Travel insurance is all about the unexpected. Travel is life-changing, but every trip comes with some level of risk. That’s simply the nature of being away from home. A quick Google search reveals an almost overwhelming array of options for cover, with some significant variations in price.
Like a lot of things, the rule of thumb here is that you almost always get what you pay for. Cheaper insurance may cover off basics like hospital cover, cancellation and luggage, but there can be some caveats in there that help to keep the price down. Below are some examples of the differences travel insurance policies to be aware of.
Travel insurance isn’t just about what happens on holiday; the lead-up to departure is equally important. If, for some reason, you need to cancel your holiday, you’re left with a slew of (potentially non-refundable) deposits that you’ve paid. Being insured can help to cover these costs.
This is also true if a provider can’t give you the service you paid for. A provider going under leaves the traveller in a pinch, with a need to re-book services and pay for them a second time. A quality travel insurance policy should include this coverage for these events, meaning you won’t be out of pocket in the long run.
Delayed flights when travelling between destinations can wreak havoc on your itinerary and your spending money. With the right policy, extra emergency accommodation and meals will be covered.
Spare a thought for the poor folks at the airport who didn’t get to see their suitcases rolling off the carousel in baggage claim. They know the pain of having to make do with your carry-on in another country. Delayed or lost luggage is common enough for almost everyone to know someone that it has happened to. With many travel insurance policies, however, emergency supplies are covered. That means you can head out and pick up some new clothes while waiting for your bags to be found, without footing the bill yourself.
Injury and illness are an essential consideration for travel insurance. The coverage provided for them is the cornerstone of almost every policy on offer, and for good reason. Outside of Medicare and the world-class, reliable Australian medical system, being unwell or injured in another country can be a pricey predicament. Even something as simple as a stomach bug can land you in hospital, and if that does happen, the bills are not something you want to be worrying about.
When the absolute worst happens, you want to be sure you’re covered, so it’s important to know exactly what you’re getting and read the fine print! It’s a small step in the grand scheme of travel preparations, but you’ll thank yourself for it later! While different policies may include medical cover, some may specifically exclude issues like terror attacks or natural disasters.
Civil unrest in your destination is also something to consider, as it can have a tremendous impact on travel plans. Services can shut down and particular areas can be unreachable. If this prevents you from going about your planned itinerary, discuss with your travel agent and your insurer.
In conclusion, it’s essential to familiarise yourself with the travel insurance product you’re purchasing. It might not be as exciting as researching destinations, but you’ll thank yourself in the end. Every travel insurance policy is different and the above is solely intended as general advice. Always read the Product Disclosure Statement and conduct thorough research before purchasing a policy.