At the top of the list is a claim for AU$6,043, paid to a customer who travelled to Surfer’s Paradise with her two children with autism but had to cancel her trip and return home early when one of her children became extremely distressed due to being in unfamiliar settings.
The second most expensive claim was paid to the parents of a 15-year-old who was hospitalised in Mackay for three days due to acute appendicitis and required urgent surgery. SCTI paid $4,685 to cover their cancelled accommodation and costs for flight changes.
Several other high value claims on the list were for cancelled holidays after customers experienced back and muscle injuries or were diagnosed with an illness before they’d left for their holiday. Other claims included accidents incurred by more intrepid holiday goers such as cycling accidents and even an alpine horse safari injury.
Southern Cross Travel Insurance CEO Jo McCauley said these claims show that holidays in Australia can be as expensive, if not more, than heading overseas, and demonstrates why travel insurance is just as important for trips closer to home.
Heightened sense of what could go wrong
“Following the outbreak of Covid-19,” McCauley said, “there has been a heightened sense of what could go wrong on holiday, and we’ve seen this reflected in the growing number of people purchasing domestic travel insurance with SCTI.
“Interestingly, people commonly purchase insurance because they want to be covered while they’re away on holiday, but our biggest number of claims show that the unexpected can happen beforehand, regardless of whether you’re travelling domestically or abroad. Unfortunately, this can have a serious hit to your pocket if you don’t have travel insurance.”
Customers needing to change or cancel their journey accounted for 39 per cent of the total value of domestic travel insurance claims paid out by SCTI over the past year.
A 75-year-old man had to cut his holiday short when he fell off his horse and suffered a collarbone fracture on an alpine safari. Fortunately, the customer had travel insurance and was able to claim for the unused, non-refundable cost of the tour and accommodation, which came to $3,256.
Car rental damage can be most expensive claim
Another incident saw a customer suffer multiple fractures when he fell off his bike on the first day of a six-day biking tour in Tasmania. Unfortunately, he was hospitalised for three days and was unable to complete the cycling tour. SCTI paid $4,536 to cover the non-refundable tour and missed accommodation.
SCTI has calculated that over the summer holidays, a customer could pay approximately $121.80 for a 14-day domestic travel insurance policy for two adults aged 40 years-old and two dependent children, which includes cover for their rental vehicle excess.
“We have worked out that when hiring a typical family car over a two-week period, the excess reduction alone could cost over three times what you would pay for a domestic travel insurance policy with SCTI,” said McCauley. “With the summer holidays coming up and international borders still uncertain, a road trip is a great way to see the country, and domestic travel insurance can help reduce the cost of a hire car.”
Damage to a hire car made it onto SCTI’s most expensive claims list with one customer claiming $2,750 for damage to a rental car when a Cassowary bird ran into the road and hit the front of the car during a visit to Cape Tribulation.
Meanwhile, data from LV=General Insurance has highlighted the importance of taking out travel insurance, even for holidays at home.