Expect the unexpected while travelling abroad says RACV

29 March 2016

 

Whether it’s altitude sickness in Argentina, dengue fever in Mexico or breaking a wrist while ice-skating in Canada, accidents and illness can put a big hole in your travelling budget.

When realising your travel destination dreams, it is important not to overlook the importance of adequate travel insurance.

More than 1500 people who had their RACV International Travel Insurance claims finalised during the 2014-2015 financial year are only too aware of how important this is.

They lodged claims that resulted in the payout of $2.9 million to cover cancelled trips due to illness, hospitalisation and medical treatment of injuries, and lost and stolen items.

The largest claims cost paid out was close to $250,000 to cover medical, transportation and cancellation costs after a policyholder was injured while travelling in the United States.

A traveller who suffered dengue fever (a viral disease) in Mexico claimed costs of close to $5000, while an unlucky RACV member ice-skating in Canada incurred $22,000 in claims costs.

Other claims included costs for a lost camera in Antarctica, a fall from a horse in Fiji, a damaged rental car in Ireland, items stolen by pickpockets in France, an episode of fainting in Germany, lost luggage in Greece, flight delays due to fog in India and a three-storey fall in Indonesia.

Serious incidents included heart attacks and strokes, while some travellers had to cancel trips due to relatives’ illness or death.

Paul Northey, General Manager RACV Insurance said that medical treatment and hospitalisation overseas was often extremely costly.

“Having travel insurance means that travellers can have peace of mind that they will be looked after in the case of an emergency,” he said.

“Most of us know of someone, including a friend or family member, who has been injured, lost luggage, missed travel connections or had valuables and travel documents stolen while travelling overseas and has needed help.”

“It’s especially important to have the assurance that you will be looked after by someone you can trust in Australia in the event you find yourself in a difficult medical situation. You can call us 24/7 and speak with a nurse or doctor. We will also help you find the right hospital to help you at your location or help you return home for treatment when suitable.”

The Australian Government smartraveller.gov.au website urges all travellers to purchase appropriate travel insurance prior to travelling. If you are uninsured, you (or your family) are personally liable for covering any medical or other costs resulting from unexpected incidents or accidents.

“RACV Travel Insurance comes with a medical assistance team that can provide medical care to the highest quality in the country you are visiting, which is so important because the standard of care can vary a lot between countries and hospitals,” Mr Northey said.

Media inquiries: Liselotte Geary, RACV Public Affairs 9790 2717 or 0410 087 746

RACV Travel Insurance is issued by Great Lakes Australia, (ARBN 127 740 532, ABN 18 964 580 576, AFSL 318603). Limits, exclusions and conditions apply. This is general advice only. Please consider your own financial situation, needs and objectives and read the Combined PDS and FSG available from www.racv.com.au or by phoning 13 13 29.

 

Six Important Tips for Travellers:

  • Research your destination and identify potential risks
  • Register your travel and contact details online at smartraveller.gov.au
  • Plan to stay healthy – familiarise yourself with any health issues affecting the countries you intend to travel to.
  • Cover yourself with appropriate travel insurance. It’s ideal to purchase travel insurance at the time of booking travel as policyholders will be covered if the trip has to be cancelled for medical reasons or other emergencies.
  • Organise your passports and visas and have them copied – securely storing digital copies online could be very useful if you need to apply for new ones.
  • Arrange a variety of ways to access your money overseas i.e. debit and credit cards, traveller’s cheque and cash.

 

Top 10 international destinations by number of claims:

 

2014-2015

Percentage of total claims

1

United States (including Hawaii)

140

9.4%

2

New Zealand

133

8.9%

3

Indonesia

107

7.2%

4

Thailand

71

4.8%

5

France

64

4.3%

6

Italy

55

3.7%

7

United Kingdom

54

3.6%

8

Canada

45

3.0%

9

Germany

31

2.1%

10

Singapore

28

1.9%

 

 

Top five international claims by type:

 

2014-2015

Percentage of total claims

1.

Policyholder illness (before* or during travel)

700

47%

2. Lost items

212

14%

3.

Policyholder injury (before* or during travel)

161

11%

4. Damaged items

62

4%

5. Damage to or theft of hire vehicle

44

3%

 

*Claims cover travel amendments and cancellation costs when illness/injury prevents travel.

Written by Liselotte Geary, RACV Public Affairs on 9790 2717
March 29, 2016