Why buy travel insurance?

Travel Forums Australia / New Zealand & The Pacific Why buy travel insurance?

1. Posted by emylou101 (Budding Member 16 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

I have a good read of the Medicare Australia website - and basically as UK residents, if anything happened on our travels in Oz we would be taken care of by Gp's or in hospital in the same way as the NHS here.

So, as i was only really looking to buy insurance to cover myself for medical cover and not worried about covering personal belongings, £200 worth of 'cash', cancellation cover etc - why bother spending approx £100 on medical insurance when uk people are covered anyway?

Can someone tell me if i'm missing something?

2. Posted by snowplain (Budding Member 21 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

There's not a massively compelling reason for it. You can get treated at a public hospital for free just by producing your passport, but if you want to see a GP they often (but not always) charge above the medicare rate, so insurance may cover that difference.

If you do come without insurance get a medicare card asap or you'll have to pay the medicare component up front also should you visit a GP (you can claim it back later at a medicare office). Public hospitals can be difficult to find depending on where you are, and where you can there's often a substantial wait involved.

3. Posted by emylou101 (Budding Member 16 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

Thanks for your advice there Snowplain ;)

The bit where u said that it can be difficult to find a public hospial has made me think more......speshly as i'm going to be doin the big drive from perth thru Alice Springs to Cairns!!....... maybe i should think of the £100 odd quid as simply peace of mind???

thanks again tho mate!

Anybody else have any thoughts on this

4. Posted by snowplain (Budding Member 21 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

I didn't mean to overstate the difficult to find thing - it's more a convenience issue. I have to bus through several suburbs to get to a hospital, whereas I have a few GPs in easy walking distance. Rural areas will often have dinky town hospitals. It's probably not all that different to the UK in terms of availability.

I'd basically frame it as - if your concern is just along the lines of, if I break my leg will I have to pay a fortune to get it put in a cast and the like, then you don't really need health insurance. If you think you'll need a lot of prescriptions and the like, or just a bit more convenience, it might be worth your while. I don't have insurance and I've done okay :)

5. Posted by aharrold45 (Travel Guru 1281 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

If you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. That is the saying in the travel industry and that's the way it is in Australia just the same as everywhere else in the world.

If you died and you needed to be transported back home for a funeral well your parents would need to fork out thousands for it, or you could save them all that by taking out travel insurance. If your parents died while you were away and you needed to head home because of this, you could either pay for it out of your own pocket or be partly covered by travel insurance. Those things wouldn't be covered on medicare, not to mention the coverage for your belongings. I was just like you as well, thought I could get away without travel insurance because nothing was going to happen to me, my medical would have been covered on medicare and if it something did cost me anything, it would cost less than the travel insurance. I decided I wouldn't be stupid and did end up getting the insurance and thankfully I did otherwise I would have been out of pocket about $1000-$1500 on top of the money I paid towards travel insurance on both of my rtw trips. Sure you may be lucky and not have anything happen at all that would mean you would have ended up wasting that money, but it is worth the peace of mind incase disaster strikes.

6. Posted by snowplain (Budding Member 21 posts) 10y Star this if you like it!

Not really disagreeing with the last post especially - it may well be right that it's worth it for your peace of mind, but just on the issue of travel insurance, in Australia or anywhere else, and as with home/car/life insurance, bear in mind you have negative expected returns, so strictly in terms of an investment, it's a bad idea.

If it's costing you 100 you're probably getting 98 back on average or something like that. Perhaps more/less if you think about your specific circumstances - but if it wasn't a bad investment in itself it wouldn't be profitable to insurers. So a good way of looking at it is in terms of how well you could absorb the cost of something that expensive vs how likely it is. That's why people who own thousands of houses don't get home insurance, but people who own one normally do. It's a negative expectation investment, but in a very competitive insurance market only slightly so, so if you're prone to lose sleep over these kinds of things it might be worth sacrificing a few quid for your peace of mind.

[ Edit: Edited on Feb 4, 2008, at 4:25 AM by snowplain ]