With the busy Christmas holiday travel season approaching, the inaugural Travel Insurance Week has been launched as both a reminder to purchase travel insurance before a holiday, and also to educate travellers about travel health and safety.
Fintech company Fast Cover launched the initiative on the back of the results from the 2019 Great Australian Travel Survey of 1193 travellers, which revealed 1 in 6 Aussies have travelled overseas without travel insurance.
Of those 1 in 6 Aussies who have travelled without travel insurance, the survey revealed 44% chose to travel without it and 27% justified not buying travel insurance as they were visiting a Reciprocal Healthcare Agreement country. Some travellers may not know that Reciprocal Healthcare Agreements only covers medical costs in those country and would not cover Medivac repatriation home, which can easily exceed $100,000. 21% of travellers forgot to buy travel insurance altogether, whereas 2.7% of travellers self-titled themselves as young, stupid, naïve or bulletproof.
Of all the participants, 74.6% said they purchase travel insurance for the ‘peace of mind’ and 48% indicated they bought it so they would have some help if something unexpected happens.
12.0% of travellers have used their credit card provider to obtain complimentary travel insurance whereas 69.3% of travellers purchased from an online travel insurance retailer.
Less than 30% of travellers read all of the PDS and 56% stated they only read the sections that interest them.
“Travel insurance is all about the unexpected, so not reading the PDS at all or only reading the bits that you’ve thought about, could leave you open to a whole lot of situations you may never of thought could happen to you.” Dean Van Es, Fast Cover Travel Insurance CEO.
16.4% of travellers want a low excess on their policies, while 12.3% said being the cheapest was most important to them. But not surprisingly, 26.7% of travellers want high medical cover, specifically wanting ‘an easy to reach emergency number’ (international phone numbers for 24/7 contact medical advice).
“Travellers are certainly encouraged to research their travel insurance options in order to avoid massive medical bills should the unexpected happen and being blindsided by benefits they were not 100% aware of. This is especially important during peak travel periods and the Christmas rush when travellers may not give the appropriate time to what can be a very important decision.” Said Van Es
It is a big risk to travel overseas with no medical coverage and yet 17.45% of travellers have done so whilst travelling overseas. This could lead to potentially thousands of dollars out of pocket expenses.
“We unfortunately do see some Aussie travellers end up in serious and unexpected circumstances, but we’re glad our emergency team can manage their situation and pay their out of pocket expenses. Two of those cases are Mitchell Magro involved in a waterslide accident on his brothers bucks party and Philip Hurst who ended up a paraplegic after a serious motorcycle accident.” Said Van Es.
Mitchell Magro (34) was travelling to Thailand for his brother’s bucks party when a waterslide sent him down a path of life threatening injuries and medical procedures.
“I just think if we didn’t (take out travel insurance) he (Mitchell) wouldn’t be here and you just never know what will happen.” – Jessica Magro.
Mitchell’s travel insurance policy covered $87,171.70 in medical costs from a $63.90 Comprehensive policy. “(Travel insurance) had covered all medical expenses,” says Mitchell Magro, “Ambulance, transport, surgeries… my son was covered. My mother (in-law) had a policy as well so flights were covered.”
Not far from Mitchell’s accident in Thailand, Stuart Hurst (56), was in a serious motorcycle accident in Pokhara, Nepal, that left him on life support while he underwent rib, spine and brain surgery. Now a permanent paraplegic, Stuart and his family are very grateful for his travel insurance policy.
Stuart, having purchased travel insurance from an online insurance company, is like the 69.30% of the survey participants who preferred to purchase travel insurance online. Stuart, through the help of his brother Philip Hurst, his travel insurance company and the Australian Embassy, managed his treatment and Medivac back to Australia. The total cost Fast Cover covered was $493,000.
Philip advises anyone in this situation to make contact with their embassy, “they have the right contacts and they are there to help you.”
Travel Insurance Week is a needed initiative and proudly sponsored by Hollard Insurance to educate travellers on the importance of buying travel insurance cover to avoid potential out of pocket expenses that may occur when holidaying.