So, why do you have to have Travel Insurance?

Travel Insurance is as important as your passport.

If you can't afford travel insurance, don't travel. Travel Insurance is not optional. It might sound a bit harsh, and you might not take us seriously given that we want you to sign up for insurance through one of our partners, but you must have travel insurance when you travel.

Consider this:

  • The Australian Department of Foreign affairs deals with 20,000 cases per year of Australians in trouble overseas.
  • Daily hospitalisation costs in generally cheap Southeast Asia can easily be $800 or more.
  • Emergency evacuation from the USA for medical reasons can easily cost $100,000 or more.
  • Return of remains from Europe costs more than $10,000.

A Real Life Story from the programmer of this site!

Programmer Headshot

In 2007, aged 26, my girlfriend and I took a holiday to Thailand for 10 days. We were travelling with another couple. Our friends recommended we get some travel insurance before we leave. We thought it was a waste of money, but our friends were insistent so we obliged and bought some online.

It was a wonderful holiday - riding through Bangkok on Tuk-tuks, walking along the beaches of Koh Samui - and diving on Koh Tao. We loved the diving so much we decided to do a dive certification on the island. The certification took 3 days.

On the night before our final test, we decided to ride our hired motorbikes to the other side of the island to eat in a restaurant there. My girlfriend and I on one bike, followed our friends, while they rode together on another bike. All of a sudden, they hit a patch of gravel and both came off onto the filthy unpaved road.

We were all in shock, and we could see our friends were pretty seriously bleeding. We managed to flag down a open top taxi and rushed back to the local medical clinic. Luckily someone passing opened the door for us. The medical clinic cleaned the wounds, but couldn't do any proper treatment. Our friends had to be rushed back to a bigger island in a speedboat at great expense.

We met them on the island the next day. They had to have 3 nights in hospital, and had bad lacerations and infected wounds (due to the dirty road). One of them had a broken wrist. It was only luck that we as their travelling companions were able to get their passports and other things back to them.

When it came time to check out of the hospital, the bill came to $AUD8,000. They gave them their travel insurance details and they sent us on our way. The insurance had also covered the $AUD1500 cost of the speedboat that took them to hospital.

Thailand is a cheap country to visit, but hospital bills are expensive anywhere! My girlfriend and I were lucky, but we will never travel without insurance.

Don't just take our word for it though. The Federal Government deems Travel Insurance to be essential. Have a look at smarttraveller.gov.au.