Sunday Territorian 15 May 2011
Sunday Territorian; NewspaperNT
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Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin.; Australian newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin.
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40 Sunday Territorian, Sunday, May 15, 2011 www.sundayterritorian.com.au P U B : N T N E W S D A T E : 1 5 -M A Y -2 0 1 1 P A G E : 4 0 C O L O R : C M Y K sundayterritorian.com.au Escape SUNDAY TRAVEL Travel cover aminefield for seniors It pays to closely read the fine print on insurance policies if youre an older traveller, writes Sarah Nicholson COSTLY INTERRUPTION: Even a slip or fall can be quite costly, depending on the countrywhere the accident occurs. Picture: Getty Images IF YOURE a senior Australian with a bit of money, it seems that the world really is your oyster. More than ever before older Aussies are hitting the road for an adventure in a far-off land, but theres one question every senior should ask once they have settled on the when and where: What about travel insurance? When a tourist hits a certain age, the companies that supply travel insurance consider them to be a senior, which means rates are higher, pre-existing conditions come with more strings attached and just finding cover at all can become a challenge. Whenmymum tookmy grandma on a cruise around Asia a couple of years back, they spent hours on the phone finding a company that would cover an 86-year-old woman with asthma and a walking stick. Fortunately, my grandmother had a trouble-free holiday she particularly enjoyed happy hour and worked her way through the cocktail menu while at sea but there was no way she was leaving her house without an insurance policy. So, why are seniors treated differently when it comes to travel insurance? Medibank Privates Mik Simons the companys assistant product manager for travel and pet insurance explains that its common practice for insurers to look at factors such as age when issuing various policy types. With any insurance product theres an associated risk involved when it comes to pre-existing conditions or age, Simons says. An example of this can be seen with car insurance, where there are higher premiums for younger drivers based on their age and experience and the risks associated with that, he says. At the end of the day, cover can be issued (to anyone, regardless of age) but there are factors that need to be taken into consideration and, as long as the traveller is diligent in providing all the required information when requesting a quote, they shouldnt have a problem. Simons says the age a traveller is considered to be senior varies from one insurer to the next and, while Medibank customers over 70 can attract a higher premium with rates influenced by the duration and destination of the trip some providers set the mark as low as 50. But the one thing everyone agrees upon is the importance of older travellers declaring pre-existing conditions when searching for cover. Pre-existing conditions are not something a traveller should keep to themselves when looking at a travel insurance policy, Simons says. Even if theyre onmedication for the condition or arent showing symptoms, every pre-existing condition must be spoken about when taking out a policy (because) making assumptions over cover can be quite detrimental if something is to happen and they are denied a claim. Pre-existing conditions are in place for any traveller taking out a policy nomatter what age and, just like accidents, illness isnt something that only occurs to a specific demographic, it can happen to anyone at the end of the day it depends on what the condition is. Sharlene Findlay the corporate affairs manager at Apia Insurance, the company that provides cover for those over-50s no longer working full-time says that while a recent survey shows older travellers are most concerned about getting sick while on the road, this is not the top reason for making a travel insurance claim. Apia research found the biggest worry for over-50s when travelling is getting ill, with 67 per cent of survey participants saying this possibility concerned them, Findlay says. This was followed by theft of luggage or money, at 59 per cent, with 44 per cent of over-50s saying they are concerned about losing luggage. In terms of the top reasons for claims, cancellation ranks as No.1, followed closely bymedical and then lost baggage. Generally, we see a lot of claims for slip or fall injuries (that result) in fractures or breaks. They can be quite costly, depending on the country where the accident occurred, and result in not only medical costs but also the Travel cover aminefield for seniors A