand as they can often be included as an optional extra cover. It will cost you a little bit more, but it’s absolutely worth it if the worst were to happen and you were injured in the course of the activities. Not only will the medical costs be covered, but more often than not, having travel insurance with sufficient cover will ensure that you’ll receive medical care that much faster when you’re in a foreign country.

Keep in mind that there are a few high-risk activities that are rarely covered by travel insurances at all. These include:

  • BASE jumping
  • Mountaineering
  • Motorsports
  • Professional sports
  • Running with the bulls

What travel insurance doesn’t cover

There are a few things that travel insurance doesn’t cover, so it pays to read your product disclosure before signing and purchasing to make sure that you’re fully aware of what your insurance does and doesn’t cover. These exclusions can include:

  • Accidents involving alcohol or drugs consumed by yourself: this is considered risky and reckless behaviour and will be excluded from your behaviour. This does not, however, include medication prescribed to you by your doctor that you have taken correctly, according to the instructions.
  • Loss of luggage or personal effects that have been left unattended: make sure you keep an eye on your belongings at all times as you may not be covered for loss of goods if you carelessly left them unattended while in your care. Depending on your provider this can also include items that you kept hidden in a shared room or in your checked-in luggage so always make sure you have somewhere safe to secure your items that are acceptable to your policy.
  • Pre-existing medical conditions that haven’t been declared to your insurance provider: this can include any medical conditions that you have previously had symptoms before, even if it was not diagnosed by a medical professional.
  • Failure to get any relevant vaccinations that may be necessary for entry into a country: failure to get the relevant vaccinations may lead to you being denied boarding at the airport or incurring expensive medical expenses overseas, which likely will not be covered by your provider.
  • Errors or omissions in your travel bookings that result in accident or injury.
  • Countries that are listed as ‘Do Not Travel’ on the federal governments Smartraveller website: there are a number of countries that are almost permanently on the “do not travel” list and therefore many travel insurance providers will not insure you if you travel to them. There are also a number of destinations that occasionally make it onto the list in the event of attacks or natural disasters or political unrest. Be sure to check the government Smart traveller website ahead of time to ensure that your intended destination will be covered by your provider.
  • Incidents in which you were riding a motorcycle without a helmet or unlicensed: motorcycles are considered fairly risky activities by most providers so be sure to follow all road rules and ride responsibly. If it is determined that you were riding irresponsibly, your provider may have the right to refuse to pay any accident or injury costs in the event of an accident.
  • Adventure or high-risk sports and activities that have not been declared to the provider (if your provider covers these): participation in dangerous activities that are excluded from your policy and you have not added as an additional may result in injury or accident. The medical expenses incurred from these activities will likely not be covered.

Pre-existing health conditions

If you have a pre-existing health condition that may affect your travels at some point, it is important to be honest with your provider when you first contact them. If something happens and they find out that you’ve been less than forthcoming in telling them about the condition, they may void your entire health insurance policy and refuse to cover your expenses.

Some travel insurance providers will not cover you if you have pre-existing health conditions, while others may cover you but for a higher premium. Still other insurance providers will cover you if you haven’t been hospitalised recently due to your condition and don’t expect to be. Make sure you shop around before settling on a provider as it is important to confirm that any pre-existing health conditions you may have can definitely be covered in the event that they affect you while on your trip.

Also, be aware that most insurance providers will not cover any claims that arise from you travelling against the advice of a medical professional, are travelling to get medical treatment overseas or are travelling with a medical condition that you have been informed will result in your death.

If you have any concerns or questions about any health conditions you may have and how they will affect your travels, be sure to chat with both a medical professional and your potential travel insurance provider. They’ll be able to give you definitive answers and help you out with the most accurate information for you personally.

Is travel insurance really worth it?

Travel insurance is absolutely worth the small extra cost. There’s nothing worse than having your holiday ruined when you’re luggage goes missing in transit on your first flight and you’re stuck with nothing but the clothes you’re in and your carry-on luggage. It may seem like such a small thing, but if your budget is tight or you had some expensive stuff in your checked luggage, it can really be a huge inconvenience.

And that’s just the beginning. If the worst were to happen overseas and you were in an accident of some kind, your travel insurance could cover the costs of unimaginably expensive medical bills, not to mention the delay to your trip and consequently all the missed flights, accommodation and tours that you’re potentially going to forfeit as you can no longer attend on time.

Travel insurance isn’t just an added expense to an already expensive trip of a lifetime. It’s peace of mind that you’re covered if the worst were to happen. We all scoff and say that things like that happen to other people, not us. But that’s what everyone says. When push comes to shove and you find yourself in such a situation, wouldn’t you rather be confident that you’re covered? After all, we take the time and expense to insure our cars, homes, contents and lives, so why wouldn’t we insure our lives and belongings while we were travelling? 

The lowdown on travel insurance

Travel insurance is one of those expenses that many people forget about when they’re planning their holidays. They’re lost in the thrill of all the beautiful countries they’re going to visit, cultures they’re going to experience and hotels are tours they’re going to enjoy. It’s understandable that travel insurance gets a little overlooked. After all, there are so many other exciting things to think about! But when push comes to shove, travel insurance is probably one o the most important things we can consider when we’re planning our upcoming holidays. After all, no one wants to be stranded in another country with excessive medical bills, missing belongings or even injuries and accidents that won’t be treated until the treatments are pre-paid or travel medical insurance information is provided.

Allowing yourself to get into that type of situation at home with no insurance would be unthinkable for most of us, so why let it happen when you’re overseas when you’re alone in a foreign country? Next time you go travelling, do yourself a favour and purchase travel insurance. It could be the most important purchase of your entire trip.

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