Australian travellers run the risk of not purchasing travel insurance
Travel insurance Australia wide remains a topic of little interest for Aussie travellers, with less than half of them heading overseas with cover. That is significantly less that the 4 out of 5 UK travellers who purchase travel insurance. It’s no secret that we’ve developed a global reputation for being “easy-going” but complacency paired with travel can lead to dangerous and possibly life-threatening consequences.
The statistics baffle insurance experts. Australia’s location on the map sets us at quite a distance from our neighbours, making the concept of travel more expensive and time consuming compared to those living in landlocked countries. It would be fair to assume travel is a big deal.
There is no hard and fast evidence offering an explanation of why Australians, compared to other world travellers, are not making travel insurance a top priority. Some have argued that the answer lies in the sales method.
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Traditionally Australians would walk into a travel agent to organise their holiday – it’s a one stop expensive shop, but it was easy. Travel insurance was, and still is, icing on the cake for travel agents who slap on up to a whopping 50% commission on policies. It’s no wonder Aussie’s are reluctant to take out travel insurance.
Fortunately, internet growth over the past decade has shifted focus from the ‘middle-man’. Consumers now are search savvy – they know their options are not limited and in less than a second Google can deliver thousands of them right to their screen. ‘Travel insurance Australia’ and ‘cheap travel insurance’ are searchable terms that produce a number of direct, online travel insurers, and it’s cheaper. Hence the birth of aggregator sites, which allow users to compare travel insurance policies online. While the number of Australians taking out travel insurance is still low, the online world is assisting in making it more accessible and affordable. Even those on a tight budget can take out travel insurance policies.
In addition to effecting patterns of buying behaviour, the internet has also changed the way we communicate. Social media and user-generated content now plays a large role in the transfer of information. Travellers faced a turbulent year in 2010 – from Iceland’s ash clouds, to civil unrest in Bangkok and snow storms in Europe – people all over the world were talking about how these events had impacted on their travel plans, and they were doing through Facebook updates, blogs and tweets. Peer-to-Peer communication and user-generated content is extremely powerful and in the abovementioned scenarios, worked in favour of travel insurance in Australia. Friends and family were talking about flight and tour cancellations and the dangerous places in which they found themselves. A tweet about how a friend was so thankful that travel insurance covered their cancellations is a lot more convincing than a spiel from a travel agent or a salesperson.
Presumably, more and more Australians will take out travel insurance, thanks in large to the power of the internet and connecting people with direct channels.