Ask any seasoned traveller and the first thing they will tell you about going overseas is that you need travel insurance. Without travel insurance, if your cancelled flight, baggage lost, you fall seriously ill or get injured, you will be at the tender mercies of the country you find yourself in, and out of pocket potentially hundreds or thousands of dollars for bills.
Interestingly, data from leading online travel insurer InsureandGo reveals that 22 per cent of Australian travellers fear getting sick while on holiday – making it the number one travel fear for Australians, and it turns out we’re afraid for good reason.
During the 2017 – 2018 financial year InsureandGo’s data reveals that 60 per cent of travel insurance claims were for medical services for sickness or injury.
Holiday cancellations and delayed flights made up 24 per cent of travel insurance claims, and 10 per cent of claims were for lost or stolen baggage and/or belongings. The final six per cent of travel insurance claims were for unfortunate incidents such as passports/travel documents, legal expenses, personal liability, pet care, financial default, car rental excess waiver, hijack and loss of income.
What you need to know about making a claim on your travel insurance
1. If you have a pre-existing medical condition, check it will be covered and include it in your policy.
Whether it’s a heart condition, diabetes or a hip replacement, it is important to check your insurer will cover your condition automatically or whether additional cover is required. If you hide a medical condition from your insurer, or neglect to tell them, you run the risk of invalidating your claim if your claim is related to this condition.
2. Ensure you have the necessary documentation when making a claim.
If you incur medical expenses overseas, you will need medical certificates or statements outlining the treatment you received, and the costs involved in order to make a valid insurance claim. Keep a copy of any receipts for treatment you had overseas, as well as proof of payment for medical and hospital expenses.
3. Insurers will only cover you if your treatment is immediately and medically necessary.
Any treatments that you received overseas that were not immediately and medically necessary will result in an invalidated claim.
4. If you’re travelling while pregnant, understand the general rules around complications and premature birth.
Some insurers will provide unlimited medical, hospital and surgical cover for pregnancy or childbirth complications only (injuries to the body or illness that was not expected) of up to 32 weeks on a comprehensive policy. Many policies, including those from InsureandGo, will not cover childbirth or necessary medical costs for a newborn itself, as the baby was not insured when the policy was purchased.
5. Most self-inflicted injuries won’t be covered.
If you knowingly put yourself in danger while travelling, you run the risk of having your cover invalidated if an incident occurs. In general, reckless activities will not be favoured by your travel insurer.
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