We all want to be able to travel worry-free and be covered if the unexpected happens when we’re away, whether it’s the trip of a lifetime or just a short break overseas.
But travel insurance, much like an exotic holiday destination, is often shrouded in mystery and myth. And a bit like the Portuguese-speaking taxi driver who picked you up at the airport, it can be tricky to understand.
That’s why lots of Australians travel without being properly insured. It doesn’t need to be that way, though. To help make travel insurance easier to understand, we’ve debunked the most common misconceptions, so you can get properly covered with confidence.
Myth 1: “I’m going to a really safe country and I’m not going for very long”
You don’t have to be extreme skiing or swimming with sharks for something to go wrong. Lost or stolen luggage, disrupted travel plans or rental vehicle damage can all happen anywhere - even on a short trip away. Travel insurance can provide cover for more than just the risk of injury or accident.
Myth 2: “It’s a waste of money”
When you purchase travel insurance, you’re reducing your need to worry about the ‘what ifs’. Imagine something as simple as dropping your camera or phone while overseas. The cost of a comprehensive travel policy may be a lot less than repairing or replacing the items yourself.
Myth 3: “I have a pre-existing medical condition”
Just because you have an existing medical condition, your claim for treatment would not automatically be denied if something happens while you’re overseas. Your cover generally relates to the circumstances around an incident, and any exceptions to this should be clearly stated in your Product Disclosure Statement (PDS).
The PDS may have a long list of conditions which are covered for at no additional premium, and may also allow you to apply for other conditions that can be covered for an extra cost. Talk to your travel insurer about any pre-existing conditions and you might be surprised how much cover you can actually get.
Myth 4: “The Australian Embassy will help me out”
Covering your losses or bills when something goes wrong is not on the list of services provided by Australian Embassies, nor are they expected to handle routine emergencies. Their main role is to provide consular and visa assistance to Australian residents while overseas. A travel insurance policy is your best bet to provide cover for emergency medical care, refund travel bookings affected by natural disasters, and claim for property lost or stolen along the way.
Myth 5: “I’m fit and healthy – I don’t need to worry”
Four out of the top five reasons for travel insurance claims have nothing to do with illness or injury.* Lost or stolen property, delays to travel and missing travel documents are all incidents just as likely to occur as a trip to the emergency room.
Myth 6: “I’ve got great private health insurance coverage”
This is a fantastic thing to have…while you’re in Australia, but it may not cover you for anything if you leave the country.
Myth 7: “I only need to purchase travel insurance the day I leave”
The longer you put off sorting your travel insurance, the more likely it is something else will get in the way or you’ll forget. The sooner you take out your travel insurance, the better.
In fact, it may be beneficial to purchase your travel insurance policy as soon as you start booking your trip. This may help provide cover for any unexpected events that could delay or cancel your trip before you travel.
Myth 8: “It’s fine, I’ve booked everything on my credit card so I’m automatically covered”
Credit card travel insurance can be a convenient option. But it’s important to read the policy terms and conditions as some credit card travel insurance policies may only provide basic cover. Depending on your trip you may need to purchase extra cover to make sure all of your possessions and activities are covered.
Now that we’ve looked at the common myths of travel insurance, you’re hopefully more confident in getting the cover you need for your trip. And with travel insurance sorted, you can relax focus on what’s really important: making the most of your well-earned holiday.
Important information: Please note that this is only intended as a general guide in relation to issues you may want to consider when taking out travel insurance. It is not intended to be an exhaustive list of all relevant issues and you should take into account your own particular circumstances, and obtain independent expert advice where needed, before proceeding. To decide if these products are appropriate for you, please read and consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement.
*Based on claims data processed during 1 June 2016 – 31 July 2017 from Allianz Global Assistance.