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Travel insurance: What to know


Australians are an intrepid bunch. In fact, 10 million of us travelled internationally in the year to August 20161.

That's almost half of the country's population. Our adventurous spirit is something to be admired, however, jetting across the oceans and exploring the world doesn't come without unique dangers, difficulties and risks. Travel insurance won’t prevent things from going wrong but can help with unforeseen costs as a result. This leaves you to focus on discovering - instead of worrying.

So, what should you know before buying a travel insurance policy and boarding a flight?

What does travel insurance cover?

Knowing what you're covered for is essential when purchasing travel insurance. In general, you may wish to search for policies that include cover for the following2:

  • Luggage and personal effects: reimbursement for lost stolen or damaged items.
  • Personal liability: protection in case you are legally liable for injuring someone or damaging property.
  • Medical or hospital expenses: covers you if you happen to be sick or injured while overseas.
  • Travel delay: covers costs of travel being delayed, such as accommodation and food.
  • Travel cancellation: reimbursement for prepaid travel expenses in the event of certain unforeseen circumstances like illness or natural disaster.

Keep in mind, these are only the basics that travel insurance policies can offer. The nature of your travel will have a significant impact on the travel insurance product you choose to go with. An adventure traveller who intends to take high-risk activities will almost certainly have very different travel insurance needs to someone looking to relax and sip cocktails on a beach. There are several other add-ons and policy types that can add more specific cover if you find that it's necessary.

Do I really need to consider it?

The short answer is YES. There is always a chance of something unforeseen occurring that could cost you serious money.

A 2016 survey by the Insurance Council of Australia shows that this is true. Half of the respondents said they engaged in "risky behaviour" like water sports or riding a motorcycle while abroad, a quarter experienced a loss that was covered by their insurance policy, and 72 percent of those who were uninsured acknowledged that they were exposed to significant or devastating debt3.

What would I need to tell my insurer?

It’s important to ask yourself these questions before buying an insurance policy3:

  • Where are you going?
  • How long are you going for?
  • What are your going to do there?
  • Are you taking valuable items?
  • Do you have any pre-existing medical conditions?

The answers to the above questions are the gist of what you may need to tell your insurance provider.

Again, If you’re the adventurous type, and plan on taking part in dangerous activities like zooming around on a moped, scuba diving, or bungee jumping, consult with your insurer over the phone and make sure to double check the product disclosure statement. If something goes wrong, you may not be covered due to the circumstances in which the incident occurred. For example, some insurance policies may not cover you if you we’re driving a moped without a helmet as a helmet is often considered a basic safety requirement.

What level of cover shall I get?

Most insurers offer three different levels of cover - basic, mid-range and comprehensive. While you may be tempted to buy the cheapest policy available, that may mean that you miss out on cover that you need, particularly if you're partaking in risky activities, or travelling with valuable items.

Look closely at the exclusions in each policy when choosing, as well as the amount of cover for each insurable event and decide whether or not it’s right for you. If you're unsure speak to your insurer and have an open and honest discussion about your travels to get a better idea of what cover you require.

What do I need to know about claiming?

When claiming on your insurance there are a few things you can do to make the process easier. First of all keep receipts and bank statements so you can prove ownership of your belongings as well as written proof to back up claims of flight delays or hospital stays. Always be sure to report incidents to your insurer as soon as possible after they occur.

Next, know who to call to make a claim - this number will usually be included in any policy documents you receive such as the product disclosure statement. Some insurers allow you to make claims over the phone, while others might send you a form to fill out4. Regardless, it is important to be completely honest about what you are claiming as changing or correcting your story may delay the claims process.

Give yourself peace of mind with IMB Bank

Travelling can be an incredible experience. Whether you're journeying up the coast of Vietnam and experiencing local life, or putting your feet up on a tropical island, the most important thing is that you enjoy the experience.

Don't let anything get in the way of that, and gain peace of mind by taking out appropriate travel insurance with IMB.


Enquire about a competitive travel insurance policy with IMB Bank


3 QUANTUM Market Research