Know Risk is a community education program designed by the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance (ANZIIF) to improve our understanding of insurance and how it relates to managing the many risks we all face in life.
Seven tips for buying travel insurance
Smart travellers are aware of the importance of good travel insurance cover and there are many stories of why it is so important. There are many people though that question the need for travel insurance and are often quite confused about it. Here are a few tips that may help clear the air a little:
- Most countries today have made it mandatory for tourists to hold adequate travel insurance as part of their visitor requirements. But even in places where the compulsion isn’t there, travel insurance is a wise choice as it helps provide a vital safety net for emergencies overseas.
- Travel insurance plans tend to be time bound and are usually limited to the period when the trip is undertaken. Most people don’t know that there is also a buffer period which allows for rescheduling of flights and associated delays.
- In some instances, insurance companies require you to be screened for certain medical conditions and pre-existing ailments. The pre-trip medicals are usually carried out a fortnight in advance to ensure the validity of the tests, but generally not before that time period.
- In case of third party settlements an independent authority processes and settles any claims you may make. However, the scope of the settlements varies across service providers and must be verified before opting for any particular travel insurance product.
- Refunds are generally permitted only in extreme cases where there is a strong and convincing reason for the shortening of your original travel plans. Should such a situation arise, make sure you check with the insurance company on what documentation they require. The final amount reimbursed will usually contain deductions for administrative and processing charges.
- Claims settlement is usually dependent on an agreement between you and and the insurance provider. In case of a medical emergency, you should be able to get treatment immediately. Insurers rarely need prior approvals in such cases. However it is always best to confirm with them before purchasing.
- Like many things, buying travel insurance online is a trend that has picked up tremendously in recent years. Insurers have responded by pulling out all stops in a bid to increase the number of policies sold online. Some of the benefits of online purchases include transparency of costs, instant receipt of policy and technical assistance during decision making, etc.