When it comes to family holidays, costs quickly add up. Flights, accommodation, tours, meals – things get very expensive, very quickly. However, when it comes to trying to save a few dollars, forgoing travel insurance for your family is not the way to go. But for almost 50 per cent of Australian families, it’s exactly what they’re doing.
A recent study* by 1Cover Travel Insurance has revealed a staggering 45 per cent of Australian families with children do not take out coverage each time they travel overseas. This is despite the fact that nearly all Australian travel insurance providers cover dependents for no additional cost.
School holidays can be stressful enough for parents, and booking cover for the annual family holiday can easily get pushed to the bottom of the to-do list. However, by not taking out coverage, parents may be unwittingly risking the wellbeing of their loved ones, and putting themselves at risk of having to pay huge costs if unexpected accidents, breakages, and cancellations occur.
There’s no doubt Australians love to travel, and the number of people travelling abroad each year continues to rise. Australian Bureau of Statistics data# shows that, in the year ending June 2016, a record number of Aussies travelled overseas, with almost 9.7 million recorded departures. That equates to 42 in every 100 Australians.
The most popular family holiday destinations are in South-East Asia, the Pacific Islands, and New Zealand, as well as the United States. For a family of four, the average cost of travel insurance to these countries is generally between $95 and $174**. Meanwhile, accidents, lost luggage, medical bills and other unexpected issues in these countries can easily cost tens of thousands of dollars for a person travelling without cover. A basic doctor’s appointment in the US costs, on average, $500. That’s more than the cost of a one-day ticket to Disneyland for a family of four. If admitted to hospital in the US, a seven-night stay can cost around $30,000, while the add-on cost of doctor’s fees, medicine, and treatments can see this figure rise to up to $100,000 a week. For this same amount, a family could stay on Richard Branson’s private Necker Island for one week.
South-East Asia has a high incidence of food poisoning and theft, while the US is prone to lost luggage and huge medical bills for even the most minor illness or accident. Popular outdoor recreation and adventure destinations such as New Zealand mean broken bones and other bumps and bruises can be common, while the unpredictable weather of the Pacific Islands commonly grounds aircraft and leaves uninsured travellers forced to foot the bill for additional days’ stuck overseas.
“When travelling, particularly with your family, you really need to be prepared for anything. You just never know what’s going to happen,” Richard Warburton, Chief Operating Officer at 1Cover Travel Insurance, has said. “Is skipping travel insurance in order to save a few extra dollars really worth risking the safety of your family?
“While coverage doesn’t stop things going wrong, it does provide peace of mind. People can relax in the knowledge that if something goes awry while on holidays, they won’t be alone. Expert support is at hand.”
*Colmar Brunton survey on behalf of 1Cover Travel Insurance. Data captured July 2016
**As quoted by 1Cover Travel Insurance. Prices correct as of September 2016
# Data sourced from Australian Bureau of Statistics