If you are heading off on an overseas adventure there is one thing you should not forget to pack – travel insurance! We have a saying here at Peregrine Travel Centre SA – ‘If you can’t afford travel insurance – then you can’t afford to travel!’ You just never know when something may interrupt your plans and the last thing you want is to stress about what to do in a situation or even worse be out of pocket thousands of dollars!
If you need some convincing, we spoke to the experts at QBE Travel Insurance and asked them about the benefits of travel insurance and their reasons why it should be on the top of your packing list!
Let’s start with the obvious – medical – what are the benefits of travel insurance if a traveller gets sick or injured whilst overseas?
The benefits of taking out travel insurance is that the cost of any doctor/ medical/ hospital treatment along with evacuation or repatriation in relation to sickness and/ or accident is covered within the schedule of benefits.
In the event that sickness and/ or accident occurs without travel insurance the traveller’s only source of payment is their own money, and perhaps more importantly the responsibility for managing everything is up to the traveller. With QBE Travel Insurance if a traveller is in this situation, they must contact QBE Assist right away so that we can manage the case from the outset; from a medical and financial perspective, and ensure that minimum stress is involved for all concerned parties. Most hospitals overseas require guaranteed payment before treatment and this can amount to a very large cost, that in most cases the insured could not pay without travel insurance.
From managing the medical directives and the payments and the travel arrangements to return home or continue on their journey – we can assist with a range of services.
Can you give us an example where a traveller has been sick or injured whilst overseas and what the costs would have been to them if they had not had travel insurance?
We recently had a customer who had a bicycle accident in Vietnam; they were struck down from behind by a motor vehicle and suffered multiple head injuries. The customer was admitted to intensive care in Ho Chi Min City and was then flown back to Australia in business class with their parents who had to fly to Vietnam to be with their child. The medical costs were $155,000AUD plus the travel arrangements for their return home and the parents travel cost approximately $26,000AUD. Had this person not had travel insurance they would have been out of pocket $181.000AUD!
Another example was a customer who was walking around Manhattan on a sightseeing day and slipped and fell on the footpath and sustained a broken leg and fractured wrist. They required plastic surgery and rest before being flown home in business class so that they could have their leg outstretched. The medical costs were $66,000USD and another $12,000AUD for cancellation costs for the remainder of the holiday, plus another $11,000AUD for return airfares back to Australia. Had they not had travel insurance this traveller would have been out of pocket approximately $120,000AUD.
This just shows even the most minor situations could end up as a financial burden without travel insurance.
What about if a traveller loses their luggage or other items while they are out exploring, can travel insurance help them?
If a traveller has their luggage lost or damaged whilst out exploring, then under most circumstances their travel insurance can cover some of these costs. It is important to note that there is a requirement that the incident be reported to relevant authorities so that the incident can be proved by a report for the insurance company to process a claim.
For example, if you arrive at baggage claim to find that your luggage has been damaged between flights, then you must go to the relevant airport baggage services area and report the incident. It’s a good idea to also take some photos of the damage and ensure you get a copy of the report acknowledging the luggage has been damaged. Upon return you may also be required to prove ownership and value of the goods you are claiming (a receipt for proof of purchase).
Travel Insurance companies do not pay out to the insured whilst overseas, this usually is all verified once the traveller returns home.
There are of course things that happen outside everyone’s control, such as a flight change or cancellation, a family member falling ill before departure or of course an incident which prevents people from visiting a certain destination. Can travel insurance help in these situations?
Regarding “circumstance beyond one’s control” (eg flight disruptions, weather, family illness or any similar situations) the insurance has certain covers and exclusions in place as to what is covered and what is not. An insurance company cannot cover every situation, so it is important when purchasing a travel insurance policy that the customer read what is relevant to their situation. You can ask your consultant at Peregrine Travel Centre SA about what is included in your policy and QBE has a customer help line 24/7 and can always advise accordingly.
Anything else you wish to add?
It should always be strongly made aware to any traveller that in the event of ANY situation that may occur that the customer ALWAYS call QBE Assist whilst overseas for advice and help. By calling QBE Assist 24/7 at Glen Waverley in Victoria the insured is guaranteed that they will receive the best response and care and ongoing monitoring during a stressful event whilst on holiday.
As you can see, the benefits of travel insurance are more than just about the costs you may face without it. It’s about peace of mind, 24-hour assistance and knowing you have the support if something were to go wrong while you’re on your adventure. It means that you can enjoy your holiday and knowing that you’ll be in good hands regardless of your situation.
Our travel consultants can help arrange your travel insurance along with your other travel plans, we work with the team at QBE so you will know you’ve got the right cover for your specific travel needs. Remember, every traveller and holiday are different, so it’s important your travel insurance is appropriate for your own situation.
Contact us on 8223 5905 or email [email protected] to find out more.