I wouldn’t go overseas without travel insurance.
It’s not that I’m a nervous traveller, and I’m certainly not worried about lost bags or travel delays.
It’s the really, really big stuff that matters to me: which is medical and evacuation home by air ambulance.
The largest travel insurer in the country, Southern Cross Travel Insurance just released a horror list of claims ranging from $206,000-$561,000 paid out to get very sick people back to New Zealand on special air ambulances after terrible accidents and illnesses overseas.
The chances of any of the horror stories behind those claims (heart attack, serious illness, cliff fall, etc) happening to you while on your trip are small, but these are costs that ordinary people cannot cope with easily.
I have travel insurance on the brain as I have just finished clicking my way through an online application for travel
Do not buy travel insurance on price alone
Understand what is, and what is not, covered.
There was never a question of going without it, as young reckless Rob did a quarter of a century ago to South America.
I consider travel insurance to be an ordinary, and necessary, cost to factor into travel budgeting.
I didn’t choose my policy on price alone. I’m not interested in saving $10 or $20, if it means buying a bargain-basement policy with limited cover.
When shopping for a policy, you’re looking to understand what each policy covers you for, and what it does not.
I tend to focus on coverage for the really big stuff, the medical and evacuation.
It’s hard not to read policies with an eye on the moment.
For example, Britain’s been rocked by a string of terrorist attacks, so I was attentive to whether claims caused by terrorism were excluded from policies.
The one I bought excludes terrorism-related claims for personal expenses, and travel disruption, but not medical and evacuation.
I also had in mind that poor student sent home in a coma to die after being detained by North Korea.
The policy I chose doesn’t cover events caused by government actions like detainment. None do.
Not all risks excluded by travel insurance policies are so easy to understand. Of these ’’preexisting’’ medical conditions are the biggest area of concern.
Unless you ask for pre-existing conditions to be covered, any claim arising from them is excluded. Think about that.
Imagine the Southern Cross Travel Insurance policyholder who had a heart problems in the US had not asked the insurer to cover the risk.
He’d have had been a bill of $235,000 to pay himself.
Most travel insurance is now bought online.
It’s terribly easy to go for the cheapest policy, click through the process without reading the policy document, or realising you need to ask for pre-existing conditions to be covered.
You need to keep your wits about you when buying travel insurance, just as you need to take care and be sensible when holidaying overseas.
Holiday checklist: Passport, togs, sunscreen, and travel insurance.