What is a Product Disclosure Statement (PDS)?
A Product Disclosure Statement, often referred to as a ‘PDS’, is a legal document that details the terms and conditions of an insurance product. The PDS includes policies available, a summary of benefits (what is covered and what is not covered), including benefit limits, general exclusions, optional cover, emergency contact and how to make a claim information.
Fast Cover’s PDS is governed and construed in accordance with the law of New South Wales, Australia.
When you are considering a policy or buy a policy, a travel insurance companies will give you a ‘Product Disclosure Statement’ that very clearly outlines what they will and won’t reimburse you for. For example, if you take out a Snow Sports Plus policy for your upcoming ski trip, you will be covered for hospitalization, medical bills and emergency evacuation when you ski on-piste. However, once you do any activities that aren’t covered like skiing outside the resort boundaries, you trigger a general exclusion under your travel insurance, and your insurer may decline your claim accordingly, based on the PDS.
What is the purpose of a PDS?
Consumers often become confused with what the PDS actually does and why it exists. The purpose of the Product Disclosure Statement is to inform the policy holder about the full scope of your travel insurance policy including different product benefit levels, the inclusions, exclusions and general advice. As it’s the ‘rule book’ for your insurance, it’s advised that you read the entire PDS carefully to ensure what you want covered, is included in your policy.
Some people may think that a PDS is a lengthy and confusing document on purpose, so an insurance company doesn’t have to pay a claim. However, this is not the case. The PDS is written to cover all possible scenarios upfront and to make it clear and in writing, whether there is cover or no cover for specific scenarios. That way, if something unexpected does happen, both the traveller and the insurer can go back and look at what the contract (PDS) says about cover for the particular event.
To assist our travellers, our PDS is designed to inform, not confuse, so that travellers can equip themselves with information that relates to their travel insurance policy issued by us.
What is in the PDS?
A travel insurance PDS will generally include the following 10 sections:
- Things you need to know before you buy
- Words with Special Meanings
- An explanation of the different policies offered
- Benefit Summary (what we do cover and what we don’t cover and along with benefit limits)
- Optional Cover
- Pre-existing Medical Conditions, their limits, sub-limits and requirements
- General Exclusions
- Help and Emergency contacts
- How to make a claim
- Financial Services Guide (FSG) including the complaints and dispute resolution process.
Why do travellers need the Product Disclosure Statement when purchasing travel insurance?
Travellers need the Product Disclosure Statement because it outlines all of the benefits, limits, inclusions and exclusions of your policy. The PDS informs you of coverage for unexpected circumstances such as:
- Medical Emergencies
- If your luggage gets lost, delayed or damaged
- Trip cancellation expenses
- If your trip is disrupted and you will be returning
- If your trip is disrupted and you will not be returning
- If you die accidentally while travelling
- If your credit/bank card gets stolen which leads to fraudulent misconduct, including if your cash is also stolen
It is your responsibility to read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and decide whether this policy suits your needs. Insurance companies will rely on you - the consumer, to read the PDS before purchasing the insurance.
Our policies are fully outlined in our PDS, including all benefits, limits, inclusions, exclusions and clear definitions in our ‘Words with Special Meaning’.
Reading the PDS ensures that you know what you are covered for, but also what you are NOT covered for.
If you have read the PDS and understood it, there should be no surprises if you need to submit a claim.
Changing the PDS
At the discretion of the insurer, a travel insurance company is able to make changes to the PDS from time to time, if permitted by law. These changes are subject to the underwriter (Hollard) and are legally binding. We can also post you a hard copy for ease of use. Should a company have to substantially amend the PDS, a Supplementary Product of Disclosure Statement (SPDS) will be provided.
Read and understood the PDS declaration
Before you purchase a travel insurance policy, you will need to declare that you have read and understood the PDS. ‘I have read and agree to the terms and conditions’ is now a quick tick box at the end of any airplane ticket purchase. While most people simply tick this box without actually reading the terms and conditions, this could be very costly when it comes to your travel insurance policy. By ticking this box, you have legally agreed that you have read and understood the PDS, regardless of whether you have actually read it or not. What you can and can’t claim for is determined by the wording in the PDS, so if it says you aren’t covered for a cruise or that a pre-existing medical condition isn’t covered, then your claim will be denied. Stating after the event that you ‘didn’t actually read it’ or ‘no one reads those things’ are unlikely to be accepted by the insurance company.
As a travel insurance company, we do know the PDS can be a lengthy document and the challenges this poses for our travellers. Because of this, we’ve worked hard to make it a clear and easy to read PDS that makes it easier for customers to navigate through the technical jargon that confuses many. We’ve used the simplest language possible and made distinctive, what “We will pay” and what “We will NOT pay” sections for each travel insurance benefit.
It is your responsibility to read the PDS and decide whether this policy suits your needs. You should ensure that you read the PDS before purchasing a policy from Fast Cover.
A word on Privacy
However, like most companies we do have to clearly state that we may collect your information for a number of uses, including product development, IT systems maintenance and development; all being used to funnel back into our Customer Service and User Experience for better product and services.
For more information on Fast Cover Travel Insurance, read the or see our FAQ’s.