Sarah Jane Bell is a freelance writer specialising in health, wellbeing and travel. You can see more of her work at http://sarahjanebell.com
Travel insurance is like your passport, you shouldn’t go overseas without it. When it comes to healthcare, Australia is ranked one of the highest for our medical system. This is not always the case for every country. Medical expenses, accidents, terrorist attacks and natural disasters are unfortunately a reality of travelling. Travel Insurance can cost anywhere between $100-$1000 depending on what you need to have covered and who you choose to be covered with. This can be expensive and stressful for some.
Travel insurance can be very confusing, who do you choose and what’s the best cover? Recently I bought travel insurance for my partner and our USA holiday. By doing my research I secured amazing travel insurance and saved $130.00 whilst I was at it.
Let me save you time, and money with 4 tips below:
- What’s important to you
Before you start looking for insurance you need to know what you want to be covered. Do you think you’ll need extra cover for a specific health problem? A health problem only needs to have happened in the last 12 months. Make a list and ensure you ask if any health issues you have may need additional cover. Always seek professional medical advice if you are unsure.
There are different levels of cover out there which is why you should get to know what’s important to you. If travelling to the USA a lot of insurers have only one cover, so that makes it easy for you to pick your insurance cover, but not the insurer.
Don’t get stuck in the ‘it will never happen to me mentality’ Better safe than sorry. So start making that list on what’s important to you?
- Understand your Destination
Are you going to the beautiful rice fields of Bali? Or the wonderful snowy mountains in Japan for a ski trip? You’ll need extra cover for skiing, rafting, snorkelling or activities deemed to be high risk for injury. Has there been a natural disaster in recent times like tsunamis or earthquakes? You will want to know to ensure the insurance company covers you for natural disasters. Add this to your what’s important to you list. Sign up to http://smartraveller.gov.au for all your travel advice and updates on any country of your choice.
- Do your research
There are so many companies out there that provide travel insurance, from your private health insurer to your car breakdown provider. All offering their services in Travel insurance. It’s a perfect business strategy really. As loyal members of these companies, we tend to trust the businesses we already use. I know I did.
When my partner and I were looking into our Travel insurance I wanted to go with my private health provider because I trusted them, and they knew and understood medical needs. My partner on the other hand not having private health, he wanted to go with his car breakdown provider because they knew what you needed in times of emergencies when stuck. Both being loyal customers we were offered discounts for our membership. One was more expensive than the other which in most situations would have been a no-brainer right? Go with the cheaper option? But I wasn’t so sure and so began my research.
I read the product disclosure statement (PDS) first. Under the important matters section, the insurer will be listed. The company you trust is not always the company that would handle your insurance claim if you needed to make a claim from lost luggage to medical emergencies.
One of the main reasons why I wanted my healthcare company was because I liked to deal with them directly, their service was good, and I knew I could depend on them. That was important to me. I rang to ask about the 24/7 hotline for medical and would I be speaking with someone from the private health company? The Answer was NO.
I called my partners choice for travel insurance and asked the same question. Again, NO, the number would be directed through to the insurance company listed in the PDS. So, I researched the insurance companies and received quotes directly from them. I found that due to their very smart business strategy the other companies that on sell insurance get a commission. This is not something that is hidden, and a lot of the on-hold information will include this statement. However, this can be overlooked and assumed it’s not important. But if you want to save money, then it’s very important. So, save yourself some time and once you have your list head straight to the PDS to understand who you are really being insured with.
- Read your Product Disclosure Statement (PDS)
To find your PDS insert the company and type of insurance+ PDS into google. It’s a lengthy document but an important one! Worth the read in the long run because the PDS holds all the information on what is and isn’t covered. Armed with your list of what’s important to you and understanding where you are going and what needs to be covered, you can easily navigate your way through the PDS and ensure that the company you are choosing has the right cover for you.
Once I had found it was best to go directly to the insurance company, I read their PDS statements and ended up choosing the insurer who partnered with the car care provider. By doing my research and skipping over the middle company I saved $130.00 and received the absolute best Travel Insurance for my partner and I to America.
Now you have the tools to save time and money. Remember, make a list of your priorities, check your companies PDS and if they have a different insurer then get a quote direct. $130 is a night’s accommodation, sometimes two depending on your travel budget. Now that’s what I call a saving!
Enjoy your holiday and stay safe.