Top travel insurance tips

Finding the best travel insurance is about research and knowing what you're covered for. Here are some tips that will set any globetrotter in good stead:

1. Read the fine print: Scouring over travel insurance policies may seem a bit of a dull task but it's important to know what you're covered for so you don't find yourself in a sticky situation while climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. Read your travel insurance policy carefully and make sure you know what's covered and if there are any traps!

2. Check your excess: Excess is the amount of money you have to pay to be able to claim back on your travel insurance. Travel insurance policies commonly have excesses from $50-$250 depending on the claim. A trap some people fall into is thinking ?wow, what a low premium? but they don't check the high hidden excesses scattered throughout the policy.

3. Reduce your premiums: The amount of premium you have to pay depends on many things, such as the length of your trip and the countries you're travelling to. Obviously if you're camper-vanning around New Zealand the premiums won't be as expensive as a European getaway. Often, the travel insurance policy with the most expensive premium isn't necessarily the right one for your great adventure! It's important to look carefully at what your travel insurance includes. If there are certain things you don't need covered like rental excess car cover because you don't drive, you might be able to find a travel insurance policy with a lower premium by excluding this cover.

4. Compare travel insurance: There are plenty of travel insurance policies out there and there's bound to be one to suit your unique adventure so its important to compare travel insurance. For example, if you're planning lots of trips in a year by purchasing multi-trip travel insurance rather than several single trip travel insurance you may end up saving money.

5. Check your medical coverage: Medical coverage is extremely important because medical bills can reach into the millions. If you're travelling to the US, Europe, or Japan make sure the medical cover is unlimited. And if you have any prior medical conditions or you're pregnant, read the travel insurance policy carefully to see if you're covered. Most of the time you can pay a higher premium to get the extra cover you'll need in case of an emergency.

6. Credit card travel insurance: Before you fork out for travel insurance check with your credit card as a number of cards now have complimentary travel insurance included as a feature. Credit card travel insurance has standard cover like medical and personal belongings and they often include cover for your spouse and any dependent children (whereas you need to get family coverage in standalone policies). But there are some differences in cover limits so before you opt for your credit card insurance just check that medical limits are appropriate and you meet the eligibility requirements. Usually you have to purchase some of the travel costs with the credit card for it to be active.

Tips for a successful travel insurance claim

Before you take off on your trip it is a good idea to get familiar with your travel insurance policy so that you’ll know what do you (and what you’ll need) if you need to make a claim on your return.

Here are some of Mozo’s top tips for ensuring a successful claim.

Always lodge an official police or security report

Whether you get something stolen or you lose something while you are at the resort restaurant, you will need to get an official report detailing the when, what and how. Official documentation is needed by your insurer to process your claim.

Know your policy’s exclusions

Are you covered for loss and theft or only items that are stolen? All insurance policies will have a list of exclusions so it is important that you know what these are before you try and claim. Don’t leave your bags unattended (this includes in the rental car) as often your policy will not cover you for this.

Submit your claim in a timely manner

Insurers will have deadlines for when your claim needs to be submitted by once you return to Australia. Generally many insurers require you to make a claim within 30 days. If for some reason you can’t get your evidence together in the time required, always call your insurer to discuss. You might be able to submit the initial claim but then get an extension on the time required for other documentation.

Check you’re covered for all destinations

Have your travel plans changed since you first took out your insurance? If you’ve added in a stopover in Bangkok on your way to London make sure that you will be covered for that country as well as the UK.

Often travellers get caught out with spontaneous day trips this way. In San Diego but keen to check out Tijuana? Hong Kong but would like to visit Shenzhen? Even though the countries that border each other are easy to get to you might find out that the travel insurance requirements are vastly different so before you jump on a bus, train check that you’ll be covered if anything happens otherwise your claim could be rejected.

Keep copies of all receipts

You’ll need to prove that you owned those Gucci sunglasses or iPad if you’re making a claim so be sure that you keep copies of all receipts. A good idea is to take a quick snap of the receipt or pic of you wearing the item so that you can prove ownership should you need to.

Purchase the right level of cover

Traveling is great as we generally do things that we don’t always get a chance to do at home but if you are going to do some spontaneous white water rafting or deep sea diving check your insurance policy to make sure you’ll be covered. Travel Insurance policies are very specific about the activities that they will and WON’T cover for so you don’t want to be the one footing the $10,000 hospital bill not the insurer.

Select the right excess

Generally you have to pay an excess per event so if you lose your $400 GoPro but also need to have emergency dental you’ll have to make two claims and pay two lots of excess. So, opt for an excess that makes sense to you financially, do you want to pay $10 less for insurance for a $500 excess or $10 more and only have to pay $100 excess.

Disclose existing conditions

If you have any kind of pre-existing condition it is very important to be upfront about it. Many policies will allow you to pay an extra premium to be covered and it’s usually very affordable compared with the alternative of having to foot the bills yourself.

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