If you cannot afford travel insurance, you cannot afford to travel. Do what we travel professionals do, ALWAYS take Travel Insurance.
There are many things to consider when travelling overseas. While overseas travel can be an exciting prospect, there can be situations where things may go wrong and travellers find themselves needing urgent medical assistance, help with replacing lost luggage and/or assistance with making an urgent trip home. This is where Travel Insurance can help.
We've all heard the horror stories of people losing their money, passport, sometimes their entire luggage, leaving them stranded far from home. Or worse, being injured or just getting sick in the wrong part of the world.
Many travellers do not take out travel insurance believing "it won't happen to me." As former travel agents and current extensive travellers, we know it can, and does happen to many travellers across the world!
Some important points to consider are:
- Many coach touring companies will now not let you depart on a tour if you do not have sufficient travel insurance. These includes renowned companies such as Trafalgar Tours, Insight, Contiki and Cosmos.
- Medical costs can be very expensive when travelling internationally (e.g. over AUD$180 for a GP visit in the USA).
- Medicare does not cover you in most overseas countries. Contact Medicare to see which countries we have reciprocal medical cover with.
- Medical costs In the UK: Aussies are covered on a reciprocal basis with the NHS (and our Medicare), true but not the costs of medicines unless in hospital itself. Plus repatriation to Australia is not covered either.
- Travellers should read the policy thoroughly before they purchase travel insurance to ensure it meets all their needs and provides the appropriate level of cover.
My Credit Card is offering me Free Cover.
Why should I pay for Travel Insurance?
Carefully read the fine print when you see advertisements offering free travel insurance when you pay for the trip with your credit or charge card.
This is not always comprehensive travel insurance that you are being offered. Insurance will usually be provided to the individual card holder and will cover any immediate family if they were travelling together, if their travel itinerary is identical or, in some cases, if it is very similar.
To qualify for the insurance, cardholders need to either purchase the return
airfare on their credit card or spend a certain dollar amount while overseas. It is not enough to assume that the cover is deluxe quality and comprehensive because it is attached to a premium card.
Still not convinced? The following Case Studies give just a few examples of what can go wrong.
Hit by a Car, USA
A young man worked in a US ski resort for four months, then took time off to travel around the US. He permitted his 12-month travel insurance policy to expire just a few days before his departure for home. He was hit by a car while crossing a road and suffered serious head injuries.
He was admitted unconscious to intensive care and required highly intensive sophisticated care until he was able to be flown back to Australia. He was still unconscious and returned on a stretcher. The cost to the family for the medical evacuation alone was $80,000. They have taken out a second mortgage on their house to raise the funds.
Head Injuries, Age 22, Britain
In England a 22-year-old woman suffered critical head injuries as a result of falling down stairs. After 42 days in hospital (free of charge) she was finally repatriated to Australia. The aerial repatriation required a stretcher, oxygen, a doctor and a nurse as escorts.
The insurance company also paid for a parent to fly to England and the parentГ‚Вґs accommodation while the client was hospitalized. Costs included additional expenses; cash in hospital, money (missing from person) and permanent disability benefit.
Collapsed Toilet, Age 52, Vietnam
An air ambulance was required to conduct an emergency evacuation of an Australian businessman from Vietnam to Singapore for urgent surgery after a toilet gave way underneath him causing severe lacerations and resulting in potentially terminal infection.
After 7 days of treatment and recuperation he was transferred back to Perth. Costs included medical, evacuation and additional expenses.
Angina/Stroke, Age 69, USA
During a six-week tour of the US a recently retired businessman was rushed to hospital suffering from severe angina requiring immediate coronary artery bypass surgery. Five days after the surgery the client suffered a stroke and vital organ failure.
The client remained in hospital for another 30 days and required life support. He was later repatriated with an intensive care doctor and intensive care nurse. Costs included medical, evacuation and additional expenses.