FORGET trip delays, flight cancellations and stolen luggage – getting sick while away on holiday is the number one fear for Aussie travellers, especially older ones.
New data from online travel insurer InsureandGo has revealed surprising results about Australians’ biggest travel fears in 2019.
The findings come from an independent survey of 1000 Australian travellers who were presented with 11 potential incidents they could be faced with while travelling – from running out of money and a hotel not honouring their booking, to losing a family or group member or theft and injury – and were asked which of these incidents they feared the most.
The results revealed that only five per cent of respondents chose losing their family or a member of their group as their biggest fear when travelling – overshadowed by five other potential scenarios which ranked higher, with more than one in five Aussies (22 per cent) choosing getting sick as their biggest fear.
Respondents in their 50s and 60s were most worried about unforeseen ailments, with 28 per cent of each group choosing this fear as number one. This compares to just 12 per cent of under 30s, who worried about falling ill while travelling.
Losing belongings or passports came in second followed by having to come home unexpectedly, running out of money and losing belongings.
Eight per cent of respondents chose getting injured as their biggest fear when travelling, five per cent chose getting lost themselves or theft; and four per cent feared getting assaulted.
Jonathan Etkind, spokesperson at InsureandGo, said Aussies should not be deterred from travelling because they are afraid of the unexpected, but should be prepared in the case that they do experience a mishap.
“Travel insurance can cover some or all of the out-of-pocket expenses that you could be faced with when you experience an unforeseen event, particularly if you become ill or injured while travelling overseas, or if you lose your belongings – given it wasn’t due to negligence.
“In the case of a medical emergency abroad, travel insurance can provide you relief knowing you can have your medical expenses looked after once you return. Not only that, you will have access to emergency support, with most travel insurers offering assistance whilst you’re overseas,” he said.
“Given that sickness is the leading fear for Aussies travelling, getting the right medical cover for overseas travel is crucial. It’s important to reveal any pre-existing medical conditions in your insurance policy, know what medical conditions your policy covers, and have the relevant documentation when making a claim. As well as covering medical expenses, the policy can provide travellers with a hospital cash allowance if they are admitted. The cost of travel insurance can be a small hit to the pocket when compared with overseas hospital rates that can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars per day.”
InsureandGo highlights five things to be aware of in your travel insurance medical cover
1. If you have a pre-existing medical condition, check it will be covered and include it in your policy. Whether it’s a heart condition, diabetes or a hip replacement, it is important to check your insurer will cover your condition automatically or whether additional cover is required. If you hide a medical condition from your insurer, or neglect to tell them, you run the risk of invalidating your claim if your claim is related to this condition.
2. Ensure you have the necessary documentation when making a claim. If you incur medical expenses overseas, you will need medical certificates or statements outlining the treatment you received, and the costs involved in order to make a valid insurance claim. Keep a copy of any receipts for treatment you had overseas, as well as proof of payment for medical and hospital expenses.
3. Insurers will only cover you if your treatment is immediately and medically necessary. Any treatments that you received overseas that were not immediately and medically necessary will result in an invalidated claim.
4. If you’re travelling while pregnant, understand the general rules around complications and premature birth. Some insurers will provide unlimited medical, hospital and surgical cover for pregnancy or childbirth complications only (injuries to the body or illness that was not expected) of up to 32 weeks on a comprehensive policy. Many policies, including those from InsureandGo, will not cover childbirth or necessary medical costs for a newborn itself, as the baby was not insured when the policy was purchased.
5. Most self-inflicted injuries won’t be covered. If you knowingly put yourself in danger while travelling, you run the risk of having your cover invalidated if an incident occurs. In general, reckless activities will not be favoured by your travel insurer.
Consumer information service Choice has a number of travel insurance tips.