What is the role and importance of travel insurance?
Travel insurance is much like any other form of insurance, as it provides you with the peace of mind of knowing you’re protected in case of disaster, and then allowing you to get on with the more enjoyable parts of life. For many people, they feel their most relaxed, comfortable and secure when they are at home, so when you are planning to leave home for business or personal travel, it makes sense to take as much of that comfort and security with you, in the form of travel insurance.
As well as offering you peace of mind, travel insurance includes many much more tangible benefits too, for example:
- It could also happen to you. According to the Department of Foreign Affairs, it handles over 25,000 instances of Australians needing help overseas. Additionally, one in eight Australians with a travel insurance policy make a claim on that policy.
- Cancellation. Whether you need to cancel your travel plans because of illness, injury or other circumstances, or because your travel provider has been delayed, gone out of business or forgotten to send your airport transfer, travel insurance can help with additional expenses, or to cover lost deposits for cancelled bookings.
- Loss and theft. World travel insurance can help with stolen passports or wallets, or if your luggage delayed by the carrier. Travel insurance can provide a benefit to help organise replacement items and cover losses.
- Illness and injury. If you become ill or injured while overseas, you want to seek out the best care, and focus on getting well, rather than worrying about how currency conversions will affect your hospital bill.
Read on for more information about world travel insurance
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What is World Travel Insurance?
With travel insurance from world travel insurance, you can choose from a number of plan types and structures according to your travel needs, budget and situation:
- Single trip plan. Single trip cover provides insurance for one journey only, and the length of the journey will be specified on the policy document.
- International travel insurance. When you choose an international travel insurance policy you need to make sure that every destination you visit is covered in the policy. You can find cover for medical assistance and hospital and medical expenses. You can also claim in the event of cancellations, lost luggage, credit card fraud and the loss of your passport and travel documents.
- Annual multi trip plan. An annual multi-trip plan allows you to take unlimited trips within a 12 month period without needing to reapply for insurance. Each trip is capped to a certain number of days. You can take out a frequent traveller policy for international or domestic travel, including cover for additional accommodation and travel expenses in an emergency, rental vehicle excess, and a death, permanent disability and loss of income benefit.
- Single or family cover. World travel insurance policies allow you to choose either cover for yourself and your dependent children or grandchildren, or to cover two adults, and your financially dependent children or grandchildren who are under 25 years old.
World Travel Insurance Policy Exclusions
World travel insurance protects you against a range of emergencies, delays or losses. However, you also need to be aware of the limitations of the policies, which exclude cover for:
- Travellers who have a health condition of which they are aware
- Expenses which exceed the cover limits of your chosen policy
- Any medical, hospital, dental or ancillary benefits which are incurred in Australia
- Travellers who are over the maximum age
- Travellers who are not permanent Australian residents.
How to Choose World Travel Insurance
Choosing a travel insurance policy can be almost as difficult as choosing where it is you want to travel. However, where your bucket list is filled with exciting locations, each opportunity more interesting than the last, your list of potential travel insurance policies is much less enticing to pour over. Yet compare you must, because it will be your travel insurance that could be the difference between a disastrous, dangerous and expensive journey, to one with a minor inconvenience in the middle.
To help you compare the myriad travel insurance policies out there, make sure you look at:
- The activities that are covered. If you’re planning on doing anything more than walking tours, you should check with your travel insurance provider about each of the individual activities you have planned, and the extent to which they are covered. For example, activities such as skiing, bungee jumping and water sports are not usually covered.
- All of your destinations. Your travel insurer should warn you if your destination has been flagged as dangerous, but it is a good idea to check the government’s Smartraveller website too. This is important to know, as claims arising from acts of war or terrorism are not covered by travel insurance.
- Cover for pre existing conditions. Few of us get to the point of travelling the world without having experienced some sort of medical event, so make sure that your medical history is known to your insurer. In some cases asthma and hypertension are considered pre existing medical conditions, and are not covered by your travel insurance.
- Know the limits of the benefits. Most travel insurance policies mirror benefits such as delayed luggage, cancellations, medical emergency and death cover. However, it is in the benefit amounts that you should be comparing travel insurance policies, as you don’t want to be held back by a benefit budget when you need medical care or help replacing your passport.
- Remember your role. Most travel insurance policies refuse claims that result from drunken, drug induced, illegal or irresponsible behaviour.
Making a World Travel Insurance Claim
If the worst does happen and you have to make a claim on your travel insurance, you can feel secure in the knowledge that you have compared the best policies and tailored your cover for your needs, and all there is to do now is process the paperwork.
To make a claim:
- You must complete your claim forms and documentation within 30 days of returning to Australia.
- Provide all original invoices, receipts, and other documentation to your insurer.
- If you have questions about your claim or documentation, call your insurer and they will be able to help you sort through any problems.
- It can be useful to photograph your luggage and personal belongings as you pack for your trip, as a record, and to tip you off straight away when something is amiss.
- In the case of a loss or theft, you must file a report with the relevant authorities, and provide a copy of the report to your insurer.
- Make sure you can provide a copy of your Certificate of Insurance.
Frequently Asked Questions About World Travel Insurance
Isn’t the travel insurance on your credit card enough?
Many credit card providers do boast free travel insurance when you pay for your holiday on their card. However, in some cases the cover only applies to the cardholder and won’t cover any family members travelling with you. Additionally, you may only have cover if you have bought all or part of your trip with your credit card.
How can you be protected from cancellations?
The cancellation benefit on your travel insurance policy will generally only apply if:
- You have to cancel because of your own illness or injury
- You have to cancel because of the illness or injury of a family member
- You have been made redundant
- A natural disaster occurs.
If you cancel your travel plans because you have changed your mind, or it has become inconvenient for some other reason, you can’t claim back any cancellation fees or deposits you’ve already paid.
Can you get travel insurance when pregnant?
This differs greatly between insurers, and some will base their decision on:
- How far along in your pregnancy you are
- Whether conception was assisted, for example IVF
- If you are in a high risk pregnancy.
It is best to be honest with your insurer when you apply, and have the policy documents reflected and tailored to your circumstances.
Do you need health insurance and travel insurance?
Yes. While you are overseas, you are not covered by your private health insurance.
Travel insurance is a big industry, as there are many companies who will prey on your fears and insecurities, and sell you insurance which you don’t need, or doesn’t suit. Instead, go into your comparisons informed about what you need and what you want, and get the cover you deserve.Back to top