Getting some peace of mind
Nothing ruins a holiday or business trip faster than lost
luggage or an unexpected accident. Having travel insurance won't
prevent things from going wrong, but it can make things much easier
if you get into trouble.
What does travel insurance
Travel insurance policies typically cover the following:
- Medical expenses from personal injury or illness
- Loss of goods
- Disruptions to your travel plans (e.g. cancelled flights)
The most important aspect of travel insurance relates to the
need for urgent medical treatment or if your flights get cancelled.
These things can cost you megabucks if you're not covered.
Choosing a travel
Travel insurance requires you to pay an upfront premium to cover you for a set period of
time. You can also purchase travel insurance for the whole year if
you travel a lot.
On top of the premium, you may have to pay an excess when you make a claim. Make sure
you know what the excess is before deciding which travel insurance
provider to go with.
When choosing a travel insurance policy find out:
- The cost of the premium and the excess
- What is included and what is excluded
- The dollar limits for claims on individual items and as a
- What proof you need to make a claim
- How to contact your insurer if you are overseas
- What paperwork you need to take with you on your holiday
Some airlines let you choose travel insurance when you're buying
tickets online. It may seem convenient, but make sure the cover is
what you want. Shopping around for the best cover is always wise.
And watch out for websites that automatically select travel
insurance for you, especially if you're travelling
Be honest with your
You must 'tell it like it is':
- When you buy or renew a policy
- If you make a claim
- If your circumstances change
If you don't 'tell it like it is', you may not be covered when
you make a claim. Be truthful about your travel plans and medical
history when applying for travel insurance.
Travel insurance usually does not cover:
- Injury from extreme sports (e.g. bungee jumping)
- Illness or injury from pre-existing medical conditions
- Loss or injury from acts of terrorism, war and some natural
- Loss or theft if you left your luggage unattended, so ask your
insurer what 'unattended' means for your policy
Some insurance policies exclude losses incurred due to the
financial failure of an airline, hotel or other travel operator.
See our news item for travellers affected by the
Air Australia administration.
If you're about to travel overseas and want insurance, checking
the exclusions that apply to your policy is worthwhile. You
can read the product disclosure statement or simply ring and ask
what's covered and what's excluded, especially if you're planning
any unusual activities. If you're not happy with the answers, shop
Case study: Rhys's unattended bag
was waiting at a bus terminal in Los Angeles when his bag was
stolen. He lost all his clothes and other personal items. When
he made his insurance claim he told them that his bag was stolen
from a bench while he was in a nearby newsagent. They rejected his
claim because it was classified as being 'unattended'.
Making a claim
Carry the travel insurance details for the country you are
Making a claim on your travel insurance is much like any other
insurance claim. For example, you may need a police report for a
claim on a stolen camera.
It always pays to register your claim or at the very least
inform your insurer that a claim is coming as soon as possible.
Some insurers require you to inform them of any claims within 24
Case study: Sarah's dodgy knee
went skiing in New Zealand and decided to get travel insurance in
case she got injured. Unfortunately she crashed into another skier
and broke her leg!
But when her insurer discovered she'd had a knee
reconstruction 2 years earlier, they denied her claim because
she hadn't informed them of her pre-existing condition. Always tell
your insurer the whole truth.
Travelling the world can be a great experience.
Spending a little extra time to select the right travel insurance
can make it easier and quicker to sort out problems if something
goes wrong. Then you can get back to enjoying your trip!
Last updated: 16 Dec 2013
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