How a Common Ailment Can Increase the Cost of Your Travel Insurance Policy

Travel Insurance: What You Need to Know About COVID-19 Coverage

The world is once again grappling with rising COVID-19 cases. However, assuming that your travel insurance policy automatically covers the virus and won’t cost you extra is a misconception.
A recent review by financial comparison website Canstar analyzed 106 travel insurance policies and discovered that 18 percent of them do not provide coverage for COVID-19.

COVID-19 Coverage and Costs

Out of the 87 policies that do include COVID-19 coverage, only 70 of them offer protection for both overseas medical expenses and trip cancellations. On average, policies that cover COVID-19 are $103 more expensive than those that don’t.

A survey conducted by comparison site Finder in November revealed that 56 percent of Australians, equivalent to almost 12 million people, .
Among the respondents, 40 percent cited the high cost of travel insurance as their reason for not purchasing it.
According to Steve Mickenbecker, a travel insurance expert at Canstar, considering the ongoing health risks posed by COVID-19, paying the extra money for coverage is worth it for peace of mind.
“You shouldn’t leave home without good overseas medical cover, and that goes for COVID-19 as well,” he emphasized.

“When you consider the expenses for flights, accommodation, tours, and other spending, an additional $100 isn’t a significant amount.”

Reciprocal Healthcare Agreements

If you fall ill while traveling abroad, you may be eligible for subsidized or free medical treatment through a reciprocal healthcare agreement.

Australia currently has agreements with 11 countries:

However, the federal government’s Smartraveller website warns that these agreements typically only cover emergency medical care within the respective nation’s public health system. The coverage provided by one country may not be the same as another.
If there are any out-of-pocket expenses, you will be responsible for paying them. Alternatively, if you have travel insurance, your provider may cover the costs.

If you travel to a country that Australia does not have a reciprocal healthcare agreement with, none of your medical expenses will be covered, and hospitals may refuse treatment unless you pay upfront.

Mickenbecker advises against taking any risks, even if you plan to visit a country with a reciprocal healthcare agreement with Australia.
“Never skimp on overseas medical cover because the costs can be so high that it will leave us financially scarred, as well as unwell,” he cautioned.
To ensure you have the right travel insurance for your needs, Mickenbecker recommends carefully reviewing what each policy covers, what it excludes, and any excess fees that may apply when filing a claim.

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