Monday, March 12, 2012

Exciting Progress & Travel Insurance

Guess what guess what? ...I have a passport! We picked it up the weekend before last, so now, I'm actually allowed out of the country and into other countries!

Today I also bought our travel insurance. It has been said in many places, not least of all the Australian Government's Smart Traveller website, that if you cannot afford travel insurance, you cannot afford to travel. After a bit of reading round I decided on Southern Cross Travel Insurance. They were the cheapest for what we needed, had a lower excess than some of the others and still had generous limits. Australia Post did offer a cheaper policy, but it only covered medical issues and not things like lost/stolen baggage, travel document replacement, delayed travel/change of travel plans etc. Obviously medical issues are the most financially crippling thing that need covering, but I think things like lost/stolen baggage and possible change of travel plans (trains/planes being delayed, etc) are more likely to happen, and I wanted that covered too.

When selecting your travel insurance, do make sure to read the policy carefully to see if it covers the activities you will be engaging in (some activities like winter sports, kayaking/white water rafting over a certain grade, abseiling etc may not be covered or may add extra cost to the policy if you choose to include them). Make sure if you have any pre-existing medical conditions, that these won't cause problems for your insurance either. The policy we took out automatically covered a list of what it deemed 'controlled' conditions (eg. asthma, diabetes, eczema, epilepsy, joint replacements etc) if your condition had not changed in the last 6 months. If you have a more problematic illness, it may not be covered by your policy or you may need to pay more to have it covered.

Make sure also that the maximum individual limits are likely to cover the items you're taking with you (cameras, laptops, electronic equipment, sporting equipment, etc). Our policy, while it may cover up to $15,000 in replacing lost/stolen baggage, will only cover $2000 for individual items, however you do the the option of specifying a few expensive items (up to $10,000 each) for no extra cost. Some policies might charge you extra to nominate more expensive items, or if you'd like to raise the limit of individual items in general, may need a more expensive policy. Since the most expensive item we're taking with us is our camera, worth around $1000, we are easily covered.

Other reasonable insurance providers I found were AAMI (probably my next choice after Southern Cross), World Nomads and Australia Post.

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