A lot of preparation can go into making sure you’re not one of those travellers that comes home with a woeful story of being ripped off or injured overseas. You can spend hours researching local scams, the best accommodation available and the locks you’ll get to protect the camera and phone tucked in your luggage. But there is one part of pre-travelling preparation which many travellers get wrong: travel insurance.
Fast Cover, a travel insurance company providing cover to Australians of any age, found through an independent survey of over 1000 Australians that 30.8% of travellers didn’t buy travel insurance. Of those people 17.2% of travellers don’t understand exactly what they have cover for. “Getting the wrong policy can in some cases be similar to having no policy,” said Fast Cover’s CEO Dean Van Es. If you get a policy that excludes a medical condition, activity or situation that applies to you, you might find yourself in a difficult situation or with one very large bill.
Trawling through travel insurance policies to find the right one doesn’t have to be an ordeal. When you know what you’re looking for, finding the right policy is simple.
The right destination coverage
It sounds like something you can’t possibly get wrong, right? But if you’re rushing to buy a policy online it is possible to get a travel insurance policy for the wrong region. Many travel insurers create policies that provide cover for a whole geographic region. But some countries are classified under a different region due to the high cost of medical cover in that country. For example, Japan and Dubai are often not classified in the Asia region.
You also need to consider all your stops. If you stay in Hawaii for three days before heading to Europe for the remainder of your trip, you’ll need cover for your time in America.
A lot of medical cover
Some of the worst travel stories are those of travellers who need emergency medical treatment overseas and who don’t have travel insurance that provides cover for the medical costs. Medical emergencies can be unexpected and hugely expensive. Traveller reported the case of one woman who suffered a brain aneurysm while in the United States and had bills exceeding $1 million. Some insurers such as Fast Cover provide unlimited medical cover, while other insurers will cap the amount, so consider whether an insurer will cover the costs should the worst happen.
Fast Cover provides cover for a range of pre-existing conditions including diabetes and high blood pressure. Other insurers will also provide cover for various medical conditions. It is important to find out if your insurer will provide cover for your condition so you know whether or not you can make a successful claim for medical expenses or unexpected cancellations resulting from the condition.
It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of travel planning and forget that something could happen to you or a relative which means you have to cancel your trip. Without travel insurance that provides cover for cancellations you may lose the deposits you’ve made towards your tour, cruise, flight or accommodation. The earlier you get travel insurance, may be better option for you!
Many people don’t realise that the cover provided for valuable electronic items including phones and laptops is capped. If you have expensive camera gear or are taking highly valuable electronics be sure to check they are completely covered.
Cover for activities
Not all activities are automatically covered by your travel insurer. If you are going to scuba dive, go horse riding or hire a motorcycle it is worth checking with your insurer if they provide cover for those activities. If they don’t and you are injured doing the activity, you’ll be responsible for paying any medical bills.
Being reckless is not covered
If you break your leg in an alcohol-fueled quad bike race, it’s safe to assume you’re insurer won’t approve your claim for medical expenses or any expenses for that matter. Generally, travel insurers won’t provide you with cover if you’ve been drinking excessively. They will also not provide cover for while you’re doing something illegal, such as taking illicit drugs or driving a motorbike without the correct license.
Making sense of travel insurance policies doesn’t have to feel like you’re being forced to do rocket science. Now you know what to look for to get the right travel insurance for you for your next trip!