Tourism

Phones, scooters, fine print: expert talks travel insurance

Every year, winter hits and social media blows up with glowing Mediterranean summers, friends sipping coconuts on the beach of some tropical island and yep, everyone stuck at home gets a bit of FOMO.

But if there is one thing more soul destroying than seeing all your friends having the time of their lives, it’s being on holidays and having something go wrong without the proper insurance to back you up.

With so many providers in the market, with varying policies, how do you make sure the travel insurance you purchase has you covered when you’re out gallivanting the globe?

According to Michelle Legge, savvy traveller and Head of Community at Travel with Jane – an Australian travel insurance company for women – travel insurance should be just as mandatory as booking a plane ticket, no matter how near or far you are travelling.

She shared some advice on all things insurance:

Is my beloved smartphone covered?

Ever had that sinking feeling when you get back from busting a move on the d floor only to realise that your purse and phone have been pickpocketed?

While smartphones are the essential travel partner—hello Google Maps, Snapchat and Insta stories to everyone back home—they are a juicy target for thieves working the tourist hangouts.

The good news is, most reputable travel insurance policies cover lost or stolen ‘personal items’ up to a certain value – and mobile phones, along with tablets, laptops and cameras, fall into this box. A comprehensive policy will almost always offer a higher value of cover than a basic plan.

Also check the sub-limits for lost or stolen goods, which basically indicates a cap on how much you can claim per single item. Just because the total amount offered for stolen gear is say, $5,000, doesn’t mean that full amount will be available to replace a smartphone.

The essential thing to do before you depart, is to check what your insurance covers you for; how to make a claim; and to store their contact details and your policy number in a safe place. Make sure you are clear on what you need to do to make a claim.

The last thing you want is to return home only to discover you needed to file a police report in the country where it was stolen, which by the way, most travel insurers are going to want to see.

And if your device was misplaced, or lost mid-adventure, an official letter from your tour operator or hotel will also be needed.

Basically, insurers will need sound proof that the phone is gone, as well as original receipts proving that you owned the phone in the first place.

Going skydiving? Hiring a scooter in Thailand?

Traffic Accident

Before choosing your policy make sure you find out what your policy covers and what it doesn’t. Does your policy cover skydiving and bungee jumping? If not, you might want to tweak your cover (or rethink your decision) before you leave – or by making an online query before you dive out of that airplane.

Across the board, more sports and activities are covered than not, but insurers ask that you minimise risk – a good thing in itself – by going with licensed operators only, using safe and appropriate equipment, and only undertaking certain activities if you yourself are trained to do so.

Solo scuba diving is a good example. A big pitfall is winter sports like skiing and snowboarding, which almost always require an additional level of cover. Definitely something to add to your policy before hitting the slopes.

Another biggie is a scooter hire.  While it might sound like a great idea to explore the hidden gems of rural Thailand with your BFF, there are a couple of things you need to know about your insurance cover.

If you have an accident on a scooter with a pal on the back of the scooter, most insurance companies won’t cover your hospital bills, or your legal bills should your crash cause damage to persons or property.

Insurers may differ, but usually in order to be covered for scooter hire, make sure you own a valid Australian motorcycle license, or one valid for the country you’re travelling in, allowing you to drive the same cc powered bike and wear a helmet.

If you have a passenger on board, your Australian license no longer counts, in which case, you’re only covered if you’re carrying a valid license for the country you’re in.

Read the fine print

It goes without saying that you are meant to read the fine print, but who in their right mind has a few spare hours up their sleeve to trawl insurance speak fine print?

To cover your butt, give your insurer a call and outline some of the areas that you’re unsure about and ask them to explain it in plain English.

Good travel insurers should make it easy for travellers to find information and make claims, so look out for online chat windows and responsive Facebook messages as a sign that your prospective insurer is up with the times.

A good place to start is to think about some scenarios that could occur and ask your insurer how you would make a claim and what risks you should consider.

  • What happens if I become ill and require medical assistance?
  • Am I covered to drive a vehicle?
  • What happens if my wallet is stolen?
  • What documents do I need in order claim my stolen phone?
  • What happens if I miss my flight due to unexpected circumstances

Take a little care with your precious cargo

Just because you’re all paid up with your travel insurance doesn’t mean you’re now invincible. That superhero-bubble-feeling you’ve got, it’s not real, if your property is stolen or you’re seriously hurt and you’ve not taken care of yourself – it’s unlikely that you’re going to be covered.

Travel insurance is used in cases of emergency where you are not at fault. If you leave your luggage unattended at the airport and it gets stolen you could be fresh out of luck for being negligent.

Ditto for crash landing your scooter in a flower bed after sinking a couple of Singhas. Travel insurance is your backup plan, not Kevlar armour.

Be a good human

It goes without saying, don’t be a sneak. When buying your travel insurance you must check that you’re covered for any pre-existing medical conditions.

The list of what’s included for cover is always available on an insurer’s product disclosure statement and website FAQ section. If your condition in on the list, you’re covered. If not, get in touch with the insurance company first to discuss the details.

If you find yourself in a situation where you need to make a claim due to medical reasons and you haven’t declared a non-included pre-existing medical condition you run the risk of compromising your cover. Honesty is always the best policy.

Any seasoned traveller will understand that despite the best made plans, and all the well intentioned excessive use of hand sanitiser, sometimes things do go wrong.

Cover yourself so you can smugly pout across social media and maximise your mates level of jelly, come hail or shine.


SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

Cruise

“Abducted by luxurious pirates!” Crystal Cruises ship heads to Bahamas after US issues arrest warrant

The Crystal Symphony is channelling its inner OJ Simpson by running from the law. Unfortunately the cruise ship doesn’t have Al Cowlings by its side to keep it going.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

United Airlines flight turned back after passengers start a “riot”

These two unruly passengers decided “if I can’t have business class seats, then no one can have business class seats!”

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Scoot to resume Singapore-Gold Coast flights in February

Ready your wallets, because this may be one of the more expensive Valentine’s Days with a spontaneous venture to south-east Asia.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Travel workers stage national day of action urging politicians to introduce AFTA’s recovery package

Travel industry folk across the country are participating in a National Travel Day of Action outside the offices of key federal and state parliamentarians today to speak up about the industry’s unique struggle.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Club Med’s Pacific boss speak out against WA’s delayed reopening

The kings of the all-inclusive holidays have signalled their support for WA’s travel agent community, blowing a big raspberry in Premier McGowan’s direction.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

REVIEW: QT Melbourne is a luxury boutique with a rock ‘n’ roll mentality

by Ali Coulton

QT’s Melbourne property is the embodiment of everything we love about the Victorian capital – it’s both uber-chic and a little bit bad-ass.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Qantas group cuts capacity after WA delays border reopening indefinitely

Aussie airlines are having to continuously lower expectations, announcing more cuts than a post-lockdown hair salon.

Share

CommentComments

News

ICAO Report says Ryanair bomb threat ‘deliberately false’

by James Harrison

The new report from ICAO has exposed a bold move of political repression by the Belarusian president, who allegedly orchestrated a bomb scare on a Ryanair flight.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Agent shines a light on cruising in a time of COVID

After two years of being denied her usual travel escapades, this Queensland-based travel agent had the opportunity to dust off her suitcase and give travellers confidence by sharing her experience.

Share

CommentComments

News

Entry restrictions eased for international travellers

by Ali Coulton

Those with a debilitating fear of having foreign objects wedged in their noses will be over the moon upon reading this recent announcement from the Minister of Health.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Fitzroy Island Resort gets million-dollar makeover as bounce-back anticipation grows

Queensland’s ultra-luxe island resort is about to get at least 60 per cent more lavish, by our reckoning. However, we made that stat up on the spot so best to just click here and see for yourself.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Journey Beyond Group Looks Beyond 2022 and Releases 2023 Season!

by Sponsored By Journey Beyond

Journey Beyond is going above and beyond to take you to infinity… and beyond. Or at least to 2023, a good start!

Share

CommentComments