The right travel insurance policy can help protect your adventures and give you added peace of mind. To help you get it right, we’ve provided 12 simple tips, starting with one of the most common travel insurance questions:
1. Do I need travel insurance?
We believe that, YES, you need travel insurance.
Don’t believe us? The Government’s Smart Traveller says so too.
If you agree that, yes, you need travel insurance, let’s dive into the key considerations when choosing a travel insurance policy.
2. Know your destination
Make sure that all of your destinations are covered by the policy you choose. It’d be terrible to choose ‘Europe’ only to find out your policy does not cover the Singapore stopover!
Also, ensure your destination is currently safe to visit. Review the Virgin Money Travel Alerts and the Smart Traveller Travel Advisories page as it outlines countries that have adverse conditions, including countries currently categorised by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) as:
- Do not travel; and
- Reconsider your need to travel
Some travel insurance policies will not cover you when you knowingly go to a destination with a high level of risk, or that appears on one of these Travel Advisories lists.
3. Flying solo or travelling with your tribe
If you are travelling solo, use that nomadic spirit to go forth and find the right cover!
If you’re travelling with others, look for ways to cover everybody and reduce your premium as a couple or a family.
Some providers may offer better rates when purchasing cover for more than one person. For instance, Virgin Travel Insurance offers a discount for duos, where you’ll automatically receive a 10% discount on your premium when buying your travel insurance with a partner (as of June 2016, subject to change).
When travelling with dependents, make sure they are appropriately covered. Different providers will have different definitions, so make sure they fit your needs. With Virgin Travel Insurance, a dependant is included covered under your policy for free, where they are your children or grandchildren under the age of 25, not in full-time employment and are accompanying you on the journey. Review the PDS available at Virgin Travel Insurance for exact details.
4. Multi-tripping or tripping for multiple months
You can also purchase different types of cover depending on the type of travel you will undertake.
Frequent travellers may receive better value and more convenience from purchasing annual, multi-trip policies. With Virgin Travel Insurance, our 12-Month Multi-Trip Travel Insurance policy will follow you anytime, anywhere – both domestically and abroad. You can take an unlimited number of trips within the 12 month period, by letting us know the destinations and the maximum trip duration (up to 45 days).
Some travel insurers, including Virgin Travel Insurance, will not cover one way trips. If you intend to go overseas for a long period of time, also review the maximum amount of time you can be covered for under a particular policy. Virgin Travel Insurance will insure trips for up to 12 months, however you can also look to extend an existing policy when you are abroad.
If you are staying overseas for an extended period of time, also review whether long-term travel insurance or in-country health insurance would be the better fit.
5. Cover what you plan to get up to
If you’re into adventure and action off the beaten track, make sure your travel insurance is adequate.
If you’re into smooth sailing on the high seas, you might also like to review the inclusions specifically for Cruises in the Virgin Travel Insurance Cruise Pack.
In finding the right cover for your activity, a useful place to start is the policy exclusions too (see point 8). These tell you exactly what is and is not covered by your policy.
6. Read the cover limits, excesses and claims
Now we’re really delving into details!
Firstly, understand the excess amount and how it is treated by a potential provider. The Virgin Travel Insurance Excess is “the deduction we will make from the amount otherwise payable under your policy for each claimable incident or event”. Secondly, understand the emergency contact details, claims procedure, and processing times of each policy you are considering.
Thirdly, check that your cover limits satisfy your potential needs. Some cover limits to review include:
- Overseas emergency medical and hospital expenses
- Accidental death
- Permanent disability
- Cancellation fees & lost deposits
- Additional expenses
- Luggage & Personal effects
- Travel documents
- Theft of cash
This list is not exhaustive, so compare the different cover limits, and different definitions, across providers.
7. Value your valuables
If you’re travelling with highly valuable items, make sure you review the cover limits for personal effects. Most policies will list single-item limits for a range of goods, including cameras, laptops, phones and jewellery.
Anything not specifically listed would come under a limit for ‘any other item’, and you can only claim valuables that total what is often referred to as your “luggage, personal effects and travel documents maximum cover amount”
With technology, be aware that you’ll usually only be covered for the value of the item, not the purchase price. Insurers will calculate the depreciation to apply to any such item.
8. Understand when you are NOT covered
We cannot emphasise this enough – understand the terms and conditions in your Product Disclosure Statement.
It outlines what you are covered for and, critically, what you are NOT covered for. Important sections to review include:
- Drink, drugs and silly things – what you are covered for when intoxicated (hint and warning: you generally won’t be covered for much in these circumstances!)
- Relatives – the definitions of a ‘relative’ should you need to change plans due to a relatives ill-health
- Possessions – where they have to be (generally on your person or securely locked away) to be able to claim the cost of stolen or damaged goods
- Cancellations – will I get my money back if I cancel
- Insolvency – what happens when airlines or travel providers go broke
9. Medical matters
If you have a pre-existing health issue, it’s best to make sure you have it covered. You might be charged a higher premium, but if complications arise with these conditions while you are travelling, and you have not disclosed them, you may not be covered at all.
Note that not all pre-existing medical conditions will be covered, so if you fall into this category, get in touch with the Insurer directly. There are 36 pre-existing medical conditions that Virgin Travel Insurance may cover at no extra cost. But be sure to review the full terms and conditions first.
If you are pregnant, or get pregnant overseas, again make sure you know what is and isn’t included in your policy.
Age is also a factor in calculating travel insurance premiums. Generally, the older you are, the higher your premium is likely to cost.
Plus 3 bonus tips
This isn’t necessarily about choosing a policy, but is nonetheless a handy tip. If your plans change or unforeseen events stop you taking a booked holiday, travel insurance may be able to cover some of your cancellation fees and lost deposits. Review the policy details and consider purchasing your travel insurance policy as early as possible, noting that different providers have limits on how early you can purchase. For example, a Virgin Travel Insurance policies can be purchased up to 12 months before the date of your travel.
Look for discounts
Travel insurance providers may offer special discounts on travel insurance premiums.
For instance, have you got a Virgin Money Credit Card? Virgin Money credit cardholders can simply pay for their Virgin Travel Insurance using their Virgin Credit Card to receive a 10% discount^ off the premium.
Does your credit card offer travel insurance?
Some credit cards also offer complimentary travel insurance when you purchase some or all of your journey with your credit card. For instance, the Virgin Australia Velocity High Flyer credit cards provide complimentary international travel insurance to cardholders who use their credit card to buy overseas travel tickets before leaving Australia. It’s important to review the Complimentary Insurance Terms and Conditions to understand the policy inclusions, cover limits and exclusions.
Before signing off, and for the umpteenth time, whatever travel insurance policy you choose, review the Product Disclosure Statement and applicable terms and conditions to ensure it is right for your needs.