Most travel claims fall into one of a few key areas. We detail those below, and try and outline how you can get the best result if claiming.
Stolen or lost property
One insurer estimates that 1 in 3 travel cover claims are because of theft of personal property.1 Just how big of a problem is theft overseas? In 2014-15, consular services provided assistance to
- 1,066 victims of theft.
- 2,621 Aussies who reported stolen passports, and
- 211 people who needed emergency financial assistance (usually a loan of about $150).2
Comparative to the millions of people travelling overseas, these numbers aren’t extremely high. However, they comprise a small amount of reported incidents for Australians only. And it just goes to prove that anything can happen on your trip.
Just look a little further abroad; one publication states that roughly 400,000 tourists are victims of pick pocketing every day.3
How you can avoid theft when overseas
Audit your belongings, cash, and personal effects before you leave, ensuring you record where you kept the receipts or take photos (i.e. documenting proof of ownership).4
But if you want to avoid claiming on lost goods in the first place, it’s all about maintaining constant vigilance wherever you go.
- Keep an eye on your property at all times, especially when you’re in a public space.
- Trust your natural intuition. If you think that street looks a little bit shady, casually move away from it.
- It’s great to chat to locals, but maintain an air of suspicion about anything offered to you.
- Protect your passport. Keep it out of sight at all times, and be wary of who you surrender it to (e.g. hotels, tour operators).
Health issues and injuries
Another travel insurer stated that 2 in every 5 insurance claims for Bali travellers was for medical care.5 Is this a problem elsewhere in the world? Absolutely!
- 1,453 Australians were assisted by the Australian consulate for hospitalisations in 2014-15.
- 648 people died from illness or natural causes,
- 168 died in accidents, and
- 64 were murdered.2
Getting sick or injured is one unpleasant reality of travelling. Your body, likely jetlagged and not used to its foreign environment, can be susceptible to all manner of unknown ailments, and injuries can occur when you’re dealing with unfamiliar territory.
Claims related to illnesses and injuries are denied all the time, for reasons that will probably not surprise you.
- Riding around on mopeds isn’t explicitly prohibited under travel insurance policies, but doing so without a proper license, or without head protection, will mean you cannot claim.
- Even more damning is when Aussies get injured while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Doing so will mean your insurer will deny paying out any claims.
- Other common exclusions include treatment for an undisclosed pre-existing condition, and getting sick because you failed to get vaccinated before you left.
How to avoid health issues when travelling
- Maintain a healthy diet when overseas. Keep you intake of fruit and vegetables up, and drink plenty of water. Speaking of which…
- Is the drinking water safe? Check on SmartTraveller.gov.au for each country before you depart on your trip.
- Find reputable, accredited tour operators for any activities you undertake. Whether it’s a safari or a massage, do your homework on who you’re entrusting your health and safety with.
Delays and cancellations
Another insurer has previously stated that a quarter of their insurance claims are due to cancellations of travel.6 Why is this such a significant problem?
Well, it actually isn’t in Australia. In 2015, 86% of Aussie flights arrived on time, and 87% departed on time (on average), according to BITRE statistics.7 On a global scale, this map from FlightStats.com shows that Australia is pretty consistent with their on-time arrivals compared to other airports across the globe – green means they’re usually on time, orange to red means they’re not.
But take a good look at the map on the page we link to above – not everywhere else in the world is ‘green’, and even in Australia a 14% chance of delay is not appealing. If you invest a lot of money on your trip, only to have it squandered by a flight that never leaves the runway, travel insurance may help you claim back some of that lost cash if (for example) you owe a tour operator cancellation fees.
How to avoid delays when you’re on the move
Keeping to your itinerary is as simple as flying with reputable airlines, booking with reliable tour operators, and staying healthy and alert during your trip.
- For international flights, check FlightStats.com for up to date information on how punctual airlines tend to be, and how organised airports across the world manage their runways.
- For domestic travel, BITRE has all the information you need on how punctual our Aussie airlines are throughout the year.
Now you know what’s at stake, consider learning more about travel insurance before setting sail on your dream trip across the pond.