‘Get cover as soon as you book’: Australians skimping on travel insurance

A small pinch to your wallet now could save you some stress on your travels.

A small pinch to your wallet now could save you some stress on your travels. Photo: Getty

Australians are ramping up their travel plans to take advantage of international borders’ reopening, but data shows many are reluctant to stump up for travel insurance.

One in six Australians don’t plan on taking out travel insurance for their international travel, and half of Australians won’t be taking out travel insurance for their domestic journeys, the latest Finder figures reveal.

Viva Financial Planning director and financial adviser Elizabeth Hatton said that while you might find the cost of travel insurance “prohibitive”, it could protect you from losing money if something goes wrong.

“It’s worth trying to be as maximally covered as you can,” she said.

“When you’re travelling and something awful is happening to you, then you’ll know that you’re at least partially covered and you won’t worry.”

Travel insurance cover in sickness and health

Finder travel insurance expert Gary Hunter said while travel insurance is only helpful when things goes wrong, there are often many unexpected surprises when travelling overseas.

Mr Hunter said people often don’t realise what can be covered, and how helpful the cover can be.

For example, the pandemic has added an extra layer of instability to travel plans, which can now be derailed by an untimely cough.

But there are now some insurers who offer COVID-related cover which could help you recoup costs or rearrange plans, Mr Hunter said.

Although insurers won’t cover costs related to border closures or lockdowns, some will cover you if you need to cancel or rearrange a trip due to coming down with a case of COVID.

More common insurance cover allows you to cancel or reschedule trips if you have a legitimate reason why you can’t travel, such as a death in the family, while cover for lost or stolen luggage can also come in handy.

Domestic travel isn’t risk-free

Although Finder’s data indicates Australians are more comfortable with travelling uninsured within the country, Mr Hunter said many of the same risks of international travel apply to domestic travel.

You could also stand to save money on your Australian road trip, as some insurance plans will cover your rental car insurance excess.

“You don’t need to take out the insurance that the rental service is offering because if you’ve got travel insurance, that will cover you,” Mr Hunter said.

But don’t leave getting insured to the last minute, because if something has already gone wrong, insurance providers won’t cover it.

“You should really get travel insurance as soon as you book your trip, because if you take it out when you book your trip and something happens that prevents you from travelling, you can cancel or rearrange and get covered,” he said.

“If you did that just before your trip and something’s already gone wrong that would prevent you from travelling, you would no longer be covered.”

Fitzpatricks Private Wealth financial planner Gianna Thomson said before signing up for a travel insurance plan people should check whether they might already be covered through their credit cards.

“Some people have travel insurance provided with their credit cards already,” Ms Thomson said.

But many of these plans have terms and conditions such as requiring you to book your flight using a credit card, she said.

Ms Thomson said you also need to pay attention to the fine print of any insurance plan to ensure you’re covered for as many events as possible.

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