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Getting the most from travel insurance | Updated: 12:48:03 PM, Monday January 23, 2012
By Anneli Knight Getting the most from travel insurance

One of the best things about a thorough approach to travel insurance is that it leaves you in a win-win situation.
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There are many ways to access travel insurance when you head off on a break from work so that you can enjoy a well-deserved worry-free holiday. Before signing up for an insurance package, the first thing to do is check whether any of your memberships or credit card providers give you automatic cover.

If you don’t have this type of cover, it can be worth thinking ahead and considering options such as the year-long travel insurance policies. As a final backup, and even with the best of insurance protection, there are a few extra steps you can take to make sure you’ll be safe while you’re away.

Credit card and membership insurance cover

There’s no point paying for travel insurance twice, so make sure you know the benefits you’re already entitled to when it comes to your credit card or private memberships. It has become fairly standard for platinum or gold credit cards to include comprehensive insurance cover when you book international flights on card, or if meet set minimum spend requirements on pre-booking hotels or touring packages.

Most of these insurance deals cover you for hospital, medical, belongings and unexpected expenses, but as with all insurance, it’s important to read the fine print: firstly to make sure you’ve met the minimum requirements to be eligible for the insurance, and then to know exactly what you are covered for and whether it’s suitable for your plans. The only thing worse than unwittingly paying for travel insurance twice is not being covered at all.

Annual travel insurance

For almost anyone planning more than one holiday in a year (either overseas or interstate) it is worthwhile looking into annual travel insurance cover. These multi-trip deals last for 12 months and many of them cover you for an unlimited number of domestic and international trips (usually up to a maximum stay of 60 days per trip), so you will be covered for holidays you haven’t even dreamed up yet.

The best thing about annual cover is that you only have to think about travel insurance once a year, and the rest is smooth sailing holiday enjoyment.

Cover yourself

Even with the highest level of travel insurance cover, there are still a few extra steps you can take to improve your personal safety while you’re away. The government has a fantastic service called Smartraveller [www.smartraveller.gov.au], which provides travel advice on regions and countries and gives regular updates and alerts for issues such as natural disasters or any political unrest in an area.

It is also possible to register with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade so they have information to help them find you if there’s an emergency, and you can subscribe to email alerts for any changes to government advisories on the countries you’re heading to.

Even if decide not to register with the government, it’s always wise to let someone at home know your travel plans and how they can get in touch with you, just in case.

One of the best things about a thorough approach to travel insurance is that it leaves you in a win-win situation. In most cases, you’ll be kicking your heels up without a worry in the world, but in those rare times when something does go wrong, it’s such a relief to know that you’re covered.
 
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