With over 1.6 million Australians travelling during the peak European Summer season, Allianz Global Assistance Travel Insurance reminds last minute sun seekers to be mindful of the smaller dangers whilst overseas, as well as the more confronting threats.
Among over 5,000 travel claims made to Allianz Global Assistance this time last year, and in 2015, petty crime, lost luggage and theft and medical claims were numerous. Throughout this period over $1.6 million was paid in medical claims alone to Australians who travelled to some of the top European destinations .
Top European countries for medical claims between July and August in 2015 and 2016 :
1. Greece (330 claims)
2. United Kingdom (277 claims)
3. France (270 claims)
4. Italy (255 claims)
5. Germany (247 claims)
6. Spain (174 claims)
Senior Nurse, Rebecca Goodchap, says, “Europe is the perfect summer destination for Aussies wanting to escape winter. When travelling across Europe I want to remind Australians to always be cautious and bear in mind that you are in a new city, where you can easily fall victim to petty crime or medical mishaps.
“Over the last couple of years we’ve received over 1,500 medical claims from Australian travellers across the most popular European destinations. Countries such as France and Germany have fantastic medical services if something does go wrong, however they are extremely pricey and without travel insurance you could be out of pocket.”
Although medical claims are generally the most expensive, luggage and personal item claims follow closely behind, with over $790,000 claimed for in July and August in 2015 and 2016. This includes stolen items, lost and stolen luggage, and broken items.
“We encourage all travellers to carefully consider their coverage needs before they travel and ensure they purchase the correct level of cover or policy depending on the type of activities they wish to engage in. If travellers are unclear on the level of cover, always read the Product Disclosure Statement and call customer service,” Goodchap says.
“There are also tools available such as the Global Travel Assistant website we recently launched. It includes insights on how to stay safe when travelling abroad and offers dedicated information and advice on the top 20 countries most frequently visited by Australians, including Europe.”
Top tips for travellers to popular European destinations include:
• Germany’s medical facilities are among the best in the world. However, it’s likely that hospitals will require upfront payment or proof of travel insurance before providing any treatment. Before leaving, travelers should print out a copy of their travel insurance policy and carry it at all times.
• In Italy, tourists often end up in hospital due to simple things such as underestimating the heat. Travellers should be encouraged to follow the same Australian sun rules even in Europe – stay hydrated and carry sun cream.
• Petty crime is common, especially in big cities. In Spain, 70 per cent of paid claims for belongings were due to theft. A secure, zipped bag carried close to (preferably in front of) the body is recommended, and could be the difference between a traveler who needs to claim and one who doesn’t
• Travellers should ignore beggars on the street in France. Often, they are working with an accomplice who will try to pickpocket when approached to make a donation.
• There are plenty of transport facilities in the UK, but travellers should take care when using escalators, the tube, hopping on and off busses and walking on cobbled streets. Small injuries can easily impact the rest of their holiday.
• Greece is known for their beautiful waters and sailing activities. However, travellers should be aware that most beaches don’t have lifeguards or first aid facilities. Travelers should be encouraged to swim where the locals are swimming and be cautious with the current.
• Many Australians travelling to Europe make the most of seeing multiple cities. If travelling from country to country, it is recommended to plan and check for cancelled or delayed transport connections. If transport is cancelled, it’s important travellers contact their travel insurance provider as soon as possible to find out what they may or may not be covered for and to see if assistance or alternative transport options can be provided.