The finding comes from claims data from one of the world’s largest online travel insurers, InsureandGo (insureandgo.com.au), which covers 1.6 million travellers globally each year, on average.
InsureandGo’s data reveals that between January 2016 and June 2018, out-of-pocket costs as a result of trip cancellations and delays made up 54 per cent of all domestic travel claims. This compares to just 19 per cent of trip disruption claims by Aussies travelling to the US, 20 per cent of claims for travel to Asia, and 28 per cent of claims for all other international regions.
Aussies who make these claims have either had their trip delayed for more than 12 hours, have had any of their travel cancelled due to unforeseen events such as adverse weather, or have had to cancel their travel altogether due to events such as family emergencies, job redundancies, or jury duty.
Travellers made claims to get reimbursement on pre-paid travel arrangements they were not able to fulfil or recover due to the trip disruption. This includes pre-paid accommodation, tours, activities, meals, flights and other transport.
Raphael Bandeira, Managing Director at InsureandGo, says: “When it comes to insuring a local holiday, too many Aussies don’t bother with travel insurance. It will, therefore, be a surprise to them that in an 18-month period many travellers have made claims for trip delays and disruptions for local travel. Flight delays, for instance, have now become common – particularly in Queensland. Travellers need to know that many pre-paid travel costs can be reimbursed by their insurer should a delay occur. With domestic cover starting from as little as $32, it could be the difference between the price of a lunch and price of thousands of dollars in pre-paid tours and accommodation.”
InsureandGo’s top 8 tips to ensure you get reimbursed – both domestically and internationally – for lost costs as a result of trip cancellations and delays
While less than 15 per cent of travel insurance claims in Australia are denied, it’s important to ensure you don’t fall into that minority. These InsureandGo tips will help maximise your success in making an eligible claim.
- You must get insurance before you travel. Travel insurance is only valid when purchased prior to your travel. InsureandGo recommends you purchase insurance at the time of booking your travel, to ensure you can claim for any trip cancellations weeks or months ahead of your trip.
- Ensure you are covered for all destinations, transportation and activities. Some insurance policies might not cover cruise travel, winter sports, any holidays ‘above the snow line’, or particular countries. Before choosing your insurance, check that it covers all the destinations you visit, all types of transportation you will use and all activities you will undertake.
- Reveal all pre-existing medical conditions when travelling abroad. You must disclose to your insurer any medical condition that has been diagnosed or treated in the last five years when travelling on an international travel policy. If this condition causes you to cancel or cut short your trip, you will be covered only if you have disclosed that condition to your insurer. Some insurance policies also have restrictions for late-stage pregnancies.
- Lower your excess. Many individual out-of-pocket costs – such as pre-paid tours and accommodation – are often under $500. It’s usually worthwhile, therefore, reducing your excess to $100 or nil, to enable you to claim for these costs. Doing so might only increase your domestic travel insurance premium by a small percentage. That’s worth it if you need to make a travel claim for a $300 expense.
- Report an incident within 24 hours. Notify your insurer as soon as you plan on making a claim. Look for a provider, such as InsureandGo, that offers a 24/7 emergency number that can be used anywhere in the world. They will let you know the documentation you need to file for a successful claim. Some incidences, such as theft, will also need to be reported to local authorities, usually within 24 hours, to ensure the claim is valid.
- Keep all receipts and travel contracts. Keep receipts and contracts for any booked accommodation, tours and activities, and receipts for additional expenses incurred due to travel disruption or delays. These will be required if you need to make a claim. Follow travel warning advice by smartraveller.gov.au when travelling internationally, to help you collect evidence if you are advised not to travel to a destination after booking your holiday.
- Register your claim within 30 days. You usually need to register any claim, together with all the necessary documents, within 30 days after the completion of your travels. If there are delays in filing a claim, make your insurer aware of this.
- Know what you can’t claim for. Before you travel, know the factors that would nullify your insurance policy. For instance, your claim will be denied if an incident was a result of you being intoxicated, entering a dangerous or restricted area, undertaking an illegal activity, or riding a motorbike without a helmet. Your policy will outline a full list of restrictions.
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