Things every traveller needs to know about travel insurance

InsureandGo provides its top tips to help you buy the right cover for your next holiday

Sydney, 30 April 2014 – Online travel insurance specialist InsureandGo looks at the most common questions that their customers ask and provides a comprehensive guide to travel insurance; from helping you select the policy that is right for you, to making sure you take the necessary steps to help process your claim if the worst happens.

Travel insurance provides peace of mind when you are travelling; should you become ill, fall victim to crime or have to cancel your trip due to unforeseen circumstances - you can recover some or all of your costs. However, as InsureandGo General Manager, Sebastian Kaisin explains, an alarming amount of travelers find themselves underinsured or have their claims rejected due to some common pitfalls and misconceptions.

"Unfortunately, due to a combination of lack of research and understanding the different levels of cover offered by insurers, many travellers do not select the right level of cover for their needs. Every holiday you take is different, so it stands to reason that your travel insurance needs will also differ from trip to trip," he said.

"The activities undertaken on a beach holiday in Bali will be very different to a skiing trip in New Zealand. Make sure that all of the activities you plan to do during your holiday are fully covered by your policy to avoid being caught out should you need to claim," Mr Kaisin said

Most common claims

In 2013, InsureandGo processed 38 per cent of claims for the loss or theft of personal belongings and baggage (up from 25 percent in 2012), with the most popular item being smartphones. Not all levels of travel insurance will cover lost or stolen phones and cameras so if you plan to take these or other gadgets away with you, research your level of cover and select the cover that will include these items.

'Medical expenses' were the next most frequent claim, making up 37 per cent of all claims from travellers in 2013, with gastroenteritis being the most common medical condition, followed by food poisoning, then physical injuries from a slip or a fall. Reassuringly, all InsureandGo policies, even the basic level of cover, offer unlimited medical cover if you become ill or are injured during your trip.

InsureandGo Claims and Operations Manager, Julius Paramour provides the most common reasons why claims are rejected:

  • No official police report was obtained. If your belongings are lost or stolen whilst travelling, you will need to obtain an official police report from a police station in the region where the incident took place. Without this official documentation your claim will not be valid.
  • People not understanding what ‘unattended’ means in relation to a stolen goods claim. For example – leaving personal items outside a bathroom stall, leaving a wallet on a shop counter or leaving your items alone on a pool lounger or on the beach whilst you go swimming are all considered as leaving your goods unattended and any stolen goods claims that occur because of these actions are likely to be denied.
  • Not lodging your claim in time - you must lodge your claim within 30 days after returning from your trip. Any claims made after this time will be rejected.
  • Not buying cover for all your relevant travel destinations – if you travel to a destination that is not included in your cover, any claims made during that entire trip will be denied. This includes any transit or stopover destinations. Even if you are only stopping in a destination for a few hours, you should make sure that destination is covered by your policy, just in case something happens.
  • Not having all the relevant documentation to submit with your claim - for any lost or stolen goods claims, you will require proof of purchase for all of the items that you are claiming for.
  • Not having the right level of cover – read your PDS (Product Disclosure Statement) thoroughly before you purchase a travel insurance policy to ensure that it matches the needs of your trip.
  • People not willing/ cannot afford to pay the excess – be aware that most insurance policies have an excess; if you do not want to pay an excess fee at the time of claiming you will need to include an excess waiver in your policy and pay a higher premium.

What to do if you are too sick to travel

If you fall sick prior to your trip, you must go and see a doctor. If your doctor deems you unfit to travel, you must not travel as you will not be covered by your travel insurance policy. InsureandGo Claims and Operations Manager, Julius Paramour advises that if you fall sick whilst overseas and are no longer able to enjoy your holiday, you must head to the nearest medical facility immediately.

"Remember to take your passport with you as most hospitals will require this to treat you. Whenever possible, call your insurer or ask your travelling companion to call them on your behalf and explain the situation.

"If required, InsureandGo are able to send a guarantee of payment to the medical facility to cover your cost. They will also send any information about any pre-existing conditions that you declared when you purchased the policy," Mr Paramour says.

Another important point to remember is that if you have to pay for any medical costs whilst outside of Australia, make sure to keep all original receipts as you will need these to support your claim.

What to do if you need to cancel your trip

Prior to departure, unforeseen circumstances can arise that may prevent you from travelling such as a medical emergency or the death of a family member. You will only be covered if you need to cancel your trip due to unforeseen circumstances. In each case, the insurer would seek relevant documentation to show when something happened. Insurers will not pay out if you just change your mind and decide you no longer want to go away.

Top 5 things to look out for with your next travel insurance purchase

  1. Unlimited medical cover on international trips
  2. Cover for lost baggage
  3. Do they consider pre-existing conditions?
  4. Medical evacuation
  5. 24hr emergency assistance and you should be able to contact them from anywhere in the world

Things to consider before you book your travel insurance:

  • Declare any pre-existing medical conditions and ensure that you are not travelling against medical advice. All InsureandGo policies offer unlimited medical cover if you become ill or are injured during your trip. InsureandGo offers a simple online medical questionnaire to make it quick and simple for travellers to declare and get cover for their pre-existing medical conditions and all medical conditions are considered.
  • Make sure you choose a policy that covers all the activities you plan to take part in during your trip. If you are doing any winter sports for example you may need to upgrade your policy to cover these activities.
  • Check the latest travel warnings from DFAT (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade). You will not be covered if you travel against the government’s advice. Visit www.smartraveller.gov.au for up to date travel advice.
  • Choose the appropriate level for your specific needs - make sure you choose a policy that covers all the activities that you plan to take part in and that the baggage cover is suitable for the items you plan to take away with you.
  • Check that your insurer has 24/7 assistance should an emergency arise - InsureandGo has a 24 hour emergency assistance line provided by MAPFRE ASSISTANCE, a multinational insurance, reinsurance and assistance services provider with more than 90 million people insured.
  • If you will be travelling a number of times per year, it may be more cost effective to purchase an Annual Multi-Trip Travel Insurance product.This policy covers you for an unlimited number of trips throughout the year, subject to maximum trip duration options of 30, 45 or 60 days.

InsureandGo is one of world’s largest online travel insurance companies covering over 1.6 million travellers every year. The company launched in Australia in 2010. InsureandGo prides itself on its comprehensive and price competitive travel insurance policies and are constantly creating new policies to meet the needs of their customers.

InsureandGo recently received top marks in the CANSTAR Travel Insurance Star Ratings report – announced as a national winner in CANSTAR’s comparison of 49 travel insurance brands in Australia winning the outstanding value for Domestic Travel Insurance. They also received the highest possible ranking of five stars for international travel insurance to New Zealand, Fiji, China, Bali, Thailand and South Africa.

InsureandGo Australia is wholly owned by Mapfre Asistencia, a multinational insurance, reinsurance and assistance services provider. With 46 offices located throughout Europe, America, Asia and Africa, Mapfre Asistencia works with more than 1,500 corporate clients, has 90 million people insured and 190 million beneficiaries. It employs over 5100 people, has 35 24-hour assistance centres, with over 2000 multilingual operators and 315,000 health providers.

For further information on InsureandGo’s award winning travel insurance policies, please visit www.insureandgo.com.au.

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Travel pages

Here is a list of several other travel pages that might be of some interest:

Kids go free*

Seniors travel insurance

Claims advice

*on all single and family policies when travelling with you