Coronavirus COVID-19 Important Information

Coronavirus COVID-19 Important Information

Subject to relevant terms and conditions, Go Insurance travel policies do provide cover for claims arising from medical epidemics.

However, on 23 January 2020, Go Insurance raised a cover restriction relating to coronavirus COVID-19.  Click here to read the Novel Coronavirus Cover Advice issued on 23 January 2020.

The 23 January 2020 cover restriction was raised because the Australian government had issued travel advice on the smartraveller website warning travellers about the risk of coronavirus COVID-19.

On 30 January 2020, the World Health Organisation declared the outbreak of coronavirus COVID-19 “a public health emergency of international concern”.

From late January 2020, the outbreak has been widely published via mainstream media and as such is considered a “known event”.  That is, it could reasonably be expected that coronavirus COVID-19 could lead to trip cancellation, travel disruption and illness.

Go Insurance travel policies carry exclusions relating to circumstances known to a traveller at the time of purchasing the policy and which could reasonably be expected to give rise to a claim.  Circumstances manifesting between the date of booking the trip and purchasing the policy are also excluded.  These are standard travel insurance exclusions.

The cover restriction raised on 23 January 2020 means that for any Go Insurance travel policy purchased on or after 23 January 2020, there is no cover for any claim related to or arising from coronavirus COVID-19.

Possible scenarios that are not covered if you purchase a policy on or after 23 January 2020 include:

  1. Cancellation of your trip due to coronavirus COVID-19.
  2. Additional costs incurred while travelling if your pre-booked arrangements are disrupted due to coronavirus COVID-19.
  3. Costs incurred to leave an overseas location and/or cut short the trip and return to Australia earlier than scheduled due to coronavirus COVID-19.
  4. Overseas medical expenses including quarantine if you contract coronavirus COVID-19 while travelling.
  5. Costs incurred due to self isolation and/or quarantine whilst overseas or following your return to Australia.
  6. Any other loss, expense or claim which is caused by or due to coronavirus COVID-19.

If you purchased a policy prior to 23 January 2020, there is provision to claim for cancellation of your trip due to coronavirus COVID-19 if:

  • it prevents you from travelling as planned *;
  • the Australian government advises against travel to your pre-booked destination(s) within 7 days of your planned travel; and/or
  • the government of the country(ies) you are visiting close their borders within 7 days of your planned travel.

* Disinclination to travel due to potential exposure to the virus is not covered. 

Please refer to the Product Disclosure Statement for full details of the cover provided in these circumstances.

If your policy was purchased prior to 23 January 2020 and you are able to travel as planned, there is cover for overseas medical expenses (including quarantine) if you contract coronavirus COVID-19 while travelling.  This is provided you do not travel against Australian government travel advice.

If you have any queries in relation to your policy and coronavirus COVID-19, please contact us on sales@goinsurance.com.au or phone 1300 819 888.

 

Pre-existing Medical Conditions:  Insider Tips

Pre-existing Medical Conditions:  Insider Tips

posted in: Featured, Travel Insurance | 0

Pre-existing Medical Conditions are a fact of life but do you know what you need to declare when applying for travel insurance?

All travel insurance policies have terms and conditions relating to pre-existing medical conditions and it is important you understand what is covered so there is no disagreement if you have to make a claim.

When it comes to pre-existing medical conditions, leisure travel insurance policies generally fit into one of three categories:

  1. No cover is provided for any claim related to or arising from a pre-existing medical condition. In this case, they are completely excluded from cover.
  2. Cover is provided for only certain listed pre-existing medical conditions. Claims which arise from other conditions are excluded.
  3. Cover is provided for certain listed pre-existing medical conditions but if you have any other conditions, you have the option to declare these at the time of application for the insurer to decide if they will offer cover.

Policy Type #1 – no cover for any pre-existing medical condition

The first policy type is great for travellers who have no pre-existing medical conditions whatsoever.  This type of policy will only respond to compensate you for medical expenses if you suffer an accidental injury or illness while travelling overseas.  If you need medical treatment for or related to a pre-existing medical condition, there will be no cover.

Policy Type #2 – cover for certain pre-existing medical conditions that are listed in the policy

The second policy type will only suit those travellers who have one (or more) of the listed pre-existing medical conditions.  With this policy type, there are usually certain provisos that you must satisfy for the automatic cover to be provided.

In the case of “automatically covered” conditions, there is usually a requirement that you haven’t been hospitalised within a certain timeframe (usually 2 years) and/or you haven’t received medical treatment for the condition within a certain period of time (usually the previous 90 days).  If you have a medical condition that is in the “automatically covered” list but you have recently been hospitalised or received medical treatment, this disentitles you to automatic cover for the condition.  Let’s look at Asthma as an example.

Many travel insurance policies provide automatic cover for Asthma provided you have not received hospital treatment in the past 2 years and/or consulted a doctor for the condition in the past 90 days.  There are usually some other criteria you must meet to be eligible for automatic cover of Asthma.  For instance, you must also be less than a certain age (usually 60 years old) and you must not use more than two medications to control the condition.

If you do not meet all the criteria for automatic cover of Asthma, you will not be covered in the event of a claim for treatment of this condition while travelling.  It is not a case of meeting one or two of the provisos – you must satisfy all of them to be eligible for cover.

Take care with this policy type if you have one pre-existing medical condition that is automatically covered and another condition that is not automatically covered.  If your chosen insurer will not allow you to apply for cover of the condition that is not automatically covered, this may produce a gap in your cover.

Policy Type #3 – option to declare pre-existing medical conditions when applying for cover

The third policy type provides you with more flexibility when it comes to finding a policy that will cover you for claims related to your past medical history.  It is important though that you get it right when declaring your past medical history and check to make sure what your chosen insurer expects you to declare.

If you have two medical conditions, one of which is automatically covered by the policy and one that is not, check to see if you need to declare both of your conditions as part of the application process.  It may be the insurer requires you to declare and undertake medical screening for all of your conditions – including the one that is automatically covered.

Many pre-existing medical conditions are related.  For instance, heart disease, blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes can be “linked” conditions.  Having one of these conditions can also be a risk factor for the others.  Many travel insurance policies provide automatic cover for high blood pressure and/or cholesterol but not diabetes.  If you have high blood pressure and diabetes, please don’t assume that because high blood pressure is an automatically covered pre-existing medical condition, you only need to declare your diabetes.  Please check with your chosen insurer to make sure you are declaring your medical history in accordance with their underwriting requirements.  It is always best to make sure everything is declared to avoid distress and potentially disagreements if you need to make a claim.

Last words …

Tip #1

Travel insurers generally exclude cover for any condition where the traveller is undergoing or awaiting medical treatment of any kind.

So, if you have been referred to a specialist and are waiting for an appointment or you are receiving treatment at the time of applying for cover, the insurer will most likely decline to offer cover.  This is because the condition may not be stable and the risk is unable to be adequately assessed.  The insurer cannot make a judgement call on your medical status while you are still receiving or are awaiting medical investigation.  You should still be able to buy a travel insurance policy, but it will in all likelihood exclude cover for the condition that is receiving or awaiting treatment.

Tip #2

If you do decide to self insure your pre-existing medical conditions by not declaring them at the time of applying for insurance (or the insurer declines to cover them), you can still buy a policy and it should operate in all respects except for the (non-covered) pre-existing medical conditions.  For instance, if you were to suffer a bout of food poisoning, it is unlikely this would be related to your medical history and you should be able to claim for the cost of treatment.  Similarly if you were travelling as a passenger in a commercially licensed form of public transport which was involved in an accident causing you to sustain injury, this too should be covered. You should be able to claim the cost of medical treatment for your injuries because the accident is in no way related to your past medical history.

Tip #3

Taking medication for a condition does not mean you have been cured of the condition.  It means the condition is being managed with medication.  If you stopped taking the medication, the symptoms would likely return.  For instance, if you are taking medication to treat high blood pressure, this means you have controlled blood pressure; it does not mean the condition no longer exists.  So, if you are taking medication for any reason, declare this to your chosen travel insurer.  Similarly, if you have had surgery for a medical condition, you should still declare the condition that the surgery was performed to treat.  If you had a coronary stent inserted to treat heart disease, this does not mean the heart disease is cured, it means the stent is being used to treat / manage the condition.  You should declare any past surgical procedures and let the insurer decide if it is relevant to their decision to insure you.

Got questions? Why not call us on 1300 819 888 or send us an email to info@goinsurance.com.au

 

 

Known Event: When is it too late to buy travel insurance?

Known Event:  When is it too late to buy travel insurance?

The term known event sounds like insurance jargon but it is an important concept.

As the term suggests, known event means something (ie the event) has happened and you know about it.

When it comes to insurance, it is really important you understand the term known event and how it may affect you.

Insurance is designed to cover sudden, unforeseen and unexpected events.  Insurance is essentially risk transfer – by purchasing a policy you are transferring your risk of financial loss in the event something unforeseen happens.  You are transferring your risk to the insurance company and for this you pay the insurer an amount of money (ie the premium).

Insurance does not cover you against something that you know about and which could reasonably be expected to result in you making a claim.  This is where known event comes into play.  If something has already happened and it is likely you will suffer financial loss as a consequence, it becomes uninsurable because it is not unexpected or unforeseen.

This may sound confusing so let’s look at some examples.

A known event can take many forms but if we look at travel insurance, here are some scenarios which would involve a known event.

Example 1

Sally and Sam planned to go on a Contiki tour.  They paid for the tour and their airfares but did not buy travel insurance.  Two days before they were due to depart, Sally suffered appendicitis and required surgery.  Sally’s doctor advised them to cancel the trip because Sally was too unwell to travel.  Sally and Sam then bought travel insurance to cover them for the loss of their holiday.

The airfares and Contiki tour were non refundable.  Sally and Sam lodged a travel insurance claim.  The travel insurer reviewed the claim and declined it on the basis of known event.  That is, when Sally and Sam purchased their travel insurance policy, they knew that Sally was sick and that she may not be able to travel.  The appendicitis was a known event – that is Sally and Sam knew about it when they bought the policy.  They tried to buy a policy because they knew they would suffer a financial loss.  They were trying to pass their loss to the insurance company.

Example 2

Richard was backpacking through Europe when he started to suffer stomach pains.  He wanted to visit a doctor but did not have any travel insurance.  Richard bought an “already overseas” travel insurance policy and went to see a doctor.  Richard was diagnosed with gallbladder stones and admitted to hospital for treatment.  Richard claimed compensation for these costs from the travel insurer.  The travel insurer denied the claim because Richard was aware that he needed medical treatment before he took out the policy.  Therefore, the stomach pains (and need for treatment) was a known event.

Example 3

Tom and Sarah arranged a trip to Fiji but did not buy travel insurance.  The week before they were due to go on holiday, a cyclone developed in the Pacific Ocean and was tracking to hit Fiji.  They bought travel insurance in case the cyclone meant the trip would be cancelled.  As they were aware of the cyclone and the potential that it would stop them from travelling before they purchased their policy,  the cyclone was a known event.  No claim would be payable if they had to cancel the trip due to the cyclone because it was already in existence when they purchased the policy.  It was not unforeseen or unexpected.

Similar scenarios could relate to the declaration of medical epidemics/pandemics or instances where the government travel advisory for a destination country is upgraded to advise against travel.  If you wait to purchase travel insurance until after an epidemic is declared or the government upgrades its travel advisory recommending against travel, it is too late because the event which might result in you suffering a financial loss has already happened – it is a known event.

Most if not all insurance policies have exclusions that relates to a known event.  In travel insurance policies, the exclusions normally take the following form.

You are not covered for any incident that does not occur during the period of insurance.

Or;

You are not covered for circumstances manifesting between the date of booking your trip and the date you purchased your insurance.

We strongly recommend that you arrange travel insurance once you have started to make payment for any trip arrangements.  When you hand over money, you are carrying the risk that something might happen which could cause your trip to be cancelled or disrupted.  If you wait until something happens that might cause you to cancel your trip, it is too late – this is like waiting until the horse has bolted before shutting the gate.  Don’t delay – once you have paid money (even if it is just a deposit), organise your travel insurance immediately.

Got questions? Why not call us on 1300 819 888 or send us an email to info@goinsurance.com.au

 

Novel Coronavirus Cover Advice

Chinese authorities have identified an outbreak of a new type of Coronavirus, in Wuhan City in Hubei Province, China.

We are aware of concerns regarding travel to China and destinations with known cases of the Coronavirus.

We suggest all travellers remain up to date with the latest advice for the Coronavirus from Smartraveller.

“In principle” advice regarding likely policy response to claims for cancellation, disruption and delay of scheduled travel arrangements is provided below.

For Single Trip policies purchased prior to 8:30am AEST on 23 January 2020 and trips booked under Annual Multi Trip policies prior to 8:30am AEST on 23 January 2020:

Disruption experienced post-departure

Claims for disruption to scheduled travel arrangements post-departure are considered under Section 1 or Section 10.

To claim under Section 1, your policy must include the Cancellation and Curtailment module.  To claim under Section 10, your policy must include the Disruption module.

Subject to relevant terms and conditions, Section 1 will compensate the Insured Person for additional travel expenses incurred (and a proportionate refund of unused arrangements) if a natural disaster prevents the planned travel from occurring.

Subject to relevant terms and conditions, Section 10 provides financial assistance in the event the departure of public transport on which the Insured Person is booked to travel is delayed by at least 12 hours.  Section 10 does not operate if the Insured Person has claimed under Section 1 or 12 (Special Events) in relation to the same cause.

All Insured Persons must act as a “prudent uninsured” and proceed on the most economical basis to minimise their loss.  We therefore suggest in the first instance they liaise with airlines and associated travel providers to reschedule travel arrangements / obtain refunds as appropriate.  Some airlines will provide accommodation to passengers whose travel is disrupted due to a medical epidemic and policyholders should avail themselves of this facility if possible.

All claims for additional accommodation and travel expenses must be supported by receipts, evidence of pre-booked travel schedule and actual travel arrangements.

If you are quarantined due the Coronavirus and as a result means you cannot return home as scheduled, your policy will provide a 21 day automatic extension.  This means that if you cannot return home due to circumstances outside your control, your policy will remain in place for up to a further 21 days without payment of additional premium.  You don’t need to contact us to request a policy extension – this is an automatic provision.

Disruption experienced pre-departure 

If you have not yet departed on the trip and your outbound flight arrangements are cancelled due to:

  1. Medical epidemic preventing the booked travel occurring as planned;
  2. Delayed departure of the initial outbound flight beyond 12 hours; or
  3. DFAT issuing a travel warning advising against travel to the affected region and which remains in force 7 days prior to scheduled travel;

There is provision within the policy for amendment costs or reimbursement of irrecoverable payments made in the event of total cancellation (Section 1).

In this case, Section 1 provides to cover the cost incurred to amend the policyholder’s travel to a later date / alternate route OR the cost of forfeited pre-booked travel arrangements if the trip is cancelled (whichever is the lesser).  If a policyholder’s travel is affected, we retain the option to decide which of these options will be used as the basis for determining policy response.

Many airlines will offer full refunds or rescheduling at no cost in the event of cancellation due to a medical epidemic and we would recommend policyholders liaise with the airline/s, travel agent/s and associated travel providers to minimise any loss / claim.

For Single Trip and Multi Trip policies purchased on or after 08:31am AEST on 23 January 2020:

Insurance serves to provide cover for sudden and unforeseen risks.  It is not possible to insure against known risks and the policy specifically excludes claims resulting from circumstances known at the time of policy purchase or trip booking and which could reasonably be expected to give rise to a claim.

Whilst this advice details a preliminary assessment of potential policy response, it is anticipated that no cover will be afforded for any claim arising from the Coronavirus outbreak under policies purchased on or after 08:31am AEST on 23 January 2020 or trips booked under an Annual Multi Trip policy on or after 08:31am AEST on 23 January 2020.

GENERAL NOTE:

Please remember that no two claims are the same and accordingly, claims are assessed on a case-by-case basis.  This advice is of a general nature.  Claims are assessed on their individual merits and are subject to the terms and conditions of the PDS which was in force at the time of policy purchase.

Whilst we recommend policyholders keep up-to-date with airlines, travel agents, tour operators etc, our claims team is available to advise and assist you.  Please contact us if you require assistance.

 

Novel Coronavirus Cover Advice
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Chinese authorities have identified an outbreak of a new type of Coronavirus, in Wuhan City in Hubei Province, China. We are aware of concerns regarding travel to China and... Read More

Coronavirus COVID-19 Important Information
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Subject to relevant terms and conditions, Go Insurance travel policies do provide cover for claims arising from medical epidemics. However, on 23 January 2020, Go Insurance raised a cover restriction … Read More

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Pre-existing Medical Conditions are a fact of life but do you know what you need to declare when applying for travel insurance? All travel insurance policies have terms and conditions … Read More

Known Event:  When is it too late to buy travel insurance?
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The term known event sounds like insurance jargon but it is an important concept. As the term suggests, known event means something (ie the event) has happened and you know … Read More

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The Australian government travel advice for China has been upgraded to “Reconsider your need to travel” in response to the recent Novel Coronavirus outbreak.  There is a “Do not travel” … Read More

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Chinese authorities have identified an outbreak of a new type of Coronavirus, in Wuhan City in Hubei Province, China. We are aware of concerns regarding travel to China and destinations … Read More

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