Posts for insurance

How to Prepare for Driving Abroad

Destinations - Ross French - June 26, 2016



For many, the idea of driving a car abroad can be a little bit daunting, especially if you’re used to driving on a different side of the road to the country you are visiting. But, with car hire becoming more readily available in a whole range of destinations and much more affordable to all kinds of travellers, hiring wheels of your own to explore a country, city or town at your own leisure is becoming more and more popular. With a little preparation, you can soon begin to feel much better and a lot more confident about the idea of driving abroad.

The Highway Code

When preparing for driving abroad, it’s a good idea to go back to the types of things that you learned about in your driving theory test. If you’re travelling in Europe you will be glad to hear that the majority of road signs used are the same as those at home in the U.K., so study up on road signs to remind yourself what each and every one of them means. It’s also a good idea to look up road signs in the particular country which you are planning to travel to, as well. If you’re travelling outside of Europe, be aware that road signs may be completely different so it’s vital to get to know them first.

Check Your Insurance

Before you get behind the wheels of a car when abroad, it’s essential to make sure that you are actually insured to drive. Whilst many car hire companies will provide insurance for you when you hire a vehicle from them, it’s also worth looking into whether or not you can get cover for your trip from your own car insurance company, as this could end up working out cheaper for you. If you’re unsure about the type of cover that you will need, the best thing to do is contact either your current car or travel insurance company, as they will be able to advise you on the best steps to take.

Read the Map

Looking at a map – or Google Maps – before you go can save you a lot of hassle when you are actually driving. When looking at road maps, it’s always important to be extra observant, especially if you’re planning to drive in old cities abroad. You may find that roads which look completely normal on the map are actually very narrow streets or alleyways, meaning that you will have to turn your wing mirrors in to be able to pass through. Studying maps beforehand, or printing out directions from Google Maps, also enables you to learn the best routes and ensure that you have a stress-free and pleasant journey.

Driving a car in a strange country and adhering to a different set of road rules can be a daunting idea, even for the most experienced of drivers. But, with the right preparation and planning, you can ensure that every trip behind the wheel abroad is a pleasant and easy one.

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Travel Insurance Bringing You Home

Travel Tips - Ross French - February 21, 2012

Overseas travel is one thing that people all over the world aspire to. Whether cruising around the Greek Islands on a luxury yacht, sipping brandy by the fire in a Swiss chalet after a day of skiing; or elephant spotting in Kenya, an overseas trip can be the adventure of a lifetime. Unfortunately, though, it can also be the disaster of a lifetime unless due diligence is carried out prior to setting off. Make sure you familiarize yourself with insurance and holiday illness claims.

Along with passports and plane tickets, it’s one of the most important things to remember before travelling overseas. Not just any ‘cheapest-you-can-find’ travel insurance, but a policy that will take good care of you should the unforeseen occur.

Types of travel insurance vary from company to company and it is well worth your while to spend some considerable time shopping around before committing to one policy. Remember, what is considered an acceptable risk by one insurer, may be excluded by another. Definitions of terms may also vary.

Take terrorism, for example. Most insurance policies will exclude acts of terrorism from being claimable events, however, the definition of what constitutes a terrorist act can vary between insurers. What one insurer may deem as an act of violence and therefore claimable, another insurer may deem terrorism and deny any claim.

In this age of terrorism threats and war-torn nations, travellers should always heed governmental advice as to whether or not travel to certain regions is recommended. If deciding to travel to a country despite government warnings, it may be difficult to obtain travel insurance at all. If it is obtained, it will probably be very expensive and its cover fairly limited.

It is crucial that you understand exactly what is and isn’t excluded from the policy before you sign on the dotted line. Indeed, being aware of the exclusions is, arguably, even more important than knowing what is covered. Get clear in your mind the insurer’s definition of claimable and non-claimable events. If at all possible, endeavour to get those definitions in writing.

Get the language right. Ask as many questions as it takes to know exactly where you stand. Remember, the only dumb questions are ones that haven’t been asked yet and given a voice. If going through a broker or agent, double check with the insurer if uncertain of their answers. It’s wise to remember too, that no insurance policy is going to cover you for every single thing that could possibly happen on your holiday. The prudent traveller will ensure, however, that what he or she needs to be covered for will be.

For example, does the policy allow you to participate in adventure activities? If you’re going bungee jumping in New Zealand or white-water rafting in Canada, make sure your insurer knows about it and will cover you for accidents occurring during such activities.

Is your luggage excluded if left unattended? What does ‘left unattended’ mean? What if you leave it in a taxi? What if you walk two metres from it to buy a chocolate bar from a vending machine?

It’s a good idea to also familiarise yourself with claims procedures before departing so as to avoid the ‘paper frenzy’ in the event of an accident. Some policies have a time limit for reporting claims. In some cases, the incident must be reported to local authorities within twenty-four hours in order to claim.

Be aware too that some countries may not recognise all insurance companies. This could pose a problem if hospitalisation is required. If the insurer isn’t recognised in that country you may not get hospital treatment. Make sure that the insurer has a global reputation.

It’s very expensive to be injured overseas. For instance, medical evacuation from the United States to Australia can cost anything from $80,000.00 upwards. If a stay in hospital is required, the bill could run into hundreds of thousands of dollars. And you thought shopping in Beverly Hills would be fun.

Itís also dangerous to be injured overseas, particularly in countries where medical facilities may not be as well equipped as at home. Again, the evacuation costs can run into many thousands of dollars – and no insurance means a lifetime of debt.

Travelling without the right travel insurance is like walking a tightrope without a net. Sure, it can be done, but one tiny slip and itís too late for ìIf onlyîs. And chances are, it will be your loved ones at home who will mortgage their houses, cash in their superannuation and face considerable financial hardship in order to bring you back to the fold.

All in all, travel insurance is one thing you should definitely not leave home without!

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