QBE Insurance reveals illness and injury tops the list of claims for overseas travellers. Adventure seekers are being urged to double take their YOLO (you only live once) attitude.
The findings released come as a timely reminder that things don’t always go to plan and could prove costly without adequate insurance coverage. QBE claims made by international travellers since 2015 reveals the number of medical claims made up 40% of the total – 58% more than those made for travel delays and associated costs, and more than double those related to baggage theft, loss or damage.
Claims for lost, stolen or damaged mobile phones (10%) and cameras and accessories (4%) rounded out the list.
Nicole Smith, Head of QBE Assist, which provides 24 hour emergency assistance to travel insurance policy holders, said: “We literally only live once, so instead of using the slogan to justify taking risks, use it instead as a reminder of what’s at stake – whether that be long term damage to your health or bank account.”
QBE’s data showed medical treatment abroad doesn’t come cheap, sometimes even for relatively simple procedures. Some recent claims costs included $33,000 to treat an allergic reaction to seafood in San Francisco and $12,000 for treating a cut leg after slipping on wet tiles in Thailand.
Ms Smith said: “One incident involving just a four hour admission to investigate leg and back pain in Hawaii, racked up a whopping $45,000 bill, for which the traveller would have been liable without cover.”
More complicated and serious cases can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Another recent case involved a couple who were knocked off a motorbike in Thailand, which led to life-altering injuries for one of them. The total cost of managing the injury, care and getting them home safely has exceeded $250,000.
Venturing overseas over the Aussie summer break may be a fantastic opportunity. But things don’t always go to plan and often that’s far more worrying when you’re far from home.
We all may have experience it before. A lost bag or mobile phone or cancelled flight will certainly put a dampener on an overseas holiday, but ending up in a foreign hospital sick or injured is most people’s (and mine) worst nightmare.
It doesn’t take long to organise travel insurance and could prove invaluable should something go wrong. Knowing who to call, how to get help and what your insurance covers could alleviate a lot of the stress in an unfortunate situation and potentially save you money. For example, Japan’s become very popular for ski trips, so it’s important to ensure you have cover for those activities, remembering that most basic travel insurance doesn’t cover sports like skiing and snowboarding.
Ms. Smith said gathering information and getting in touch with your insurance provider as soon as possible would help ensure your claim is approved. Above all else – removing yourself from danger is the first priority, but in any event, it makes it much easier if you assist us by gathering information at the time of loss, report losses to authorities, take photographs as evidence and ask witnesses for the contact details. In an emergency contact emergency services and, if admitted, to hospital the sooner you contact QBE Assist the sooner we can help.
QBE Assist Safe Aussies Abroad Guide will help avoid holiday hassles in an emergency:
- Research your destination and any current travel warnings
- Check you have the correct travel insurance
- Make sure you know the local equivalent to Triple 0 in case you need emergency services while abroad
- If you fall ill or are injured, try to obtain a medical report and hold on to any receipts for treatment and copies of any documentation given to you by the medical provider.
- If you have an existing condition, check you’re covered
- In the event of a theft or other loss, try to obtain a police report. If this is not possible obtain a witness statement or loss report from the hotel, transport provider or venue where the loss occurred
- If you lose your passport, contact your local Australian consulate
- Make copies of all your travel documents and send them to yourself, save on your phone and email to them to a friend
- Your travel plans can be registered via smarttraveller.gov.au