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Why travel insurance is always the best policy

Staggering medical bills reveal true cost of accidents and illness overseas

It’s often said that if you can’t afford travel insurance then you can’t afford to travel.


New figures from one of Australia’s leading travel insurers has shown just how expensive it can be when things go wrong.


Southern Cross Travel Insurance (SCTI) has revealed the 10 most expensive international claims made by Australian travellers in 2022.


The list includes unexpected illnesses, accidents while exploring on holiday and even an unlucky slip in the shower.


At the top of the list is a claim for $135,375 paid to a 65-year-old who had a heart condition and fluid on the lungs while on holiday in Greece and was hospitalised for approximately three weeks. He had to fly back to Australia business class when he was finally fit to return.


The second most expensive claim at $109,725 was paid to a 95-year-old man who contracted pneumonia while travelling to Greece and was admitted to hospital for three weeks.


Unfortunately, his condition didn’t improve and he had to fly back to Australia on a business class flight with two registered nurse escorts.


Several other high value claims on the list were for injuries sustained during adventurous holiday activities, such as a fractured bone while skiing, a scooter accident and a fall from an e-bike.


“Following Covid-19, we know there has been an increased appetite for travel,” said Jo McCauley, Southern Cross Travel Insurance CEO.


“Research we conducted earlier this year showed 92 per cent of Aussies are planning to travel in the next two years. We’ve also seen people travelling for longer, up by an average of 25 per cent, from 20 days to 25 days.


“But while Covid-19 still remains a reality, our largest claims relate to the same types of accidents and medical events that we were witnessing prior to the pandemic.”


Other claims included a 22-year-old man who crashed his scooter in Indonesia and suffered significant injuries, including a collapsed lung, cracked rib and fractured sternum.


He spent six days in intensive care and had to be airlifted from Lombok to a hospital in Perth for further treatment. SCTI covered the cost of medical treatment and the air ambulance, with total costs reaching $79,277 in expenses.


Another incident saw a customer fracture her ankle after she slipped in the shower while on holiday in Switzerland. She was hospitalised while she received medical treatment and SCTI paid $37,525 towards medical expenses and a flight upgrade when bringing her home.



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Written by: Jon Underwood
Published: 14 December 2022

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