Leigh Radford (00:00):
… in this part of the program, we’re going to have a look at travel insurance. Are you heading off on holidays? Do you have travel insurance? Do you think you need it? And if you do have it, do you think it’s really worth it? We’re going to try and get to the bottom of some of these questions this afternoon and discuss, in general, the subject of travel insurance. Peter Carter is director of Carter Capner Law, and he’s a bloke who knows a lot about these things. Welcome to the program, Peter.

Peter Carter (00:29):
G’day, Leigh. [00:00:30] How are you?

Leigh Radford (00:30):
I’m very well indeed, thank you. Peter, do you have a sense of whether many people still travel without insurance?

Peter Carter (00:41):
I have read that there are a lot of people foregoing the usual travel insurance due to tightening budgets, but in my view, that is not a good idea.

Leigh Radford (00:52):
And why is that, Peter?

Peter Carter (00:55):
Well, who knows what’s going to happen when you’re away? Travel insurance is a relatively [00:01:00] inexpensive measure to ensure that you will get covered by the insurer for the expensive treatment overseas, and if necessary, bringing you back in an emergency.

Leigh Radford (01:11):
So, do you think travel insurance is a good idea for domestic and international travel? Or do you put more weight on the international side of things?

Peter Carter (01:23):
Well, it’s more important internationally because if you don’t have insurance there, [00:01:30] you won’t be able to access public hospitals and Medicare like you can in Australia. So, obviously, there’s a greater urgency to get it when traveling overseas.

Leigh Radford (01:39):
And the cost of health provision in other countries too can be astronomical. I mean, you hear those stories about people traveling to the United States, having a mishap and going into one of the most expensive hospital systems in the world, and paying very dearly for the privilege.

Peter Carter (01:57):
Exactly. And the same applies in Asia. [00:02:00] There are foreign hospitals in Asia, but they charge an arm and a leg and they won’t treat you unless you’ve got evidence of insurance. So, it’s very important in my view.

Leigh Radford (02:13):
So, money really talks, doesn’t it, Peter Carter? Money talks and that’s what insurance is all about?

Peter Carter (02:18):
Well, hospitals are expensive places to operate, and so that’s why they need the fees paid. And I [00:02:30] have had clients who have had to raise funds on a GoFundMe page to pay for their treatment in Vietnam, and other clients who’ve had mishaps in other countries. So, it is very important in my view to invest in something that will give you not only peace of mind, but absolute care when you need it.

Leigh Radford (02:58):
I wonder, Peter, how [00:03:00] knowledgeable, potentially confused, people are about travel insurance and what are the best options? So, perhaps if we sort of focus in on international travel initially. Of course, airlines are very quick to offer you insurance, and I guess that’s hardly surprising. But do you have any view or any advice that you can offer people about perhaps the best route to explore if you’re traveling internationally when it comes to travel insurance?

Peter Carter (03:30):
[00:03:30] Well, it’s not a bad idea to take a recommendation from a travel agent, but make sure you ask all the questions about what the cover is and what’s included, and particularly what’s not included, so you know what the exclusions are. But a lot of information can also be obtained online, so people can do their own research on this. It doesn’t take long, but you can compare different policies and you can get different prices reasonably quickly.

Leigh Radford (04:00):
[00:04:00] Are there traps for young players with this?

Peter Carter (04:04):
Yes, the exclusions… There’s some sports that are excluded. These are all usually well-notified, but for example, you want to make sure if you’re going to go scuba diving that your policy covers that, or if you’re going to do skiing, that your policy covers that. Some policies won’t, so you need to know. [00:04:30] The more topical one is the alcohol-consumption exclusion. Some policies will exclude you from cover if there’s evidence you were… Evidence, mind you, they don’t have to prove that you were under the influence, but evidence that you had consumed alcohol that might’ve led you to be under the influence. So, that is certainly a trap for young players, especially when going overseas usually has an element of enjoyment.

Leigh Radford (04:59):
Yes. [00:05:00] Well, I must confess, I didn’t realize that that was a condition. That can really change the whole ballgame, can’t it? One of our texters says, “Hi. I dispute that most people take out travel insurance.” Our texter says, “I’ve traveled a lot and never had travel insurance, and not many of my friends do.” Well, there you go. That’s one texter. Steve has called in on 1300-222-891. Hello, Steve.

Speaker 3 (05:27):
Hello, Leigh, pleasure to join you. A [00:05:30] fellow ABC listener quite some time ago mentioned reciprocal rights when traveling with insurance. I believe Italy and things, I think she broke her leg and stuff. Has that changed much? Are there more countries that have joined our alliance of mutual health benefits for emergency things and is your guest… Yeah.

Leigh Radford (05:53):
Peter, do you know?

Peter Carter (05:54):
Well, that’s not an insurance issue and it doesn’t depend on travel insurance. That’s an arrangement [00:06:00] between Australia and a number of other countries. Denmark and France are a couple. I don’t know the full list, but you can find that online through the Department of Foreign Affairs. I’ve never done it. I don’t know how easy it is if you turn up to a hospital in France and say you’re Australian and-

Leigh Radford (06:20):
Whether they’ll oblige.

Peter Carter (06:22):
Whether they’ll oblige, or you turn up to a GP, I just don’t know whether they’ll oblige. But those arrangements do [00:06:30] exist and they usually taken advantage of by people who are staying there long term and they get to know a local medical provider and set up the arrangement.

Leigh Radford (06:40):
It’s not just about health though, is it? I mean health is obviously forefront in most people’s minds and that’s a concern when you’re traveling far afield from home. But travel insurance is for other reasons as well, Peter Carter, isn’t it?

Peter Carter (06:53):
It is indeed. It’s for cancellation, disruption of arrangements, loss of property, [00:07:00] baggage being lost, all those things.

Leigh Radford (07:06):
I mean we were talking about airlines and overseas travel and insurance for that just a few moments ago, but do you have any sense about maybe here in Australia, people who are traveling around the country on buses, or trains, or possibly going on cruises around the Australian coastline, do you think they get insured as often as maybe overseas [00:07:30] travelers do?

Peter Carter (07:31):
Well, I don’t think there’s any cruise line that will permit passengers on board if they don’t have insurance. That’s a mandatory requirement on cruise lines. People traveling locally, the take-up would be much lower, Australia-wide, traveling Australia-wide. The take-up would generally be much lower. [00:08:00] Again, Medicare and public hospitals are available, so travelers might not think that it’s a worthwhile investment in those circumstances and they probably think that they have better opportunity to look after their goods and less likelihood of baggage being lost. So, that might be-

Leigh Radford (08:25):
Yeah. And Peter, most of us, I think, these days pay for everything travel-wise [00:08:30] on a credit card. Now, I’ve heard people talk about having done that with airfares, hotels, hire cars, all those sorts of things, and saying that their credit card actually offers insurance to them because they’ve made those purchases on the card, and therefore, travel insurance is not necessary. Is that true?

Peter Carter (08:56):
That’s one of the great mysteries of travel, [00:09:00] but it’s true to an extent. If you have booked and paid for your holiday and it’s at least 200 kilometers distant, the destination’s 200 kilometers away, something like that, and if you paid for it all on the one credit card, the insurance associated with that credit card will come to the party if something goes wrong. But there’s a higher deductible, so you have to pay usually [00:09:30] a much larger amount than if you’ve paid for the policy under the credit card arrangement. And I’ve always found it very difficult to decipher in terms of how far extends in terms of covering hire cars.

Leigh Radford (09:47):
It’s 17 minutes past 4:00 and you’re on ABC Radio Adelaide. Leigh Radford with you talking to Peter Carter, who is a lawyer and we’re speaking about travel insurance this afternoon. Peter, getting quite a few texts on this [00:10:00] as well. One of our texters says in 2010 they were traveling in Canada when a friend suffered a major back injury snowboarding. $920,000 in costs incurred across hospital and medivac back to New Zealand. And apparently all of this was covered by travel insurance. So, that’s a very good example of how valuable it could be. Christine texts in and says, “There’s been several alcohol misadventure GoFundMe pages in the last year, which [00:10:30] have been set up to bring people back from overseas. And I guess obviously that’s because they didn’t have travel insurance.” And another texter, Pam says, “We’d never travel without insurance. We’ve just spent four weeks in New Zealand and we certainly did have insurance.” So, some interesting comments coming from our texters this afternoon. And clearly, with that example of nearly a million dollars for that snowboarding back injury example, Peter, not to be underestimated, the value of insurance.

Peter Carter (11:00):
[00:11:00] Well, absolutely. Just in relation to the second example about the number of GoFundMe alcohol-related, that would be where the insurer has denied the claim because of the alcohol consumption, not because there hasn’t been travel insurance in place at all. So, there is a controversy about the fairness of those alcohol-exclusion clauses, which are different in some policies to others.

Leigh Radford (11:25):
I see. Right. And I think we’ve [00:11:30] pretty much established that traveling without travel insurance is not a wise idea, but assuming you’re going to get it, how do you know whether you’re paying the appropriate amount or whether it’s too much for what you’re getting? And I know that’s a really broad question, Peter, but I’m sure many people shake their heads at this and really do wonder what’s appropriate.

Peter Carter (11:53):
I think it’s just a matter of market research, compare policies. The other thing for people to remember [00:12:00] is if they’re injured overseas, sometimes there’s legal recourse because travel insurance ends when you come back to Australia, nothing’s paid once you get back. So, it’s important to consider legal recourse, even back in Australia, as to what happened overseas.

Leigh Radford (12:18):
And I guess these days with the number of cancellations there are, with people traveling, whether it’s internally or internationally, travel insurance, really, [00:12:30] it’s a no-brainer, isn’t it, to cover those sorts of costs when you suddenly have a need to get on another plane because yours was canceled and that’s going to cost you more?

Peter Carter (12:41):
Well, the airline might cover you for that, but they might put you on another aircraft. But the hotel that you’ve missed out on for a couple of nights and you’ve already paid for, they’re not going to refund it. So, that’s where travel insurance can help as well.

Leigh Radford (12:57):
Yes. Look, Peter, it’s been a really interesting discussion this [00:13:00] afternoon and appreciate your time on ABC Radio Adelaide.

Peter Carter (13:03):
Thanks, Leigh. Thanks for having me.

Leigh Radford (13:05):
Peter Carter, who’s director at Carter Capner Law. And thank you for your text this afternoon on-