Adventure Travel Abroad

Paula Ganly, DFAT’s Assistant Secretary for Consular Policy

Paula Ganly, DFAT’s Assistant Secretary for Consular Policy


>>Heading: Understand Insurance
>>Paula: My name’s Paula Ganly and I’m with the Department of Foreign Affairs and
Trade. My role here is the Assistant Secretary of
the Consulate Policy Branch. In this area, we look after the Smartraveller campaign and
part of our message is that Australian travellers need to take out insurance before they head
off overseas. Now I have been with the Department of Foreign
Affairs and Trade for over 30 years and a lot of my time has been spent in the overseas
environment working in the area of consulate. The statistics that we have are that about
eight million trips are taken each year by Australians overseas. In this situation, about
20,000 Australians come to our attention because they need assistance and about fourteen hundred
of these are hospitalisations. [1st Minute]
Paula: What Australian travellers need to remember when they go overseas is that if
they incur any medical costs they are personally liable for these. The Australian Government
can’t pay these costs on your behalf. Therefore it is vital that you take out travel insurance
before you leave Australia. Travel insurance is as essential as your passport
for travelling overseas. So if you can’t afford the travel insurance, you can’t afford
the travel. Working as a consular officer overseas you
do see some dreadful things. Sadly a lot of Australians travelling overseas do find themselves
in difficulty, some issues are quite easy to resolve but some take time.
I’ve dealt with a lot of families in these situations and some of them are quite tragic
stories where families that were in retirement, quite comfortable back in Australia, have
found that they have to mortgage their homes to pay some hospital bills when their children
have encountered difficulties overseas and sadly have not had insurance in place to cover
them. [2nd Minute]
Paula: One of the messages we do like to get out to travellers is that if they are not
prepared to take out travel insurance for themselves, then they should do it for their
families. It’s important when you are travelling overseas
that the travel insurance policy you take out is the right one for you. You might have
a pre-existing medical complaint that you need to declare or you might be heading overseas
to take part in bungee jumping or white water rafting.
So, you need to read the fine print carefully and make sure that the policy you take out
fits your personal situation so that you don’t find any unnecessary surprises when you put
in a claim. The Australian Government has consular employees
at 91 missions overseas, in over 77 countries. The staff are able to provide assistance in
helping people find medical support and find hospitals. They can assist you in an accident,
they will visit you in hospital and they’ll certainly provide guidance. [3rd Minute]
Paula: But there are a lot of things they are unable to do. They can’t pay your medical
bills and they can’t pay for medical evacuations. This is why we strongly advise that people
travelling overseas take out travel insurance.>>Heading: Paula’s Insurance Tips
Paula: When you’re heading overseas some general good advice is:
Visit the Smartraveller.gov.au website before you head overseas. Register on that site so
we know how to contact you in the event of an emergency. A subscribe to the travel advisory
so you get any updates. You also need to make sure you take out travel
insurance before you head overseas. You need to make sure you read the fine print of the
travel insurance policy to make sure it covers your needs.
[4th Minute] If you have a pre-existing medical complaint,
make sure that you declare that on your travel insurance policy
If you are going to be doing any extreme sport overseas make sure that your travel insurance
policy covers those events.


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