How to choose the all important Travel Insurance
We have planned and mapped our upcoming trip to Europe, to frolic in the various winter wonderlands. All rugged up, we intend visiting 16 different countries in 44 days. With still 2 months before we depart, when should we book our travel insurance? A very simple rule of thumb is to organise and pay for your travel insurance once you have finalised your travel plans and while you still have money in the bank.
We have booked and paid for the flights, a couple of hotels and the river cruise. We are now ready to venture out into the world wide web, looking for a true travel insurance bargain. But do they even exist? During the planning stages we have had many emails from prospective insurers offering discounts and “special deals” so obviously those companies will be in the mix. We also enlisted the services of previous insurers and relied on Google by searching for “best travel insurance”. We stuck to the first page of results otherwise we’d still be looking for insurance as our flight leaves. Why not throw our current health and property insurers into the mix as well?
In Australia there are only a handful of insurance companies. They are masquerading under many different names, so sometimes you may not realise you are dealing with the same organisation, just with a different shop front. I’m sure that’s not unique to Australia, which makes the task a little daunting.
Wow, they want to know everything about you. Where you’re going, how long you’re going to be away, when do you leave, when do you return, how old are you, any dependants, whether you have pre-existing medical conditions, do you need extra cover for valuables, etc. etc. Not really a big deal because by now you should have the answers to those questions. Something to remember when dealing with insurance companies is to be honest with the information you provide and read their product disclosure statements. It with save a lot of trauma later if you are unfortunate and need to make a claim. Don’t ever assume the insurer will pay for everything. Let me know if you find one that covers stupidity.
Okay so now you want to know who’s in the mix. Well we narrowed them down pretty quickly. Firstly basing the selection on the ease of dealing with them. That first initial contact can be a good reflection of things to come. Our final contenders are;
Compare the Market
Cover More Insurance
Good 2 Go Travel Insurance
HCF Travel Insurance
Insure and Go
Southern Cross Travel Insurance
Whist completing the online questionnaires we found some weren’t prepared to cover the countries we are going to, existing medical conditions or include the river cruise. So we were now down to four insurance companies. Next it came down to inclusions, price and reputation. We didn’t need cover for snow equipment hire, water sports equipment or care hire cover so we can exclude them from the list. This is easier than I first thought. Now we’re comparing all the really confusing stuff. Emergency medical expenses, accidental death, permanent disability, cancellation fees, lost deposits, travel delays, lost/delayed luggage, travel documents, theft of cash, personal liability, specified item cover, and more. Base your final decision on what value you need cover for, I wasn’t overly concerned with “specified item cover” as our household contents insurance covered us for those items worldwide.
The base cover varied by between AUD$300.00 and AUD$500.00 and by the time we added pre-existing medical that added another AUD$150.00 to AUD$300.00. Now here’s a little trick you may not be aware of. If you have existing private health insurance check with them firstly to see if they offer a super discount on travel insurance, and secondly see if they will waive the monthly premiums whilst you’re away. Our private health insurance provider offered us a 10% discount and allowed us to suspend our policy whilst we are overseas. That’s a nice chunk of money that can be put back into the holiday fund. Not all private health funds provide this, so check with your provider.
Are you still asking yourself whether you need travel insurance and if it is worth the expense? Only you can answer that question. For me it’s worth the peace of mind knowing someone’s got your back if things go wrong. We have decided to go with Southern Cross Travel Insurance.
Recently many people were stranded in Bali because of an ash cloud created by an active volcano, have a read of this story if you still have doubts. Stranded in Bali, would your travel insurance cover you?
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Images sourced from Pixabay.