New research from the Westpac Global Travel Study reveals over one third of Victorians (35 per cent) do not purchase travel insurance before going on a holiday.
The data shows that New South Wales and Western Australia are not too far behind, with 33 per cent of people in each state unlikely to purchase travel insurance cover, followed by Queensland and South Australia (31 per cent and 29 per cent respectively).
On the other end of the scale, the most cautious Australian state with regards to travel is Tasmania, where only one in five people (19 per cent) say they are unlikely to purchase travel insurance before packing their bags and hitting the road.
The value placed on travel insurance also varies greatly among age groups and increases with age; only 62 per cent of Australians aged 18-29 believe the cover is important, compared to 73 per cent of 40-49s and 77 per cent of those aged 60 and above.
Westpac’s Head of Consumer Finance and Payments, Stephen Benton, said, “With over 6.8 million overseas trips made by Australians every year, it is concerning to see so many Australians opt out of purchasing travel insurance. Without the appropriate cover they’re putting themselves at risk of financial debt as well as emotional and physical difficulty in the case of an emergency whilst on holiday.”
“At Westpac, we understand the ‘one size fits all’ principle does not apply with travel insurance, so we provide a range of options that include single, family, domestic and international cover as well as different policies for varying lengths of travel.”
Understanding that selecting travel insurance can be a daunting task, Stephen suggests a few things to look out for when choosing a policy:
- Check how your planned activities are defined. If your holiday involves adventure activities it’s worthwhile checking how different policies define these. “Some activities may be considered high-risk to one insurer and only medium risk or low risk to another, which may affect your premium in the case of an accident,” says Stephen.
- Research what activities aren’t covered. With basic policies, some activities like skiing, snowboarding and other snow sports may not be covered, but can often be purchased as an extra. You shouldn’t assume something is covered without doing your research first.
- Pay attention to government warnings. Before deciding on a travel insurance policy, it is wise to check if the Australian Government has recently issued a travel warning for the country you plan to travel to as many policies will not cover you in these destinations, while others may at an additional cost. You can check government warnings and register your travel plans online at smarttraveller.gov.au.
- Ensure the hire car is covered. If you’re planning on hiring a car on your holiday, it’s beneficial to select a policy that will pay out the excess on the car rental insurance if there are any damages. “Westpac travel insurance offers cover between up to $2,000-$4,000 towards hire car insurance excess which is ideal if you’re planning on doing a lot of driving, and saves you from purchasing separate insurance with the car hire company,” says Stephen.
- Ask about pre-existing medical conditions. If you have an existing medical condition it’s recommended you speak with the provider to confirm you’ll be covered if needed. Some insurers will not cover any pre-existing medical conditions, while others will be happy to include this as an extension to the policy provided the correct documentation is provided.