Avoid a trip to hell
Accidents can happen anywhere – but they can be much more costly while you are away, writes Sophie Elsworth
JETSETTERS about to set off during the school holidays or booking their end-of-year getaways are being urged to put travel insurance at the top of their list of priorities.
While signing up to cover can often be forgotten, it remains popular for those heading abroad, figures from financial comparison website iSelect have shown.
One in five people never bother to take out travel insurance, while for those going international, about one in two (46 per cent) opt for insurance.
Overall, the research found 37 per cent sporadically took out travel insurance or never bothered at all – no matter where they were going.
Experts have warned jetsetters they could be skating on thin ice by failing to properly protect themselves before they leave home.
ISelect spokeswoman Laura Crowden urged holidaymakers to think twice before taking their next getaway or be prepared for the worst if something does go wrong.
“Even though we travel with the best intentions of staying out of trouble and protecting our belongings, the reality is mishaps do happen,’’ she said.
“Accidents such as lost luggage, damaged cameras and rental cars are all too common occurrences for people travelling domestically and internationally.”
While Ms Crowden said accidents do happen locally, Australians are covered by Medicare or their insurer depending on their policy, but this is not so once they leave Australian shores.
“Internationally the financial consequences can be even more severe, with individuals being 100 per cent liable for medical fees in foreign countries – which can run into the tens of thousands of dollars,’’ she said.
Insurer CGU’s spokeswoman Natalie Pennisi warns that “taking out travel insurance is as important as booking your holiday.
“We recommend that you consider purchasing a policy well before your departure date – particularly once you have confirmed your travel arrangements and prepaid for travel expenses,’’ she said. “Travel insurance is there to help cover the costs of unexpected events while travelling.” This may include cancelling your holiday, medical expenses due to an injury or illness or having your possessions lost, damaged or stolen while away.
“People are often paying double or triple the price. They are time-poor and not organised and buy on the fly,” she said.
“With our clients, part of the discipline we set up is they pop everything on to a credit card.”
Then, once a month, spend a few minutes running through the latest statement, highlighting all small expenses.
Ms Mays said this selfawareness exercise made people realise that $3 here and $5 there could add up to hundreds of dollars a month.
One client discovered they were spending $100 a month on bottled water. Another worked out that every day his lunch, snacks and transport were $50.
“It sounds really simplistic but it’s so powerful. People get it for the first time that $400 a month times 12 months is almost $5000 a year.”
MyBudget director Tammy Barton said cashless payments were easier to track, “but it’s also easier to just spend the money because you are tapping your card and going”.
“Have a look at your overspending triggers – they are different for every person,” she said. “For some people it may be clothes shopping, for others, it’s partying or buying gadgets.
“When people see where they are spending their money, it’s like the clouds have lifted.”