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#1 Boss Meri

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Posted 24 July 2008 - 07:53 AM

Why all Australians should take out travel insurance before going overseas:

Source:  http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/travel_insurance.html
Australian Government - Dept Foreign Affairs & Trade Website

For most Australians overseas travel is a wonderful experience. Unfortunately, however, every day our consular officers deal with human tragedies involving the death, injury or hospitalisation of Australians abroad. Each year we handle over 20,000 cases involving Australians in difficulty overseas. This includes over 700 hospitalisations, 600 deaths and 100 evacuations of Australians to another location for medical purposes.

In cases where victims are not covered by travel insurance, such personal tragedies are further compounded by a long-term financial burden. Hospitalisation, medical evacuations, or even the return of the deceased's remains to Australia, can be very expensive. Daily hospitalisation costs in Southeast Asia regularly exceed $800; return of remains from Europe in excess of $10,000. The cost of medical evacuations from the United States regularly range from $75,000 to $95,000 and sometimes up to $300,000. The department has handled medical evacuations from nearby Bali in which costs have exceeded $60,000.

Unfortunately, not all of these cases involved travellers covered by travel insurance. Travellers who are not covered by insurance are personally liable for covering incurred medical and associated costs. As a result, we have known instances where families have been forced to sell off assets, including their superannuation or family homes, to bring loved ones back to Australia for treatment.

Despite these stark statistics, it is not the department's intention to discourage Australians from travelling, which in almost all cases is a very positive experience. Only 0.6% of Australians travelling overseas encounter difficulty each year.

Instead, one of our key messages to Australian travellers is that there are things you can do to help reduce the likelihood of becoming one of the more unhappy consular statistics. With accidents or illness often unavoidable, proper travel insurance is very important in this context. Of course, the all-too-common occurrence of theft and loss of personal belongings is also something all Australian travellers should insure against. Each year the department handles over 16,000 cases involving the welfare of Australians who have suffered illness, theft, robbery or assault.

In choosing a policy, we would note some insurance policies will not always cover claims made in those countries to which the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade recommends against travel. For up-to-date travel advice, we recommend travellers consult and monitor this website.

Where Australians cannot obtain travel insurance to cover their personal medical circumstances, they should consider the potential financial risks very carefully before deciding whether to proceed with planned travel overseas.

For further information, the Insurance Council of Australia (PDF) and the Insurance Ombudsman Service (PDF) have issued guides on travel insurance for travellers. They cover the main issues to look for when selecting travel insurance to ensure you are appropriately and adequately covered.

#2 Boss Meri

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Posted 24 July 2008 - 07:54 AM

Case Studies

Following are some examples of the kind of cases handled by the Department:

The reasons for Australians requiring hospitalisation vary. Cases handled by the department have included car and motorbike accidents, a simple misstep and fall at a temple, and side effects from prescribed drugs. The department advises 'if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel'. In many of the cases it is the traveller's family who have had to foot the bill.

1.  In Bangkok a man was hit by a car while riding a motorcycle. He sustained a badly fractured leg and was admitted to the nearest local hospital. His wife was with him. He did not have any travel insurance, and so had no choice as to hospital or treatment. The hospital did not have the expertise to do anything for him except clean the wound. After 3 weeks his wife asked the Embassy for assistance as parts of the shin bone had died and the fractured ends were not healing. The Embassy assisted in having the man medically evacuated to Australia for admission to hospital, at very considerable expense to his family.

2.  In Bali, 5 Australians were injured in a mini-van accident. Consular assistance was limited to support and routine contact with next-of-kin (NOK), as all the Australians involved had travel insurance. The travel insurance company paid their hospital bills and arranged their medical evacuation to Australia.

3.  A young man worked in a US ski resort for four months, then took time off to travel around the US. He permitted his 12-month travel insurance policy to expire just a few days before his departure for home. He was hit by a car while crossing a road and suffered serious head injuries. He was admitted unconscious to intensive care and required highly intensive sophisticated care until he was able to be flown back to Australia. He was still unconscious and returned on a stretcher. The cost to the family for the medical evacuation alone was $80,000. They have taken out a second mortgage on their house to raise the funds.

4. A young Australian surfer went to the United States for a surfing competition. Although an experienced surfer, he unfortunately chose the wrong wave during a practice session. The wave dumped him on a reef and he sustained serious injuries. He was flown to a local hospital and immediately underwent two major operations. The hospital bill was AUD290, 000. Fortunately the young man's parents had insisted he take out travel insurance before he left Australia. The insurance company covered the bill, and the young man and his family were able to focus on his recovery.


#3 Fluppy

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Posted 17 November 2009 - 05:22 AM

We used Columbus Direct (Australia):  

http://www.columbusdirect.com.au/?sourcecode=GOOAD1

And found (through a lot of extensive reading and phone calls) that they were in-expensive and even covered a lot of pre-existing medical conditons in their basic package.  Of course we opted for the adventure package for Kokoda just-in-case, but after 'shopping around' for various travel insurance, we found these guys did the best deal at the time for us and what we needed.

Um...why is this topic under 'News' and not 'General Discussion' or 'Trek Preparation'?

fluppy

Edit: Thank you for moving the thread Gail smile.gif

#4 Brian

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Posted 17 November 2009 - 10:32 AM

Hi

I always have taken out travel insurance specially  when traveling overseas some years ago now I was on a business trip to the Philippines when I was taken ill the day before I was due to return home.

Whilst not hospitalised I was confined to my hotel room where I was visited a couple of time by a local doctor, my return was delayed for a week, an extra week in the hotel, doctors visits and medication (needles) etc you name it totaling a few thousand dollars by the time I got home.

This was all covered by my travel insurance not costing myself or the company that I was working for a cent.

I am told that if a helicopter MediVac is required whilst trekking Kokoda this will set you back the best part, if not more, of $6000 without other expenses that may be involved.

We always take out travel insurance on the day of making our first booking or paying our first deposit that way we are fully covered if any cancellations for health or other reasons are made.

Brian


#5 crowie

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Posted 17 November 2009 - 09:34 PM

Travel Insurance is like an excess on a hire car....most people dont think it is necessary ....until its needed...but as its name suggests....Its "Travel Insurance" and for peace of mind it should be mandatory and not an option....A  friend of mine was injured in a surfing accident in Indonesia...and didnt have travel insurance...he is now a paraplegic and requires alot of medical attention.....frequent fund raising is required to help with costs.......

#6 Rocky

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Posted 18 November 2009 - 06:42 AM

Agreed Crowie - travel insurance is a must in a place like PNG and a very good idea otherwise. You should note though that most travel insurance policies will only cover for expenses incurred overseas (which can be substantial) plus some one-off compensation payment but would not necessarily help with the ongoing care back in Aus.

#7 Mrs Moo

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Posted 18 November 2009 - 02:30 PM

QUOTE
Of course we opted for the adventure package for Kokoda


I also used Columbus Direct.  I rang them and quizzed whether I need the "adventure" package, but they assured me that for trekking Kokoda the basic package was sufficient.  They were cheaper by far than the company I used to trek in New Zealand.

#8 Fluppy

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Posted 18 November 2009 - 04:42 PM

Yes - their basic package was sufficient, but we went for the adventure package anyway - just in case.  Also in their basic package - my (exercised-induced) asthma was also covered.  Columbus Direct are awesome.

#9 peterh13

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Posted 19 November 2009 - 01:44 PM

when we got back to Sydney we claimed for 3 new cameras , a pack and some clothing and never had a problem.The only thing we couldnt claim back was the money that was stolen from us.
Prepare for the worst and dare the good Lord to dissapoint you.

Non semper erit aestas.

#10 dorra

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 02:03 AM

If there still are people who don't realize that travel insurance isn't necessary then I hope this thread will be an eye opener for them. There is another category of people that realizes the importance of travel insurance but can't really afford to pay for it and there are also those people who know travel insurance is important and rank it as an important detail in their travel plans. In my opinion, the more flexible the insurance plans will be the more people will be interested in getting them.

#11 Saloo8

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Posted 25 May 2010 - 04:22 PM

I have booked my travel insurance (AAMI) but having now read the fine print, it doesn't cover political unrest/war/revolutions etc...  Not that I am planning on this happening!  But I now wonder if I should change my policy to another company just in case.  I have a 14 day cooling off period to decide.
Apart from the above, it covers pretty much everything else and was very reasonably priced.

#12 Rocky

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Posted 26 May 2010 - 07:49 AM

Saloo, I think you'll find they are pretty standard exclusions. I'd suggest you read the fine print of other policies and compare as you will most likely find similar wording in other offerings.

Another thing for those strapped for cash - many credit cards have travel insurance attached (no extra cash) if you purchase certain portions of your trip on the card. Again the devil is in the detail, I know it's a pain and I'm in insurance, but you really need to read a few policies together to get a feel for what is out there and right for your circumstance.

#13 Saloo8

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Posted 26 May 2010 - 11:35 AM

Thanks Rocky.

For what it's worth, the policy with AAMI has only cost me $43 so it is certainly well priced.  Some other quotes I looked at ranged from $59-$250.

#14 newscctv

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Posted 07 September 2010 - 08:33 PM

Hi

I always have taken out travel insurance specially when traveling overseas some years ago now I was on a business trip to the Philippines when I was taken ill the day before I was due to return home.

Whilst not hospitalised I was confined to my hotel room where I was visited a couple of time by a local doctor, my return was delayed for a week, an extra week in the hotel, doctors visits and medication (needles) etc you name it totaling a few thousand dollars by the time I got home.

This was all covered by my travel insurance not costing myself or the company that I was working for a cent.

I am told that if a helicopter MediVac is required whilst trekking Kokoda this will set you back the best part, if not more, of $6000 without other expenses that may be involved.

We always take out travel insurance on the day of making our first booking or paying our first deposit that way we are fully covered if any cancellations for health or other reasons are made.

Brian

#15 trekkinglife

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Posted 03 December 2010 - 11:44 AM

When taking out travel insurance, always leave enough time for it to get approved.

There is nothing worse than running into problems when you are travelling.




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