Holidays are a time for Australians to put their feet up and relax. But summer also means making decisions about whether to get insurance cover for holiday nightmares: getting sick, cancelled flights, losing bags and bad weather, among the most common.
The Australian Government handles 20,000 cases of Australians in difficulty overseas each year, but making decisions about travel insurance can be challenging. In the lead up to summer, independent not-for-profit risk and insurance education network Know Risk has released a practical and user-friendly checklist to support consumers to make insurance decisions.
The checklist is launched amid increasing consumer awareness of the losses that may result from illness, natural disasters and other events while on holidays. But while many consumers are more aware of the role insurance plays, some are still unsure about what is covered under their policies. The checklist aims to provide impartial support to consumers so that they can make decisions that meet their needs.
“There are so many providers of travel insurance and deciding whether you need cover, what kind you should get and who insures you can be a significant challenge. This is a real back-to-basics checklist that travellers can run through to guide their decision-making,” said spokesperson and CEO of ANZIIF, Know Risk’s developer, Prue Willsford.
The full checklist is:
1. Decide what cover you need
¨ What level of medical cover will you need?
¨ Are you taking any valuables on your trip?
¨ Will you be doing any sports or activities that have a likelihood of causing injury?
¨ If you have to cancel your trip, will you want your money back?
¨ Do you want to be insured from the time you book your flights, or just for the period of travel?
¨ What kind of cover will you want for your personal belongings and baggage?
¨ Do you want cover for just you, or will you be travelling with family members?
¨ Are you planning on renting a car while you are away?
2. Choose an insurance provider
¨ Get at least three quotes to compare (online, in person or via phone)
¨ Check what kinds of excesses apply on various policy inclusions
¨ Note any limits that apply on policy inclusions
¨ Do any age restrictions apply
¨ If you book your trip via credit card, is complimentary travel insurance provided and what does it cover?
¨ Consider using an online aggregator site (are all aggregator sites equal?)
¨ Don’t hide information from your insurer as it will risk your cover being voided when you need it
¨ Always call up and talk to an insurer if you require more information.
3. Take note of typical exclusions
¨ Pre-existing medical conditions
¨ Do any age restrictions apply
¨ Travelling against medical advice
¨ Travelling to a destination that the Government has warned against travelling to
¨ Leaving your belongings unattended
¨ Some high-risk activities (swimming with sharks, bungee jumping etc)
¨ Disobeying road rules while driving in a foreign country
¨ Drinking and driving
¨ Reckless behaviour (anything that happens while you are under the influence of drugs/alcohol)
¨ Changing your mind and electing not to go on the trip
¨ Passports or visas not arriving in time for you to go on your trip
4. Know what to do if you need to claim
¨ Write down and take emergency assistance, insurance and consulate phone numbers
¨ Save copies of insurance and travel documents to a secure email or cloud account
¨ Know what sorts of documentation will be required if you need to make a claim
¨ Understand there may be a wait time for your claim to be processed
¨ Have the proof of ownership required for claims on stolen items
¨ Note what your insurer advises in the event you need medical treatment
¨ Check if you need to claim while overseas or if it can wait until you get home and note any time limits on making a claim that might apply
¨ Read the fine print (What is a PDS and why you need to read it)
Know Risk is an independent, non-profit practical risk and insurance information initiative developed by the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance with the support of community and emergency groups, insurers and risk experts.