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The Tough Big 5 Travel Insurance Questions Answered

October 9, 2015 Insurance No Comments Email Email

When you find yourself up the travel insurance reek without a paddle, there are heaps of questions you might be asking yourself, including, “Where IS that bloody paddle?” with the answer for many sadly … there is no paddle!

 Travel insurance specialist, David Ringsell of also says, Lying on a bed in a rather average third world hospital is not the best time to think about travel insurance or the best time to ask yourself the 5 big travel insurance questions … Am I Covered?  How do I make a claim?  What documents do I need?  Will I be out of pocket?  Who do I call?”

He also says that when you are far from home and you find yourself up the travel insurance creek without a paddle, there are many questions you may ask yourself, including, “Where is that bloody paddle?”, with the answer for many sadly, … there is no paddle!

Mr Ringsell said that “Am I Covered? How do I make a claim? What documents do I need? Will I be out of pocket? Who do I call?” are the most common questions that come up time and time again, and while everyone should try to read the Policy Disclosure Statement, they are certainly not expected to have memorised each and every line!”

He added, “Of course, though while we always recommend clients try to read the PDS carefully, it is really important that they ensure that the product they chose is right for them and their needs, with also my answers to these 5 common questions pretty standard and they should be borne in mind to ensure all travellers know what to do if they get into strife.”

Question 1: Am I covered?

With a myriad of policies and travel plans available with varying levels of cover to choose from, my advice is be really careful to choose the one that covers the activities you plan to undertake and also that neither the cheapest or the most expensive policy may be the one best suited for your specific needs.

For example, if you go cruising like the other one million or so Australians who kicked back on board one of the worlds’ cruise liners last year, you would be wise to make sure you are covered when you are out in the middle of the ocean.   Try and bear in mind before you travel if can you get a commitment that your insurer really will arrange for a helicopter to rescue you while out at sea, or will you be left in the sick bay until you can be offloaded at the next suitable port?
It’s also no use getting snow sports cover if you are off to the Bahamas for a tropical summer, but if you plan to ride a motorcycle or scooter you need to be sure there is a provision for this in your policy, as most insurers require you to be licenced at home for the class of vehicle you plan to use while you are away, and with scooter and motorbike accidents are amongst some of the highest levels of accident claims from travellers overseas, especially in Asia.

Also, as a general rule of thumb, you really need to be aware that if you break the law, or intentionally put yourself in harm’s way, or you are adversely affected by alcohol or drugs and something happens, there is a fair chance your travel insurer won’t pay out, because you could have voided your policy by not taking reasonable precautions and taking reasonable care of yourself and your luggage.

It is also very interestingly worth remembering with all policies, if something is not specifically excluded in the PDS, then it is covered!

Question 2: How do I make a claim?

Making a claim doesn’t have to be a chore, but with some insurance companies, it really can be!

Sometimes you will want to make a claim straight away, if for instance your luggage is lost or delayed and you are in the New Zealand snow fields with just your Bermuda shorts, it stands to reason you could need help sooner rather than later.

So, if your needs are a little more urgent or if you just aren’t sure what to do, you need help with lost documents or bags, a medivac from the alps, emergency cash, or an ER dash, all these can be just a free call away, in the case by calling QBE Assist free from landlines worldwide and 24/7/365.

If it’s a stolen camera, a script to fix your Bali belly or a GP visit for a twisted ankle, you can lodge your claim online, by email or regular postal services while you are away or you may want to save the paperwork until you return – the choice is yours.

Question 3: What documents do I need?

If you are in any doubt about whether you need that photo of the Pelican stealing your handbag, the receipt for the taxi to chase the fleeing bird, the receipt for the replacement bag, or the doctor’s report to check on your racing heart after you admit defeat, my advice is to keep everything, no matter how trivial it may seem at the time!

It is far better to have more documentation than you think you need to support your claim, but pulling it all together will also help you remember to claim all the little things!  How many times have I reminded people about the expensive box of special wound dressings, the multiple bus or taxi fares to the doctor, or the replacement ticket to the missed show?  These items and more could be part of the event being claimed for, and in many situations could be reimbursed.

However, whenever you lodge your claim, remember that you will need your travel insurance policy number and my tip is to print 2 copies, taking one with you on the trip and leaving one with a friend or relative at home.  Or, in this digital age you can upload your certificate of insurance and copies of other important documents to the Easy Travel Vault cloud based, document storage facility and it gets better, it is totally secure and free and very simple to use from any PC with an internet connection… anywhere in the world!  Another of my tips is to ask your doctor to download your medical records onto a USB memory stick so that you can take it with you and/or load your records on to the Easy Travel Vault cloud based, document storage facility, so that the doctors treating you are as well informed as they can be about your medical history.

When you make a claim you will also need to have your travel details to hand and also all the particulars of your claim, including supporting documentation such as police, medical or airline reports, contact details of any doctors or hospitals you attended and of course receipts for any out of pocket expenses, and I suggest you prepare those before contacting your insurer.

Question 4: Will I be out of pocket? 

If you are in a hospital, especially with a foreign language medical team asking about your ability to pay before you can be treated, it’s nice to know that with policies, the QBE Assist team is just a phone call away.   They have a highly skilled team of multi lingual and medical experts are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and they can also communicate directly with the emergency room and the doctors treating you, sometimes authorising treatments, which also means you don’t need to keep a monster reserve on your credit card to pay the bills up front, as with some travel insurance companies.

Most insurers also offer options for different excess levels at the time you purchase your travel insurance, generally ranging from a $0 excess to $100 and $200, so depending on the option you select, which will affect your premium, you may not need to pay any excess at all.

Regardless of the level of excess you select though, the good news is that some events that do not carry an excess, for example with you won’t have to pay any excess for claims such as replacement documents, emergency luggage, stolen cash, replacement of golf or surf equipment, travel delay, return of rental vehicles, cover for your home and contents insurance excess if your home is damaged or burgled while you are away, hospital compensation, post hospital accommodation and some business services.

Question 5: Who do I call?

When overseas it is can be very challenging using the local phone system especially with an unfamiliar language and high stress levels, so with policies another great features is that if you need emergency assistance, advice on how to organise emergency luggage or cash, if you just need help finding the local embassy or consulate to organise travel documents, or if you are unsure whether you can claim for an event and how to deal with your situation QBE Assist is ready to help YOU when you need it most.

QBE Assist can be called free from landlines at any time, from anywhere in the world and will guide you through your moment of need, with the list of numbers for assistance worldwide included as part of your certificate of insurance, so it is vital keep this document safe and sound at all times.

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