Travel insurance exists to cover the cost of the unforeseen, such as an unexpected illness, accident and medical emergency or the theft of your devices and belongings.
Travel insurance is also there if you have to cancel your trip before departing, or need to return early due to an emergency. But before you buy, here are 10 things you need to know.
1. Buy ASAP to cover cancellations
Forked out a ton on tours, hotels and flights? Buy travel insurance as soon as you’ve booked to cover trip cancellation and cancellations due to illness, redundancy or other unforeseen reasons. Know that cancellation cover is typically offered only on Comprehensive policies.
2. Buy the right policy for you, your destination and activities
Make sure a travel insurance policy is right for your needs by checking the table of benefits. Certain destinations offer excellent medical care, while others do not. In many cases, anything less than Comprehensive cover won’t take care of cancellations and medical evacuations. Similarly you made need to by optional extra cover for certain risky activities like scuba diving and water sports and winter sports at the snow.
3. Not all pre-existing medical conditions are covered
Check that your medical conditions are covered. Many pre-existing medical conditions are automatically covered by travel insurance. If yours is not on the list and you need to claim medical cover because of it, your claim may be rejected.
4. Comprehensive cover may be compulsory
Certain countries require proof of travel insurance in order to apply for entry visas or visas for longer stays. In most cases comprehensive cover is required to cover medical and hospital costs as we all medical transport and evacuations. This applies to countries in the Schengen Zone including Greece, Italy and Spain.
Apart from country restrictions, many tour operators and accommodation providers need to know that you’re adequately covered for medical emergencies. These include Contiki Tours and Stray Asia tours.
5. Read terms and conditions of credit card cover
Think your credit card insurance will be enough? Do your homework and read the fine print. The cover provided by credit cards is often limited and restricted to products or services bought using the card.
6. Cruise holidays need specialised cover
Going on a cruise? For cruise trips longer than 2 days you will need travel insurance in order to claim for cancellation and medical costs. Travel with Jane offers a Cruise Add-on with specialised cover for cruise, yacht and ferry trips in Australia and abroad.
7. Snowboarding and skiing needs extra cover
Heading to snow? You’ll most certainly need special winter sports cover to look after injuries or medical emergencies due to snowboarding and skiing. Due to the high probability of serious injuries, and the exorbitant cost of airlifting injured travellers off remote mountain tops, travel insurance providers require you to add specific snow cover to your policy. See our Snow Add-on.
8. Limits apply for pregnant travellers
Travelling while pregnant? There’s a limit to the days you’re allowed to fly up to, as well as be covered by travel insurance. In the event of an emergency birth overseas, your medical bill may be covered, but the costs of your newborn are definitely not covered. Learn more about how travel insurance works while pregnant, and check out Jane’s Pregnancy Add-on
9. Travel must start and end in Australia
You’re only covered if your policy is bought while you’re in Australia, not once you’ve left or arrived at your overseas destination. If you land, only to discover you need travel insurance as an entry visa condition, or a stipulation by your tour operator, you will be able to buy Australian travel insurance online, but any claim you make won’t be supported.
10. Natural disasters and disease outbreaks
Once a natural disaster, pandemic, or major global event with impacts on travel has been adequately announced in the media like the coronavirus, and by travel or health authorities, and you buy travel insurance, you’ll probably not be covered for a related claim.
That’s because travel insurance is there to take care of unforeseen events. Once an event is common knowledge, and a travel advisory to ‘do not travel’ has been issued by the Australian government, travellers buying flights, accomodation and insurance do so in full knowledge that their trip may be impacted.