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A concerning number Aussies would opt out of travel insurance due to its rising cost say new findings from Comparetravelinsurance.com.au.
According to a survey run by Comparetravelinsurance.com.au, 36% of respondents said they would not buy travel insurance due to its increased cost while a further 26% said they would opt to buy the cheapest policy possible. An additional 19% felt they ‘didn’t need it,’ and 12% said they wouldn’t bother as it ‘wouldn’t cover their pre-existing illness.’
Since the pandemic, travel insurance has increased on average by more than 35%* due to increased travel costs, along with the impact of Covid. However, Natalie Ball, director of Comparetravelinsurance.com.au, says that foregoing cover could cost travellers dearly.
"Travellers opting out of travel insurance are putting themselves in an extremely vulnerable position. Even if the price of a policy has increased post pandemic, the cost of overseas medical bills or trip cancellations can far outweigh the cost of a policy, particularly in today’s travel climate. It’s important to consider those risks before even contemplating a holiday.”
Ball notes that the cost of medical care abroad can be extortionate and far beyond most people’s budgets.
“Ambulance costs alone can cost more than $5k. A stay in a US hospital can result in bills amounting to tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, which is not a sum most people can begin to contemplate while on holidays. It is vital that all travellers put their health and safety first,” she says.
Unsurprisingly, young travellers are the least likely to consider travel insurance to be a trip essential, especially when faced with increased travel costs.
According to DFAT, at least 1 in 10 travellers under 30 reject the idea of insurance altogether regardless of the destination, and a worrying number also believe the government will step in should they experience a medical emergency, which isn’t the case.
On the other end of the spectrum, older travellers are bearing the brunt of the price hike and on occasion, being priced out due to the extreme cost of travel insurance.
A quote comparison on June 27th, 2023, found that insuring a week’s holiday to Bali would cost a 64-year-old $49, but an 85-year-old in perfect health would have to pay over 10 times more for their cover - $505.
Ball says, “The increase to already high premiums has made travel insurance increasingly unaffordable for older travellers, particularly if they have pre-existing conditions to declare.”
Ball advises seniors to compare policies to try and get the best deal.
“It’s definitely worth shopping around. One insurer may have a price jump at say 75 years of age, whereas another may not increase their price until 77 years of age. Comparing varying price brackets across insurers can help you save significantly.”
For travellers over 80 Ball recommends seeking out a specialist seniors' insurer.
“Insurers like Boomers and Australian Seniors don’t have age limits and may cover a range of pre-existing illnesses. Depending on your circumstances, these could be wise options.”
Ball says that travellers can save money by choosing their cover wisely.
“Compare policies carefully to ensure you’re covered for any unexpected incidents that may arise and consider where you may be able to scrimp. For instance, you may be able to reduce your luggage cover if you are already insured through your home and contents insurance, or through your credit card.”
Increase your excess: By increasing your excess by a few hundred dollars, you can often reduce the price of your travel insurance policy. Depending on your needs, this may work out to be more cost-effective if you are mainly concerned with medical or cancellation cover.
Compare policies: Ensure your cover suits your needs by comparing policies. Remember that lower priced policies might not always wind up being the best choice. For instance, the best policy for you may involve no excess on lost luggage claims or one that includes rental vehicle excess cover.
Car hire excess: If you’re planning to rent a car on holidays, look for travel insurance with built in car hire excess benefits. Car hire companies can charge as much as $30 per day to reduce the excess on your rental, so securing cover through your travel insurance policy can save you substantial dollars.
Buy travel insurance upfront: It’s a common myth that buying travel insurance in advance is more expensive. While it may cost you a few extra dollars, you’ll have the luxury of travel insurance cancellation benefits which kick in as soon as you buy your policy. Should an unexpected event arise, forcing you to cancel your trip, you may be eligible to claim back your holiday costs.
Having travelled to over 40 countries, studied tourism management and worked as a flight attendant for over three years, Natalie knows more than a thing or two about travel! She’s an adventure-lover, whose favourite trips have been trekking Machu Picchu and volunteering in an animal shelter in the Amazon. Qualified in Tier 2 General Insurance General Advice and specialising in travel insurance for the last five years, she in passionate about helping travellers get the most out of their holiday.