Kerryn Boogaard Kerryn Boogaard
Beverly Goldsmith Beverly Goldsmith
Zoe Bingley-Pullin Zoe Bingley-Pullin

Sydney toddler’s near-drowning raises importance of travel insurance:

Do you have travel insurance?
By Expert Tips
Date: July 28 2017
Editor Rating:

What should have been an idyllic, fun-filled escape for a Sydney family turned into a near tragedy when their young daughter was found unconscious in a Bali swimming pool.

After 45-minutes of resuscitation by a surgeon acquaintance of the family, three-year- old Kawa Sweeney was thankfully revived and flown to Perth for emergency treatment. However, as Kawa’s parents did not have travel insurance, they were required to pay an upfront cost of $42,000 for her medical evacuation.

Natalie Ball, Director, says:

“You simply can’t put a price on protection for your family abroad. The Sweeney’s frightening ordeal is an alarming wake-up call to families headed overseas and a strong reminder of the importance of travel insurance. Parents should also be aware that the security measures we take for granted at home, such as pool fences and trained lifesaving staff, can go neglected in developing countries like Bali."

Relatives of the family said that Kawa’s father thought he had travel insurance with his credit card but the card had recently been cancelled, rendering any travel insurance benefits void. A quickly established GoFundMe page has so far successfully raised $75,000 to cover the family’s expenses, however, Ball warns travellers not to rely on crowdfunding sites in the event of an emergency.

“In this instance, Kawa’s generous supporters quickly banded together to assist the family in an intense crisis and time of need. While Kawa’s medical and repatriation costs were unavoidable, the insurmountable stress associated with covering her treatment could have been averted with a standalone travel insurance policy."

Credit card travel insurance- the cover loopholes you should know

Travellers may be delighted with the ‘free’ travel insurance offered by their credit card companies but can be easily misled by the terms and conditions of the associated cover.

Ball says,

“The free travel insurance that may come attached with your credit card is a nice perk, but it will not always suit your needs. Very often, it’s only the cardholder who would be covered, leaving your travel companions in the lurch. As well, unless you’ve paid for your flights and accommodation with the card, the travel insurance may not be activated. It certainly pays to do your research."

Other traps to look out for

You may be able to save a few dollars by taking advantage of your free credit card travel insurance, but the following exclusions may catch credit card holders by surprise.

  • Pre-existing medical conditions

    All credit card travel insurance covers medical costs for overseas travel, however some have lesser limits than a standalone policy. There are also strict exclusions in relation to pre-existing medical conditions.

    When purchasing standalone travel insurance, a select list of conditions will be automatically covered. You often have the option to cover additional medical conditions by paying an additional premium. On the other hand, credit card travel insurance generally excludes cover for any pre-existing medical conditions.
  • Restricted activities

    If you’re heading to the slopes for some ski action or planning on some pulse-racing activities, you might want to check which pastimes will be covered. You may require a specialist, stand-alone policy for your planned activities.
  • Higher excess

    It’s no fun when your stuff gets nicked on holidays, but you’ll feel even worse when you find out that the excess attached to your credit card insurance may render your claim worthwhile. Credit card travel insurance will often charge a much higher excess than stand-alone insurance providers.

    Standalone travel insurance policies have variable excesses (generally $100 - $250), while the excess payable with credit card travel insurance can be as much as $500.
  • High value items

    If you’re travelling with high value items, ensure that you’re sufficiently covered by your credit card. For example, you may be covered up to $10,000, but may be only be able to claim a maximum of $750 for individual items. Credit card travel insurance doesn’t allow you to add high value items unlike standalone travel insurance.

The invaluable cost of cover

Apart from the monetary benefits of standalone travel insurance Ball concludes that the attached emergency benefits can be an invaluable support.

“Kawa’s story truly highlights the necessity of travel insurance. It's important for travellers to understand that accidents and illness can strike anyone, anywhere at any time. In the event of an emergency your travel insurance company’s expertise can be truly priceless if something goes wrong on holidays.”

ABOUT COMPARE TRAVEL INSURANCE is Australia's leading comparison site solely focused on travel insurance.  They know travel insurance and want to help Aussies save time, worry and loads of money. They provide unbiased travel insurance information and compare a vast range of basic, mid-range and comprehensive policies. The site is suitable for singles, families, backpackers, skiers and seniors, and provides cover for all destinations and trip lengths.

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