Travel tips: Avoid unexpected disasters, get insured

Travel tips: Avoid unexpected disasters, get insured

Many travellers forget to protect themselves from unexpected disasters whilst on vacation.

That is what travel insurance is for, to cover you for the unexpected, says Insurance & Financial Services Ombudsman, Karen Stevens. But with so many option on the market, how do you go about ensuring you are fully covered?

Stevens offers these simple travel tips when it comes to insurance, to help you get the best value from your travel insurance, should anything unexpected go wrong.

Purchase insurance as soon as you book and pay for your tickets

This ensures you get the best value out of your insurance, and the benefit of cancellation cover should anything unexpected go wrong – at home or your destination – and you have to change plans. Likewise, if you buy insurance after travel warnings have been issued about an imminent disaster, it’s unlikely you will be covered.

Read and understand your policy, including exclusions and limitations

Travel insurance is often purchased online, through a travel agent, or comes as a credit card benefit. Get a copy of your policy and read it. Limitations on credit card insurance, such as time limits and age restrictions, catch people out, as do monetary limits on valuable items.

Tell your travel insurer about your health conditions

Include all health conditions and symptoms you know about. Most often, you will not be covered for any pre-existing conditions, unless the insurer has accepted them in writing and charged you an extra premium.

Take care of your valuables and bags

Taking reasonable care is a standard insurance requirement. Most insurance policies specifically exclude cover for personal items left unattended in a public place, including beaches, backpacker hostels and airports.

Insurance policies will often have specific conditions for valuable items. Claims can be declined because jewellery was stolen or lost when it was not “worn or carried” on the person, or valuable items are checked-in rather than carried on to the plane.

Report incidents immediately

Contact the police and your insurer as soon as you can. Travel policies will specify the required time frame, usually it is 24-hours, and often provide an emergency helpline. Insurers are likely to ask for copies of police reports, together with receipts, and proof of ownership of stolen items.


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