Is your travel insurance adequate?
Monday, 23 December 2019
The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.”
Travel provides adventure, relaxation and an escape from the humdrum of daily life. But to confidently experience the joy of travel it’s critical to make sure you are appropriately insured.
Why is it important?
In Australia we are lucky to have a free universal health care system. However, there are many countries in the world that do not. If you are overseas and you need to visit a doctor, purchase medicines (such as insulin) or be admitted to hospital due to accident or illness the costs can quickly build up into thousands of dollars.
The government’s smart traveller website highlights the importance of obtaining travel insurance and describes it “as important as your passport”. This is because:
- The cost of overseas medical treatment can be very expensive
- Most countries do not have free health care
- Some countries may not treat you without payment upfront, or your insurance details, even if your condition is life threatening
Additionally there are important things to consider:
- Your age and any pre-existing conditions i.e. heart disease or diabetes
- Any activities you may be planning – some may be excluded or warrant an extra cost (risky activities)
- Your destination – make sure the policy you take out covers all the destinations you plan to visit
- Insurance that covers your entire trip
- Is your destination on ‘do not travel advice list’? If so insurance unlikely to cover you
Reciprocal Health Care
Although some countries have reciprocal health care agreements with Australia the cover is typically limited to:
- Emergency care
- An health event which needs immediate treatment and cannot be left until you arrive home
This means that should you require ongoing outpatient visits or medication then these costs will not be covered by reciprocal health agreements. To see more on reciprocal health care follow this link: https://www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/services/medicare/reciprocal-health-care-agreements/australians/about-reciprocal-health-care-agreements
Replacing lost insulin or diabetes medication can be very expensive without insurance.
As diabetes is a pre-existing condition you will need to declare this on your application form for travel insurance. Usually an assessment form is required to be completed before insurance is granted. Based on the answers to the questions an extra cost may be imposed due to your diabetes and/ or other pre-existing conditions. Answers provided on the form will determine if you can get cover and if there will be any extra costs.
How can I find out more information regarding insurance?
Shop around – you can call individual insurance providers or try contacting some of the companies who work with many insurers such as:
- Special risk managers
- Compare the market
- Look at the Choice Travel insurance buyers guide
- Refer to the government website Smart Traveller
- Call the NDSS helpline and ask to speak with a Credentialled Diabetes Educator about preparing for your trip 1300 136 588
- For stories and scenarios related to adequate and inadequate insurance head to the smart traveller website.
The good news
If you plan ahead and take out appropriate insurance there is no reason why you cannot enjoy a safe and rewarding holiday where you are financially protected should anything go wrong overseas.