Travelling overseas involves a lot of moving parts. Ensure your belongings make it to your destination safely with travel insurance and the help of OSS.
You’ve sold your things, packed your bags and confirmed that your new home is waiting for you on the other side of a flight. Come the night of, however, you find out that your flight is cancelled. Or, after arriving at your destination, you realise your bags and all of your belongings have gone missing in transit. What do you do when the unexpected happens and hundreds or thousands of dollars are at stake?
This article dives into the particulars of travel insurance, one of the most important items to consider before moving overseas.
Travel insurance basics
Packing up all of your things can be a sobering feeling. Everything you’ve built has either been sold or fits inside of a box or is in your luggage.
Holding onto your memories and belongings from home is vital to a smooth transition into your new home. Travelling overseas with travel insurance can bring you peace of mind and save you a lot of money in the process.
You can opt for one-way or round-trip insurance depending on the length of your travels overseas. Long-term insurance allows you to settle into your new home without having to get everything in order as soon as you touch down. And, if anything changes in your plans, you can submit your insurance claim while still overseas through your travel insurance.
If you’re only looking for one-way travel insurance, you must tell your insurer that you do not have a return ticket; otherwise, you may have invalid insurance. Keep in mind, though, that this type of insurance will expire eventually. Know the expiration date so that you can extend the policy if necessary or establish a permanent policy as soon as you get settled.
You do need to be aware as well that some countries will not allow you to move there without insurance such as:
- United Arab Emirates (UAE)
- Czech Republic
- All 26 European countries in the Schengen Area
However, Australia does have reciprocal health insurance with several different countries like New Zealand, Italy and the United Kingdom. This can save you from applying for new health insurance, like you would have to if you’re moving to the United States or Canada.
Country-specific insurance details
Each country offers its own unique draws and so does its insurance. Here are a few things to know about insurance when travelling to the U.K., the U.S., NZ and Canada.
The United Kingdom
The U.K. has a reciprocal health care agreement with Australia, meaning that the insurance policy you hold in Australia will still be valid when you move to the U.K. However, there are some details about U.K. travel insurance that you should know about:
- Insurance will not cover you in some high-risk destinations outlined by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO). You can find the most updated information on the U.K. government’s foreign travel advice page.
- Depending on your age or the age of someone travelling with you, there are some restrictions. You can research the age restriction with materials from the Money Advice Service. Insurance will also restrict coverage for travellers over the age of 65 with a pre-existing medical condition.
- If you have a mental health condition, some policies will not cover you for treatment. Keep an eye on how much coverage you will receive (if any) if this pertains to you.
- Some policies will not assist you if something happens while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
The United States
If you’re living abroad in the U.S., insurance can be more expensive, but the cost of paying out-of-pocket could be even higher. Here are some things to also consider as you look for travel insurance:
- Most insurance can cover you for up to two years but is not a complete replacement of your typical health insurance and should be changed as soon as you are established.
- If you are pregnant, or looking for preventative coverage from pregnancy, most policies will not be able to cover you with a temporary coverage plan.
- Pre-existing conditions with medical treatment are typically not covered by travel insurance.
- There are only certain windows in which you can apply for health insurance coverage.
As an Australian resident, NZ also has a health care agreement with Australia you can take advantage of so that you’re covered with your current plan when you move. However, you will need to pay some fees for treatment, so ensure you are prepared financially if an accident occurs.
Here are a few other nuances around travel insurance in NZ:
- If you are driving in NZ with travel insurance and you get into a car accident, victims cannot sue a third party for compensation. The Accident Compensation Commission (ACC) will cover your medical costs, and your travel insurance should cover any loss of time on the job, repatriation and disruptions to your travel plans.
- Any extreme sports like bungee jumping are not typically covered by standard insurance. Ensure you choose a plan that will cover you in the event of an accident.
Canada is a beautiful country to live in and has travel insurance for its newcomers that may operate quite differently from coverage in Australia. Some things to keep in mind as you’re shopping policies are:
- There are plans that offer 100% coverage but they are more pricey than those that have a deductible. Notice how high or low the deductibles are and if that aligns with your budget.
- Some plans will only cover you in specific areas of Canada. If you choose this type of plan, ensure that you are aware of where these regions are, or that you only plan on travelling to one specific location until you settle in.
- There are policies that will not cover you for hospitalisation due to illness or injury.
While a given travel insurance policy may appear cheaper, it could cost you in the long run if something unexpected happens and you need to cover the cost out of pocket.
No matter your vaccination status, having a backup plan to financially safeguard your travel plans is highly recommended — especially somewhere your healthcare provider does not transfer. There are some policies that can cover unexpected expenses like quarantine, and of course travel delay, interruption, and cancellation coverage.
What to look for in travel insurance
If you’re not sure when, or even if, you’ll be travelling back to Australia, one-way international travel insurance is your best bet. Shopping for an insurance plan can help you find the best cost and the level of coverage you’ll need. There are several items you should look for in an insurance policy, such as:
- Damage to baggage.
- Theft of valuables.
- Cancelled flight or interruption of flight plans.
- Personal liability.
- Medical expenses.
- Accommodation for illness or injury.
If you are planning on buying a car in your new country, consider an insurance policy that covers any car accidents, rather than using the car insurance from the rental company, to save yourself some money.
Plan for the worst and hope for the best
Making the move to a new country is exciting, and comprehensive travel insurance can grant you peace of mind in the face of an accident. The more prepared you are if the worst happens, the easier your transition into your new home will be.
For more information on travelling to a new country, or to get your plans together early, talk to a representative from OSS World Wide Movers, your experts in international relocation, to obtain a quote. OSS also has an excellent MoveCover International Insurance coverage package, which covers your possessions while in transit, that can set you up for a smooth transition to your new home in the event of any unforeseen circumstances.
Please note that this advice is only general in nature and you will need to undertake your own research that takes into consideration your own individual needs and circumstances. Ensure you have taken out the appropriate level of coverage for you and your family.