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Holiday travel insurance is insurance that protects you while you're on holiday. Travel insurance is necessary in case you fall ill or have your belongings stolen.
Imagine if any of the following scenarios happened to you and you didn't have holiday travel insurance:
- You contracted malaria while travelling in Asia and were hospitalised for several weeks
- Your wallet and passport were stolen from your hotel room
- The hire car you were driving is involved in a serious accident
- Your flight was delayed, causing you to miss your connecting flights and lose your hotel bookings
- You broke your leg skiing in the Swiss Alps and must be airlifted out by helicopter
- You fall ill and cannot be treated locally, so you must be evacuated back to Australia.
Holiday travel insurance varies with providers, but the main areas of cover include hospital and medical expenses, loss or theft of property and interruption or cancellation of flights. When you take out holiday travel insurance, you should make sure the policy covers you for all three of these things at the very least.
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What Does Holiday Travel Insurance Cover?
Injury or illness, baggage loss and trip cancellation are three of the main areas resulting in claims by holidaymakers, which is why they are almost always covered by travel insurance policies. Let's look at them in more detail.
- Hospital and medical cover. Hospital and medical cover is the most important area of cover, simply because it can be one of the most expensive costs on a holiday if something goes wrong. Not every country has public health cover and those that do don't necessarily have reciprocal agreements with Australia. And in some countries like the US, unless you have private health insurance through your employer, you will pay dearly for any medical treatment or time spent in hospital. Make sure you are covered for emergency evacuation back to Australia as well, as some countries only have limited health care facilities and may not be able to treat you.
- Loss or theft of property. Loss or theft of property is a common problem, particularly in developing countries, where petty crime and theft are often endemic. It is important to check the level of cover provided by your policy though, as many policies put a limit on the benefit paid and if you lose expensive electronic goods such as cameras, tablets and smart phones, the cost of replacement may not be covered. You must also be extra vigilant with your bags when overseas, as many policies will not pay out if you are thought not to have taken reasonable care of your belongings.
- Trip interruption or cancellation. Trip interruptions or cancellations can have devastating repercussions on the rest of your travel and accommodation arrangements. If you suffer financially due to any cancellation or delay during your holiday, this cover will ensure that you are compensated. Read your policy though and make sure you are covered for all of your journey, as some policies only cover the outgoing and return flight to Australia.
A travel insurance policy containing these three types of cover will usually cost around 5% of the cost of your holiday and you are covered for all three from the moment you receive your policy.Back to top
Things to Consider When Looking for Holiday Travel Insurance in Australia
When choosing your holiday travel insurance policy, there are certain things you need to look for to make sure you are adequately covered. These include:
- Is the policy relevant to the country or part of the world you are travelling to and does it cover you in all the countries you plan to visit?
- What are the coverage limits in each of the three main areas and are they sufficient to cover costs in a worst case scenario?
- How much is the excess you will have to pay?
- If holidaying in the snow, does the policy protect against bad weather closure and cancellation and emergency rescue, including helicopter rescue?
- Are you covered for airline and end supplier insolvency?
- Is personal liability insurance of at least several million dollars included in the cover provided?
- If you plan to do any adventure sports such as skiing, climbing or white water rafting, are these covered by the policy and if not, can they be included for an additional fee?
- Is emergency dental treatment included in the medical expenses cover?
- Are funeral expenses included (if you die overseas, bringing your body home can be very expensive for your loved ones)?
- Does the premium price reflect the level of cover being provided?
- What is the claims procedure offered by the insurer when you are overseas?
These are just a few of the questions you need to ask when deciding if a travel insurance policy is right for you and you should always seek advice from an insurance broker or consultant if in any doubt about what you are purchasing.Back to top
Making a Holiday Travel Insurance Claim
Hopefully, you won't need to make a claim on your holiday travel insurance, but in case you ever do, it is important to have everything you need to ensure it is successful. This includes:
- Good records – these include a list of your personal belongings, with photographs, serial numbers etc and receipts for items that you purchase for your trip, such as cameras or electronics.
- A copy of your holiday travel insurance policy, which should be left at home in Australia in a safe place.
- Emergency numbers and contact phone numbers for your insurance company, Australian embassy and local police, kept on your person.
- A police report if you are the victim of a crime, which must be reported within 24 hours.
- Written confirmation of your illness or injury from a qualified doctor or dentist, if claiming for medical or dental expenses.
- Original ticket receipts and a letter from the travel agent showing any changes to your journey, when claiming for trip interruption or cancellation.
Depending on the nature and severity of the claim, you can either call your insurer from overseas or deal with the matter when you get home. Most insurers provide an emergency overseas contact number, which you should carry with you on your holiday.Back to top
More Holiday Travel Insurance Tips
There are several other important things to keep in mind regarding holiday travel insurance. The first is to make sure you have it. Some Australians believe they only need to insure themselves when travelling to countries that are considered less safe than Australia, but this is not the case. The majority of claims are actually made in countries deemed 'safe' and usually for very common occurrences such as cancelled flights and lost luggage.
Another thing to bear in mind when purchasing travel insurance is that if you do intend to participate in adventure sports of any kind while overseas, make sure you get cover for them before you leave, as buying insurance once you get there will be much more expensive.
Finally, as when buying any insurance, you need to shop around for your holiday travel insurance. Only by comparing policies can you get an idea of what should be covered and how much it should be costing you and the best way to do this is to shop around online.Back to top
Apply for Holiday Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is something every Australian needs when they go on holiday, whether they're backpacking or travelling first class. Saying it is too expensive simply doesn't cut it, as at around 5% of your total trip cost, it is actually very affordable. So be sure to factor it in when saving for your next holiday, because, as they say in insurance circles, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel.Back to top