Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has commissioned not-for-profit organization CHOICE to come up with a comprehensive guide dedicated to single and family travel insurance. It is very useful for anyone that wants to know more about why a good policy is so important and can help decipher the best one to cover their needs. In simple terms, here are some of the more important points of the guide worth noting.
Why Get Single and Family travel insurance?
• You don’t end up a burden to your family and friends.
• Some countries won’t allow you in without a policy.
• You don’t have to worry about things that could go wrong while you’re on holiday.
• Your government won’t pay your bills for you if you’re not insured.
Will Insurers Pay Out?
• The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) shows that around 90% of all claims filed were paid. Of the remaining 10%, many were due to the buyer misunderstanding the extent of the policy.
Questions to Ask Yourself
• Where are you going? Familiarise yourself with and get cover for all the countries you will visit – even the ones you stop over for just one night.
• How long are you going for? One-off policies work best for a limited number of days abroad. Annual multi-trip policies work best for regular travel. Review the length of travel restrictions and get extensions if you travel in the long-term.
• What are you going to do there? Review everything you plan to do on your trip and check with your insurer to see if your planned activities are covered. Be wary of overindulging, as you won’t be covered if alcohol or drug intake is the cause of an adverse event.
• Are you taking any valuables? You may have to pay a higher premium if you want your expensive gadgets to be covered by your policy. Note that baggage left unattended will not be covered by your family travel insurance policy.
• Do you have any medical conditions? Be upfront with all your pre-existing conditions, from allergies to knee replacements, so that you’ll know if your insurer will cover for you or if you need to pay extra for expanded coverage.
Saving Money on Your Policy
• Buy early to get cheaper offers and protect yourself early on from outside events that may force you to cancel your trip.
• Buy online to find discounted single and family travel insurance packages but also to easily compare these packages.
• Haggle, especially since agents are more willing to be flexible with the final price tag thanks to high commissions.
• Check around for special offers due to affiliation with an organisation, like your bank or a health fund.
• Obtain a copy of the policy wording from your bank or credit card provider in order to identify if their “free” insurance packages are enough to protect you.
Read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) Before Buying
• The PDS is a broad overview of policy’s clauses on pre-existing conditions, general exclusions, word definitions and claims section.
Review the Excess
• Note that excesses apply once per event and not for the sum total of events. For example, an excess of £500 will not cover three events costing £200 each. You’ll have to pay for these events out of your own pocket
Making a Complaint
• If you believe your provider is trying to skip out of their responsibility, start by approaching their internal dispute resolution centre. If you are unsatisfied with the outcome, seek external dispute resolution through a government consumer protection agency – aka the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). If you are not satisfied with the consumer protection agency’s ruling, escalate further by taking legal action through the courts.