How to avoid Australia’s most common travel insurance mistake

The last thing you want is to incur a hefty bill for lost luggage, canceled flights, or medical expenses while traveling.

If there’s one thing that Covid and the recent uptick in travel chaos have taught us, it’s the importance of travel insurance.

There have been some pretty chaotic scenes at airports around the world in the last six months post-pandemic, with flight delays and cancellations and one of the most prevalent issues, lost luggage.

However, according to Gary Hunter, travel insurance expert at Australian comparison site Finder, while it’s very frustrating, it’s also something that travel insurance can cover.

But it’s not just that. He said that anything can go wrong, including accidents and health-related issues, which is where travel insurance can play a big role.

“Health care costs abroad will come at a high price, and that’s certainly not something you want to stress about during the holidays,” Hunter told

“A basic insurance policy can cost anywhere from $10 to $20 a day,” Hunter said.

“You can get a cheaper rate by increasing your excess, but you will end up paying more if you need to make a claim. For example, if you lose your luggage, you will have to pay the excess when filing a claim.”

Best time to buy travel insurance

Too often, one of the biggest mistakes Australians make is letting cover be bought at the last minute.

“You should purchase travel insurance as soon as possible after you book your trip,” advises Mr. Hunter. “That way, if something happens before you leave — for example, you get sick, you get injured, or a close family member gets sick — you’ll be covered for cancellation costs.

“Also… some providers will not accept Covid-related claims within 21 days of your trip.”

One of the most common questions people ask is “which cover is right for me?” – to which Mr. Hunter said: “A basic insurance policy can cost between $10 and $20 a day and will cover you for unlimited medical expenses if you travel abroad.”

But he cautioned “not much else.”

“For example, it normally doesn’t cover cancellation costs or lost luggage. You’ll need a more comprehensive policy if you want coverage for this,” he said.

“There are more than 20 travel insurers that now include coverage for expenses related to Covid. This may include payment of medical expenses, travel reorganizations or cancellations, and additional accommodation.”

He said that, as an example, it can cover you if you contract Covid during your trip and need to reschedule your flight home and pay for additional accommodation.

It comes as Australian woman Michelle Armenis urged her fellow Australians to take out travel insurance and review their policy “carefully” after her husband Babis suffered a stroke and serious fall while in Greece.

Babis was out in the country visiting her elderly mother when she suddenly ended up in a hospital in Corfu needing brain surgery.

His son Nik told Sky News that he managed to get his father back home to Australia, but at “great expense” and that the family now needs financial help as the bills “keep going up”.

hospital bed rates

The United States is known for expensive health care and so it drives up the cost for tourists who are not covered by an insurance plan and end up in the hospital.

According to Finder, Australians can shell out a staggering $1,279 on average for a stay in a New York hospital bed, which is 45 times the cost of an insurance policy.

The figures were based on people in their 30s with Finder looking at the price of a hospital bed against a travel insurance policy for a week-long trip in July.

It found a huge price difference between the two, revealing that staying in hospital is 44 times more expensive on average than a travel insurance policy across the top 10 travel destinations for Australians.

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