FOR 25 years Stuart Miller of Shepparton has travelled the world for corporate events and has always been covered through his business.
But recently he travelled to Thailand, Indonesia and China taking his wife Nanthita and young daughter Melinda and just before departure, he was reminded that on this trip he did not have corporate cover and so needed travel insurance.
That was soon arranged through Jetset in Shepparton and just as well only a few days into the holiday Stuart was bitten by something. His arm swelled, he became very ill and spent 8 days in the Bangkok Hospital, without the medical cover it would have cost him in excess of $15,000 Aussie dollars.
Stuart says lots of people travel every year without insurance thinking it will not happen to them, but disaster can strike without any warning.
Stuart and his family had a great start to their holiday in Bangkok, they stayed at the Sheridan Hotel right on the banks of the river.
They enjoyed their time shopping and eating out but noticed the waters of the river getting higher, soon all of Bangkok was sandbagged as the government tried to save the capital from the rising waters.
On a river cruise Stuart says it really brought it home to them, how bad the situation was.
Areas of housing near the riverbanks were inundated and people were walking around in waist deep water.
They left Bangkok 10 days before the water peaked, so it was going to get a lot worse.
They hired a car and headed to Hauhin the town where the King of Thailand has his Summer Palace.
Not really on the tourist route, but frequented by locals on holiday, there are some beautiful resorts.
They were right on the beach and had dinner on the sea front listening to the waves breaking.
Stuart says they were due to leave the next day, he awoke to find his arm swollen, at first everything seemed OK, but as the day wore on Stuart started to feel really sick.
They headed for the Bangkok International Hospital where he was admitted to the emergency ward.
Antibiotics were used, but the swelling would not go down. Finally the doctors decided to operate and clean out as much of the infected area as they could.
For another five days Stuart reported to the medical centre until they finally gave the all clear.
Stuart was lucky both medically and financially, that all ended well, he would like to thank Carl at Jetset in Shepparton for reminding him he needed insurance and for arranging the trip.
Meanwhile Carl says many travellers think they are OK because they have insurance through a credit card, but this is not always adequate, Carl gave us the following points to ponder.
If your credit or charge card is advertising free travel insurance, be sure to read the fine print, carefully.
Travel insurance is not always comprehensive and it may not cover immediate family members travelling together. To qualify for cover, the cardholder needs to either purchase the return airfare on their card or spend a certain dollar amount while overseas.
Here are some questions you may care to ask your financial institution about the “free” policy you are considering.
• What is the excess on the policy and how is it applied (for example, per event or total)?
• Will it cover the pre-existing medical conditions for you or your travelling companion?
• Will it cover the known medical conditions of relatives who may not be travelling?
• Will it cover the excess on hire cars and if so, how much?
• Will it cover replacement costs if my credit card is stolen?
• Will it cover your frequent flyer points?
• Will it cover meals and accommodation costs if your transport is delayed or cancelled?
• What activities or sports are excluded?
• What is the maximum cover for jewellery or sporting equipment?
• What is the maximum period for any one trip?
• Can you extend your policy if you choose to stay away longer once travel has started?
• Does it include 24 hour worldwide emergency assistance?
• Do major medical bills have to be pre-approved by the insurer?
• Who will help put your travel plans back in place following a disruption (given that your travel agent has not issued your policy)?
• Who will help in the preparation of a cancellation claim or assist in reconciling a disputed claim?
Please take the time to read the policy terms and conditions!
Hope this has been of some help for future travellers.
Until next time,