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Travelling on Business? Make Sure Your Insurance is Fit For Purpose

June 20, 2016

Employees who are required to travel overseas for their work should be covered by adequate travel insurance. This article looks at some of the traps that may await underinsured travellers.travel ins 747
Risks arising from business travel include:

  • Loss or theft of luggage. Many travellers who suffer a loss can be unpleasantly surprised to discover that their carrier reimburses them with a pitifully small amount. Under the Montreal Convention of 1999, which replaced the Warsaw Convention, airlines licensed in countries which are signatories to ICAO are obliged to compensate passengers when their baggage is lost whilst in their care. But their liability for any single piece of baggage is severely limited, and most business travellers will find themselves grievously exposed unless they cover the difference with a travel insurance policy.
  • Flight Cancellation or Rescheduling – many of the most attractive fares on the market these days are subject to “no cancellation” terms. The savings these fares represent may be far greater than the cost of insurance covering cancellation or rescheduling of flight bookings.
  • Sickness and Injury – Many overseas destinations have inferior medical services to Australia’s, and a good international travel policy will provide for the repatriation of employees who fall seriously ill or are seriously injured.

Many online insurance products appear to cover these risks, and to offer outstanding value for money, but closer inspection often reveals restrictions which, for the typical business traveller, render them all but pointless. Here’s a check list against which you should compare your proposed policy, to see if it is fit for purpose:travel ins patient

  • Excess – many of the cheaper insurance policies have high excess stipulations which render small claims all but valueless. Familiarise yourself with the excess stipulations of the cover you are considering, and don’t buy a policy with excess over $200.
  • Medical expenses – depending on where you fall ill (and, of course, on how ill you fall), medical expenses can be eye-wateringly large. Repatriation, should it be required for a non-ambulatory patient, can be similarly expensive. Your travel insurance should cover you for up to A$4 million.
  • Baggage and valuables – as we have seen, the liability of an airline for baggage loss is trivially small, and in case only operates when the baggage is in the airline’s care. Typically, online insurance policies will have a limit per item which, together with the excess, leaves many items such as laptops, cameras and mobile phones uninsured, for all practical purposes. Study carefully any policy you are considering and make sure it doesn’t leave you dangerously exposed. A total limit for all baggage of $3,000 is recommended.
  • Cash – another risk that is generally poorly covered by the online providers. Consider carefully your need to carry cash when travelling, and make sure you are adequately covered.
  • Personal Liability – a risk we don’t often contemplate. But even when on business, travellers will engage in recreational activities, some of which entail risks of injury or loss to third parties. Dealing with a claim for such an event is vexatious enough on your home turf, but if it happens overseas it can be a nightmare. Experts recommend a minimum of $2million of personal liability cover.
  • Itinerary Disruption – failures of airlines to operate to schedule are a frustrating disappointment for leisure travellers, but on business travellers they can inflict serious loss. Make sure your policy provides you with adequate cover, study its terms, and bear them in mind when booking critical itineraries.

For more information, and assistance in obtaining tailored business travel insurance, talk to a Sydney Insurance Brokers expert today.