Surprising things you might not have realised about travel insurance

You’re so excited. You’ve just booked the trip of a lifetime – a 12-night cruise – and you can’t wait. You get onboard and see the sights, only to fall ill with your recurring illness and you need to leave your cruise early.

When you get home, you try to claim for your health costs and loss of your holiday, only to find out you’re not covered. Why? Well, there’s some things you need to know about travel insurance.

Here’s 8 surprising things:

1. Anyone over 85 is not considered a family member

There is usually a general exclusion in most travel policies that says that if your immediate family member (mum, dad, brother, sister, aunt, uncle; brother, sister, father or mother-in-law; grandmother, grandfather) dies and they are over 85 and you need to come home to arrange or attend the funeral, you will not be covered for any expenses or losses.

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2. Unless you have a receipt, you can’t make a claim

Imagine going to a department store and saying your toaster broke but you don’t have the toaster or the receipt. The sales assistant would just laugh at you, even if you had a picture of it. If your luggage breaks or is damaged in transit, you cannot claim for the loss unless you have proof of purchase. It’s a different thing, though, if you lose your luggage and have evidence from the airline/cruise ship.

3. Most policies have an exclusion for existing medical conditions

If you had a medical condition before you went on your trip and need surgery or medical attention for it while you’re away, you may not be covered. There are some conditions that can be covered but you should check first.

4. Suicide is not covered

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As tragic as it is, any death from suicide is not covered in a travel insurance Product Disclosure Statement, no matter what the age of the person was.

5. If you do not take care of your personal belongings, it cannot be covered

Say you’re at a restaurant and leave your bag on the floor, away from your legs. You look down after a few hours and it’s not there anymore. If you try to claim for this and admit to not taking reasonable care of your belongings and leaving them unattended, you won’t be covered. Always keep your things attached or very close to your body.

6. You may have to pay an excess

Sometimes it’s just not worth it to claim for loss when there can be an excess of $200 or more, i.e. if you lose your wallet but it’s worth less than $200.

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7. You won’t be covered if your plane is delayed due to a mechanical error

Pretend you’re at the airport looking at the boarding times and all of a sudden, your plane is delayed. You check with the gate staff and apparently, there’s a fault and they will need to check it before they can take off. This hour delay will make you late for your connecting flight…so you try to get compensated for it. Sadly, you can’t be – if insurances companies gave everyone money for a delay, they’d go bankrupt. Technical issues happen all the time so it’s your responsibility to allow for any delays when booking flights.

8. Don’t expect to be reimbursed if you need to book a new flight

Don’t be tempted to buy a first class ticket if you missed your flight and expect to be reimbursed for that – you’re taking unreasonable actions and this is not covered. You need to buy a ticket of the same flight class as the previous ticket.

And another tip: always read your PDS before you sign the dotted line.

Did this surprise you? Do you always take out travel insurance?