Travel Insurance : What to know

Travel insurance may just well be your best friend while traveling around Australia.

A well used phrase and very true! Even if you are eligible for reciprocal insurance in your country of destination, you should still consider strongly, some form of insurance that covers other issues, including baggage, emergency air ticket in case of death of a family member, emergency cash and I could go on and on. Do yourself a favour and pickup a couple of travel insurance policies and read them carefully, to see what it does cover and you’ll be pleasantly surprised in most cases.

When looking at different travel insurance policies there are a number of “small print” items you will need to be wary of. Firstly, check out the cover on injury whilst working. Assuming you will be working legally overseas, you may be covered by Workers Compensation, which is paid for by your employer. This will cover you for injuries and accidents while on the job. However, there maybe maximum limits of coverage and this is where a good travel insurance policy will kick in, covering the gap between what is paid for, and what the total cost is.

One important tip – always take a photograph of all items you are going to pack, in the event of something been stolen, to assist with any claim you put through the insurance company. There are many travel insurance policies these days that are specifically put together for the working traveler, which include coverage for on the job accidents, as discussed above, as well as adventure activities that many young, energetic travelers take part in on their days of leisure. As a rule of thumb, the more expensive the policy, the more coverage you have, so choose a policy that is appropriate to your needs.

By way of highlighting some important issues to consider when taking out your travel insurance policy, below are a series of questions you should ask before committing to a travel insurance policy:

If you had to cancel your trip, what cover would be available for loss of deposit or ticket payment and other cancellation charges?
What type of medical and hospital cover is included and what is the maximum cover?
Does it cover existing medical conditions? If so, under what circumstances?
Do you intend to undertake adventure activities such as SCUBA diving or snow skiing?
What if you were injured and needed to fly home quickly?
Does it cover the airfare home if there is a death or serious illness of a family member?
Is there a 24-hour contact phone number for emergencies?
What public liability is included?

How much money have you invested in your luggage? If there are individual expensive items, can you insure them for the full amount, by paying a little extra? What is the maximum payout per item and per section of the policy? ie baggage, medical and hospital etc.
Will the policy cover things you buy overseas? Will the policy cover cash?
Will the policy cover items stolen from a car, including the boot What excess is payable on each claim?
Can you “buy out” the excess, by paying a little more on your policy?

How to you make claims. For instance, what evidence is required for stolen goods e.g. police report, receipts, photo of items. Also find out where claims can be made i.e. in the country where the incident happened, or do you wait until you arrive back in Oz?
If you claim overseas, what is the actual process ie do you have to send the claim back to Australia for processing?
Can you insurance policy be extended while you are overseas and can this be done on your behalf by a family member or friend?
What is the maximum length of time that the policy can be extended? Some policies can only be extended a maximum of your original policy. For example, let’s say you took out 3 months insurance and wanted to extend. Some insurance companies will only allow you to extend another 3 months only, so make sure you ask before signing up.
Will the policy cover you while you are working as a paid or volunteer worker?

We will endeavour to research new links for travel insurance because it seems that there may be some discounting on policies going on somewhere on the ‘net’. Stay tuned.