I have been very busy preparing for my upcoming trip, so I have not been making much new content lately. One thing I have recently been working on is choosing my Travel Insurance. So far, this has been one of my least favourite aspects of preparation but I know it is important, so I am taking it very seriously.
This is a lengthy, time-consuming exercise if you want to do this properly as you have no idea what you are getting unless you go over the lengthy Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) with a fine tooth comb. It is important to note that they may advertise that they cover you for X amount of dollars for medical, dental, personal luggage etc. but these things all come with a list of conditions – situations they won’t cover you for, so you need to look into this in depth. A lot of people might not be getting what they think they are really paying for without taking the time to research.
I regularly read horror stories in the news where Australians go overseas (mainly to Asian countries) and are in motorcycle/moped/scooter accidents and sustain serious injuries and they wind up being in a lot of trouble as they aren’t covered by their insurance. They end up making ‘Go Fund Me’s’ and relying on the kindness of others to compensate. Despite these stories many people don’t seem to know that you are not covered when driving those kinds of vehicles without a motorcycle license (from your home country normally). It is super important to know what activities you are covered for and the conditions that go along with it.
I have read a lot of very popular bloggers shoving one brand of travel insurance down peoples throats but this insurance is one of the most expensive ones you can get and the reviews are horrendous. Even worse, you cannot truly depend on reviews, especially with negative reviews because how can you determine if that individual did adequate research into what they were getting?
It is probably impossible to find the perfect travel insurance (they are businesses after all who exist to make money) but finding the best for my criteria, that will look after me if the worst happens, that is doable
If my inane ramblings haven’t made you run for the hills, this was my process for choosing my travel insurance:
- I visited the Choice website, they are a consumer advocacy group in Australia, who provide independent reviews of a huge variety of products and services and defend consumer rights. They have a buying guide and they have evaluated what seems to be every single Travel Insurance product on the market available to Australians. I selected a handful of their top-rated Travel Insurance products, for my additional analysis.
- I researched travel insurers for long-term travel, I hand-picked the insurers that allow the longest amount of travel.
- I created an excel spreadsheet with important points from my personal criteria. I proceeded to fill out each section for 8 different brands (I started with 10 and automatically excluded 2 from the start due to the ridiculous prices), including 1-2 policies from each brand.
- I selected my top 2 policies based on my evaluation of the spreadsheet.
- I printed out the PDS for each product I am interested in and read them thoroughly and see what I am really being offered. Surprisingly my top 2 were very similar but had some points that set them apart.
- I contacted both insurers with some questions I couldn’t answer by reading the PDS.
- Choose: I have chosen to go with Itrek and get their top-notch cover (Pioneer).
If you are also looking for travel insurance here are some reasons I choose to go with Itrek:
-Activities: They automatically cover a wide range of activities include loads of snow activities. As I will be spending winter in some snowy destinations, I like to have the peace of mind that my options are open in terms of doing these activities and being covered by my insurance. A lot of insurers charge substantially more to have this type of cover.
-Price: Considering a lot of snow sports are included this is a bargain compared to other insurers. This was a compromise for me as it is a mid-range price – I wasn’t prepared to blow my budget out on a ridiculously priced insurance but didn’t want to just go for the cheapest cover and hope for the best.
-Length: You can extend for up to 18 months with Itrek – so it is one of the longer length insurers.
-Luggage & Personal Effects: The policy I am purchasing comes with a decent level of cover for luggage including for computers, cameras and mobile phones (with limits, of course). I know that some people who have more expensive equipment sometimes purchase a separate insurance just for all their gear but that isn’t necessary for me.
I hope you find that my methods gave you some insight on factors you might want to consider when selecting your travel insurance. I know some people just choose the cheapest one and go for gold (not judging but you are playing Russian roulette, mate!!) but I implore you to spend a couple of hours making a decision and looking into this. This is about your health and safety, very important aspects of your survival and wellbeing. If you can do your part to know what you are entitled to, what you shouldn’t be doing etc. you can adventure away with the peace of the mind that if worst comes to worst your insurance company will probably have your back.