Know what your travel insurance covers in dangerous places

terror

TERROR attacks and civil unrest in global tourism hot spots are making travel insurance more important than ever.

Understanding what you are covered for — and what is excluded — is vital, and it’s tough to know where you stand if you don’t read your policy’s product disclosure statement.

For example, most travel insurance policies won’t refund you for cancellation costs arising from an act of terrorism, but if you are injured in an attack your medical costs are covered.

Policies also exclude claims arising as a result of war, civil war, rebellion, revolution or military coups.

Boomers Travel Insurance managing director Ian Jackson says insurers typically base their cover and exclusions on official Australian Government warnings. Check the smarttraveller.gov.au website, and if your destination is rated as “do not travel”, follow that advice.

The official advice for France and Turkey, targets of terrorist attacks and other unrest in recent weeks, is “exercise a high degree of caution”.

“If you book a trip to Turkey you do so with the knowledge that there is civil unrest there. However, if you were there and somehow got injured as a result of civil unrest, military action or whatever, you would be covered for the medical side,” Jackson says.

He says travel cancellation cover is for specific events, such as illness or death of family member, but not for people worried about offshore events. “It doesn’t cover you if you change your mind, decide not to go, and want your money back,” he says.

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“Our number one recommendation is people should read their policy wording. I think a lot of people don’t really understand what is and what isn’t covered.”

About 80 per cent of Australians take out travel insurance policies when heading overseas, and Cover-More Travel Insurance has seen an increasing numbers of people worried about global events.

Cover-More Communications manager Maureen Mullins says people injured in an attack while overseas receive unlimited cover for medical expenses and other expenses outlined by their policy.

“Travellers need to be aware, however, that we do not provide certain benefits such as amendment or cancellation costs arising directly or indirectly from an act of terrorism or perceived threat,” she says.

Frequent travellers can consider buying an annual policy, which may work out cheaper. Mullins says the cost of these plans varies depending on the maximum duration of your trips, while overall travel insurance premiums reflect things such your age, destination and pre-existing medical conditions.

Jackson says some multi-trip policies cover both international and domestic travel. A worldwide multi-trip policy — including the USA and its expensive healthcare costs — can cost between $300 and $400.

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