Do you really need travel insurance?
This question has always been a no-brainer for us. Yes! Yes! A thousand times YES! Sure, you probably won’t end up needing it. At least you hope you won’t! But what if you do? And what if you don’t have it? That small investment you could have should have made is nothing compared to the massive hospital/airline/medical bill you now have!
Up until recently, I definitely wouldn’t have called myself an expert on the subject. Yes, we travel an awful lot. Yes, we always have travel insurance. But no, we have never needed to use it (touch wood)! Well…… I guess maybe I didn’t touch wood after all……….
On our most recent overseas trip to Bali our daughter had an accident. An accident that, without travel insurance, not only could have led to thousands of dollars in medical costs for us, but also one that could have led us down a very scary path.
Ten days in to our 23 days in Bali, our eldest daughter Anna fell from a rice terrace and broke her wrist. As soon as she fell we knew it was broken. She was in agony. Our normally tough little girl, could barely stop screaming and crying.
We took her to a local doctor, recommended by our driver, who almost immediately organised for her to be transferred by ambulance to a nearby hospital. At the hospital they x-rayed the wrist and declared that she needed an operation. What? Our baby girl needed to go under a general anaesthetic and be operated on in a (somewhat questionable) Indonesian hospital. This was not good! And when they started talking about the cost with great emphasis, we became even more concerned. Was it possible that they were more focused on making money out of us than on the actual wellbeing of our child? We immediately got in contact with our travel insurance company. They attained copies of the x-rays which they then had their doctors in Australia look at. The Australian doctors informed them that if treated in Australia, a break of that nature would usually not require surgery and just be treated with a simple cast. As relieved as we were to hear this, it was still not that simple. The hospital remained adamant that an operation was imperative. We discharged Anna and the insurance company referred us to another hospital in Kuta.
The following day, with our little girl still in extreme pain, her wrist in a make-shift splint, we took her to the second hospital. Again, they refused to put a cast on, insisting an operation was needed. Once again, we left the hospital having had no treatment. There was no way we were going to agree to our daughter having an operation that we had been told by Australian doctors, was not necessary! And besides, even if it was, we would be much more comfortable with Anna undergoing the procedure at home in Australia. After arriving back at the hotel, we received a call from our insurance company informing us that they were happy to cover all costs associated with us returning to Melbourne and had arranged for us to be on the first available flights back that night. I can’t even begin to tell you the relief!
As soon as we arrived back on home soil, we drove directly to a nearby hospital. Anna was re-x-rayed and it was confirmed that she did not need an operation. Her wrist was put in a cast which was taken off four weeks later, without any further issues.
I cannot stress strongly enough, how much having travel insurance saved us. Financially and emotionally. What if we didn’t have it? What would we have done? We wouldn’t have known that she didn’t need surgery. The only doctors we would have spoken to would have been those in the first hospital who were adamant an operation was needed. And how much money would that have cost? Thousands of dollars. And would she have been ok? Would it have all gone smoothly? I don’t even want to think about it! And even if we had have refused surgery and headed home, the last minute airfares back to Australia would have cost us a small fortune. Then there’s all the non-refundable accommodation costs we would have lost. Besides, finances aside, it was just a huge comfort to have the support of the call-centre staff who helped to guide us through the process and provide trusted expert opinions and advice when we would have otherwise had no idea what we were dealing with. Ultimately that decision, to save what in the long run is not a lot of money, and go without insurance, would have cost us many thousands of dollars, and possibly so much more……
I truly hope that anyone reading this post, who may not have quite decided on getting travel insurance yet, can realise from what we went through, just how important it is, and buy that peace of mind now!
And you know what, it doesn’t even have to be a major incident, to make you thankful for having travel insurance. There have been several times throughout our travels, prior to Anna’s accident, that having travel insurance has paid off. Not because we used it, but because knowing that we had it made us a lot more comfortable and at ease to seek medical help.
On our USA road trip, 4 days in, our 3 year old daughter Elyssa developed croup. She became so unwell that we decided to take her to hospital. Fortunately, after a consult and some medication, she quickly improved and the cost was minor. My point is however, that when we initially took her in to the hospital, we had no idea what costs we may be up for, but we felt comfortable doing so, knowing that we had travel insurance should we need it.
During our visit to the UK and Europe, Elyssa, once again, became very unwell. We were in Scotland at the time and she was transferred from one hospital to another and admitted overnight, then later released with medication. At the time we had no idea that all of this would not cost us a thing. We were expecting a pretty hefty medical bill but thanks to the incredible NHS all costs were covered under a reciprocal agreement. In fact, if it had have been one week later that she became sick when we were in Germany, a hefty bill is exactly what we would have got. Not that that would have been a problem though, as we had travel insurance!
So really, here is the bottom line (not that you should need any more convincing) – you are about to go on holiday. On an amazing, exciting holiday that you have been planning for ages (and probably even longer in your head!). One that you have likely been saving for for a long time too. So, do you really need travel insurance? YES! It really isn’t worth the risk. Book that travel insurance! Even though you most probably will not need it, put in that small investment for a huge peace of mind and a fun, stress free holiday!
We’ve tried several different companies over the years but we now use Southern Cross Travel Insurance. When we first began travelling internationally more than once or twice per year, we searched around for the best deals on worldwide annual frequent traveller policies and were impressed with the cost and the level of cover offered at SCTI, as well as the many excellent reviews from other satisfied customers.
For the best deals on family travel insurance visit www.scti.com.au
Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by SCTI. All experiences shared and opinions expressed in this article are our own and are in no way influenced by sponsorship.