Trip cancellations and delays may irk us, and theft and loss of possessions can be unsettling, but it is our own physical health that we should remain most vigilant of when travelling.
Not only can injuries and illnesses derail entire holidays, but they’re also much more likely to occur, a new study has revealed.
Conducted by InsureandGo, the study shows that Australian travellers are nearly three times more likely to experience medical emergencies than trip cancellations and delays; health issues, which relate to emergency medical, surgery, hospital treatment, ambulance, and repatriation costs, also arise a whopping eight times more often than incidents of lost or stolen baggage.
According to the research, since July 2016, two in three (63%) travel insurance claims made by Aussie travellers globally have been for medical services, with just one in four (23%) claiming on cancellations and delays and one in 12 (8%) claiming for lost, stolen or damaged luggage.
When it comes to the destinations with the highest incidents of medical claims, the Americas (North, Central and South America) comes out on top with nearly three quarters (73%) of claims relating to health; medical claims are next highest in Asia, where two in three (66%) claims relate to travelers’ health.
InsureandGo managing director Raphael Bandeira said the American countries could rank higher for medical claims “due to the fact that the US has some of the highest medical costs in the world”.
“This is worrying for those who find themselves needing medical attention,” he remarked.
“We highly recommend you purchase travel insurance when travelling to any destination, particularly the US.
“A trip to the doctor, even for minor illnesses, can cost you hundreds of dollars – and payment is often upfront if you don’t have health cover.
“While you may be saving a few dollars in the short term, it’s not worth the financial risk that can occur to anyone at any time.”
For a safer trip abroad, InsureandGo recommends travellers make others aware of their plans, get immunised when required, limit belongings (particularly those of value), avoid drinking tap water (sometimes even when brushing teeth) and getting the right travel insurance.