Be aware that it’s best to buy your insurance at the same time that you purchase your ticket. That way if you need to cancel your trip because you get sick you’ll be covered for any deposits or cancellation charges.
Some credit card companies now offer you insurance – which can be a great way to take care of finance and insurance in one hit. Premium credit (Gold or Platinum) cards, which offer full medical travel insurance, now number more than 2 million cards in Australia. For example, the Visa Platinum comes with personalized concierge services for travel and entertainment assistance and US$500,000 travel accident insurance.
The other 9 million “ordinary” credit cards also provide some level of travel insurance, but it pays to read the fine print on what you’re covered for. Make sure the basics like lost luggage, cancellation and hospital/medical costs are included.
Check that personal technology such as iPods, laptops and digital cameras are covered in the equipment section of your travel insurance policy. Also ask about the maximum amount paid for the loss of your camera, camcorder or sound equipment to make sure you won’t be out of pocket. Keep receipts for your purchases separate from the goods. If your items are lost or stolen you will need these receipts to make a claim.
When selecting insurance cover look for a company with a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week hotline. A “hotline” might sound like just a quirky feature for wannabe spies but if your partner suddenly has a heart attack in a country where you don’t speak the language, then you’ll need to contact your insurer as soon as possible on that emergency phone number.
Watch out for exemptions and exclusions that may prevent you claiming on basics. Put your glasses on and read that fine print.
Always refer to an insurance policy’s minimum and maximum benefits in every category of cover, especially the medical section.
Age discrimination exists with nearly all travel insurance. Some companies refuse to insure anyone over the age of 70, and others require medical assessment for those aged 65 and over.