We often get asked about travel insurance, by Australian’s travelling within Australia.
Will Medicare cover me? What about cancellations? Should I lower my excess?
Truth be told, if you want someone to help you get to the top of Mt Rufus and feed you cake, we are the best in the business. If you want to buy travel insurance, there are definitely more knowledgeable people out there than us.
But we can still help!
Whilst we are not insurance brokers, we can tell you what you need to look out for. Read on;
Covering your Health: Assuming you have Medicare, your health is fairly well covered for travel within Australia. Emergency, hospital etc is all Australia wide, so go ahead and break a leg! Just joking. Don’t break a leg.
If you want to see what Medicare covers, check out this list of inclusions/exclusions.
The big exception to this rule is the cost of ambulance. Medicare does not cover ambulance and if you are in the middle of no where, this could be a significant cost.
This is where you private health care kicks in. Most private health insurance will cover ambulance, but you definitely need to check that you are covered away from home.
The other thing to check on with your private health insurance is dental. Medicare does not cover dental at all, so check that your private health insurance covers dental emergencies. Whilst not life threatening, getting your chompers fixed while travelling is no fun.
By the way, if you are traveling oversea, there are 11 countries around the world that have reciprocal health care agreements with Australia. It is safer than you think to travel to Sweden!
Covering Cancellation of a tour/hotels at the last minute: If you choose not to purchase travel insurance for your domestic holiday, you are exposed to the risk of having to pay the full cost of your travel, even if you need to cancel.
Say for example you roll an ankle a week before a tour, and you need to cancel your travel. In this situation you will more than likely not get any refund. Many tour companies (us included) will be lenient in this situation and allow you to transfer your booking to a different departure date, but usually they don’t have to, so beware.
The big hotel chains also won’t be lenient. They have their policies and they will stick to them.
The other thing to check, is that many Credit Card companies will extend free cover for cancellations, if you purchase your travel using your card. This type of insurance is very limited, but may be all you need. Check out the T’s & C’s of your credit card to learn more.
Covering Missed connections: If you miss a flight, and you do not have travel insurance, you will have to pay for it. Not all flight tickets are the same though. Some allow you to transfer the travel time/day without penalty, but these tickets are often much more expensive and not worth it. Often you can pick up travel insurance for less than the cost of a full service flight ticket.
If your travel itinerary is tight, then travel insurance may be worth it for this fact alone. However, if you have plenty of slack in your itinerary i.e. not flying out till the day after a tour finishes, then the risk is much lower.
Lost luggage Cost: Again, no insurance, and its gone! That said, in the age of digital review platforms, most airlines will bend over backwards to find, and deliver your luggage to where you are.
The tracking systems are much better than they used to be. Just be sure to keep the little luggage tag stickers that the attendant attaches to your boarding pass. This is how they will track errant luggage.
So, Should I purchase travel insurance for domestic travel within Australia?
You will hear horror stories, but it is worth having a good think about it.
If you are considering your options, then it depends on where you are travelling and what your concerns are.
Plenty of slack in your travel plan? Only travelling with a towel and two sets of bathers? If you have good private insurance, and you have some basic cover via your credit card, then it is probably not worth it.
Going to Central Australia, and planning to fly out the night after finishing a 10 day trek on the Larapinta? Insurance is worth thinking about.
Unfortunately, there is no getting around the fact that you will need to do some investigation into what your credit card insurance, and private health insurance will cover. Unless you really trust your insurance agent, it is best to do this yourself.
We hope this helps! Happy travels,
Team Inspiration Outdoors