FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
9AM (AEST) 1st December 2016
Fast Cover Media
1300 409 322
Does Travel Insurance Cover Your Kids’ Schoolies Shenanigans?
Australian travel insurance company Fast Cover is urging parents to check that school-leavers will have sufficient cover if they’re heading overseas for Schoolies Week in 2016.
Thailand and Bali are the hottest party destinations, with New Zealand a close third preference for adventurous young Aussies looking to let off some steam.
A record number of altruistic teenagers are also choosing to forego the typical week-long party to take overseas volunteering holidays.
Wherever they’re headed, Fast Cover CEO Dean Van Es is reminding teenage travellers and their parents that while travel insurance can cover unexpected medical emergencies, there are some exclusions to consider.
“Perhaps one of the biggest misconceptions about travel insurance is that it provides cover in any scenario,” says Mr Van Es.
“Travellers going overseas to celebrate the end of high school should be aware that travel insurance is important, but if you injure yourself while intoxicated, under the influence of illicit drugs, or commit any illegal activity, your travel insurance is unlikely to provide cover for medical expenses and hospitalisation costs,” says Mr Van Es.
Jodie* was partying with friends in Las Vegas when she blacked out and had to be rushed to hospital in an ambulance.
Jodie insisted that her non-alcoholic drink had been spiked and submitted an insurance claim to cover the $20,000 AUD^ bill for her treatment and hospital stay.
However, her claim was declined as tests revealed no drugs in her system and a blood alcohol level many times over the legal limit.
Similarly, travel insurance does not provide cover if you are involved in an illegal activity such as trespassing or riding a motorcycle or moped without the appropriate licence.
Aussie high school graduate Harry* had his claim for medical expenses declined after crashing his hired motorcycle in Thailand.
While riding back to his hotel with friends, Harry swerved to avoid an animal and lost control of the motorbike.
He was rushed to a local hospital and treated for a head wound and other minor injuries.
When Harry later called his travel insurer to assist with the medical bills, he found his cover didn’t apply as he had not been wearing a helmet and was also riding without a licence.
He had to pay the $5,000^ AUD hospital bill himself, when his travel insurance policy only cost around $50^ AUD and would have covered his accident if he had simply obtained an international licence and been wearing a helmet.
Mr Van Es says travellers should also be aware they won’t have cover for lost or stolen luggage if it’s left behind or unattended in a public place.
Sarah* learned this the hard way after her bag containing jewellery, cash and an iPhone was stolen from a beach in Kuta.
She hid her bag under a beach towel to go for a swim but by the time she returned it was gone.
Sarah reported the theft to police but unfortunately found out she would not be covered as she had left her belongings unsupervised in a public place.
Even if a particular situation is not covered, travel insurance may still provide emergency assistance when a traveller contacts the team for help.
The emergency assistance team can coordinate with doctors, organise for a traveller to be moved to another hospital or flown home, and arrange for a translator if needed.
The traveller will have to foot the bill for any costs however.
“If you need help, you can contact the emergency assistance team from anywhere in the world,” Mr Van Es says.
“If you were acting illegally when the emergency occurred or you’re intoxicated, you may not have cover for expenses, but the team may still be able to assist you,” Mr Van Es says.
* Names changed to protect traveller’s identity.
^ Claims figures are based on Allianz Global Assistance travel insurance claims data for Australian travellers to the specified regions between 1 July 2014 and 30 June 2015.
ABOUT FAST COVER
Fast Cover was launched in Sydney in 2010 to provide high quality travel insurance that Australians actually need. To learn more visit: https://fastcover.com.au/about-us
Dean Van Es is available for further comment or interview by appointment.