Arranging Travel Insurance
For a wide variety of reasons, including location and culture, Australians are one of the world's great travelling nations. The urge to travel doesn't stop with increasing age, and indeed with increasing amounts of available time, and subject to sufficient funds, it seems to accelerate.
What also accelerates, seemingly at a faster rate sometimes, is the cost of travel insurance. And while we agree with the mantra, "if you can't afford travel insurance you can't afford travel", it is almost always a grudge purchase. What can't be denied, however, is that insurance is all about risk, and as we age the risk that we will need hospital or medical care increases progressively. This not about individuals, you may personally have the constitution of a 30-year-old, it is about the law of averages.
So, the expectation is that we will generally pay higher travel insurance costs as we age, and that is borne out by increasing premiums charged by travel insurance. The chart below provides an example of how travel insurance costs increase with age, particularly in this case as travellers move into their 70's and 80's. Making "apples for apples" comparisons with travel insurance is notoriously difficult, but the chart also illustrates that there can be is considerable differences between the premiums charged by 3 different, major insurers for a 2 week Mediterranean cruise in 2016.
We will update this analysis post the corona virus pandemic of 2020 when premiums may vary - and rise for cruises - but it will still remain important to shop around comprehensively for any cover.
So, our tips for choosing travel insurance are as follows:
- Obtain at least three quotations, ensuring as much is possible that they are similar in terms of their cover, and ensuring that they offer adequate health and medical cover including repatriation to Australia. As with most things, you pay for what you get, so be wary of cutting corners with "basic insurance", and particularly with respect to medical and health cover.
- Generally, more competitive premiums will be available through the Internet than through travel insurance provided by your travel agent
- Carefully consider who is the underwriter or issuer of the insurance, and favour larger, well known insurance companies
- Only use travel insurance provided indirectly by your credit cards if you are 1) absolutely certain that you meet the qualifying requirements to be provided with cover, and 2) that the cover is sufficient for your purposes.
- Finally, take out insurance as soon as you have booked or committed to the trip - otherwise, if something happens and you can't proceed on the trip, you have no chance of compensation.