Your passport and visas are in order, your itinerary has been researched to within an inch of itself, you’ve booked and paid for your tickets, the suitcase is almost packed and you’ve bought travel insurance … what could go wrong?
Plenty, actually. Some travel insurance policies have only limited cover for medical expenses incurred overseas. If you want to set and forget your next vacation, then you must study the clauses of travel insurance policies you’re thinking of buying, because not all of them are guaranteed to give you genuine peace of mind.
The unexpected cannot be planned for and in most cases that means medical emergencies. According to Australia Post (which unashamedly sells travel insurance), the single biggest reason for getting travel insurance is medical cover.
The site reports: “Each year, the Australian Government handles over 20,000 cases involving Australians in difficulty overseas, including those requiring hospitalisation or evacuation. However, they (the Government) will not pay medical expenses incurred overseas, and neither will Medicare.
“According to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the cost of medical evacuations from the US regularly ranges from $75,000 to $95,000, and sometimes up to $300,000. In South-East Asia, a favourite destination for Australians, daily hospitalisation costs can exceed $800. Medical evacuations from Bali have exceeded $60,000.”
The number of comparison sites make it pretty easy to compare travel insurance policies. Some of the more popular ones include:
According to CHOICE, its best rating is scored by RACV Total Travel Care. The policy’s rating is just 73 per cent – 27 per cent short of a perfect 100 score – but the RACV product impresses with its provision for unlimited medical expenses, unlimited cancellation expenses and $15,000 for baggage expenses.
Comparetravelinsurance.com.au reports that most standard travel insurance policies have exclusions.
“Regardless of when a travel warning is issued, and whether you took advice from the Government or not, you may find you will not be insured for certain events. General exclusions that tend to be included across the board include: strikes, riots, civil protest and political instability, any act of war, terrorism, any event to do with nuclear or chemical weapons, contagious diseases and/or epidemics or pandemics.”
So if you are planning a trip to an area where there is social or environmental instability that could thwart your holiday plans, be prepared to not be reimbursed for any inconvenience, unless you ensure that your travel insurance policy specifically covers a range of events.
Have you ever had a travel insurance claim rejected? Who do you most trust with your travel insurance? Is travel insurance an unnecessary expense?
Original article by Olga Gallacho edited by Ben Hocking.