Of the nearly 10 million Aussies (that’s 41% of our population!) who travelled overseas in 2015-16, more than a quarter of a million (8%) had no travel insurance at all. Among adults under 30, this proportion doubled to 15%, meaning that 1 in 7 young Aussie travellers went without travel insurance on their last trip abroad.
The survey, conducted by Quantum Market Research, found that just 42% of Aussie travellers were properly insured, with comprehensive cover, no undeclared medical issues, and no uninsured risky behaviour.
Extending the survey timeframe to three years painted a considerably worse picture: more than 3 in 10 Aussie travellers (31%) have travelled uninsured in the past three years.
With a large proportion of Australian tourists found to be undertaking risky or dangerous activities overseas, a lack of travel insurance cover is ripe for creating situations where people are forced to pay enormous amounts for medical or damage bills.
Quantum’s survey found that half of all holidaymakers engaged in risky behaviour on their last overseas trip, with the most common activities being water sports, riding motorbikes and mopeds, and adventure activities such as bungee jumping.
— Nine News Australia (@9NewsAUS) February 5, 2017
Unsurprisingly, this proportion rose to almost three quarters for travellers between 18 and 29, compared to only 40% of those older than 30 years old.
Not all travel insurance providers will cover you for riskier activities such as water sports, snow sports and two-wheeled driving – some provide optional cover, whereas others won’t insure you for it full stop.
Aussies also tended to have many misconceptions over the extent of their insurance cover. More than a quarter of international travellers weren’t covered or weren’t sure they were covered for medical expenses, while this rose to 40% with regards to flight cancellations and loss of valuables.
More than half of those under 30 years old didn’t know they were covered for loss of valuables or electronics – particularly surprising from the most tech-dependent generation of all.
— Smartraveller (@Smartraveller) January 23, 2017
Of most concern was that more than a third (36%) didn’t even look at their policy document, meaning there was much greater risk of not being insured whilst doing something risky.
Interestingly, those who didn’t take out travel insurance were actually more likely to take risks overseas, putting themselves at greater financial risk. With three quarters (72%) of uninsured travellers reporting that they would be in significant or devastating debt following a crisis overseas, it’s a further reminder that travel insurance is a must-have inclusion.
It’s not all doom and gloom for travel safety awareness, though – half of the travellers surveyed visited the Government’s Smartraveller website before booking their trip, suggesting that plenty of Aussies are doing their research. Smartraveller offers comprehensive advice on what to expect before and during a trip to many different countries, and issues regular travel advice updates on the safety level of each destination.