Travel Insurance

March is the busiest month to buy travel insurance, with sun-worshiping Australians heading into winter and planning their holiday to warmer climates. Grant Waldeck, spokesperson for leading insurance comparison website, comparethemarket.com.au says too many travellers fail to purchase a policy that matches their needs, or fail to purchase one at all.

“Alarmingly we do see many travellers booking their policy based on price alone. We urge Australians to also consider excess costs and what cover their policy stretches to. This should then be assessed against the level of risk involved with where they may be travelling before a purchase is made,” says Grant. “While locations such as Europe and the US may sound like a ‘safe bet’ when it comes to avoiding risk, dangers can occur in even the most prestige or built-up cities.”

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Comparethemarket.com.au reveals 6 reasons why you should buy travel insurance for your next trip.

1. Scared of what’s lurking in the water? Sharks are the least of your worries! In many popular European and US holiday destinations it’s not Jaws that you need to be on the lookout for.  “Many of these countries have waters with serious pollution. In fact recent reports claim that the European Union is threatening to close at least 50 of the UK’s beach hot spots because of the issue and that every one of the US’s coastal states has a polluted beach,” says Grant. “Swimming in highly-polluted water can lead to a range of serious illnesses including hepatitis and stomach flu.”

2. Thousands of cruise passengers catch the Norovirus each year. Think you’ve experienced bad sea sickness? Think again. Norovirus is a highly contagious stomach bug characterised by extreme diarrhoea and vomiting that will knock you for six. “Cruise ships account for the same number of Norovirus outbreaks as schools and hospitals annually. It’s highly contagious and with 10.3 million travellers signing up to sail the seas each year, thousands are at risk,” says Grant.

3. You may not be covered by Australia’s reciprocal healthcare agreement. This mutual understanding between Australia and some EU Governments entitles Australians to free or subsidised healthcare. It’s important to understand that this agreement can alter from country to country, with some European nations not taking part at all. As an example, while Italy is part of the agreement, healthcare is subsidised only and all costs are required to be paid upfront before treatment.

4. Traffic incidents are the number one cause of death for travellers.  Approximately 1.3 million people are killed on the world’s roads each year. “In Bali alone, you’re more likely to be involved in a road accident than a bar brawl with reports of around 150 people hospitalised and at least three dying each day as a result of a road crash,” says Grant.

5. It’s not just speedboats and jet skis that can be fatal. Larger vessels such as fast-speed ferries can cause mass injury to tourists. In 2013 more than 80 peoplewere seriously injured while travelling in a ferry on a popular tourist route in Hong Kong. This followed a ferry crash that claimed 39 lives the year prior on the same route. “All forms of water transport can be dangerous. Do your research and travel with reputable businesses recommended by your travel provider,” says Grant.

6. Pickpockets exist even in the wealthiest cities. “There’s the general perception that danger of pickpockets is highest at busy markets in developing countries however, major cities such as Greece, Paris, Madrid and Milan are also high-risk locations for having your wallet swiped,” says Grant.