Looking at some statistics for Australia (just because we have these on hand).
"Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) … handles over 16,000 cases each year involving the welfare of Australians who have suffered illness, theft, robbery or assault."
This is triple the number of 20 years ago. The Department of Foreign Affairs officially states:
"If you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel" (read more...)
Travel insurance protects you in the case of lost or stolen luggage and personal effects; accident or illness, trip cancellation or personal liability.
Probably the most important reason to take out travel insurance is to ensure you are covered for medical treatment. Although your national health scheme may cover your medical expenses at home, once you head overseas, you are (normally) no longer covered. Medical expenses can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars and you may be refused treatment if you are not insured.
'Ten days in hospital with specialist care, including surgical clipping of an artery, followed by weeks of bed rest in Zurich. The patient's parents were flown from Australia to Zurich to help her recover. Ongoing travel plans to the USA had to be cancelled.'
True Claims Story: One Aneurysm and $73,000 later... !
A good insurance policy will also cover you for emergency evacuation back to your country of residence.
Make sure you take out a policy as soon as you pay for any flights or travel arrangements – that way you will be covered if you have to cancel your trip in an emergency.
'We received terrible news while we were traveling… My wife's brother had passed away. We needed to return home immediately, to help with funeral arrangements'
The best single piece of advice we can give is to READ THE POLICY WORDING CAREFULLY.
Let's repeat that again: Take your time. Have a cup of tea. Sit down quietly and read the policy fine print. Especially the exclusions.
Not all policies are the same and it is essential you read the fine print to be sure you're covered for the sort of travel you'll be doing – and the places you'll be going. In addition to covering hospital treatment and additional expenses (go for the top level if you're traveling in North America); emergency medical evacuation; funeral expenses; emergency dental treatment; theft and loss of personal belongings, check the policy covers you for any adventure sports or other activities you might undertake, as well as all your gadgets such as cameras, laptops
'The other man pulled out a knife and grabbed my wife, threatening to stab her if I didn't release my bag Of course, I let go immediately but we were still really distressed to lose our expensive photographic equipment.'
True Claims Story: He pulled out a knife...
Make sure you keep your policy up to date and that it provides a high enough level of cover. If you travel a lot, it may be worth taking out an annual policy. Check the level of excess you will be required to pay, and be sure to keep receipts (at home) for any gear you're taking that might get stolen.
A good rule to travel by
And remember, it's ok to be scared of new places and experiences - if you never leave home, you'll never really live.
You can buy at home or while traveling, and claim online from anywhere in the world. With 150+ adventure activities covered and 24/7 emergency assistance.