Travel Insurance FAQs
Why is your travel insurance is so much cheaper than others? Is there a catch?
Our whole philosophy revolves around delivering great customer service and value-for-money when providing you with travel insurance. The main reason we can offer our policies at such competitive prices is that we sell 'direct' rather than through a travel agent. We therefore effectively cut out the middleman, meaning you get to speak direct to a company that specialises in insurance; what's more, you pay a lot less for it.
Who underwrites your policies?
Certain syndicates at Lloyd's of London underwrite our policies. Lloyd's is the world's leading insurance market and covers all classes of business from more than 190 countries worldwide. To view the current Insurer Financial Strength Ratings of the Lloyd's market see Lloyd's Market Ratings. Lloyd's are members of the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) and the Financial Ombudsman Service. For further information about Lloyd's in Australia see Lloyd's Worldwide - Australia.
Is it really that important to take out travel insurance?
In general the rule goes that if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. That may sound harsh, but travelling without insurance means you are exposing yourself to risks that could not just ruin your trip, but be financially devastating.
But don't worry, with Columbus Direct you're choosing one of the best value policies on the market, so it shouldn't take up too much of your budget. You can select from different levels of cover, so you'll only be paying for what you need.
Still not convinced? The Austalian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade recommends all Austalians take out travel insurance when travelling overseas. Click here to read Why all Australians should take out travel insurance before going overseas.
How soon before my trip should I buy travel insurance?
We recommend you take out travel insurance as soon as you have paid for your trip (or put down a deposit). That way we can cover you for loss of deposits or payments for unused travel and accommodation in case you need to cancel your trip due to a covered event (for example, if you are too ill to travel).
Do you have an upper age limit on who you can cover?
As with most travel insurance policies we do have an upper age limit and currently we can only offer travel insurance to those ages 84 or under.
What am I covered for under your policies?
Our policies cover the standard things you'd expect from travel insurance including medical expenses, emergency repatriation, baggage, forced cancellation, money and tickets, personal accident, personal liability, missed departure, travel delay and more. Cover levels will vary dependent on the type of policy you choose (eg. international or domestic, extra cover for winter sports etc) For a full listing of the benefits and cover levels, click here for an instant quote or call us today.
Can you send me a brochure?
We believe in keeping our costs low and passing those savings on to you. As such we don't produce glossy brochures, instead we prefer to provide a personalised quote - either over the phone or through our online insurance engine - providing you with all the guidance and information you require at the best possible price.
Can I buy-out the excess on your policy?
Having an Excess helps us to keep our prices low. At present we don't have an option to remove the excess, however it does only apply to claims under certain sections of the policy (for further information you should refer to our Product Disclosure Statement).
What is the maximum cover for my personal effects when travelling overseas?
Dependent on which policy you choose, your Personal Bagage can be covered for up AU$7,500. Within this there is a sub-limit for each Single Article of AU$750 and a total limit in respect of Valuables (as defined) of AU$750, except where those Valuables are Personal Computers, Video Recorders or Cameras, in which case the total sub-limit for those items is AU$3,000. The policy also provides certain cover for the loss of your money, travel tickets and passport.
Can you cover my digital camera and other valuable items?
We can cover certain more valuable items however limits do apply. The total cover available for Valuables - as defined in the policy - is AU$750 for International policies and AU$500 for Domestic policies. However, in respect of Personal Computers, Video Recorders or Cameras the total and per atricle limits are AU$3,000 for International policies and AU$2,000 for Domestic policies. We do not currently offer additional cover for items of higher value, however you may find that vertain more valuable items are covered by your home contents policy even if you are taking them on your trip (you will need to check this with your home contents insurance provider direct).
Can you cover sports equipment?
Yes, most sports equipment would fall under Personal Baggage cover (up to the Single Article limit of AU$750). However, under our Winter Sports policy there is additional cover for ski equipment (up to AU$750). You should note that there is no cover for sports equipment whilst in use other than your own or hired winter sports equipment, as prescribed in Section 16 of the policy wording, if you have purchased the Winter Sports extension.
Am I covered in the event of an act of terrorism?
As with most travel insurance policies, there is a general exclusion covering terrorist activity. In such circumstances, we do, however, provide cover under Section 2 (Overseas Medical Expenses, Emergency Repatriation and Other Expenses) up to a maximum of 1% of the sum insured stated in the Schedule where you are not actively engaged in any of the stated events and/or where you have not travelled or do not remain contrary to advice issued by the government of your Country of Residence.
How do I make a claim?
To make a claim, you need to get in touch with our claims handlers. Please visit our how to make a claim page for their contact details and further information.
I am away for 5 months - do I have to wait until I'm back in Australia to claim?
You can submit a claim upon your return to Australia or whilst still on your trip. Our claims administrators are able to email claims forms to you, however you would be required to provide original supporting documentation (eg. receipts) by post.
How can I pay for this insurance?
You can purchase a policy online using MasterCard or Visa. By calling us we can also accept payment by cheque or postal order.
What if I decide the policy isn't right for me once I've paid?
As with most insurance policies, should you purchase a policy you will have 19 days from the issue date to decide whether it meets your specific requirements. If you are not satisfied - for whatever reason - we will give you a full refund provided no claims have been made and you have not commenced your trip. All we ask is that you return your Schedule to us along with written confirmation (by email or post) that you wish to cancel.
Is your website secure for online purchase?
Absolutely. We ensure that all sensitive information is encrypted during the payment process, so it's totally secure.
Do we get a discount if more than one person takes the policy?
We do have special rates for couples and families, however we can only offer Group Discounts for groups of 10 or more people. Our Couple and Family prices are available online, however you will need to call us to discuss prices for groups of 10 or more.
Do your cover limits apply in total or per person?
We consider each individual named on the insurance to be separately insured. This means that the cover limits and excesses apply to each person separately. However, the price that you can see when you get an online quote will only be charged once for the whole policy, not per person insured.
With a Family Annual Multi-Trip policy are we covered when travelling alone?
Yes, as long as all family members to be included are named on the policy, you will also be covered when you travel separately.
Once I've started my trip can I extend the policy?
Yes, as long as it's arranged before your existing policy expires and you are intending to return to Australia at the end of the extension period. Policies can only be extended once and for a maximum of 12 months. Extensions are at the discretion of the underwriters. Should you wish to extend your policy you should contact us for an extension form which will need to be completed and returned at least 3 working days before your policy expires.
How do I contact you from abroad?
What do I do if I wish to dispute a denied claim or have a general complaint?
In the event that you should have a complaint regarding us, or any issue in respect of your insurance, you may access our internal dispute resolution process by contacting us. If we were unable to resolve your dispute, and you purchased a policy in Australia, you may then request the matter be reviewed by the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS): an independent body that operates nationally in Australia and aims to resolve certain insurance disputes. This service is free of charge to customers. The FOS can be contacted on 1300 780 808.
Can you cover one-way trips?
Yes, if you are planning to permanently move overseas, we can cover your trip from your current country of residence to your destination country. With One-Way trip travel insurance your cover will start when you leave your current home and end when you enter the country you are moving to. If you need to be repatriated under a One-Way trip policy, this will be to the most appropriate country as determined by us. This could either be your final country of destination, your current country of residence or your country of citizenship.
One-Way trip cover can only be taken out over the phone, so please give us a call if you would like to apply or get a quote.
Does your Annual Multi Trip policy cover me on domestic trips?
Yes, our AMT policy provides cover for domestic trips as long as you are staying in a third party accommodation for at least two nights and your trip destination is at least 500km away from your home. However, it’s important to note that there is no cover for Medical Expenses & Emergency Repatriation, Hospital Cash Allowance or Delayed Baggage on domestic trips.
Can you cover pre-existing medical conditions?
There are certain medical conditions that we can cover, and others that we cannot. For the purpose of providing cover, we define a Pre-Existing Medical Condition to be any medical or dental condition, or injury, defect or disease:
- for which advice or treatment (including medication), or investigation has been received or prescribed in the 12 months prior to the issue of the policy (for Single Trip), or in the 12 months prior to booking your Trip (for Annual Multi-Trip); and/or
- which is of a recurring or ongoing nature or any complication directly attributable to it; and/or
- of which you are aware, or the symptoms of which you are aware, or could reasonably be expected to have been aware at the time of applying for this insurance.
There is no cover under this insurance for such conditions unless we have agreed to provide cover for that condition via a written endorsement on your Schedule. We can provide cover at no additional cost for certain conditions, however you need to contact us by phone to apply and, if we agree to cover the condition we will endorse your policy to confirm that. It should be noted that there is no cover for claims relating to any Pre-Existing Medical Condition of anyone on whom your trip may depend (eg. close relative, business colleague etc.)
Do you cover pregnancy?
There is certain cover for pregnancy under this policy in respect of medical expenses, cancellation and curtailment costs as detailed below. However there is no cover available under any section of the policy for a pregnancy where any of the following pregnancy exclusions apply:
- you are travelling against doctor's advice;
- complications exist with the pregnancy at the time the insurance is purchased or the Trip is booked, whichever is the later;
- it is a multiple pregnancy.
The insurance provides certain cover as standard for unexpected medical complications (excluding childbirth at any gestation and care of a newborn) where none of the above pregnancy exclusions apply and where:
- your trip does not extend beyond the 26th week of pregnancy;
- the pregnancy did not result from assisted reproductive programmes.
Pregnancy Extension Option - Where you have applied for and paid the appropriate additional premium, this policy extends to provide certain cover for unexpected costs (including childbirth and care of a newborn born during a Trip) for a pregnancy where none of the above pregnancy exclusions apply, and where your trip does not extend beyond the 30th week of pregnancy.
Why don't you offer unlimited cover for Overseas Medical Expenses?
We provide cover of up to $20 million for Medical Expenses. This limit is set by the underwriters to place a finite figure on their potential liability. In more than 20 years of providing travel insurance, Columbus Direct has never received a claim whereby this limit did not comfortably cover a medical expenses claim.
What's the difference between Overseas Medical Expenses and Hospital Cash Allowance?
Overseas Medical Expenses provides cover for the cost of your treatment in respect of emergency medical, surgical and hospital treatment, doctor's fees and transportation fees for sending you to hospital whilst outside your Country of Residence. The Hospital Cash Benefit is a daily allowance towards your personal expenses (for example calls home) in the event that you are hospitalised during your trip.
For medical claims, do I have to pay the bill and claim when I get back?
If medical attention has been received you must obtain a medical certificate showing the nature of the injury or illness and the treatment received together with the account that, if possible, should be paid and receipted. We do of course appreciate that in some cases Medical Expenses costs can be significant and would obviously not expect you to meet the major bills associated with, for example, treatment as an in-patient. In such circumstances you must contact SAS, our 24-hour emergency assistance provider, who will speak to the medical facility on your behalf and can authorise payment. You can also contact SAS should you require any help or advice on medical matters. Contact numbers are provided with your policy details or by clicking here.