If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel!

When you consider the thousands of dollars you can spend on a holiday, and the thousands you may be up for in the event of something unforeseen happening, travel insurance adds up to only a small portion of your costs.

A lot of people don’t bother taking out travel insurance because they don’t think anything will happen to them as it never has.  We had a client who slipped on a step in Italy a couple of days before she was due to return home.  She ended up in a wheelchair and had to sell her house to cover the medical costs as she wasn’t insured.  Another client required heart surgery whilst on holidays in the USA and thankfully he had taken out insurance as his bill came to almost $1million!

Another reason to take out travel insurance is because if you don’t then your family could be left with having to cover all your medical bills etc if you were to sadly pass away as was the case in this story:

Medical and hospital services can be very expensive overseas, in particular in North America, Japan and Europe. You may find yourself in a situation where you will need to be moved to another place or back to your country of origin. This can be a costly exercise.  Check that your policy covers you for medical evacuation.

Although Australia has health agreements with certain countries, travel insurance should still be taken out for any events which may occur prior to your arrival or departure from any of these countries. The health agreements are generally for urgent or emergency medical treatment only.

Travel insurance should be taken out once you’ve made any substantial payments. If you’re paying for your ticket with a credit card in order to get free travel insurance, be careful as the cover may be limited.

It’s compulsory to take out travel insurance with some touring companies. Check out different policies as they may vary. A few will cover high risk activities, usually at an additional premium.  Be aware of any restrictions if you intend riding a motor bike.  Check the camera and personal computer cover.

You are required to notify any pre-existing conditions, including pregnancy. Some pre-existing conditions are permitted however others may require you paying an additional premium. 

Most companies won’t insure you if you’re over 80.  Do a search on the comparison sites to find out which do.  Be aware that premiums can be hefty though. 

You may choose to eliminate the excess on your policy by paying an additional premium or by purchasing a policy with a nil excess. If you have an excess it will be applied to each separate event.

Business travel insurance is available for those who travel frequently on business and is valid for one year. Your spouse and dependent children under 21 are covered whilst travelling with you if you take out a family policy.

If you’ve taken out travel insurance and decide to cancel your trip, it won’t cover you if you’ve simply changed your mind about going. Some of the reasons you can cancel are death, illness, jury duty, or if you were retrenched.

It’s possible to extend your policy if you decide to stay overseas longer, but this must be done before the original policy expires. The conditions for extending may vary with different policies. For example, one will allow you to extend as many times as you like for up to two years, whilst another will only allow you to extend once for up to 12 months.

You must notify the insurance company when something happens that might lead to a claim. If loss or theft occurs, you must notify the police within 24 hours and obtain a written report. It will help to keep receipts and proof of ownership of goods.

Always check policies carefully.

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