Travel agency, Excite Holidays collapses, leaving thousands of Aussies stranded and out of pocket

Ceyda Erem

Monday 13 January 2020

Being stuck in a confined space, encountering a spider bigger than your pet cat or running into an ex - it’s the stuff that nightmares are made of. 

And just last week, many Aussie travellers across the country may have experienced their own eye-widening fear. 

Last Friday, travel agency, Excite Holidays collapsed into voluntary administration, leaving travellers around the world stranded and in some cases, severely out of pocket. 

Many tourists travelling to destinations such as Tokyo, New Zealand and Thailand came to find that their bookings were either cancelled without notice or made invalid. 

According to a report by Nine News, Excite Holidays withdrew from the Australian travel accreditation scheme last year, a scheme which safeguards travellers from loss when companies go under. 

Other than the inconvenience and added stress of having to re-book and recover their holidays, many travellers may also suffer a third blow: their travel insurance policy does not cover travel agent insolvency.

“For many Aussies, travel insurance is an essential part of every overseas trip, but unfortunately there are some instances where your policy falls short of cover,” said Mozo Director, Kirsty Lamont. 

However, Lamont has still encouraged Aussie travellers to not overlook the value of taking out travel insurance. 

“When it comes to things, like unexpected medical or emergency expenses, having a travel insurance policy on your side is priceless and can save you from having to face an astronomical  medical bill,” she said. 

5 things your travel insurance might not cover 

Whether you’re about to book the trip of a lifetime or are counting down the days until its arrival, travel insurance can save you from a sticky situation. However, there are a few things you might not receive cover for, such as: 

  • Travel agency insolvency - If the travel agency you used to book your holiday goes bust, unfortunately, there aren’t many travel insurers around that will cover your loss. In fact, following a review of 13 travel insurance providers in the Mozo database, none offered cover for travel agency insolvency.  In this case, it might be better to err on the side of caution and book holidays yourself. 
  • 'Unattended' belongings  - Many travel insurers don’t cover travellers who don’t take care of their belongings, such as their luggage, phone or wallet. Be sure to always take good care of your items no matter where you are in the world and not leave them where the prying eyes of thieves can spot them. 
  • Not including your stopover destination - Stopping off in Bangkok before heading to Italy? Then you’ll need to choose a policy that’ll cover both destinations - failing to do so may void a potential travel insurance claim. 
  • Mental illness - A Mozo travel insurance mystery shop in 2018 found that 51% of travel insurers don’t cover mental health related incidents, so before you sign up to a policy, have a read of the Product Disclosure Statement (yes, the whole thing) to make sure you’ll be covered. 
  • High-risk destinations - If you’re planning on travelling to a high-risk country, you might want to reconsider your trip. Loss or injury caused by events like terroism, riots or natural disasters will not be covered. 

Need to safeguard your upcoming holiday? Then head on over to our travel insurance comparison tool, which currently compares more than 250 policies from 50 insurers.

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