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So you’re about to go on your well-deserved holiday to an exotic destination you’ve chosen. You’re all packed, raring to go, cocktail umbrella at the ready, but have you really thought about your travel insurance?

Last year, a record number of Australians travelled overseas, with almost 9.7 million recorded departures. That’s 42 in every 100 of us! With so many of us travelling, it probably increases the odds of something unexpected happening.

‘Unexpected’ events really do happen

As humans, we tend to think bad things happen to other people and we’ve all heard of someone, maybe a friend or family member, who has had an incident overseas without travel insurance to protect them. Just recently, we heard a terrible tale of a friend of a friend’s son (let’s call him John) who tripped and fell on a sprinkler which pierced his abdominal cavity whilst he was travelling in the United States.

Whilst it sounds pretty nasty, luckily John wasn’t too badly injured. Just something that required a night’s stay in hospital, a significant set of stitches and some antibiotics. However, the hospital, in one of the world’s most expensive health systems for foreigners, seemingly ran every test known to mankind on him – just to check nothing further was wrong (to ensure there was no liability on their part) and he was discharged with a clean bill of health.

Shortly after that John, who is only in his early twenties, came back home with a pretty spectacular scar, an interesting story and a massive $100K medical bill that was going to take the better part of the next decade for him to pay off, if he didn’t declare bankruptcy in the meantime. Either way, that’s a very nasty outcome from what should have been a just a blip (and a good yarn). The awful thing is that he could have saved himself years (maybe even decades) of financial pain for just a few hundred dollars at most.

John didn’t think anything like this could happen to him. He was 23, fit, healthy, strong – but he couldn’t have been more wrong.

Recent Australian travel insurance research

  • A recent survey has revealed only 42% of Australian travellers overseas were properly insured another 26% did not even look at the policy documents (often referred to as the product disclose statement or PDS) to check what their coverage included.
  • More worryingly, nearly 70% of all travellers didn’t consider activities that may be excluded when they purchased travel insurance. Often, injuries sustained while riding a motorbike or even a moped (which so many of us have ridden on in our travels) overseas aren’t always automatically covered. Despite legislation to ensure transparency in the policy document, if you don’t read the documents that transparency doesn’t matter. So please read everything before you leave and if you have questions, follow up with your travel agent or the insurer. It might just save you from discovering something you really needed wasn’t covered – after the event.
  • Another Australian study has revealed 45% of families with children do not take out travel insurance. While travel insurance is very well likely to be the last thing on the mind of a stressed-out parent desperate for a holiday, imagine the overwhelming horror of being forced to delay life-saving treatment for your child while you organised for a second mortgage on your home to pay for your child’s treatment.

Check what is covered

Most policies provide some level of cover should cancellation or an unexpected event occurs. However, most policies do exclude events such as terrorism, pandemic or epidemic, military action.

The good news is that natural disasters are usually covered but again, check your Policy Document.

Many insurers refer to “unforeseen circumstances” when referring to cover, but what do they mean? “Unforeseen circumstances” usually are defined as something that wasn’t publicised in the media or official government websites when you bought the policy. The best way to avoid this? You can save yourself a lot of headache by booking your travel insurance early.

Additional expense coverage

There are also several instances where a travel insurer could cover you for extra expenses you might encounter. These include additional accommodation and travel expenses en route if you become sick, your trip is suspended due to an unexpected event, or if a relative has become ill or injured and you need to return home. There may be some conditions on that last point, so check beforehand to see if you’re eligible for coverage.

Finally, if your scheduled travel is delayed or cancelled, you could be covered for extra meal and accommodation expenses. Travelling to attend a planned tour, wedding or conference? You could be also be covered for additional travel expenses if your scheduled transport is cancelled or delayed.

Of course, if you’d like to have a conversation with an experienced travel agent who can offer you a personalised, tailored experience including talking through your insurance options, we’d love to help! You can always give us a call on (02) 6041 5577, call into the office at 601 Dean Street, Albury or book an appointment with one of our expert travel agents today using the form below.

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My travel agent was great – she made what seemed to be a very complex task look easy. All my questions were answered in detail!

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Your advice, suggestions and knowledge are invaluable – together with your very personalised customer service, best travel agent I’ve ever used.

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The team helped me plan and book the best holiday I’ve ever had. I’ve got the travel bug and looking forward to traveling for the rest of my life!

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