Industry Insiders 30 Travel Insurance Tips
Get the most out of your travel insurance policy with these top tips from travel insurance experts.
1. Buy travel insurance before your birthday
It’s no surprise that your age plays a part in determining how much you pay for your travel insurance policy. Travel insurance companies calculate your premium, excess and level of cover based on the age you are at the time of the policy purchase.
For example, if you buy your policy while you’re still 59, you may get the lower premium of a 59 year old, even though you’ll be travelling when you’re 60!
So consider buying your travel insurance before your next birthday. You may end up paying less.
2. Make sure you have the right travel insurance policy for your holiday
If you look at what each travel insurance company offers, you’ll find they all offer different types of policies with varying levels of cover, benefit limits and add-ons at different prices.
The cheapest or even the most expensive travel insurance policy may not be the right one for the type of holiday you’re planning. Apart from your age, the cost of the policy may depend on:
- Where you’re going: for example, a travel insurance policy for backpacking around South-East Asia can be cheaper than a policy for Europe.
- How long you’re going for.
- What you’re planning to do: for example, rental vehicle excess cover may not be needed for a cruising holiday whereas emergency evacuation off the ship coverage would be.
Identify what you need cover for and match this to your travel insurance policy.
3. Find a policy that provides cover to kids free of additional charge
If you’re a parent or grandparent taking the kids on a holiday, check if your travel insurance company provides cover for kids or grandkids free of additional charge.
4. Buy early to get the most out of cancellation cover
Apart from the things that can happen on your trip, things may happen before your holiday starts that can stop you from going.
If cancellation cover is included in your travel insurance policy, it starts from the moment the policy is issued. It’s especially handy when you need to book your holiday or cruise a few months or even a year in advance. If you, your travelling companion or relative unexpectedly gets sick and you can’t travel, or a natural disaster occurs at your destination, you may be able to claim for the deposits or payments you’ve already made for flights, hotels, cruises, tours etc.
5. You’ve paid for more than insurance - use it!
Travel insurance isn’t just about making a claim to get reimbursed for unexpected costs you incurred during your holiday – that’s only a part of its purpose. Fast Cover Travel Insurance comes with a 24/7 emergency assistance team you can call wherever you are in the world.
Feeling sick and need to find a doctor? Your wallet’s been stolen and you’re not sure what to do? Need a translator? Lost your passport? Make the most of your travel insurance policy - call the Emergency Assistance team, they’re there to help you 24/7 and it’s included in the price of your policy.
6. Only pay for what you’ll be using
Shop around, because some travel insurance providers allow you to customise your policy to suit your holiday. Find a policy where you can choose to add on cover for things like snow sports, cruising, rental vehicle excess cover, adventure activities and valuable equipment you want extra cover for. Being able to tailor your policy to your holiday means you don’t pay for what you don’t need.
7. Remain loyal and save
Some travel insurance companies give their returning travellers a discount on their next travel insurance policy. If you’re a regular traveller, check if the company you’re planning on getting travel insurance cover with will provide discounts for future policies.
8. Sign up for newsletters
Some travel insurance providers have sales and special exclusive offers throughout the year and publish it in their newsletters. To make sure you’re in the know, sign up for their newsletter and you’ll be sure to know about any extra discounts on travel insurance.
9. Search for Coupon Codes
A method businesses use to promote themselves is posting discount coupon codes such as “10% off” or “Save $5” on various websites. Travel insurance companies also use this practice, so before you buy, search for ‘travel insurance coupons’ or search for company discounts, for example ‘Fast Cover coupons’, and see what comes up.
10. Reduce your excess
When you buy travel insurance, you may have the option to reduce your excess partially or remove it. Should you ever need to claim, the Standard Excess is the amount of the claim you’ll be responsible for paying, but this could be removed or reduced at the time of purchasing your policy.
By paying a little bit extra and electing to reduce or remove your Standard Excess, you can ultimately save money if an accident or emergency does occur. This could be a good option if you’re planning on going away for a long time, your trip isn’t a straight forward fly in – fly out holiday, or you’re planning lots of adventurous activities.
11. Increase your excess
As opposed to reducing your Standard Excess, you can leave it as the default amount or you may even have the option to increase the excess amount. This will mean an initial saving when you purchase the policy. Be aware though, this also means you’ll have a higher excess amount to pay when making a claim.
12. Save by buying Rental Vehicle Insurance Excess cover from a travel insurance company instead of the rental car company
Your travel insurance company may be able to save you money on Rental Vehicle Excess Insurance cover, which can be cheaper than the amount you’ll need to pay per day through a rental car company to reduce the excess.
Some policies include cover for Rental Vehicle Excess Insurance automatically, others offer it as an add-on.
13. Search for travel insurance discounts
If you’re a senior, a student or work in the travel industry, you may be entitled to a discount.
So it never hurts to ask!
14. Buy in bulk
If you’re travelling with others, buying travel insurance together can be cheaper. Two or more people travelling together who buy travel insurance together might get a discount. Friends, relatives and couples may be eligible for discounts. If you don’t get one automatically, ask for one!
15. Be covered for 2 years of travel from the beginning!
Did you know that you can buy travel insurance cover for 2 years?
Most travel insurance providers allow you to buy 12 months of travel insurance before you travel. If you need 2 years of travel insurance upfront, check with your travel insurance provider when purchasing to see if you can extend your cover for up 2 years in total.
16. Travel before your age affects your policy cover
As we’ve mentioned before, your age affects your premium, level of cover and also sometimes the excess. When you reach that upper age limit, not only could your premiums increase, but your excess for some claims may also increase, and the medical benefit may actually be capped at a lower amount. The upper age limit varies between companies, so do your research.
Start planning your holiday and travel while your policy premium is cheaper!
17. Buy travel insurance online and don’t pay the middleman!
Shop around and compare the price of buying a travel insurance policy online. A study by Finder found it can be up to half the price of buying from a travel agent, airline or cruise company for similar cover because you’re not paying unnecessary middleman commissions.
18. Buy a Multi-Trip policy
If you’re a frequent traveller and travel more than once a year, you may be eligible for a multi-trip policy. You can travel as many times as you like within a 12 month period using the one policy.
For an additional fee, your spouse and kids may also be covered when they travel with you.
If so, there will be no need to let your travel insurance provider know each time you want to travel – just book your holiday and go!
19. Be prepared for any potential claim
Before you travel, ensure you have receipts, record the serial numbers and take photos of any valuables you’re taking with you – phones, cameras, tablets, laptops, hearing aids, jewellery, hand bags, sunglasses etc. You’ll be glad you did if you end up losing them.
Make sure you get all the necessary documentation while you’re still overseas to support your claim – it makes it easier for the insurer to assess your claim. Get a police report if your luggage is stolen as soon as it's practical to do so, but preferably within 24 hours, or a doctor’s report and receipt if you’re sick and need to see a doctor.
20. Look for a money back guarantee
For your peace of mind – travel insurance providers may offer a 14 day cooling off period. If you find a better travel insurance policy within this period, you don't need to make a claim and your policy hasn't started, you can cancel your policy for free and get a full refund.
21. Use comparison websites
Take advantage of Comparison websites such as Compare The Market. Using such a site allows you to compare travel insurance offered by different companies based on both price and the benefits each of them include.
22. Free extension of your policy
Did you know, if you’re overseas and you’re not able to return home due to an event that you can claim for (such as a natural disaster), you may not need to extend your travel insurance policy. Your travel insurance company may automatically extend it at no extra charge, so call the emergency assistance team to check.
23. Check if your travel insurance covers you for day trips, excursions or transiting in another country
Planning on taking a day trip, excursion or transiting for less than 48 hours in another country outside the ‘Region’ your policy covers you for? Check whether or not you need cover for that other country.
For example, your premium may be higher if you travel to Dubai, compared to Italy. If you’re travelling to Italy and plan to stop-over in Dubai for less than 48 hours, some travel insurance companies will include that short trip to Dubai in your premium price, while some will only charge you for travel to Italy.
Check with your travel insurance provider if you’re not sure. It may mean significant savings on your premium.
24. Ask for a price match
It doesn’t hurt to ask - If you find a better price on a comparable policy, ask your preferred travel insurance provider to match or beat the price.
25. Be honest
As with all insurance, you need to be truthful with your travel insurance company! If you’re dishonest when you take out a travel insurance policy and then end up making a claim during or after your trip, the travel insurance company will likely find out when they investigate your claim. Your claim may be rejected and you may be liable for extra costs in the process.
26. Check if you already have cover
Sometimes you may already be covered. Your home insurance policy may cover your personal items even when you’re away from home, so you may not need to be covered for your luggage. Your credit card may also offer complimentary travel insurance, but may need to be activated first. Of course, make sure you check their Product Disclosure Statement to see if their cover is appropriate for your holiday.
27. Buy travel insurance
Did you know you’re not legally entitled to any financial assistance from the Australian government should anything go wrong while you’re travelling?
An independent survey conducted by Fast Cover found that 41% of people have travelled overseas without travel insurance.
Can you afford to pay your hospital expenses or replace your valuables if anything goes wrong while you’re overseas? If you can’t afford travel insurance, can you really afford to travel?
28. Keep the details of your insurance cover current while you’re travelling
If you change your mind between now and when you travel or if the thrill of travel takes you on a different adventure, make sure your travel insurance matches your amended trip. For example:
- You may leave earlier than expected.
- Add a 3-day stopover in Japan on the way to Europe. Japan may fall under the ‘Worldwide’ region so you’d need to upgrade your cover so you have cover while in Japan.
- The opportunity to go skiing may present itself, which you didn’t plan on doing. Add cover for skiing or snowboarding to your cover.
- You might be having an awesome time or get swept up in a holiday romance and decide to extend your holiday.
Amending, changing or updating your cover can be done with most travel insurers, but you may want to seek out one which makes it simpler and faster by giving you the ability to do it yourself online. This will mean you can do it any time of day including weekends and even while you’re still travelling overseas.
29. Read the PDS
It may seem like an obvious tip, but time after time people make claims for things they just assumed they were covered for and their claims are rejected. Always read the travel insurance provider’s Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) for the terms and conditions that apply to their products.
There’s also a section that’s normally called ‘General Exclusions’ – this outlines exclusions that apply to each policy, so make sure you read this part. For example, you may be excluded from cover if you’re acting unlawfully or under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
The final and most important tip:
30. Reduce your risk of something going wrong
Being overseas and losing your wallet including all your cards, suffering food poisoning, tripping over and breaking a bone or crashing a moped can all seriously affect or even ruin your holiday.
Sometimes there is nothing you can do to avoid the unexpected happening while on holidays, but there are some things you can do to lessen the risk. So our final tip is all about having a safe and incident free holiday. Some things you may want to consider to reduce the risk of your holiday going bad include:
- Have a medical to make sure you’re ‘travel fit’.
- Ensure you take your prescription medication with you and have enough to last you another week, just in case your return home is delayed.
- Consider what valuables you need to take with you. Do you really need to take all your jewellery, every gadget you own (mobile, tablet, laptop, iPod, Go Pro, camera, video camera, gaming console, etc.), that fabulous Louis Vuitton handbag and 3 pairs of sunglasses?
- Pay extra attention and take more care when you are walking around on holidays as slips and falls can result in broken bones and hospitalisation.
- Plan your trip so you don’t end up landing in Brazil at 1am to find out your hotel is in the dodgy end of town. Make sure you plan enough time between connecting flights and know the local scams and dangers of your destination.
- Protect your money and credit cards by keeping it out of sight, such as with a money belt.
- If you find yourself in a situation that doesn’t seem right, trust your gut and get out of there.
We’re sure most people would prefer to have spent a little money on travel insurance, have a holiday without incident and not have to make a claim.
So be a little more careful and have a safe, incident-free holiday.