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 booking a holiday would have 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. However, you should know that many things can go wrong – even on well-planned trips – and paying a little bit extra now may ensure you still have money left over when you return home.
We believe all travellers need travel insurance, regardless of whether they think they do. 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.
1. Travel insurance isn’t as expensive as you think. Students can buy comprehensive insurance cover for short trips to Bali* for less than $50, or Thailand* for less than $60. Even comprehensive cover for three weeks in Europe** can be under $100! That’s extremely good value when you consider that:
2. It covers the activities you want to take part in. 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, bungy jumping, hiking in exotic locales, and more.
3. 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 (like a Contiki tour), 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.
4. 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 health care agreement (RHCA) with ours (i.e. where Aussies can access subsidised treatment), we strongly urge you to get travel insurance. Even if you are travelling to an RHCA country, you should still consider travel insurance, as RHCAs don’t cover everything (e.g. prescription medication, emergency transportation).
5. Lost luggage & theft protection. Imagine if someone stole your bags. 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.
* Based on quotes from Compare the Market for a comprehensive travel insurance policy for a 19-year-old, travelling to Bali and Thailand on a single trip in June 2019 for 15 days
* Based on a quote from Compare the Market for a comprehensive travel insurance policy for a 19-year-old, travelling to France on a single trip in June 2019 for 22 days
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 2018-19 – of more than 313,000 claims, according to the Australian Financial Complaints Authority.
Here are a few things you should include in your student travel insurance policy:
Travel insurance can’t cover everything, however, so it’s important to read your policy’s Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) to understand its exclusions. Specific exclusions may vary between policies and insurers, but here are a few common ones to look out for:
1. 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. By comparison, you won’t be covered for such an incident if you take out travel insurance after it happens.
If you’re gearing up to party on your big trip overseas, you need to check the legal drinking age of the country you’ll be visiting. For instance, we probably all know that the drinking age in the USA is 21, but what’s the drinking age in Thailand? Germany? Japan? The Australian government is limited in what they can do to help you out of legal trouble, so it’s important to know what the international drinking ages are, just in case.
3. If you’re travelling in a group, consider taking out a group travel insurance policy
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?
Read more about group travel insurance policies.
4. Don’t be afraid of the cost of insurance
Travel insurance for students 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 things like your age, where you’re travelling to, how long you are staying, when you are travelling, and whether you need cover for pre-existing medical conditions.
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).
General Insurance Code Governance Committee – General insurance in Australia: 2017-18 and current insights. Published March 2019, Sourced April 2019.
\Australian Government: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade – Consular Services Charter. Published on Smartraveller.gov.au. Sourced April 2019.