Travel insurance: 9 things you MUST know...

Quentin Long is the co-founder of Australian Traveller Media, Australia’s largest independent travel media company. Quentin is a sought-after travel media commentator. He is Australia’s most trusted source for travel news and insights, having held weekly radio segments across the country since 2006, and regularly appearing on Channel 9’s Today and A Current Affair programs from 2010. Dont ask him his favourite travel experience as that's like asking him to choose a favourite child. However he does say that Garma Festival is the one travel experience that changed him the most.

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Comments (5)
  • This is a very good article with great reminders to travellers what is/isnt covered…but I think your use of the word “tricks” in the leading sentence “…….nine tricks of the travel insurance trade” makes it seem that the Insurers are out to get travellers , where in my experience (Im a travel agent) they generally are out to help travellers. Of course it is very hard to insure against stupidity!!

  • Peter Button says:

    I loved your article on travel insurance and its pitfalls. My wife and I took out travel insurance over and above the travel insurance automatically provided by our credit card when we went on a planned 8 week trip in April and May. We managed to complete the initial cruise from Sydney to Seattle and then fly onto Anchorage where we were met with bad news – my wife’s mother had fallen ill and was not expected to live beyond the weekend. We contacted our travel insurer who advised us to take the next flight home and keep records of all costs. Unfortunately the trip back from Anchorage to Brisbane was longer than expected and Cathy’s mother had passed away some hours earlier.

    We took some time to compile a detailed record of our planned trip and the costs incurred, and forgone because of this sad event. We negotiated with those travel companies we had booked through to achieve maximum refund possible to minimise our travel claim. When we submitted the travel claim, the insurer advised that they would not recognise the claim as Cathy’s mother was over 85 years of age. We have sought and obtained legal advice that this is discrimination on the basis of age, breaches both human rights and Australian Consumer law. We have requested the insurer review the case before we launch legal action and a major social media campaign, as this attitude towards older people severely disadvantages a growing group of travellers world-wide. The matter has also been taken up with Federal and State Tourism Ministers and their opposition counterparts. These politicians have undertaken to have their relevant departments investigate what can be done at a government level to stop such provisions.

    Since alerting friends through our vast travel networks of this issue, we have been contacted by others who have suffered the same fate, and they have volunteered to join the campaign to have such an outrageous provision removed from travel insurance.

    I’d be happy to hear from other travellers who have had similar experiences with travel insurance companies.

  • John Meckan says:

    In reply to Peter Button

    I too had my claim disallowed by QBE owing to my mother being over 85. We had pre-booked and paid to go to Queenstown NZ when my mother was diagnosed with late stage breast cancer and died a few weeks later. Unfortunately, we booked with an internet travel provider (Zuji) who was not forthcoming either in the refund department.

    Its stressful enough having lost a loved one without this outrageous attitude to their fine print!

  • Brian says:

    They are tricky though these same insurers UNDERSTAND your policy. I went to NZ for 6 weeks and a tooth badly absessed 3 days into my trip. Went to a dentist who did a root canal and temp filling and gave me a note for my QLD dentist. If I had completed my root canal in NZ would have been covered but as I was travelling around and the tooth had settled I left it for my return and paid about $800 to complete the treatment. Moral of story if you can complete treatment while covered by insurance do it as you are not covered from the time you return home.

  • Michelle says:

    Another catch I found when I reading the fine print of several policies: I was shocked to discover that I would only be covered for curtailing my domestic holiday on account of a sick parent if that parent lives in Australia. Having emigrated from the UK several years ago, my family is still back there. I find it odd that even though the insurance company would not be expected to fund my getting back to the UK, they would refuse to cover costs incurred on my Australian holiday.