International Travel Insurance Policies and Overseas Medical Cover. Life Insurance Australia.
I used to rely on my gold visa card for its bonus international travel insurance (underwritten by Zurich), not realising that the higher interest and the annual membership fee was much higher than if I was to buy the travel insurance separately. I finally realised this and transferred to a card with a lower interest rate and annual fee, and began researching separate international travel insurance companies and their policies, overseas medical cover, Australian life insurance policies and the like. I tend to make short trips where my visits are more for business reasons rather than a holiday, so this article is more about short term agreements. This article is for those of you who have never travelled overseas before.
Australian Travel Insurance
This page focuses on Australian Travel Insurance but can be useful to you if you’ve never bought travel insurance before and want a rough idea as to what to expect.
Buy before you leave
* Pre-travel insurance purchase is usually mandatory. If you’ve already started travelling it is difficult to get travel insurance. You may need to return to your departure country and buy it then continue your trip. Or at the very least, change your tickets and get insurance for the next leg of your trip.
Evidence of a return plane ticket is usually necessary, as you need to specify the exact dates you want the insurance to be applicable. Also, in many instances you would be paying an amount calculated on a per day basis in advance.
Unexpected Medical Expenses
* Generally travel insurance covers unexpected medical expenses. Accidents that put you in hospital. However, many policies do not cover accidents that you have caused yourself through using drugs or alcohol. As many people may have medical issues, or even die, after drunken parties in Thailand for example, it’s unlikely their insurance policies would be paying!
Claiming is Complicated
* While it is easy to buy insurance, it is a complicated process to claim anything. A lot of evidence is needed from medical bills, hospital stay forms, signatures from your doctor, other proof you were unwell. If you’re like me and absolutely hate filling in any type of form, look into how much work you will need to do if you need to claim anything after you come back. If they require pictures from the scene, x-rays and a complete minute by minute diary of what has occurred, make sure you’re prepared for this.
For me, it wouldn’t bother me if it is likely to take 50 years to pay something off. I’d be happy to work out some kind of payment system if I didn’t have travel insurance. However, some hospitals may not admit you if you don’t have insurance so you could be left outside to die. Best to have it anyway to avoid these kinds of situations!
NB: I recently heard that someone I know had a medical emergency while overseas and had to change his travel plans but the insurance company decided that his heart problem was a pre-existing condition based on a medical file from 10 years previously where he had been prescribed anxiety tablets as a precaution, once. Travel insurance companies will investigate as far as they can go to avoid paying. Be mindful of this when investing in your insurance. It may not be worth the cost of challenging them in court.
* Some travel insurance policies may either include or charge extra for theft, damage, loss of bags, flight changes, cancellations, hotel problems and other things. While these seem great, check that the airline you’re travelling with doesn’t already cover these things. (Your travel insurance agency would definitely refer you back to them if they did, when you try to claim!) You may find yourself filling out multiple forms for a variety of companies just to get back a few dollars.
Some of the things that you lose may also be covered by their own insurance. Mobile phones, for example. You may already be paying insurance on these separately so you may not need to insure them again (though the policy may only apply in the country you are living). Also, insurance companies will not pay you to replace anything stolen if you don’t have receipts to prove how much they were worth. So make sure you have the relevant receipts for something before you pay insurance on it.
* Does Travel Insurance include Life Insurance? That depends on the policy. Usually they’re separate instruments.
I cannot be held responsible for any action taken from reading this article. Please do your due diligence and thoroughly research any insurance before taking the plunge. Get legal advice. Every person and their circumstance is different and this article couldn’t possibly be correct for everyone. This is just a basic guide to get you started in your research. I’m not an expert in these matters.
Also, caveat emptor. Buyer beware. Every single travel insurance policy is different. No matter what,you must read the terms and conditions for every single one as, what one business covers the other may not, and visa versa.
Popular Travel Companies in Australia
Below is a list of the more popular Travel Insurance Companies in Australia. These are not in any particular order as what you might need in a travel insurance policy will be different to the next person, but this list is a good place to start. I am not receiving any kind of commission or incentive for listing these here.
For more information about travel insurance, please visit Smart Traveller’s Insurance Page. An Australian Government Guide.
Ideal for young adventure enthusiasts.
If you already have medical insurance with these, you’ll should be able to get a discount rate on your travel insurance.
Ideal for over 50s.
Many Australians have their super with this company so there may be a special rate for members.
Underwrites a lot of insurance policies, so plenty of experience. Queensland based.
Many Australians have car insurance with these companies so there may be a special rate for members
Well known international company with a huge amount of policies to choose from. Very active in the travel and expat services.
* Australia Post
Underwritten by GreatLakes, this is a quick last minute policy which you may wish to pick up when you’re getting your passport photos done!
For more, or to find more relevant results in your own country, please visit Google or Bing.