Here’s how to avoid common travel insurance traps

Banana's peel is on the stairs - traveler can steps on it

We think we can all agree that travel insurance is the least exciting part of planning a holiday.

But it’s also the most important.

It gives travellers piece of mind and a crucial safety blanket should something go wrong during their trip.

We also think we can all agree that choosing travel insurance and organising your cover can be unnecessarily painful, with policies packed full of jargon and fine print that (almost) leave us regretting our choice to even take a holiday in the first place.

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Lucky for you, we had a chat with Finder.com.au’s insurance expert Richard Laycock to bring you some fabulous tips and tricks to make travel insurance less painful.

Travel Weekly: What should you look for when you’re buying a policy? Does the destination affect the price / what you need?

Richard Laycock: When you’re taking out a travel insurance policy, overseas medical cover is by far the most important item to make sure you’ve checked off. This will ensure you’re covered for treatments overseas.

You should also look to make sure you’re covered for accidents and medical evacuation, as these are big-ticket items.

TW: Does the destination affect the price / what you need?

RL: Yes, where you’re going will have a great impact on how much you pay for cover. If you’re heading to the USA, you’ll pay a lot more for cover than if you were travelling to somewhere like New Zealand.

This is calculated based on various costs including the cost of treatment in those countries and also the cost of flying you home.

If travel delay is something that you would hate to go through then it’s also important to make sure your policy includes cover for cancellation and delay. Typically delays of 6+ hours will be covered.

TW: We see a lot of jargon in travel insurance fine print. What are 3 of the most confusing things mentioned?

RL: “Pre-existing conditions” is a big one. If you have any ailment that you know about, this counts as a pre-existing condition and if you don’t let your insurer know, you won’t be covered for it while you’re overseas.

That is not to say that you will have voided your entire policy, you just won’t be able to make a claim for anything related to that specific condition.

Another issue is leaving your luggage unattended. This caveat means that if you leave your luggage by itself and it’s stolen, your insurer will not pay you a benefit.

Finally, cancellation cover. Some people assume that cancellation cover means that you can cancel your trip and receive a benefit.

Unfortunately, cancellation cover means you’re covered if you have to cancel your trip for reasons that are outside of your control.

TW: Are there any traps travellers often fall into when purchasing travel insurance? What are your tips for cutting costs?

RL: Again, I think that not mentioning pre-existing conditions is a big thing. If you are going to go overseas, it’s important to declare those conditions.

Sure, not doing so may save you in the short term but it could cost you big in the long run.

TW: What are your tips for cutting costs?

If you’re looking to cut costs, one possible way to do so is to look for travel insurers that offer discounts to those travelling as couples.

Some brands offer discounts of over 30 per cent for travelling in pairs, so it’s worth investigating.

Some travel insurers including InsureandGo and Fast Cover offer discounts to seniors who have an active Seniors Card.

Other than that, once again it comes down to comparing your options.

Using a comparison tool like the one on finder.com.au allows you to compare the levels of cover, cost and will also provide you with a score on how that cover ranks.

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