Travel Insurance has become a convenience and commodity purchase for travellers. It seems that it's most often a quick add-on at the travel agents' or bought by doing a quick ring-around. The problem is that the purchaser ends up essentially asking themselves three questions - is it cheap, is it convenient, does it tell me that I'm covered? On the latter point, customers are really asking if it includes the word "comprehensive" (whatever that means).
Now ordinarily, I am kept at a pleasant distance from the direct travel insurance market. However, recently I had the absolute displeasure of assisting a struggling client with a direct travel insurance claim. I can't even begin to explain the low levels of cover provided by the policy and the sheer difficulty in actually enforcing them. That story is one for another day (and perhaps a VLOG), but the point is the realisation I had - I am so glad that I and most of my clients have access to Corporate Travel Insurance.
Now you might be thinking that your travel insurance has always served you well - and chances are, what you mean is that it has always been cheap, easy and you've never had to claim. But just to reassure you, I have been searching the direct market far and wide for a travel insurance policy which provides a level of cover I would even consider taking... I am yet to find one. If you choose not to read any further, the moral of the story is this - if you have a business, get a Business or Corporate Travel Insurance Policy. Whether it's through BIG or our most loathed broker competitor, for your sake, just get one. Here's why:
Narrow trigger clauses - travel is full of the unexpected, and that's exactly what insurance policies should be for. Every direct travel policy I have seen dictates very specific events which would allow you to cancel your trip. For example "Death of yourself or a travelling companion", "Death of an immediate family member" or things to this effect. A good policy will respond to any "Unforeseen circumstances" which gives you plenty of wiggle room if you really need to cancel rather than being restricted to a set of defined triggers. In one example, the traveller had his bags stolen and the policy required that he report this to the police - as a result of doing this, he missed a flight and had to re-book. The insurer then refused to pay the claim because it didn't meet one of the pre defined events.
Mental Health - the vast majority of direct travel insurance policies have a blanket mental health exclusion. With almost half the Australian population experiencing a mental health disorder at some point in their lifetime (Department of Health), this isn't a gamble I'd like anyone to take.
Alcohol - I don't know about you, but I certainly don't mind unwinding with a drink when it comes to being on holidays. Almost every direct travel insurance policy I have seen has a blanket alcohol exclusion - and they're almost always incredibly broad. It might read something like "we will not cover any claims related to or in any way connected to alcohol" or "we will not cover any claims where alcohol was a factor". Now you may feel that alcohol related stupidity is rightfully excluded - and perhaps you're right. But if you're sipping a cocktail by the pool, doze off and your bags are thereby stolen, should this be excluded? What about where you might unwittingly venture into a bar and be served some sort of ethanol infused cocktail and need to be hospitalised (as has been a common occurrence in South East Asia). If you have most direct policies, you can forget about it.
Pre-existing conditions excluded - aside from perhaps Asthma and some other common conditions, direct policies will refuse to cover pre-existing conditions. A good quality policy will provide cover for any pre-existing condition provided that you were fit to travel at the time.
Ridiculously low policy limits - in my research, I have been absolutely blown away by the low limits hidden within the policies. $400 maximums for a camera - don't worry about taking any reasonable camera with you. $1,200 maximum on laptops - forget taking any Mac products. I've even seen limits as low as $200 on cash - or no cover for cash at all! Not to mention, many of these insurers then want to apply 'depreciation' to the amount they pay rather than simply settling 'new for old'.
From restrictions on scooter riding to ridiculous interpretations of what it means to leave ones bags "unattended", the list really does go on. Suffice it to say that whenever someone asks me which direct travel insurance provider they should use, I simply don't have an answer - and for me not to have anything to say, that's saying something!
On the other side of the equation, the Corporate or Business Travel Insurance policies that we use are incredibly broad and very useful for our business clients. The best part is, they cover all of your personal travel too. Any of the directors or other nominated personnel are covered for both business and leisure travel along with their accompanying spouse and dependent children - and without all the nasty exclusions! Not to mention this becomes a business expense (but you'll need to talk to your accountant about that one!)
Talk to us today about setting up a Corporate Travel Insurance policy for your business!