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10AM (AEST) Monday 30th January 2017
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THE TOP 10 TRAVEL INSURANCE SEARCHES OF 2016
A report of the top online searches of 2016 revealed some interesting insights about the average Australian traveller when it comes to buying travel insurance.
The most googled questions indicate that not only are many Aussies sceptical about whether purchasing travel insurance is worthwhile, some are not even sure what it is.
“Most people can understand the benefits of buying house or car insurance because it covers physical objects they want to protect,” says Fast Cover CEO Dean Van Es.
“New travellers sometimes struggle to see the value of travel insurance because it can cover anything from a lost suitcase right up to emergency medical treatment and evacuation,” says Mr Van Es.
“Anyone who has ever needed their travel insurance overseas always tell us they would never go anywhere without it now,” says Mr Van Es.
Some of the other top search queries included different combinations of keywords such as: ash cloud, volcanic ash, cancellations and missed flights – presumably due to the higher frequency of volcanic activity in Indonesia last year which grounded all flights for several days.
“A lot of travellers called us worried about getting stranded overseas when Mount Rinjani erupted, so it makes sense to see these results topping the google searches as well,” says Mr Van Es.
Other big news stories of the year also saw a huge spike in queries for travel to Cuba after the US sanctions were lifted, and terrorist attacks in major tourist destinations like Paris, Nice and Brussels in 2016 also had many people searching for travel insurance that specifically covered terror attacks and related events.
‘How much is travel insurance?’ and ‘How much does travel insurance cost?’ were also both in the top enquiries, confirming that Aussies are savvy online shoppers who don’t mind hunting around for a bargain.
“Price is a deciding factor for many people when shopping around for anything, but we’ve found very few people mention the price of the policy when an incident occurs – most travellers just want the best emergency assistance and a fast claims service,” Mr Van Es says.
Travel insurance to cover pregnancy was one of the most popular medical-related travel insurance searches, and the highest sought travel insurance policies for particular destinations were Spain, Turkey and the USA.
Fast Cover has answers to the most frequently searched travel insurance questions below.
Fast Cover answers the 10 most common questions about travel insurance:
1) What is travel insurance?
Travel insurance provides cover for the cost of unexpected or unforeseen emergencies and certain other losses while travelling. As well as the significant financial benefits, it also connects travellers with an emergency assistance team that can provide advice and help arrange medical treatment and other services overseas such as:
- Emergency medical evacuation and repatriation home
- Assessing and managing medical care while overseas
- Providing assistance with travel and accommodation
- Locating the nearest embassy or consulate
- Accessing interpreters in non-English speaking hospitals
- Placing a guarantee of payment for hospital expenses and medical bills
- Relaying messages to family members and employers
Even if a traveller is not covered for a particular incident, the emergency team may still provide general advice and assistance from anywhere in the world.
2) What does travel insurance cover?
Travel insurance can cover a huge range of different scenarios including:
- Emergency Medical & Hospital Expenses
- Luggage & Personal Effects
- Theft of cash
- Travel Documents, Credit Cards & Travellers Cheques
- Rental Vehicle Insurance Excess
- Travel Delay Expenses
- Alternative Transport Expenses
- Personal Liability
- Permanent Disability
- Loss of Income
- Accidental Death
Every travel insurance policy will have a different set of benefits and exclusions, so it’s important to read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) carefully.
3) Which travel insurance should I buy?
Travel insurance consultants can talk you through the different benefits and exclusions and answer general questions about a policy, but generally can’t advise you directly which policy to buy.
You’ll need to read the Product Disclosure Statement and make up your own mind about which policy to purchase.
4) How much is travel insurance?
The cost of a travel insurance policy varies to take into consideration different factors such as:
- The age of the travellers
- The region(s) you are travelling to
- The duration of your trip
- How far in advance you purchase a policy
- If you need cover for adventure activities, cruising or snow sports
- If you want to reduce or remove the Standard Excess
- Any pre-existing medical conditions you want to cover
You can generally buy a policy up to 12 months in advance so take advantage of any sales or promotions and book it in early to make the most of your cancellation cover.
5) What is the best travel insurance?
A comprehensive policy is the top level of cover and usually provides the highest level of benefits, but there is no one-size-fits-all travel insurance policy. You’ll need to compare your options and decide which level of cover is the best choice for your specific travel requirements.
Make sure to select the correct region that will cover your travel destination, including any stopovers. Also consider the type of holiday you’re taking and what’s on your itinerary to ensure you’ll have cover for all the activities you want to do including adventure sports or cruising.
6) How much does travel insurance cost?
As above, the price of a travel insurance policy can vary widely depending on your particular travel needs and other factors like age, pre-existing medical conditions, and the duration of your trip.
If you need to cover pre-existing conditions, remember to declare these at the time you purchase a policy or you may risk jeopardising your cover in the event of a claim. Some insurers will be able to provide a tailored quote to cover your specific conditions, whereas others have a set list of conditions that are automatically covered and anything else would simply be excluded from cover.
7) Why travel insurance is important?
Travel insurance is not only important for the numerous financial benefits that it offers, but also the peace of mind knowing that you have access to emergency advice and assistance 24 hours a day from anywhere in the world.
8) How does travel insurance work?
After selecting a travel insurance policy, the traveller pays a fixed amount called a ‘Premium’. This payment insures them for the dates set out on the travel insurance certificate, and provides financial and emergency assistance if something unexpected happens before or during their travels, subject to the terms and conditions of the policy.
If an incident does happen that is covered by the policy, the traveller can apply to be reimbursed for the expenses they incurred. This is called a ‘Claim’.
If it’s something major or very expensive, the insurer may act as a guarantor for the traveller to cover the expenses upfront. For example, if a traveller is seriously injured and the hospital requires immediate payment, the insurer may liaise with the medical staff to pay the hospital bill directly, avoiding the traveller having to pay upfront themselves and then claim it back from their insurer.
9) Do I need travel insurance?
Smartraveller says if you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel.
As well as the many benefits listed above, travel insurance also connects you with a 24 hour assistance team who can provide advice and help arrange medical treatment and other emergency services from anywhere in the world.
Ask anyone who has ever needed to use their travel insurance this question and you’ll most likely get a resounding yes!
10) What do I look for in travel insurance?
It’s always important to read the PDS to make sure you have a sufficient level of cover for your trip as well as what’s most important to you.
When looking for a travel insurance policy, it helps to think about your priorities. If you’re taking high value items like camera equipment or jewellery, you might want to look for a policy with a high level of cover for luggage and personal effects.
If you’re feeling adventurous or planning to do any snow sports, double check what activities are covered on the travel insurer’s website or see the PDS for a full list.
If you have any pre-existing medical conditions, remember to declare these at the time you purchase a policy so you know what you are and are not covered for.
Always read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) carefully and ask for clarification on anything you’re unsure about before you purchase a policy.
ABOUT FAST COVER
Fast Cover was launched in Sydney in 2010 to provide high quality travel insurance that Australians actually need. Policies are underwritten by Allianz Australia, part of the global Allianz Group which is one of the leading providers of insurance and emergency assistance worldwide. To learn more visit: fastcover.com.au
CEO Dean Van Es is available for further comment or interview by appointment.