TRAVEL INSURANCE - DO I REALLY NEED IT?
Travel insurance – do we really need it – the answer is always yes in my opinion.
I have spent the best part of my life travelling the globe and often staying longer than I expected. For instance, I went to the USA in 1983 for supposedly four months and came back 12 years later with a horrendous American twang! No insurance will cover you for that. But what you can do is be smart when you travel.
Often, it all about where you are going that really counts, because the down side is bad. You could find yourself stranded, knee-deep in dog do-do and even bankrupted by your failure to be covered with travel insurance.
RENDER UNTO CAESAR THE THINGS THAT ARE CAESAR’S AND UNTO GOD THE THINGS THAT ARE GOD’S
Taking a leaf out of this biblical message from Jesus, let me field-strip these words into layman’s language: pay your travel insurance! It is like you tax bill – no one likes to pay the Tax Office either, but we darn well do it. It is an evil necessity.
Taking out travel insurance is like buying peace of mind. You’re not just covering the little inconveniences like lost or damaged luggage, overbooked hotels or flight delays. You are protecting yourself from potentially exorbitant medical costs. Remember, the government like’s your vote and your tax dollars even more, but they won’t pay your medical bills overseas and neither will Medicare. In short, you are liable! As ominous as this sounds, there are still 20,000 travellers a year that find themselves in trouble overseas that the Australian government has to deal with.
A CASE FOR MANDATORY TRAVEL INSURANCE COVERAGE
As the owner of four travel companies and someone that is also licensed to sell travel insurance, I support the Australian government’s view that travel insurance should be compulsory. And I speak from experience here. Take note of these few examples.
CASE No. 1: TENNIS COACH FRACTURES & DISLOCATES HIS ELBOW
The professional tennis coach at my gym went on his first skiing holiday to Europe with his girlfriend. With two days remaining on his adventure he had a massive spill that left him with a dislocated elbow and two fractures. Mike knew he had travel insurance on his credit card but had the good sense to pay an extra $60 for ski holiday coverage. This one manoeuvre saved him thousands of dollars for ambulance, medical evacuation from the hill, and the ensuing medical procedures. It could have been even worse but because he managed to get home for other operations that were required.
Most people would have “assumed” they were covered by their credit card but have not read the small print. Well done Mike.
CASE No. 2: ENGINE FAILURE
I booked a group of six people on a day trip to the Horizontal Falls in the Kimberley. I asked them to take out travel insurance, but they opted not to. And as “Sod’s Law” would have it, their car broke down in the Kimberley bush land. Result: they couldn’t make the flight.
Had they taken out travel insurance, they would have been reimbursed 100% of the cost.
And on this note, they would have been covered for any medical evacuation too. In the Kimberley that would cost about $3500 per hour from the moment the Royal Flying Doctor started their engines. Again…peace of mind.
CASE No. 3: ILLNESS RETURNS
Another Kimberley cruise experience, this time with potentially even greater consequences.
Three years ago, I booked two couples on a very well-known and expensive luxury Kimberley charter boat. They had planned their cruise of a lifetime well in advance: hotels, boat, tours; the lot. Six months out I get the call I always hate, “I have cancer”.
I had made my client take out travel insurance. She had no option but to cancel. It saved her $35,000 per couple.
YES YOU NEED TRAVEL INSURANCE
I have many travel insurance horror stories that I could tell, but they are tantamount to reading telephone directories for fun. I also have some heart-warming ones too. But when trying to answer the question – TRAVEL INSURANCE – DO WE REALLY NEED IT – I know which way I’d go.
The fact is, you should never cut corners on protecting yourself and your loved ones. More importantly, you should never have to sell the family jewels to bring family home or look after them. Pay for travel insurance. Pay unto Caesar what is his. For a tiny bit of pain, you’ll sleep like a baby at night, knowing everyone is covered.
[This advice is general in nature, and doesn’t consider your needs or personal situation. You should consider your own needs and any Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) before making a decision to buy a travel insurtance product.]