Essential travel insurance tips
Ignoring the practicalities of traveling through a large, remote and often very hot and dry country has caught out many experienced travelers. Here are a few things to know about your travel insurance cover before you travel around Australia.
Australians are renowned for their welcoming attitude and it’s with good reason, however, while the majority are friendly to travelers, some are more interested in your wallet than getting to know you. Theft is a common claim in Australia. It takes just seconds for a thief to grab your camera or wallet from under your beach towel at Bondi while you’re swimming, or off the table while you’re ordering coffee. Always keep your valuables on you or locked up (using the hotel safe or hostel lockers). Also don’t leave anything in your car as break and enters are common in urban areas (especially at night). If your belongings aren’t with you, and there is no evidence or police report of a theft, you may not be covered if they’re stolen.
Travel insurance isn’t designed to cover everything, particularly if you leave something behind or, on some insurance plans, if your gear is damaged. Check your policy carefully for full details of cover, including the limit payable on each item, the excess (your contribution or deductible) and any exclusions or conditions of cover such as depreciation or valid proof of ownership.
Australia’s remoteness is part of its charm but can also present some challenges if your baggage is delayed. Most visitors require a halfday plane ride to get to Australia, so you’re unlikely to get your baggage back quickly if your airline has delivered it to Sidney, Canada instead of Sydney, Australia. Most travel insurance policies can help replace essentials, like a change of clothes or toothbrush, if you have to wait more than 24 hours for your bags to arrive. Travel insurance isn’t designed to swap your ripped jeans for a designer pair, so read this section of your policy carefully before you spend up big and then try and claim.
Before you leave home, ensure your baggage is clearly labelled and the tags are firmly attached, giving your airline the best chance of getting it on the right plane or finding it quickly and getting it back to you.
The Australian medical system is first class, but it comes with a price, so make sure you take out a full medical travel insurance plan before you travel. This is different to the medical insurance cover you might have at home which won’t cover you overseas. Medical Insurance is your safety net if you become very unwell; it’s not designed to pay for every scratch and headache, which is why benefit limits and excesses apply. If you’re hurt or injured, contact us for assistance and we can help you understand what your policy covers. You may decide, if your ailment is minor and under the excess, to not make a claim. If it’s a life-threatening medical condition, always seek medical help immediately. Let us know as soon as you can what has happened so we can help you access medical assistance and keep your family and friends informed.
There are many great opportunities to do adventure sports in Australia, which is why our travel insurance covers hundreds of them from kite surfing to skiing and parasailing. Policy exclusions do vary, so, depending on the level of cover you’ve purchased, read it carefully and make sure you’re covered before you go bungee jumping in Cairns or scuba diving in Byron Bay. If you get hurt skiing in the Victorian Alps, and it’s not in your policy, it’s going to be a very expensive trip. Check your policy carefully so there are no surprises Your travel insurance policy will have limits and exclusions. This ensures the policy you pay for is kept at a lower cost. And, remember, if you do something really stupid, like grab a snake by the head or go swimming with crocodiles, you may not be covered at all.
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