By Kate Webster @TravellerKate10 Apr 2017Why is it that we insure the things of value, yet when it comes to travel insurance the additional cost is often overlooked? Not only does the travel booked have value, but so does your luggage, the time invested in travelling & most of all, your health & wellbeing. Taking out travel insurance just may be the most important decision you make when booking your next holiday. It is easy to forget how blessed we are in Australia with good hospital systems and emergency responders such as police, fire and ambulance. Generally, if something goes wrong, help is not too far away. However, travel abroad and you will find some countries are not so fortunate. This should be reason enough to ensure travel insurance is a must on every itinerary. Last year, one in six Australians made a travel insurance claim, ranging from medical expenses (37 percent), lost baggage/personal effects (26 percent) and missed connections/travel delay (25 percent) to lost money/credit cards (15 percent) and loss of deposit/cancellations (12 percent). The scary thing is, only 60 percent of Australians said they “always” take out travel insurance when travelling overseas. This means up to 40 percent of people are unnecessarily endangering themselves, their finances, and their holiday plans, and potentially limiting access to emergency assistance if they do need it while abroad. The most common destinations for uninsured holidaymakers are China (35 percent), Japan (30 percent), and New Zealand (24 percent). Chief Operating Officer at 1Cover, Richard Warburton shared with Karryon his experience with the importance of travel insurance. “A lot of people don’t realise how beneficial travel insurance is,” Warburton said. “There’s also this perception that travel insurance is expensive, and this couldn’t be further from the truth. Travel insurance is likely to be one of the cheapest items a person books as part of their holiday. It’s also one of the most important.” “Why should people get travel insurance? The answer is simple. If something goes wrong, expert help is just a phone call away. At 1Cover, it’s our number one focus to ensure people’s holiday experiences are as stress-free as possible.” Travellers need to be prepared for the unexpected, and travel insurance offers the piece of mind that 24/7 emergency assistance and expert support for all types of situations is just a phone call away. Unfortunately, uninsured person may not be able to access or afford this kind of help. If they do access it, they’re often left with a very expensive bill they simply cannot afford. A perfect example of this, a visit to the doctor in the US can cost up to $500, while a stay in the hospital can end up being tens of thousands of dollars. “Travel insurance may not stop things from happening, but it does provide travellers with greater peace of mind,” Warburton concluded. For those people still a bit unsure, here it is, from a seasoned traveller, the myths of Travel Insurance debunked. I have always travelled with travel insurance and often needed to make a claim. So maybe ask yourself these questions before you decide to skimp on the travel insurance. I am cautious and safe, I will be fine Yes, you may be pretty clued in and street wise and know when travelling to look after your belongings, travel safe and be aware of your surroundings. Sure, that is a great way to be. However, unfortunately, unforeseen weather, flight delays, illness, injury or other catastrophes can very quickly and easily derail the best of travel plans. Don’t think it will never happen to you because good old Murphy’s Law – if it can happen, it will happen. Claiming is so hard anyway unless something catastrophic happens As long as you are aware of your terms and conditions, you will know exactly what you are covered for. There are cheaper insurance policies that offer less coverage, so make sure you take out a policy that gives you adequate coverage for what you need. I don’t need to get travel insurance until just before I leave Remember you are covered from the moment you purchase your travel insurance. These days most people book their travel well in advance to get the best deals. That leaves a lot of time between purchasing the travel and actually leaving. If you take out your travel insurance at the same time you book travel, you are covered from that moment forward, and if anything unforeseen happens that stops you from taking your trip, you are covered. If you wait until the last moment before leaving you run the risk of being hit with large cancellation/change fees. Like packing your passport, travel insurance should just be part and parcel of the preparations you undergo when travelling. I always say it is better to spend the money on travel insurance that you don’t use than to waste thousands due to lack of proper preparation. If it is of value, insure it. Travel included. Do you always ensure travel insurance is booked? What are your experiences with travel insurance claims, good or bad? Other stories you may like NTIA17 SUCCESS STORIES: COVER-MORE It may be ‘several years’ before travel insurance is compulsory for visitors to Thailand Should travel insurance be compulsory for all Aussies travelling overseas?