Anything can happen when you’re travelling overseas. Not only is travel insurance important in the event of a medical emergency, but it also provides protection against the theft, loss or damage of personal items while on holiday.
A common mistake people make when taking out travel insurance is automatically assuming their policy will cover everything. However, some companies only provide a $10,000 limit for personal items – not much help if your wedding ring is $8,000 alone!
Insuring your travel valuables – a Canstar guide:
1. Do your research
The first step to ensure peace of mind is taking out travel insurance. When purchasing any travel insurance policy, it’s important to do your research – every insurer varies in the amount of cover they offer and how much compensation they give. Always read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and terms and conditions of the policy before making a purchase decision.
If you’re struggling with where to start, Canstar compares 300+ travel insurance policies in one easy-to-use comparison table. Start comparing travel insurance today.
This table provides a snapshot of travel insurance products on offer for a couple under 70 years old travelling to the USA.
2. Declare your valuables
Once you’ve found a travel insurance company, it’s important to let your provider know that you are planning on taking valuables on your next trip. A common mistake that people make is automatically assuming that their policy will cover everything, when in actual fact, many policies have limits and sub-limits.
You’ll find that each insurer has a maximum benefit/limit they’ll pay for personal items. Most insurers offer anywhere between $5,000 and $12,000. There are also sub-limits per item under that. For example, your provider may only pay $500 per item – a big loss if covering something like a mobile phone or laptop.
Some travel insurance companies give you the option of customising the sub-limits for each of your valuables, as long as they don’t add up to more than the maximum benefit, so if you’re worried about this it is definitely worth enquiring about.
3. Insure high-value items separately
If you’re still not happy with the cover on your valuables, it could be worth considering insuring them separately under your home and contents policy. Make sure you check that the insured items would be covered when you’re away from home.
Lots of travel insurers allow you to register your valuables for an additional fee, so ask about the possibility of that and the cost. Again, it pays to do your research:
4. Proof of value
A receipt or valuation certificate can mean all the difference between an approved and rejected claim. Double check with your insurer that a valuation certificate is accepted for expensive jewellery and keep every receipt – you never know when you might need them!
Before you leave for your trip, it’s also a good idea to tally up how much the entire contents of your suitcase costs and modify your policy accordingly. That way, you won’t be stuck with no clothes if your suitcase gets stolen or lost.
If your valuables get damaged, take photos with a time stamp so you can prove it happened while on holidays. If possible, see if you can get a photo of what caused the damage as well.
5. Making a claim
No two providers are the same so always double check the claims process with your insurer. Generally, there are five tips you can follow to make claiming easier:
- Be thorough with your application – keep receipts, time stamps, and any of the finer details you think might be required on a claim form.
- Phone your insurer for advice – most travel insurers have a 24-hour helpline so try to contact them before making purchases to avoid being out-of-pocket.
- Be snap happy – take photos of all your valuable items before you pack them. Serial and other identification numbers can be useful.
- Keep your personal details handy – losing a passport or wallet in a foreign country is every traveller’s worst nightmare. Having a photocopy of your personal documents can be extremely helpful.
- File a report – some travel insurers require you to file a police report in order to be eligible for a claim so if your valuables have been stolen, head straight to the nearest station.
What wouldn’t be covered?
There are always exclusions when it comes to insuring expensive items. Travel insurance companies won’t pay out a claim if you were acting irresponsibly or illegally with your items.
Some of the situations that you will not be covered for include:
- Unattended belongings – don’t leave valuable items unattended in public areas or insurers can reject your claim.
- Items with no proof of purchase – if you buy something whilst overseas and don’t keep a receipt, it will be as though you never bought it.
- Unreported items – as mentioned above, some insurers require you to file a police report within 24 hours of the theft.
- Alcohol and drugs – if your valuables go missing while you’re under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you will not be eligible for a claim.
- Illegal activity – insurers will not pay out for something that was damaged during an illegal activity.
Travel insurance for cameras & camera gear
Since the introduction of cameras, it is clear they are a travel essential. After all, who doesn’t want to document their trip? With the introduction of new technologies, cameras have since become an expensive item to fix/replace and some can leave you out of pocket for over $2,000.
Because of their popularity many insurers now automatically cover cameras under their standard travel insurance policies. In saying this, it’s always best to double check your limit with your provider, especially if you’re bringing a number of extras such as tripods, detachable lenses and other recording equipment.
If you’re a professional photographer or film maker, you will need to be covered under a specialised policy that explicitly covers professional equipment. Compare different types of policies with Canstar:
Travel insurance for laptops
Laptops are an important and expensive item to travel with, particularly if you’re travelling for work. Like with taking any high-value item on holiday, there is a possibility of having it stolen, damaged or lost. If your travel insurance policy doesn’t cover this, it could result in you paying a small fortune in repairs.
Most travel insurance providers have a maximum limit that covers all stolen, damaged or lost items, as well as additional sub-limits for each individual item you’ve declared. If you are considering taking out additional travel insurance for your laptop, you need to take into account that your premium will be higher.
Your laptop may also already be covered under your home and contents insurance policy so it’s important to check your insurer for more details. Compare different types of policies with Canstar:
Travel insurance for phones
Phones are an essential item when it comes to travelling not only because they keep us connected, but they can also hold photos, maps, movies and a number of other important travel must-haves in the one device.
Losing a phone whilst overseas can be devastating, particularly if you’re in an unfamiliar country. Taking out travel insurance can save some of the heartaches (as well as your back pocket) when it comes to finding a quick replacement. An important tip if you’re using your phone to take photos is to back it up every night – that way you don’t lose all of your holiday memories.
You may have to consider taking out additional travel insurance if your insurer doesn’t cover the cost of your phone in their maximum limit. Compare different types of policies with Canstar:
Travel insurance for jewellery
When people think about insuring expensive items, they tend to think about larger items such as laptops, cameras and phones. Many people don’t take into consideration how much their jewellery is worth, particularly an engagement ring which can cost upwards of $8,000.
If you’re trying to insure your jewellery, it is particularly important to consider the maximum limit that most travel insurance policies have. It may be in your best interests to take out a separate policy to ensure it is effectively covered.
Compare different types of policies with Canstar:
Compare travel insurance with Canstar
Even the safest and most prepared travellers sometimes lose their belongings, but don’t let it ruin your trip! It’s always best to be prepared. By taking out a travel insurance policy, you can enjoy the adventure of a lifetime (with peace of mind).