Travel Insurance – Are you really covered?
An interesting article by
Planning to have a few drinks on your next overseas holiday? You might want to read the fine print in your travel insurance policy before you do.
An audit of 80 policies from 30 insurers has found claims for injuries, accidents or lost baggage are not covered if alcohol was involved.
The review, by consumer group Choice, found travellers who are injured while under the influence of alcohol would most likely have a claim for their medical bills and transportation home denied.
The Australian government won’t be picking up the tab either and with some overseas hospitals refusing treatment without upfront payment, costs can add up quickly.
“None of them cover you for alcohol, which is a failure of the market really,” Choice spokesman Tom Godfrey said.
“Consumers would be shocked to know they weren’t covered if they had a beer. The reason you take out travel insurance is to look after yourself in a foreign country if something goes wrong.”
Insurance Council of Australia spokesman Campbell Fuller said insurers denied claims for incidents directly related to alcohol and drug consumption, but that almost 98 per cent of all insurance claims were approved.
“It is one of the most common exclusions in travel insurance policies because if you drink you have a higher risk of something going wrong,” he said. “It is a standard exclusion that requires the policyholder to not take unnecessary risks.”
A recent survey of more than 900 people found 23 per cent of travellers did not know what was covered in their policy and that 44 per cent failed to take into account exclusions in their cover while on holidays.
The research, commissioned by the Insurance Council of Australia, also revealed one fifth of Australians who travelled overseas in the past two year did not have any insurance.
Mr Fuller said travel insurance was a must for Australian holidaymakers, but that it was vital people read the terms of their policy to understand what was covered.
“In Australia you have Medicare, you have community and social resources to help you,” he said. “If you’re overseas those resources do not exist. You have no one to help you pick up the pieces. The only option is insurance,” he said.