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Richard Dababneh discussing claiming on your travel insurance

Richard Dababneh providing Q & A on the 2GB Steve Price Afternoon Show discussing "travel insurance" 24 September 2019

Tuesday, 24 September 2019 


SP – Steve Price / Richard Dababneh–   C1,2,3, etc – Callers 



SP       We want to talk today 131873 reminder we have a $100 Westfield voucher for you. Do you insure yourself when you go travelling overseas? Health insurance, theft insurance, lost luggage, change of flights, change of itinerary. Give us a call on 131873, let us know when you have had to claim on travel insurance overseas and did it work for you, did they pay out on time, was it an easy or a difficult process? I have a couple of examples of my own, Richard Dababneh is here from Turner Freeman, great to talk to you again.

RD      Good afternoon Steve.

SP       We’ve got a hell of a shocking example about a bloke called Ashley Hickman, tell me about him.

RD      Yeah a young man from Cairns who decided to go on his buck’s party, trip to Bali and thought he had his insurance all in place.  Unfortunately he had a very serious motor cycle accident over there, a moped accident and low and behold one of the exclusions on that policy was that it didn’t cover him because he didn’t have an international driver’s licence, something I suppose a lot of people wouldn’t have been aware of so there is a lot of exclusions in these overseas travel insurance policies which people don’t look into.

SP       He is in a bad way and still in intensive care, he has a fractured skull, his family are trying to cover the medical bills, they are already over $50,000 so we are talking about a lot of money here.

RD      Yes it’s a very serious injury, as you said a fractured skull so he is going to need a lot of treatment and a lot of care and it is very unfortunate for him. I suppose from a legal perspective, having your insurance in place is probably one of the most important things you can do before you travel overseas especially when you are going to countries like Bali.

SP       So many of us Richard even though we have got it don’t read the policy. I know when I fly overseas I buy my ticket on an American express card which gives you automatic travel insurance but I have not read that if I hire a motorcycle from some tin pot garage in Kuta that if I don’t have an international drivers licenced I’m not covered, even I would not have done that.

RD      Yeah well I’m guilty of it as well, I think most people probably would take it for granted and there are other things, skiing, if you decide to do some adventure activities, scuba diving, a lot of those activities are not covered either so you have got to be very careful and ensure that you do have cover.

SP       What would your advice be from a legal point of view, do you find a policy that does cover exactly what you want to do and make sure, I guess you are going to pay a bit more but make sure you’ve got it covered.

RD      Absolutely.

SP       I’m going snow skiing at the end of the year in Japan, I would need to make sure that that automatic travel insurance from Amex covers me if I break my leg.

RD      Absolutely. The other, I suppose the other, this article is almost falls into a different legal area as well so if you do have an injury when you are overseas, what rights do you have that are perhaps beyond travel insurance. You know a lot of people unfortunately travel without travel insurance as well so what actually happens if you are injured overseas and there are limits on insurance coverage as well so cruise ships, what happens in that situation, if you are injured at the hotel overseas, if that injury is caused by someone’s negligence in the other country then you would have a right to pursue it in a lot of cases. A right to pursue either a claim here in Australia or perhaps even a claim in that country.

SP       Ok Wendy is on line in Gregory Hill. Hello Wendy.

C1       Oh hi Steve. You were saying that if anybody had had anything happen, sadly we did. It will be 5 years in December. We were on our way to London and my husband had a major stroke on the plane and he passed away in London four days later and thankfully we had full insurance and we both have heart conditions and they knew all of that.  My advice is to be really honest, you know, don’t hide anything and we paid the extra and it wasn’t that much, it was $186 extra for our heart conditions and you know without that money I wouldn’t have been able to bring John back the same way.

SP       Richard, that’s very good advice isn’t it, that you need to be very honest with your insurer and tell them everything?

RD      I suppose it goes without saying that insurer’s don’t like to pay out on policy’s if they can find a pre-existing condition which hasn’t been previously disclosed they will use it to deny a claim so you have done exactly the right thing by being honest and disclosing all of that previous information.

C1       And I will say too before they would actually pay my husband’s specialist here in Australia had to send reports and everything which was all above board because we had disclosed it all so for us it worked.

SP       Alright Wendy, really sorry to hear that but you have done exactly the right thing and I gather it would have given you a great piece of mind. 131873 is that number. Plenty of calls, get to them next.

SP       Richard Dababneh is with us. Stack of calls from people who have had insurance issues we are talking about travel insurance for overseas.  Andrew is in Chester Hill, G’day Andrew.

C2       Oh hey. I didn’t have a problem but I had to make an insurance claim while I was overseas.

SP       What did you lose?

C2       I didn’t lose anything, I was hospitalised for about 4 days in Thailand, I ate a scorpion.

SP       You had a what?

C2       I ate a scorpion.

SP       You ate a scorpion?! That’s not very clever Andrew.

C2       It was more a thing to try overseas. I had to make an insurance claim with my insurer and I didn’t have any problems. I was just calling about that and giving my two cents.

SP       My advice to Andrew and I’m sure Richard, senior partner at Turner Freeman would have a similar legal advice wouldn’t you Richard, try avoid eating scorpions perhaps.

RD      That’s right it probably would have voided the policy anyway.

SP       I’ve had to eat a whole lot of awful things when I was on that jungle show when I was on television and I would advise don’t go around eating that sort of stuff, it makes you feel very sick. Jimmy is in Glenmore Park, hey Jimmy.

C3       How are you doing?

SP       Good

C3       Just two stories that I have heard from travellers when I’ve been on holidays that has always stuck with me. One was a reasonably elderly couple who were somewhere either Portugal or Spain encountered a story that they had been out to lunch off a cruise ship and the gentlemen had taken a fall on some stairs and injured himself about 40 minutes later. Claim denied because he had alcohol in his system.

SP       Richard, really?

C3       Yeah and another one that sticks in my mind, that you always need to be aware that local laws change from country to country so if you get robbed and you’ve got insurance and you’re in Amsterdam and if you are a young guy that goes to Amsterdam to do what people do in Amsterdam and maybe in one of their legal brothels, maybe that is going to cover you but if that happens to you in Thailand or possibly in Bali you might find your insurance has not covered you because you have broken local laws and therefore your insurance does not cover you so you have to be careful, you’ve got one cover but from country to country how it applies might change.

SP       Excellent point Jimmy, that’s a good point Richard.

RD      It’s a very very good point because most people aren’t aware that alcohol, there is a clause in most policies that excludes injuries that are caused or fuelled by alcohol. I have been told 63% of injuries that occur overseas involve alcohol. It is a very good point.

SP       Anthony is in Nerangbar in QLD, G’day Anthony.

C4       Hello how are you going?

SP       Good

RD      I was in Europe in July with my wife and we were in Rome and I unexpectedly got gastro and got past that and we made our way to Venice and then the virus ended up going to my heart and so I spent four days in a hosptial in Venice. It was a little stressful but I can’t speak highly enough of Flight Centre and their Covermore insurance.

SP       That’s good.

C4       Yeah they had everything covered, paid for, a letter of guarantee of payment. I had to cancel the holiday because we didn’t know what was happening obviously and when I was given the all clear to proceed, the lady at Flight Centre was getting everything rebooked as well as making sure we were covered for our accommodation while my wife was sitting in Venice waiting for me and they did everything. There was another little point and that is that there is a rule that people don’t know in Italy that there is a reciprocal thing with Medicare, if you have your Medicare card on you, you are covered anyway by their health system.

SP       I wonder how many countries that applies to?

C4       Yeah that’s right but there is a catch but apparently there is a lot more Australians have been using their Medicare cards in Italy then the other way around, I did not have my Medicare card on me so Covermore did try for a little bit to use the reciprocal Medicare thing but in the end when they discovered that the Venice hospital wasn’t going to cop it, they paid it.

SP       Good on you Anthony. That’s another good tip there Richard because you probably wouldn’t take your Medicare card overseas with you but probably should check with Medicare in Australia on their website how many countries have got reciprocals.

RD      I wasn’t aware of that either so that’s very handy.

SP       My dad got taken off the Queen Mary, I had him on a cruise, Travel Right were the organisers, had to be taken off the cruise ship in an ambulance in Plymouth in England in hospital for about 4 days. They paid for hotel accommodation, ambulance transfer, x-rays to the United States and back when the ship was at sea all covered by the travel insurance Travel Right had organised.

RD      Well here is the interesting thing about cruise ships, check your contract with your cruise ship operator when you sign up, because depending on the operator, it might actually determine the law of which country you are required to make any claims in.

SP       So if it is a Panamanian registered ship or something?

RD      Exactly right so there is a lot of them that come out of Florida of course.

SP       There are a few potholes to fall down here isn’t there?

RD      That would apply in any injuries that are on the ship, it’s more than just the travel insurance and you are actually looking at bringing a claim against the cruise ship operators because they have done something wrong, you slipped, you’ve tripped or whatever it might be so international waters is a very tricky area of law and it is very important the first step is to look at the contract you have with your cruise ship operator. Ian is in Terrigal, G’day Ian.

C5       Yeah G’day Steve how are you?

SP       Good mate thanks.

C5       Mate I went overseas with my wife two years ago for a month long holiday in January and when we left my daughter was due to have a baby in April of that year. We got three days into a trip at Myanmar which is miles from anywhere, my daughter rang and said she got rushed to Royal North Shore Hospital, she had a condition which was preeclampsia which meant the baby was coming within a matter of days. We had to fly straight home, all organised all done, cut a long story short.  Our travel insurer paid us $38,000 refund for the trip that we had to come home for and it wasn’t us it was our daughter.

SP       Good stuff. What was the travel insurance company?

C5       QBE. They are fantastic. I take a year by year policy with them, have done for the last 10 years and no one should leave anywhere unless they have got travel insurance. It is so vital. Honestly they paid it without any question whatsoever, just had to supply the medical information and then luckily my granddaughter was born and she is fine now, two and a half years old, no problems but it was a pretty nervous time when we had to get back and I didn’t even think about the travel insurance at that point of time until my daughter said to me when she was waiting to give birth, she said dad what about your travel insurance? I said Ill have a look, she said Ill have a look, I’m doing nothing at the moment but wait until the caesarean and sure enough we made the claim and within a matter of 4 weeks $38,000 less a $100 excess went into our bank account.

SP       Well big tick for QBE, great sponsors of course for the Sydney Swans, that’s a sensational service there. Good on you and thank you and so pleased that your granddaughter is well. My daughter is in Copenhagen at the moment Richard and she whatsapp’d me on Saturday morning saying she had lost an expensive set of noise cancelling headphones so I said have a look on your travel insurance, student travel insurance, she is on an exchange, sure enough it’s covered.

RD      There you go.

SP       Not if you lose a phone but the headphones were covered so just claim it on insurance.

RD      I suppose the people that call us are people who have bad times with their insurance company or those that don’t have insurance or there is negligence involved in the actual accident so it’s refreshing to hear of these feel good outcomes for these people.

SP       Ill certainly remember QBE next time I’m insuring. Marianne from Canberra, hi.

C6       Hi. My daughter went to Croatia last year, first time overseas and we made sure that she had a policy in place before she left. Anyway in Croatia she got a blocked ear and it was really difficult to get any medical help so I became involved from Australia and I had to organise it from this end because the number that she called with this insurance company sent her to a medical doctor that was no longer practising and she was so distressed over the whole issue, she was only a young girl. If I had not become involved she would have flown, she had flights and that to other countries.

SP       Burst eardrum?

C6       Yeah that’s right, that’s what I was worried about but the insurance company said despite sending her to a doctor that was no longer operational, said that if she got on that plane without their clearance, that her insurance would be forfeited. Well I said bloody well find somewhere for her to go because she was so distressed.

SP       I don’t blame her, she is just lucky that she has a great mum in you Marianne at home who sorted it out for her. Paul is in Menai. G’day Paul.

C7       G’day Steve. I got whooping cough two weeks before I was to fly out overseas and $40,000 later our insurance company covered it all and paid up the full $40,000.

SP       Gee we are hearing some good stories here Richard.

C7       Covermore and I have been revaccinated five years before for whooping cough but anyway they paid out and all I needed was a thing from my doctor, a certificate from my doctor and it was paid out and then back in 2011 my daughter got meningococcal in Switzerland and $60,000 later Covermore paid out the whole lot. They covered my daughter, they covered my other daughter who was with them and they also covered my wife and myself, well they covered my wife to fly over there, they didn’t cover me but they covered my wife.

SP       That’s a fantastic story. We have heard so many positive stories today Richard.

RD      As I said it is refreshing, I suppose the other good point that comes out of that is get your travel insurance early. Don’t wait till just before you start flying out because if something happens before you fly out as in a few weeks before you go, if you’ve got your insurance ready.

SP       Excellent advice. Richard, we can take calls for another two hours there is so many people that want to talk about it. We might do this topic again in the next couple of weeks. Alright mate. Richard Dababneh from Turner Freeman Lawyers, our winner of that $100 Westfield voucher, Wendy who sadly lost her husband on that trip over to the UK. Wendy call us back and we will sort it out for you.