10 important questions to ask before buying travel insurance

Travellers over 60 make up one of the fastest-growing travel demographics in the country1, and with that new desire to see the world comes the need to find the best travel insurance to go along with it.

From pre-existing medical conditions to what’s involved in actually making a claim, there’s a lot to think about before purchasing travel insurance and there are many questions to ask along the way. 

Unless you have a few million dollars lying around for emergencies, travel insurance is a key part of the planning process. So, if you’re unsure about what you need to do and what the best travel insurance for your circumstances are, then it’s necessary to consider these 10 important questions first. 

1 Do I really need travel insurance?

It’s a simple question but an important one to ask. Why do we need travel insurance in the first place? For some it may be a no-brainer, but it’s important to know exactly what it is and what you’re likely to be protected against. In a nutshell, travel insurance is an insurance policy to protect you against mishaps along the way, including things like damaged personal items, unplanned trip cancellations, medical emergencies and other unexpected events that can occur during a trip. If you find yourself injured or your goods damaged while on holiday, the costs can be exorbitant, protect yourself and your finances by covering yourself for those ‘just in case’ moments. 

2 What will my travel insurance actually cover?

Travel insurance is an important consideration before a holiday to help safeguard you from unplanned events along the way. It depends on the level of cover you require, but your travel insurance can potentially cover the following: 

  • Lost or stolen luggage
  • Change in travel plans due to weather
  • Getting sick or injured while on holiday
  • Losing your passport 

Asking this question will allow you to get the most from your policy. For example, being safeguarded from an unexpected medical expense might be more important to you than being covered for an activity like kayaking, or vice versa. Ask your insurance provider about what your policy will cover to help you make a decision on a policy for you.

3 Are people in my age group covered? 

Don’t let being over 60 stop you from purchasing travel insurance. According to general manager of Australian travel insurance provider Worldcare, Brendon Dyer, there are providers that make it easier than ever to get the right coverage.

“Some insurance companies don’t cover travellers over a certain age, often 75, so you may need to shop around,” says Dyer.

“Worldcare offers policies for mature-aged travellers with included extras you won’t find with many other insurers, like cover for many pre-existing conditions at no added cost and some of the lowest premiums on the market for the over-60s. Worldcare also provides cover for travellers up to 85 years of age.”

4 How long am I travelling for? 

Whether you’re going away for a week or a year, it’s important to know just how long you intend to be away for and organise your travel insurance for that timeframe. Many insurers require travellers be in their home country before purchasing insurance.

This is because of the risk involved.

“Travel exposes people to stresses they don’t usually experience, including long flights, missed sleep, jet lag, and exposure to infection in confined spaces with other people,” says Dyer.

“That means a person who is buying travel insurance while they’re already away is an increased risk from an insurer’s point of view.”

But Worldcare offers a Resident Returning Plan for Australian residents whose one-way trip starts overseas and ends in Australia and who purchase the policy while overseas.

“Yes, you can extend your Worldcare cover while overseas in certain circumstances, provided you apply for an extension before your cover expires.”

5 Which countries are covered by the policy?

Visiting Italy and France before making a beeline for the Americas via Canada and New York? Well, you’re going to need to make sure your policy covers each and every one of those destinations. Yes, even including that three-night detour in Hong Kong. Use the Global Travel Assistant to help you learn what you need to do to have a safe and happy holiday no matter where in the world you find yourself. 

6 How much does excess cost?

If, on the off chance, you need to make a claim, you want to make sure that you know what the excess is, which is the amount that will be deducted from your claim. Travellers also may have the option to remove the standard excess on their policy by paying an additional premium, meaning that if something does go wrong, you won’t be out of pocket.  

7 Are my medical conditions covered?

Pre-existing medical conditions can feel like a bit of a roadblock when it comes to travel insurance but Dyer from Worldcare says it’s important to always be upfront about any pre-existing medical conditions you might have.

“Remember that if you neglect to mention a condition you will not be covered if it causes you issues on your trip,” Dyer says.

“The great news is that Worldcare covers many preexisting medical conditions at no added cost, and covers many more conditions for an additional premium so you can have peace of mind while travelling.”

And there is good news, even if your medical condition can’t be covered.

“You may still be eligible for a non-medical policy with all the benefits of a comprehensive policy except cover for medical costs, loss of income or claims arising from any injury or sickness suffered by you,” he says. 

8 What’s involved with making a claim?

In the event of making a travel insurance claim, it’s important that the process is as stress free and painless as possible, because if you’re making a claim in the first place you’re probably stressed enough as it is. Find out what the process involves, what the customer service is like and whether you have to make a claim over the phone or can do so online. Many travel insurance providers offer 24/7 customer service with call centres working around-the-clock to assist travellers to make claims from abroad.

9 What isn’t covered by my travel insurance policy?

As important as it is to find out what is covered by your insurance policy, it’s equally important to find out what isn’t so you know exactly what activities to avoid and what to include in your holiday itinerary.

10 What is personal liability and do I need it?

Now, it’s all well and good if you get yourself into trouble, but what if you damage someone else’s property? Well, that’s where personal liability comes in handy.

Personal liability covers you for payment of compensation for things like injury, physical loss, damage or even death. 

“It also covers your reasonable legal expenses for settling or defending the claim made against you,” says Dyer. But there are a number of exclusions, so it always pays to read your product disclosure statement thoroughly to be certain.

What other questions do you ask when planning your travel insurance? Let us know in the comments section below.

This article was sponsored by Worldcare Travel Insurance. Click here for a quote, or call 1800 008 614 to learn more.

[1] Source: AAP (2016) Australia’s Seniors Travelling More

Worldcare Travel Insurance is issued and managed by AWP Australia Pty Ltd ABN 52 097 227 177 AFS Licence No. 245631, trading as Allianz Global Assistance (AGA) as agent of the insurer Allianz Australia Insurance Limited ABN 15 000 122 850 AFS Licence No. 234708 (Allianz). Travel Insurance is underwritten by Allianz. Conditions, terms, limits and exclusions apply. We do not provide advice based on any consideration of your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before making a decision please consider the product disclosure statement available at www.worldcare.com.au. If you purchase this insurance, AGA will receive a commission that is a percentage of the premium. Ask us for more details before we provide you with any services on this product.

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