TRAVEL INSURANCE: ARE YOU REALLY COVERED?
We’ve put together our Top 5 travel insurance #Hacks to get you covered!
This blog contains Affiliate Program links.
It was devastating to learn that a NZ woman recently died in Bali. Her insurer allegedly refused to pay her medical bills or airlift her home, as she had failed to disclose a “pre-existing condition”. A tragic story that certainly got us thinking: are you REALLY covered when you buy travel insurance?
The right travel insurance might save your life but trawling the options and fine print is mind boggling and therein lies the issue. The fine print needs your ATTENTION!
Can’t do fine print? Contracts leave you cold? Read on Sista’s!
This post is an update of our Essential Solo Female Travel Guide (By Women). We hope it inspires you to fearlessly tackle your travel insurance decision with this 5 pronged approach.
Travel insurance (for starters)
The first thing to do when buying travel insurance make sure the company is certified by a registered body (tick) and check out who is the underwriter of the policy. The underwriter is a financial institution that agrees to pay out if your claim is accepted. If the underwriter is a bank or insurance company you’ve never heard of, forget it! Or at least Google them!
“If you’re shopping around for travel insurance, you’ll notice that while there are a lot of different brands, they’re always underwritten by one of a few big insurers, such as Allianz, QBE, American Home Assurance Company, Lloyds and others”. (source: Australian Business Traveller)
Let’s get down to the fine print. Travel insurers are sticklers. So play by the rules and they’ll (most likely) tick the boxes.
1) Check EXCLUSIONS in the Contract
This is the pre-existing condition part! “Even asthma and hypertension can be excluded under some contracts. So read carefully the conditions that are excluded, particularly if you have been diagnosed with something recently. Always be completely honest with your insurer when you are going through the application process.
Pre-existing conditions may be excluded unless you have arranged with the insurer to specifically include these under the policy”. (source: Canstar)
TIP If you don’t want to read the Product Disclosure Statement for your policy, ask to have it explained to you before making your decision. Some insurance companies will not cover mental health episodes when abroad. If you suffer from depression discuss this with your insurer.
2) Check TRAVEL WARNINGS
“While your travel insurance will usually cover you in the case of violence, political unrest and terrorist activities, travelling when a ‘Do Not Travel’ warning has been issued may VOID your insurance”. (source: Canstar)
TIP Make sure your cover extends to all of the countries you are travelling to. There are a number of sites where you can check travel warnings.
3) Check the COVER & EXCESS
There will generally be a set dollar value which you can claim for any one incident. The MOST IMPORTANT is to check the level of cover for medical treatment and cost of medical treatment in some countries. A couple of weeks in hospital in the US can quickly add up to many tens of thousands of dollars. At the very least, you should have emergency medical and evacuation coverage.
Likewise, if you’re planning on travelling with any expensive items such as laptops or cameras, check the cover includes the replacement costs of your expensive items.
TIP The excess is the amount you agree to contribute towards the cost of a claim, with the insurer covering the remaining payout amount. Generally the higher the excess the cheaper the policy.
4) Check what ACTIVITIES are covered
Many activities are not included in a general policy – for example downhill skiing, underwater caving or riding a motorbike. Make sure that those things are included in your policy before you do them. If not, ask them whether you can arrange cover.
TIP If you suddenly decide to go bungee jumping. Check with your insurer to see if you’re covered. “Some companies will allow you to add additional cover for an additional fee once you’re on holiday.
Even if you’re yachting 12 nautical kilometres off land, for example, that’s something that could be excluded”. (source: Canstar)
5) Check the NOTIFICATION PERIOD
Your policy may specify that you need to notify your insurer of an accident or event within a specified timeframe such as 24 hours. It’s important to be aware of that notification period, and call your insurer as soon as possible. Or they might VOID it!
TIP Also check the amount of time you have to SUBMIT a claim before it becomes invalid. The longer you have to make a claim, the better – particularly as some paperwork can take a long time to organise when in a foreign country.
Remember to hold onto any RECEIPTS, MEDICAL REPORTS for medical claims and POLICE REPORTS for theft.
We like World Nomads Travel Insurance (because)
Many travel insurance companies require you to possess a return ticket to make a claim. World Nomads Travel Insurance let you claim without a return ticket – one of the few companies that do.
You can also make a claim online, 24 hour international phone contact for claims, check your policy cover and wording 24/7 and get quick answers to any questions in their hub.
Checklist (because it’s important)
- Make sure the insurance company is CERTIFIED by a registered body
- Check out who is the UNDERWRITER of the policy
- Carefully read the EXCLUSIONS in the contract (pre-existing conditions alert!)
- Check current TRAVEL WARNINGS (or risk voiding your policy)
- Make sure you understand your COVER & EXCESS (medical cover is a MUST!!)
- Ask your insurer what ACTIVITIES are covered (before you go bungee jumping)
- Check the NOTIFICATION period (or risk voiding your policy)
- Travel insurance generally covers you from departure date to return date.
- If you don’t want to read the Product Disclosure Statement for your policy, ask to have it explained to you before making your decision.
Share your travel insurance story here! The good, the bad and the ugly when dealing with the insurance companies? Did travel insurance save your life?
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Read our extensive Solo Female Travel Guide: