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Do I really need travel insurance?

 

Flight delays, over booked hostels, lost luggage and stolen underwear. These are just a  few of the fine things that all travellers face every time we leave home on an adventure. But do we really need to pay all that extra money for travel insurance? Perhaps you have a good book to entertain you during a delay or you can get help arranging alternative mode of transport. Just think of the great story this will make. You can tell everyone how you dealt with Flight Delay Disappointment. Then there is usually an opportunity to buy new underwear and really it’s not that terribly difficult to find a different hostel. In fact many will do their best to find you a bed elsewhere. Little issues, with minimal financial outlay. Worth a huff and puff tweet but really not the end of the world.

Travel insurance policies can be complicated and have rather large excesses should you need to make a claim. Not to mention the mild inconveniences when trying to place your claim. Especially those who won’t let you claim until you’re back home and you have to post in all the supporting documents via an organic feed size 3 carrier pigeon.

On my recent Magic of Myanmar adventure I travelled with some pretty amazing people. Meet some beautiful, lovely and genreous people. A few jerks too. I also happened to take the scariest bus ride of my life and the most terrifying soul piercing taxi ride in the history of my travels. It was on one of these lovely, life questioning experiences that the topic of travel insurance arose. In the car I was the only one with travel insurance. As my journey of joy continued in Myanmar I slyly questioned other travellers that I came across – Do you have travel insurance? Some of the answers really shocked me.  From straight out No to I do somewhere (is it hidden in your socks?) to mild disdain and the belittling that of my travel preparation beliefs. One fine person (read: Jerky McJerk Face) was kind enough to bestow this wisdom upon me- Only tourists waste money on travel insurance. Real travellers just role with the punches and get the job done.

Urgh. Right. You my friend are a dick. I’m sure that will really make your family back home feel so much better about themselves when they are forking out the $60,000+ to get your jerky remains back home.

So to help you decide if you really do need to forgo those beers and buy travel insurance I’ve thrown together this info-graph. Keep on reading to hear my compelling argument on if you really do need to buy travel insurance.

In two countries I’ve had to seek out the services of a medical professional. Luckily for me Guyana had a free hospital in the village I was in and my recent Myanmar medical visit cost me less than $5USD. That $5 fee including the Dr’s appointment and prescribed medications. Both times I was adequately insured and had no fear of a nasty bill that I couldn’t afford. Even if I did require a medical evacuation off the mountain and to the next biggest city with a hospital.

Do i need travel insurance

A compelling argument on why you really do need to buy travel insurance.

So now that we’ve discovered you aren’t  a hermit living under a blanket fortress let’s discuss the one singular reason as to WHY you really do need to buy travel insurance.

The single, biggest and most important reason for getting travel insurance is the almighty medical cover. 

If you’ve ever been overseas and required medical assistance, you’ll know just how valuable travel insurance is. Hopefully you’ve been a healthy, happy little traveller and never ever needed to step within the boundaries of a medical care facility.

No one wants to fall sick or require hospitalisation while they are on an adventure, but it happens. Accidents and illnesses are often unavoidable.  Without travel insurance you are personally liable for covering all medical expenses – and the cost could be in the tens of thousands depending on how badly you are injured and the lucky country that is hosting you.

Maybe trying to perfect my double, backflip belly flop wasn't the best idea...

Maybe trying to perfect my double, backflip belly flop off this log wasn’t my best idea…

In two countries I’ve had to seek out the services of a medical professional. Luckily for me Guyana had a free hospital in the village I was in and my recent Myanmar medical visit cost me less than $5USD. That $5 fee including the Dr’s appointment and prescribed medications. Both times I was adequately insured and had no fear of a nasty bill that I couldn’t afford. Even if I did require a medical evacuation off the mountain and to the next biggest city with a hospital.

So we know that you are most certainly not Batman. So ask yourself- Can I afford this medical evacuation?

The Australian government estimates that in the past year they have assisted over 20,000 cases of Australian citizens in need. This includes people requiring hospitalisation or evacuation. Whilst the Australian government may generously help you out and make you a cup of tea they will not fork out any funds for medical expenses occurred overseas. Neither will Medicare or your private health insurance company.

If you are not covered by insurance, and cannot pay your medical bills, you should first contact family or friends, and your financial institution. They may be able to transfer funds to you using a bank or commercial money transfer service-

Advice from the DFAT website if you can not pay your medical bills.

According to DFAT (the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade) the estimated cost of a medical evacuation from America is around the $75,000-95,000 on average. With it not being unheard of to be $300,000. Yes that’s right $300k. That’s enough to buy yourself a small house in the countryside. A simple hospital visit in America can average out at $10,000 a day.

If you’re being silly in Bali or taking leave of your manners in Thailand and need medical assistant this may cost you up to $800per day for hospitalisation. A medical evacuation from Bali to Australia could set you back a cool $60,000.

Repatriation Costs.

While you maybe ticking things off your hideous bucket list you probably aren’t really considering your mortality right now. In most cases I too would agree. Live life. Love life. Don’t stress too much about the end. Unless you have an unfortunate incident, maybe a spiked drink and end up no longer with us. Your travel insurance should have a small area of cover listed as costs incurred as a result of death.

Here’s a list of the services that the Australian Government will provide to your family if you have costs incurred as a result of death. Note that once again there is no financial support given to your family.

From a google search of companies and quotes given to us repatriation can cost anywhere between $5,000- $15,000. Many airlines are now offering a more reasonable rate of charge and no longer charging the full IATA approved cargo rates. This rate does not include any funeral expenses once your body is returned to your home country. This fee includes the administration of collection and returning of you.

If you think this really isn’t an issue think again. With over 1,000 Australians dying overseas every year a very niche market has opened up in the funeral directors world. Repatriations Services Australia will provide you with a free quote online.

At the very minimum purchasing medical coverage travel insurance should be high on your list of travel planning. A quick search via a travel comparison website the bare minimal coverage for a 25yo Australian adult traveling for a month in Sth East Asia varied from $106-$255. To get coverage for a year worth of travel around Asia you are looking at $116-$400.

Sometimes you just want to be in the comfort of your own home recovering.

Sometimes you just want to be in the comfort of your own home recovering.

Think I’m over exaggerating? Surely someone who has travelled internationally for years wouldn’t need help? Ah why not take a looksie at Deb & Dave’s real life story- Dave’s Broken Back 

I still shudder to think about how much it could have cost me to be evacuated from the Altai Mountains in Mongolia if I had needed a medical evacuation that day.

In most cases your travels with go without a hitch. You won’t have to experience the nightmare of being seriously ill or injured in a foreign country. But if you do, the last thing you want is not having the support or financial means by which to get treated and flown home.

For that alone, travel insurance is worth every cent.

If you can’t afford travel insurance than you can’t afford to travel. Go to you nearest Kmart and buy yourself some blankets and build yourself a fortress.

We use and reccomend 1Cover for travel insurance. Over one million customers have trusted 1Cover to protect them on their travels overseas and around Australia. Next time you’re planning a trip, be sure to pack travel insurance you can count on.

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  1. The small important decisions to make before you go travelling. | Traveling Honeybird - […] Flight delays, over booked hostels, lost luggage and stolen underwear. These are just a  few of the fine things…
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Jeanette

Jeanette

Founder, Principal Blogger & Coffee Drinker

Coffee Lover | Travel Blogger | Horse Rider | Adventure Racer | Donut Dame. Generally nice lady-enjoys wine, indie movies & random dance parties in my tent.

Just a little FYI- this article was written for your benefit. Travel insurance is a no brainer and yes you should have it. The link to 1Cover is an affiliate link. So if you do decided to purchase via this link we will get a small commission which allows us to stay on the road for longer. Also it helps feed our dogs. Any and all views and opinions expressed are entirely my own based on personal experiences when travelling and are honest and factual without any bias.

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