The Perils of Ignoring Travel Insurance for Overseas Trips

May 2, 2024 - 5 minutes read

airportThe cost of travel insurance has been rising lately. If you plan on travelling overseas any time soon, discover why you shouldn’t ignore cover and what you can do to reduce your risks.

Travel insurance rose by around 11% in 2023, largely as a result of inflation and the higher risks and claims associated with COVID.

When insurance for travel increases like this, it could be easy to cut corners on your cover – or even ditch it altogether as some travellers have been doing. According to survey data from the Insurance Council one in six Australian travellers (16%) didn’t bother with travel insurance on their most recent overseas trip. Of this number, 15% said they had avoided getting insured to save on their costs.

Another key finding was that of the insured travellers surveyed, fewer than one in five (19%) had taken the time to read their policy documents to check what they were covered for. Unfortunately, being under-informed as to what protection a policy provides could lead to experiencing serious out-of-pocket costs.

The survey also found that about a third of travellers indicated they might not buy insurance in the future due to the rising costs of travel. This could turn out to be a very risky decision.

The risks that come with overseas travel

According to the government Smart Traveller site, travel insurance “is as important as your passport”. Why? Because travel doesn’t always go according to plan – and when it doesn’t you could end up having to fork out thousands of dollars.

For example, if you were to suffer an accident or illness while overseas, you may have to pay the full costs of emergency and medical treatment, as well as the extra cost of travelling home. Other things that can lead to financial losses on overseas travels include trip delays or cancellations, damaged or lost luggage, theft of cash or possessions, and rental vehicle claim excesses.

Comprehensive travel policies usually provide financial protection for the common risks of travel – such as medical expenses, delays, losses, liability, natural disasters and pandemics, and accidental death. But in any case it pays to become familiar with what is included in your policy. You should also get to know what the exclusions are (e.g. cover may be voided in regions deemed unsafe for travel).

But even better is that at Faith Insurance we understand the very specific risks that come with travel for faith-based organisations – mission trips for example. This means we can provide you with cover tailored to your specific needs – see below under ‘travel insurance for churches and charities’ for where to go for more information.

Staying safe while overseas

Of course what matters most of all is your welfare while overseas. There are steps you can take to reduce the inherent risks of travel, as well as the additional risks that can come with mission trips.

This includes:

  • Pre-trip – team health checks and relevant vaccines (see below under ‘Links and Resources’), team training on risks, safety, security, and culture of destination countries.
  • During the trip – safe behaviours while moving around, security for your belongings, avoiding carrying large amounts of cash or wearing expensive items.

Our previous article covers safety on mission trips in much more detail (although bear in mind it was written before COVID – so that may need to be factored in!).

Travel insurance for churches and charities

Financial protection through travel insurance is vital for individual or team trips.

Faith Insurance understands the many unique insurance needs of churches and faith-based charities – including when it comes to overseas or interstate travel. To discuss your travel plans and insurance needs, please call 13 000 FAITH or send us an email.

Links and Resources

Smart Traveller:

Destination Advice
Health checks and vaccines
Infectious diseases
Travel insurance

Faith Insurance articles:

Safety tips for overseas mission trips
Managing risks while overseas

Written by Tess Oliver


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