Big travel insurance mistake Australians make when heading overseas

A travel insurance expert has revealed the big mistake Aussies commonly make when securing cover for their trip – they don’t do it quick enough.

Adrian Taylor, who is Compare the Market’s general manager for insurance, says while the worst mistake you can make is not taking out any cover, not doing it as soon as you book your flights is leaving you without a great safety net.

“While many people believe that travel insurance is only for the period of travel they applied for, we advise people to purchase travel insurance as soon as they have something booked in, as in most cases travel insurance can extend from the day you purchase until you return,” he said.

“This is to cover any unforeseeable accidents or incidents which lead to people cancelling their trip altogether. Of course, travel insurance is also there to help cover cancelled trips, lost luggage and more.”

If you are going on a cruise, ski trip or doing other adventure sports, Mr Taylor stresses how important it is to read the fine print.

“We’re seeing a few differences in cover between the policy providers and their levels, so it’s paramount that people read through each travel insurance policy disclosure statement to ensure that they getting the coverage that they need,” he said.

“For example, activities like skydiving, surfing, hiking, skiing or even cruising may not be standard inclusions on your policy and you may be required to add them on to be covered overseas.”

One Aussie couple couldn’t have been more relieved to have jumped online last minute to secure ski cover for their trip to Hakuba, Japan.

They were only two hours into their five days of skiing earlier this year when “disaster struck” and Patrick had to be medically evacuated off the mountain and taken to a local hospital.

“I felt it rip,” he told of the moment he sustained a high grade two calf tear from an unlucky fall while trying to move for someone who cut in front.

But with all the horror stories he has heard about travel insurance providers not covering tourists in need, Patrick said his Fast Cover travel insurance was a “silver lining”.

“We got put through to someone straight away. From the get go they were really helpful and supportive and provided advice,” he said.

He was able to claim about $900 in medical bills and physiotherapy sessions, which he had undertaken while resting for the rest of the week while his wife skied.

He had used Compare the Market to find the Australian travel insurance provider, which he said seemed to be most appropriate for their trip at the time.

Mr Taylor warned another mistake people make when travelling is leaving their personal items unattended in a hotel foyer as they grab a taxi.

“It’s also important for people to know what might prevent them from being able to claim on their insurance,” he said.

“From intentionally breaking the law to driving under the influence or even leaving your personal items unattended in a public place, your insurer may not pay out a claim in full or at all if you’ve done the wrong thing.”

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