When you're planning to travel abroad, how much planning do you put in? Sure, some people create a list of the sights they want to see and the activities they plan to partake in, but there are other important matters that could just as easily make or break your vacation.
A recent article from The Huffington Post reported that a huge 40 per cent of Australians fail to buy travel insurance, or even enquire about it, before journeying abroad.
Every day, 19 Australians are a victim of robberies when overseas.
"But what's the worst that could happen?" That's a common response to the thought of purchasing travel insurance.
While we wouldn't wish to scare anyone into a decision, there are a number of recent examples explaining why travel insurance is so essential to anyone going abroad. When coverage can be as cheap as $2.45 a day, it certainly bears thinking about.
Here are three reasons why you shouldn't leave home without it:
1) Because some countries are inherently dangerous
Many Aussies are thrill-seekers, wishing to experience something new and get the adrenaline running on their vacation. It's true that there's much to see overseas, and some of the best examples are in places that are politically unstable or otherwise dangerous.
Everything from storms, natural disasters, crime, riots, war and not observing local customs can land a tourist in trouble, making it particularly important to seek more information before travelling to any risky country.
We've touched upon some dangerous locations in the past, though the list is quite exhaustive. If in doubt, it's best to find out, and ensure you'll be covered so you can enjoy your thrill-seeking in relative peace.
2) Because robberies happen
Sticking with a similar point, though it's true no matter what country you visit, every day 19 Australians are a victim of robberies when overseas, according to statistics from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and published by news.com.au.
"The top five countries where Australians reported thefts while travelling abroad were France, Spain, Germany, Italy and Mexico," a government spokesperson told the newspaper.
"Australians reported more than 2,600 passports as being stolen overseas."
It's particularly troublesome when stolen items are integral to continuing your journey or returning home.
"During the same period, Australians reported more than 2,600 passports as being stolen overseas," the report continued. "The top five countries [for stolen passports] were Italy, US, France, UK and Spain."
Your travel insurance policy can help you when you're left stranded. As well as the reassurance of financial support, insurance providers can often assist in making plans for your return, as well as speaking with local authorities.
3) Because pregnancy might be omitted
While you can easily find a family health insurance policy that allows for maternity benefits, travel insurers are a little more cautious when it comes to pregnancy.
Some insurers will provide travel cover for the first terms of pregnancy or require a doctors approval before flight, while others omit it altogether, leaving some families stranded should their travel plans take a turn for the worst. Whether it's a missed flight or overseas medical care, Australians are sometimes left unaware of their lack of coverage until it's too late.
A recent Sydney Morning Herald report said that 46 out of 232 policies reviewed by researchers completely excluded insurance benefits for pregnant women. In any case, it's important to choose your insurer wisely.
As well as helping people find suitable health insurance policies, HICA's staff provide advice and support for Australians looking to buy travel insurance. Give us a call on 1300 44 22 01 for free and independent help before jetting off on your next vacation.