Avoiding travel insurance mistakes

A careful review of your policy before you sign should mean you avoid the common mistakes.

Travel insurance won’t cover everything. A careful review of your policy before you purchase should mean you avoid the common mistakes made by travellers, but what should you be looking for?

Pre-existing medical conditions
This is probably the clause which causes older travellers the most concern. How much should you tell your insurer about your health conditions and how much extra will it cost you once you do? Honesty is always the best policy. By completing a pre-existing medical condition waiver, you are agreeing that the insurance company will not cover you for any incidents which relate to this condition. Before you sign such a form, make sure you’re happy to travel without this cover.

Policy exclusions
There are just some things which insurance companies won’t cover you for and these vary depending on your policy. It’s important to refer to the General Policy Exclusion section before undertaking certain activities. Bungee jumping, self-inflicted injuries or a loss sustained while you’re inebriated are often excluded, as well as several other areas.

Reason for cancellation
You may assume your holiday expenses will be covered if you need to cancel, but there are some reasons for cancellation which could leave you out-of-pocket. Insurance companies will list the reasons for cancellation which will enable you to claim. If you don’t think the list is comprehensive enough, ask your insurer if it provides a more comprehensive cancellation option, which will cost you more, but may be worth in in the long run.

Don’t leave it too late
It’s best to purchase your insurance as soon as you have booked your travel. If you leave it too late and become sick or an incident happens where you are planning to travel, then if you haven’t bought insurance, you will be too late.

Supporting documentation
In the event you have to make a claim, ensure that you have all supporting documentation. If you encounter a loss of items, then you will need to report it to the police and get a claim reference. You will also need to get a copy of all paperwork relating to medical attention or hospitalisation.


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    27th Jul 2014
    Check that loss of cash is covered. We found when arriving in Canada our cash was stolen. This also needs to be reported to police and also a copy of the report is required for claiming.

    27th Jul 2014
    Some holiday activities are NOT covered so make sure if you are a risk taker that what you intend doing is covered if involved in an accident...i.e. bungy jumping ;).
    18th Aug 2014
    I am an experienced traveler and was stranded in Dubai for 3 months with an Acute Pulmonary Embolism (DVT) in 2014. You need to be very aware of travel insurance. Do not go with your old 'card' insurance. They are not interested in you no matter how long you have been with them. An "express" card does not mean they are efficient. Besides, they use other firms to do the insurance. Check how the insurance companies send out their claim forms. Pointless being sent a PDF form to you when overseas, when you are only carrying an IPod Touch or Pad, and have no printer. No help at all. How do they expect you to fill out the forms? Will their be the internet or wifi where you will be stranded?
    Be wary of Reverse Charge Call facilities. No good if the country you are in has no idea of the Operaters Number. Your Australian mobile usage can be very expensive, even if the insurance company phones you. Ensure you send emails to the Call Centre or Insurance company ASAP after you are injured or hospitalised. When the insurance offers accommodation after hospitalisation, be aware that they will be so slow in getting it done, that you will have to find it yourself and be out of pocket for at least the first month.
    Visas for the country you are in can be a problem. If your health requirements necessitate you staying longer than your Visa allows, the Travel Insurance will not cover Visa renewals, nor will the Dept of Foreign Affairs help either. You are on your own.
    Who will you manage issues at home if one of you is stranded overseas for a period of time. Travel Insurance does not cover the home costs.
    And if you are getting no help from the AUS based insurance company, do a search on the internet for all their insurance company branches in the region you are located, and shotgun them all an email complaint
    26th Jan 2020
    " Bush Solitude "provided very useful advice for future overseas travellers.
    I would like to add a cautionary note for travellers involved in an accident , usually but not always road accidents in some countries, noticeably Thailand for which I have some experience.
    At the accident scene several competing ambulances will turn up to cart you away to THEIR hospital, which will be a PRIVATE hospital. Often the ambulance driver is supplied with cash to bribe the attending senior police officer who will then see you loaded into this ambulance. BUT your travel and added medical insurance may only insure you for GOVERNMENT hospital treatment NOT a private one.
    There they will confiscate your passport and you cant get it back till you pay the usually massively inflated hospital bill, so make very sure any accident insurance you take out also applies to private hospital treatment. The above was the case observed by my own eyes in Thailand in the mid 80's (my own insurance then only applied to govt hospitals) and it may well be the same today and possibly in other Asian countries as well if it has not since been changed.
    In any case It would pay to check just what is covered and who can service your travel/medical insurance if you have an accident in your country of choice well before you leave Oz

    Pays to be cautious


    18th Aug 2014
    If you make a booking further out than 12 months before your travel date I imagine you have to pay double insurance?
    14th Dec 2014
    provided i book and pay for my travel using my Visa card, i am covered for travel insurance by my bank.

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