For two pandemic years, Australians have saved their hard-earned cash to be able to book flights and cruises to escape the COVID-19 chaos and tick off bucket-list destinations.
But there’s a real fear the virus could still cause holiday delays and cancellations, leaving travellers out of pocket.
Travellers struggle to find travel insurance
Judith Dun and her husband Tim love cruising.
They’ve been on 11 cruises already and have another booked in Queensland for seven days in July.
Both in their 60s, the couple refuse to travel without insurance in the unlikely event one of them experiences a medical episode or falls ill.
“We’ve been on plenty of cruises where the unexpected has happened to other passengers. Some have had insurance, some haven’t and we’ve heard the horror stories of how much it’s cost them financially,” Mrs Dun said.
Judith Dun and her husband Tim. (A Current Affair)
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But Mrs Dun said, finding an appropriate policy and company willing to cover them was almost impossible.
They spent hours trawling through sites and answering questions only for the companies to say no.
Eventually they said they found some luck through a travel agent where the policy even covered COVID-19.
Judith Dun. (A Current Affair)
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Canstar’s financial commentator Steve Mickenbecker said travel insurance policies differ vastly and it’s important to make sure you are getting the level of cover you want and the style of cover you want.
“There’s a real hierarchy of policies at the moment,” Mr Mickenbecker said.
“We’ve got insurance that will not cover COVID at all as a known event; others that cover just for medical.
Canstar’s financial commentator Steve Mickenbecker. (A Current Affair)
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“Some cover for cancellation costs, but only if the people travelling get COVID.”
According to Canstar more than 50 travel insurance providers on its database, are currently selling new policies.
Most offer some form of cover for COVID-19 related events, but the devil is in the detail.
For domestic and international cruising 1Cover Travel Insurance, Allianz, Cover-More and NIB include COVID-19 diagnosis.
Most include medical and hospital expenses, but Cover-More doesn’t.
According to Canstar more than 50 travel insurance providers on its database, are currently selling new policies. (A Current Affair)
None of the insurers will offer a pay-out, if you go to a country with a “do not travel warning”, while CGU has no cover for any claims relating to the pandemic.
The inclusions and exclusions remain the same for general international travel, except Cover-More will include medical and dental expenses.
Many credit cards also have built in travel insurance when you book with your card – all with similar terms and conditions.
Tips and tricks from the experts
Australian Traveller media co-founder Quentin Long said when it comes to price, he recommends a couple of “tips and tricks”.
Australian Traveller media co-founder Quentin Long. (A Current Affair)
“Never buy the cheapest travel insurance, it invariably won’t cover you for enough,” Mr Long said.
“Another one is … understand if you are going on a cruise, you may need special travel insurance.
“My final tip: I think in the COVID environment, you should be actually buying your travel insurance before you book any travel, because you may not get all your money back and that may influence what you decide to do on your travels.”
Mr Mickenbecker’s tip: “If there’s a warning, forget about travelling, forget about travel insurance.”
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