When you’re a student, squeezing the most out of every cent is crucial. This becomes even more important when saving for holidays. So, you can imagine the reaction any student would have when booking a holiday when asked to fork out more of their hard-earned money on travel insurance.
We understand that many students may not want to buy travel insurance. In fact, young travellers aged 18-24 were the most likely age group to travel overseas with no travel insurance, according to Smart Traveller.
But you should know that many things can go wrong – even on well-planned trips – and paying a little bit now may ensure you still have money leftover when you return from your journey.
Why get covered?
Here are a few reasons to change your mind about travel cover. Please note: the extent of your coverage will vary from policy to policy.
- Travel insurance isn’t as expensive as you think. Students can buy comprehensive insurance cover for short trips to Bali or Thailand for less than $50, and comprehensive cover for three weeks in Europe can be under $100.* That’s extremely good value when you consider that (a) medical expenses overseas can cost thousands of dollars, even tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars (b) transporting an injured Aussie home can cost tens of thousands of dollars, and (c) the average student doesn’t have nearly that much in their bank account!
- It covers the activities you want to do. One of the best things about travelling is taking part in activities you wouldn’t normally try at home, like riding a horse on the beach in Spain or cycling around San Francisco Bay. While travel insurance doesn’t cover every activity, policies can cover skiing, bungee jumping, hiking in exotic locales, and more.
- Money back if you miss a reservation / owe cancellation fees. Say your bus breaks down on the way to the airport, and you miss your flight to Bali. On a holiday with a packed itinerary (e.g. Contiki tours), this can be an enormous hassle; especially when you have spent so much time saving for the trip. Your travel insurance policy may be able to refund some of your money on lost deposits or help pay for any cancellation fees owed.
- Your medical bills. Many of us have heard nightmare stories about travellers heading overseas without insurance, getting injured or sick, and then being forced to pay thousands of dollars for medical treatment. It bears repeating: if the country you’re travelling to does not have a reciprocal healthcare agreement with ours (i.e. where Aussies can access subsidised treatment), we strongly urge you to get travel insurance.
- Lost luggage expenses & theft protection. Imagine if your bags were stolen. Don’t panic! While your stuff may be difficult to recover, your insurance policy could replace items or pay out the value of your belongings in cash.
* Figures sourced from Compare the Market’s website in August 2017
Essentially, if you can afford the cost of accommodation, flights, food and activities for your holiday; you can afford insurance too. If you’re concerned that travel insurers ‘don’t pay’, keep in mind that roughly 90% of travel insurance claims were paid out in 2012-2013 – of more than 200,000 claims. Unpaid claims were usually denied because the person tried to claim for losses they weren’t insured for, which is why it pays to carefully read your policy before taking off.
When should you get covered?
Get travel insurance before you leave on your trip. That way, if you have to cancel your flights at the very last minute (e.g. if you get sick), you could recover some of your money.
What if students are travelling in a group?
If you’re organising a trip for a group of students who all need the same level of cover, you’re in luck. You can take out group travel insurance that will cover the entire party of travellers (exclusions permitting). So, why do this?
- Group travel insurance policies can be cheaper than individual policies, depending on whether or not your insurer is offering certain discounts.
- Everyone gets the same level of cover, which means everyone knows what activities they can and cannot take part in.
- Buying just one policy to cover all members of the group can be much simpler than purchasing separate policies for each traveller.
Read more about group travel insurance policies.
How much does cover cost?
Travel insurance doesn’t cost a fortune. The cost varies based on how much coverage you want. Most travel insurance providers offer comprehensive cover, basic cover, and many options in between. This allows you to match your cover to the type of holiday you are on.
For example, if you want to do some more risky activities like skiing or snorkelling, you may have to pay a little extra for your policy. Your policy cost is also influenced by your age, where you’re travelling to, how long you are staying, when you are travelling, when you’re departing, and whether you need cover for pre-existing medical conditions, etc.
So, if you could find a better price by comparing different providers against one another, why not give it a try?
We’ve gathered information for anyone needing travel insurance (e.g. families, adventurers).