One in three Aussies travel without protection

It’s that time of the year when our thoughts turn to summer holidays, but amid the excitement of choosing a destination, don’t forget to arrange travel cover.

 

 

In the last three years, one in three Australians have headed off internationally without the protection of travel insurance. 

If you run into trouble overseas it can be far more than just inconvenient. Lost baggage, stolen smartphones and delayed flights can leave you with unexpected bills. But if you become unwell or injured, the cost can be high enough to bring on altitude sickness. 

The cost of overseas medical expenses

Medical treatment in the US for instance can cost several hundred dollars per day. Being repatriated back to Australia for treatment from popular destinations like Indonesia can leave you, or your family, with a bill of around $94,000. 

You’re on your own

The scary thing is that a recent report by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) found as many as one in two Aussie travelers believe the Australian government will pick up the tab for their overseas medical expenses. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. 

If you run into trouble while travelling, even in an emergency, you could find you’re on your own when it comes to footing the bill. DFAT’s SmartTraveller website makes it very clear that if you don’t have travel insurance in place, the Australian government won't pay for your medical treatment overseas or medical evacuation to Australia. 

So a sensible rule of thumb is that if you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel. 

Ensure you have adequate cover

Fortunately, travel insurance is very reasonably priced. As you’d expect basic policies are cheaper than comprehensive products but there can be a world of difference in the protection they offer. 

A basic product may only cover you for medical bills and some public liability. A comprehensive policy will typically have a range of add-ons like car rental excess cover (so if you have a bingle in a hire car it shouldn’t cost you a cent), as well as cover for delayed flights, loss of luggage and theft of cash. 

Shop around for cover

It always makes sense to shop around for travel cover, and the internet makes this easy. Your health fund or super fund may also be a source of low cost travel insurance. However, do read the fine print. Terms and conditions, along with premiums and what you’re covered for, vary widely. 

Don’t delay

The main thing is to organise travel cover as soon as you’ve paid for flights or accommodation. Don’t wait until you’re about to head off as a lot can happen in the interim that could see you cancelling the trip. Along with being stranded at home this summer, that could also mean being left out of pocket. 

Peace of mind

If you’re heading off for an extended period, it can also be worth speaking to us about organising non-enduring power of attorney. This way, you have peace of mind knowing that someone back home is continuing to take care of your financial wellbeing even while you’re away. 

 

By Paul Clitheroe AM 
Paul Clitheroe is a founding director of financial planning firm ipac, Chairman of the Australian Government Financial Literacy Board and chief commentator for Money Magazine.
 

 

© AMP Life Limited. First published October 2017

 

 

Latest Financial Planning News

  • Our website is really our digital office.

    Coming to our digital office means you can visit us at any time without moving, you family and friends can to.  You can drop off and pick up files, you can catch up with important news, you can ask us questions on a wide range of topics, you can search providers such as Centrelink, the ATO and ASIC and often more easily than going to their sites, you can access a range of calculators, you can get to know our staff, and more.  Drop in anytime!

  • Bitcoin – is it really for you?

    If I could sum up the contents of my junk emails over the last 12 months in a single word it would be: Bitcoin.

  • Spread your money, reduce risk

    Six out of ten Australians own investments outside of the family home and super. That’s good news. The only problem is that many people are still putting all their eggs in one, or just a few, baskets. 

  • Love and money? It’s not about control

    While talking about money is not the most romantic way to spend an evening, it's worth putting some time aside to explore shared goals and the way you manage your money as a twosome.