How to unravel travel insurance fine print

Booking travel is not quite as simple as it once was, though that shouldn’t dissuade you from getting back out there and exploring the world.

But it’s worth investigating travel insurance to give you added confidence to go on your next trip.

Nowadays more than ever, knowing how to read and understand an insurance policy is an important part of travel preparation. So if you’re confused by all the niggly bits and pieces, check out this article for a quick explainer.

What’s a PDS?

The Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) sets out the terms and conditions of the policy, telling you what you’re covered for, and also what you’re not covered for (including any general exclusions).

Read this one carefully because it’s important that your policy gives you the right level of cover for the type of holiday you’re taking and who’s travelling.

What are general exclusions?

Travel insurance can offer cover for things that are unforeseen and unexpected but it doesn’t cover every situation. Policies usually have general exclusions, which means the policy does not provide cover for certain events, activities or circumstances.

One general exclusion to note is that insurers expect you to be aware of your circumstances. So, if something has happened and has hit the news, like a volcanic eruption, it’s likely your insurer will expect a person in your circumstances to be aware of it.

And that means, if you haven’t already bought your policy, then your insurer probably won’t cover you for any losses that happen as a result of the event – it may fall under the general exclusions. However, in the example of the volcano, if you purchase a policy before the volcano erupted, you could be covered.

Where can I go from Australia?

Before you travel, head to the Australian Government’s Smart Traveller website to double-check official advice and travel alerts.

What about COVID?

Most insurers have adjusted their policies to adapt to a world with COVID-19, however, the benefits are limited, so you have to check what’s covered. It’s important to know that many countries are now mandating that travellers have travel insurance that covers for the medical costs associated with treating COVID-19.

Check your PDS to ensure your policy provides you with appropriate cover, or you may not be able to enter certain countries at all. Always make sure you check the country’s entry requirements.

Where is the PDS?

The insurer wants you to read the PDS so it will be linked to from multiple points across the website. Check links at the bottom of the page or simply search ‘Product Disclosure Statement’ once you’re on the insurers site.

The PDS will likely be emailed to you once you purchased the policy to fully review.

How do I chose the right policy for me?

After checking you’re eligible in the first place and then reviewing the general exclusions, the next key section of the PDS is the table of benefits. Benefits are in sections like: medical, cancellation, additional expenses, luggage, and personal effects.

Examine each section and think about what you’ll do on your trip because this will influence what you’ll include in your extra coverage.

I’ve got a medical condition, does this mean I can’t get travel insurance?

It’s important to declare any pre-existing medical conditions when purchasing to get the right cover. If you have a pre-existing medical condition and don’t declare it, you may not be covered for a claim arising from that condition.

It is important to remember that you likely cannot apply for cover if you have any undiagnosed signs or symptoms, are awaiting a specialist opinion or conditions under investigation.

Travel insurance is a great way to travel with confidence, but no two holidays are the same. If you have questions about what cover is right for you, speak with your provider.