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10 hot tips to save on travel insurance
Heading off on an adventure but on a tight budget? Use these 10 simple tips to find affordable travel insurance that satisfies all your cover needs.
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1. Don’t buy from a travel agent or airline
Buying insurance cover at the same time as you book your holiday or your flights is undoubtedly an easy and convenient option. Unfortunately, it’s also an expensive one.
Travel agents and airlines add hefty commissions on top of the price of the policies they sell, which basically means you end up paying a whole lot more for cover than you need to. In fact, a 2015 study by finder.com.au showed that buying travel insurance through an airline is three times more expensive than necessary, while buying from a travel agent means cover is two-and-a-half times more expensive.
So how can you find the cheapest travel insurance? You buy your policy direct from the travel insurer. It’s quick and easy to compare and choose policies online, and buying cover straight from the source can save you a whole lot of money.
2. Choose the level of cover that's right for you
Generally speaking, there are three levels of travel insurance cover available:
The benefits provided increase with each step up to a higher level of cover, but so too does the cost of travel insurance. With this in mind, it’s important to have a long, hard think about which level of cover is right for your trip.
The answer to this question will be influenced by a few key factors:
- What you need cover for. There are some travel insurance benefits, such as cover for overseas medical expenses and trip cancellation costs, that are simply essential. The need for other benefits will vary based on your personal circumstances and travel plans – for example, if you’re hiring a car you may decide that rental vehicle insurance excess cover is a must.
- The level of cover you feel comfortable with. Some people will only feel comfortable heading away on holiday if they have travel insurance that provides comprehensive protection. Others are much happier to purchase basic cover for a few key worst-case scenarios and then just take their chances for the rest of their holiday. Think about how much risk you’re willing to tolerate before choosing a policy.
- Your budget. Cost is always a crucial factor when choosing travel insurance. How much can you afford to pay (and how much are you willing to pay) for travel insurance?
Once you’ve considered the above factors you’ll be better placed to choose a travel insurance policy. If you want to save money, choosing a lower level of cover is a simple way to reduce your travel insurance premiums.
3. Avoid options you don't need
When you buy travel insurance, you may find that the cover you want or need isn’t included as standard. To tailor a policy to suit your trip, it may be necessary to add some optional covers to your policy, such as:
- Winter sports cover
- Adventure sports cover
- Golf cover
- High-value personal items cover
- Additional rental car excess cover
Of course, all of these options come with an additional premium, so make sure they’re actually essential for your holiday before adding them to your policy. By avoiding any unnecessary options, you can substantially lower the cost of cover.
4. Keep an eye out for travel insurance discounts
Why pay full price for anything when you can save money with a discount? There is always a wide range of travel insurance deals and special offers available, so why not check to see how much they can help you save? While you should never choose a policy based solely on an attractive discount, it’s definitely worth shopping around for a good deal.
Travel insurance discounts you may be able to take advantage of include:
- Promos and coupon codes
- Discounts for buying cover online
- Multi-policy discounts if you hold another type of cover (e.g. car insurance) with the same insurer
- Discounts for special customers and members – for example, as the customer of a specific bank, you may be entitled to discount travel insurance from the bank’s insurance partner
5. Know your destination details
The destination(s) you choose to visit on your holiday can have a big impact on the cost of cover. First, where you go can play a part in determining the level of cover you need. For example, if you’re heading to the US, a policy that covers unlimited overseas medical expenses is essential to help you pay for treatment in that country’s expensive health system, but there are other countries around the world where you may not need the same high level of cover.
Second, the way in which your insurer covers your destinations also has an effect. For example, some insurers will ask you to nominate the region where you will spend most of your time while away, while others require you to select the furthest region away from home you will visit. So, if you’re spending the majority of time in a destination closer to home, it may be possible to find cheaper cover with some insurers.
6. Consider a multi-trip policy
If you’re a frequent traveller who takes multiple overseas trips a year, buying a separate travel insurance policy for each holiday can add up to be quite expensive. That’s why it’s worth considering an annual multi-trip policy.
These policies don’t just cover one trip, but provide cover for all the trips you take during a 12-month period. Limits apply to the maximum duration of any one trip, but apart from that, multi-trip policies offer the same benefits you’d expect from a single-trip comprehensive policy.
Best of all, you can enjoy substantial savings on the total cost of travel insurance over the course of a year.
7. Combine and save
Are you travelling with a family member or a close friend? If so, the total cost of each of you purchasing a separate travel insurance policy could be substantial.
However, if you join forces to buy combined cover under the one policy, you could access significant savings on the cost of cover. As long as you’re both happy with the level of cover the policy provides, this option is an easy way to save money on travel insurance.
8. Be honest and disclose everything
Got a pre-existing condition that insurers will only cover if you agree to pay a premium loading? Visiting an out-of-the-way destination that you’re pretty sure will push your premium up? Don’t give into the temptation of keeping information from your insurer just to save a little bit of money – while it might help you pinch a few pennies in the short term, in the long run, it could end up costing you big time.
If you don’t tell your insurer something that it has a right to know – be it a pre-existing condition, a destination you’re visiting or anything else – if that something later leads to a claim, your claim will be refused. On top of that, the insurer will probably cancel your policy altogether.
When you apply for cover, make sure to be upfront and honest, and to disclose all information relevant to your policy.
9. Vary your travel insurance excess
Another great way to save money on travel insurance is to choose a higher excess. Available as an option on some policies, this allows you to adjust your excess amount higher, which means you’d have to dig a little deeper into your own pocket if you have to make a claim.
The reward is a lower travel insurance premium and the amount you save may be more than you think, so it’s worth getting a quote with an adjusted excess to see if it could be worth your while.
10. Compare travel insurance quotes and shop around
Speaking of getting quotes, this is the last but perhaps the most important step on your journey to finding cheaper travel insurance. Getting travel insurance quotes online is quick, convenient and extremely easy. Using finder.com.au’s travel insurance quote engine, all you have to do is provide:
- Details of where you’re travelling
- Your travel dates
- The age of all travellers you want to insure
- Your email address
And then you can compare multiple quotes from some of Australia’s leading travel insurers. With several quotes at your disposal you can easily get a better idea of how much you can expect to pay for cover, and can then start comparing the features, benefits, limits and exclusions of individual policies.
With a little bit of research, you’ll soon be able to find affordable travel insurance that provides all the cover you need for your next trip.
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