The 2019 State of Play report highlights that the destinations where Australian travellers are most likely to require medical attention are Southeast Asia, followed by Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia.
The number of young Australians travelling without insurance is quite shocking
Despite this, the report found that one-tenth of Australians travel without insurance, including 22 per cent of men aged under 30. Why? Well, 74 per cent of Aussies claimed that they didn’t travel with insurance as they ‘expected to be safe’. This is in spite of the fact the Aussies appear to have a hunger for travel to risky destinations, with 87 per cent being attracted to destinations with risk factors, such as places that feel adventurous or are ‘off the beaten track’. A common reason given for not taking out cover was the need for time to research the right policy. This highlights the need for clear and easy-to-use advice.
Natalie Ball, Director, Comparetravelinsurance.com.au, commented on the concerning findings and the danger of the ‘it won’t happen to me’ mentality: “The number of young Australians travelling without insurance is quite shocking. The risk of holidaying abroad without travel insurance cannot be understated. Some of our most popular holiday spots like Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand are also those with the highest incidence of deaths and hospitalisations. Tourists headed to these countries should consider their health and safety and never assume that ‘it won’t happen to me’.”
Ball said that it is important that travellers are aware of the high cost of medical treatment, regardless of their destination. “Even the ‘safest’ and most hospitable travel spots can pose risks to uninsured tourists. The unexpected can happen to anyone and a holiday gone wrong could leave you with long-term financial consequences,” she stated.
The DFAT said: “We encourage Australians to make informed decisions about where and when to travel, and to ensure they have the right travel insurance for where they are going and what they plan to do.” On the part of travel insurers, they could and should do what they can to ensure that the information available to travellers regarding over options is clear and easy to understand so that travellers don’t feel overwhelmed and decide to neglect to purchase this travel essential.