The global pandemic has severely impacted the way we travel, by both restricting our ability to travel over the past two years and changing the way we now approach travel.
Travel insurance has become an essential consideration for Aussies heading overseas and the difference between just getting ill overseas and having a holiday become a financial and medical disaster.
To understand this, let’s look at a fictional account (based on many real travellers experiences) of a couple, where only one purchased nib health insurance and the other purchased no insurance at all.
A tale of two travellers… and their travel insurance
Michael and Rebecca are young newlyweds who’ve been together for a few years but have never been overseas together because of COVID. They decided the time was finally right for that delayed honeymoon – first stop, Paris!
The pair had sorted their tickets and accommodation, but travel insurance never came up.
Rebecca thoroughly researched cover to find what was right for her and, being a long time nib health insurance member, remembered she could get a 10 per cent discount for travel insurance and purchased an International Comprehensive Plan early.
Michael said he wanted to shop around and check if he had credit card insurance. This slipped Michael’s mind and in the excitement of planning what they were going to do in Paris, he never got around to it.
The pair flew into Charles de Gaulle Airport but this is where they hit their first speed bump…
Lamenting lost luggage
While Rebecca and Micheal may have safely arrived in Paris, their bags did not.
Rebecca immediately spoke to the airline carrier at the airport to report her lost or hopefully just delayed baggage.
She knew she had to report it as soon as possible, get a carrier report and keep a record of all emails and conversations in case she needed to make a claim with her travel insurer. Fast forward 20 hours to the next morning and the couple’s bags did eventually arrive.
Rebecca had been able to buy herself a toothbrush, hairbrush and some clean underwear and pyjamas which were all within her benefit limit.
She submitted a claim online straight away once the delay was more than 10 hours, for the costs of the unexpected expenses, knowing that these were all within her benefit limit and not one of the exclusions under the Emergency luggage section of her plan.
Unfortunately for Michael, the unbudgeted expense of replacing toiletries and pyjamas came straight out of the strict holiday budget.
Emergency medical treatment
The couple woke up super early, jet lag and all, as they wanted to experience the sun rising over the Eiffel Tower.
Unfortunately, on their way, in the pre-dawn darkness, Michael was knocked over on the footpath by an overly zealous morning cyclist.
He was unable to walk and had to be helped by Rebecca and a passer by to a nearby park bench. With a potentially broken ankle, they booked an Uber straight to Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital where he was treated by an emergency doctor.
If Michael had followed through with purchasing travel insurance with nib when his wife did, he would have had more options available to him. He might have been able to call nib’s 24/7 Emergency assistance team for advice. and he might have saved himself the stress of thinking how on earth he was going to pay for these medical assistance costs incurred at the emergency room.
Once his ankle had been treated and with the doctor’s advice that he would be fine to continue travelling, Michael and Rebecca continued on.
Hire car disaster
Due to Michael now being less mobile, the newlyweds decided to hire a car to make getting around a little easier. Since Rebecca was the only one able to drive the car it was hired in her name.
Disaster struck while they were visiting Bourg-en-Bresse in the countryside and their locked car was stolen from the secure car park.
Luckily, Rebecca had also taken out comprehensive motor vehicle insurance with the car rental company, as well as purchasing the nib International Comprehensive Plan, which meant she was able to claim the entire excess that she was being charged by the car rental company.
The car was replaced the next day and the couple were able to continue their ill-fated trip.
Coronavirus wipes out hotel accommodation
After visiting the countryside, Michael and Rebecca headed back to Paris. On arrival at the hotel, they were told that it was closed for cleaning following a confirmed case of coronavirus.
Rebecca was able to book them into another hotel. She made a claim online for the cost of the hotel with nib cover under the Coronavirus Travel Costs section of the plan.
She attached to her claim written confirmation of the closure from the hotel to support it.
Her uninsured husband’s share of the costs were not covered with the costs further eating into the budget.
One of the final highlights of the trip was a guided three-day tour through the many landmarks Paris has to offer.
The pair were taking a boat along the Seine River to the launch point and had paid tour and transportation costs before they left Australia.
Unfortunately, the couple were told the tour was being cancelled due to lack of bookings, and they would only be able to refund 50 per cent of their outlaid costs.
After speaking to the travel provider about a refund, Michael and Rebecca were not able to get more than the 50 per cent refund offered, as the travel provider said they had also lost money on the booking.
Rebecca obtained written confirmation they’d only refund 50 per cent to her and put in a claim online on the spot for the remaining 50 per cent she was out of pocket for the tour and transportation.
In her claim she made sure she added written proof of the 50 per cent refund from the travel provider.
Unfortunately for Michael, who was not insured, he lost half of his tour and transportation costs.
The couple soon returned home and after a bit of a lacklustre trip, Rebecca insisted on thoroughly reviewing travel insurance options for future holidays.
This scenario is a brief summary of cover nib provides and does not include the full terms, conditions, limitations and exclusions. Please read nib’s Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) for more information.