A wise person (or website) once told me that if you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel.
In my opinion, that is an extremely valid statement. You don’t have to look hard to stumble onto a story that hits close to home. Usually a long tale involving a friend of a friend having a minor incident, ending up in hospital and coming home with a $50k bill. Unfortunately these stories are true and it’s not just a matter of avoiding overseas hospitals either. As much as we try to blend in, sometimes we just have to face the fact that we look like tourists while on holidays and unfortunately can become easy victims for scam artists and thieves.
So all in all travel insurance is quite the necessity. Just by knowing you have cover will also allow you to be more relaxed, letting you enjoy your holiday rather than stressing about the “what ifs”.
Travel insurance, depending on the level of cover, can be quite the added expense. There are loads of companies out there competing for your business, all offering similar options. It can be quite the mission sifting through all the quotes, making sure you get the level of cover you want, at the best price.
Recently I was shopping around for a comprehensive level of cover, for our 3 months of international travel as a family of 4. What I found, was that quotes started at approximately $1100 and went up from there. There were only minor variations between what their policies had to offer. World Nomads and Allianz in my opinion seemed to have the best offers for the type of cover we were looking for.
PDS – Pretty Dull Script
The old PDS, I’m sure I’m not alone in the fact that I’ve never taken time to read one. That was true until just recently.
One of the biggest (and most boring) travel tips I now have to offer, take the time to peruse the product disclosure statement. Yes, it’s as dull and boring as what you expect, sorry no other way of sugarcoating it. If you can battle through it however, it’s quite amazing what you find is covered and more importantly, what isn’t. Once you’ve read through two you’ll quickly realise that most are very similar, so you’ll be able to navigate through them at a quicker clip each time.
The information you’ll be seeking from the PDS will be different depending on the style of trip you’re taking. For instance, if you’re planning on doing a lot of water sports in Fiji, you may realise you need to apply an added extra to your policy, so you are covered if anything goes wrong.
If you’ve read any of our other blogs, you would know we are heading on a 3 month road trip around the USA. I was interested in what cover for rental vehicles was offered through travel insurance. As I will cover in a future blog, US rental cars insurance work very differently to Australia. Reading through the PDS I uncovered that personal liability doesn’t cover you if you injure or damage someone else’s property while you’re in control of a motor vehicle. I’m pretty confident in saying no Australian travel insurance companies do offer this. That was a pretty major risk for us, so reading the PDS allowed us to make the informed decision that we would need to take it out directly with the rental company for peace of mind while road tripping.
Think Out of the Box
I had resigned to the fact that travel insurance was going to set us back approximately $1200. While researching car rental insurance I stumbled upon a forum that was suggesting to look into what insurances you are able to access through your credit card company.
What a revelation! Not being an avid user of a credit card, I had previously never heard of this. We had already discussed the fact that we were going to need one to pay for car rentals etc anyway, so it was worth looking into. A quick online search, and my eyes were open to a whole new world (#disneyaladdinreference), travel insurance through your credit card.
ANZ Frequent Flyer Black
This is the card I ended up settling on. To activate comprehensive travel insurance for the entire family, all it required was spending $250 on booking travel related expenses, such as flights, hotels or car rentals. Easy. The cover is through QBE and looks similar to other policies I had researched. In essence by paying for something that I was going to pay for anyway, I have unlocked free travel insurance for our family. That’s a huge $1200 saving off our travel budget! The card also offers other perks such as 55 day interest free, no annual fee in first year, QANTAS lounge tickets (oh how i’m going to enjoy those) and a hefty amount of frequent flyer points. 75000 in fact, enough to cover a few nights accommodation, which will be in addition to my free nights as discussed in my previous blog with Hotels.com
I truly understand the dangers of credit cards, please take your personal situations into account when and if deciding to take this option. For our situation, it really was a win win. For more information on whether its right for you, head to the ANZ website
Travel Tip #2
My second travel tip for this blog is as free as our travel insurance turned out to be. Reflecting on how glad we were that we didn’t just jump in and settle on the first quote we thought looked appealing. Other than travel insurance, what else are we able to save on? What else have we missed?
My advice – try and look outside the box for alternatives and most of all, be patient. Allow yourself time when booking, especially high cost travel expenses. Whether it’s waiting for a sale, or an alternate option that you were unaware of. Doing this has the potential to save you a lot of money. Money better spent creating more wonderful memories during your next adventure.