With the recent political unrest and spate of natural disasters around the world, there's never been a better time to talk about travel insurance.
Australian Consular Offices see over 25,000 cases involving Australian's in difficulty overseas annually. With 1,200 hospitalisation, 900 deaths and 50 evacuations for medical purposes it's easy to see why travel insurance is so important.
The effects of failing to purchase travel insurance are far worse than the cost associated in obtaining a policy. Basically, if you can't afford travel insurance then you can't afford to travel.
A young man, let's call him Brad, took a working holiday to the US where he worked in a ski resort for four months then took time off to travel around the rest of the country. He allowed his 12-month travel insurance policy to expire a few days before he was to return home. While crossing a road, Brad was hit by a car and suffered serious head injuries. Unconscious, he was admitted to intensive care and required highly specialised care until he was returned home on a stretcher, still unconscious. As his insurance coverage had run out he was personally liable for all his associated medical costs which exceeded $80,000. As a result, Brad's family have had to take out a second mortgage on their house to raise the money.
10 Things You Need to Know About Travel Insurance
1 - Travel insurance is as vital as your passport no matter where you intend to travel.
2 - Your travel insurance should cover all expenses in the event of injury or illness, theft of valuables, baggage damage and interruptions to flight paths.
3 - While overseas, any medical expenses incurred will be your financial responsibility if you do not have travel insurance. The Australian Government cannot cover these expenses.
4 - Shop around for the policy that best suits your individual circumstances and travel plans. Don't skimp on coverage to save a few dollars the risk is too great.
5 - Ensure you understand the product disclosure statement and precisely what your policy covers. It should cover you for the entire duration of your trip as well as for any activities you intend to participate in.
6 - If you have a pre-existing medical condition you should pay special attention to the policy's exclusions and how your cover may be affected. Full disclosure is also the best way to ensure you will be covered no matter what happens.
7 - Where injuries are sustained as a result of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, some travel insurance policies will not cover you.
8 - If you are unsure about or have any issues regarding your policy you should clarify these directly with your insurer.
9 - If the Australian Government advises against travel to a particular location there is no automatic refund. Refunds are dependent on the terms and conditions of your particular policy.
10 - If you can't afford travel insurance then you can't afford to travel!