Travel insurance Australia – What travel insurance excludes
30/09/2014 | By: Sebastian |
Travel insurance in Australia excludes claims for a variety of situations overseas. Consider the exclusions before you buy travel insurance. Claims are usually made for cancellations of all or part of their travel, expensive medical incidents, or for lost or stolen baggage or personal belongings. Other claims are excluded.
Why buy travel insurance?
The most important reason to buy travel insurance is in case of a medical incident. This is especially the case for travel overseas where it can cost tens of thousands of dollars to cover medical care and bring a patient back to Australia. The government will not cover the cost so you are personally liable. Travel is to be enjoyed, so you do not need the headache of of a second mortgage on your home just to pay a very large medical bill in the tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
There are other reasons to buy travel insurance in addition to potential medical incidents. Your baggage could be lost or stolen. The trip could be cancelled for a variety of reasons from airline problems to natural disasters. Theft of belongings can and does often occur in airports an other public places and even in hotels. These are just some of the reasons you should buy travel insurance.
- Always be honest in declaring any pre-existing medical conditions when you buy travel insurance. If you disclose all that you are legally required to then you have every legal avenue open to you if required later.
- Read the fine print for limits on how much you can claim for each individual item.
- Read the fine print for what costs and other items are not covered if all or part of the trip is cancelled. Common reasons for cancellations of flights for example are airlines and airports experiencing problems. These are not always covered by travel insurance.
- Ensure that the insurance covers all of the activities during your trip and for the entire time of that trip. It is in your best interests to disclose all destinations, methods of travel (flight, car, train and so on), and activities. You then have full legal recourse in the event of an insurer rejecting all or part of a claim.
- Always keep the product disclosure document to refer to the fine print.
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As always with any form of insurance there are exclusions for a range of situations. There are some general exclusions. If you leave your baggage unattended and it is stolen then your insurer may not cover the cost of replacement. If you have a pre-existing medical condition then you need to find out in the fine print if you will be able to obtain insurance. Travel to dangerous places and engaging in dangerous activities may result in a rejection of insurance coverage.
In addition to these general exclusions there are specific ones for a variety of situations. Cruise ships with a few thousand people on board can experience outbreaks of viruses. Does your insurance cover related medical expenses and hospitalisation in this situation? Swimming in polluted water may not be covered by insurance. Traffic accidents in countries where everyone drives like a lunatic around cities may not be fully covered. Are you covered if a ferry sinks or a plane crashes and you are on it? Are you covered at airports where criminal gangs regularly work to steal from passengers right under the nose of those employed to watch out for such activities? Always shop around, read the fine print and find out what the exclusions are before you buy travel insurance.
- Check your credit card insurance, current home and contents insurance, and car insurance to see what losses may be covered during any travel.
- Try to obtain comprehensive insurance coverage. Basic coverage may not be suitable. Read the conditions for each type of insurance to see what you can and cannot claim for if something goes wrong. Also, look at the amount of coverage each type of insurance provides.
- Look at what excess is payable for each type of insurance coverage. Some types may have a fee to remove the excess. The excess can be quite high for basic coverage but lower for comprehensive coverage.
- Read up on what evidence and other information you need to provide when making a claim. Many insurers try to avoid paying claims for as long as possible. They even resort to making excuses and threatening language, which does not always frighten the customer away from making a claim. So make it easy on yourself by documenting everything. Always budget to consult with a lawyer about claims and the fine print. Find out also whom to escalate a complaint to both within the insurance company and external organisations that may help.
- Look at what the cooling off period is in case you need to take advantage of it for any reason.
Once you have determined your insurance budget and what coverage you need out of the insurance, you can then shop around and look for all of the above. If you read reviews then ignore “testimonials” on the web site of insurers because of course they will be positive. Similarly, remember that reviews on independent web sites are usually from disgruntled customers who did not read the fine print before they bought insurance and made a claim. Industry awards and ratings should always be ignored as well because they are usually not from consumer groups. If you must read reviews then consider all of what you read from a variety of sources to form an impression of what the insurer may be like.
Open a spreadsheet on your computer and list all of the components for each insurer plus the total cost of insurance at the end of each column for the level you wish to buy. You can use a “Yes” and a “No” in each column to indicate the pros and cons. Alternatively, you could rank each component from each insurer on a scale of 1 to 10. Then you can tally the total points up at the end of each column. Either way, you will then have a good idea of which insurer to buy travel insurance from.
Check the reviews and tests on Choice to see the latest insurance reviews. This will confirm some of your research and then you are ready to buy travel insurance in Australia and enjoy your trip.