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Travellers off track with risky destinations

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Risky or “off the beaten track” destinations are attractive to 87% of Australians aspiring to travel overseas, research commissioned by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and the Understand Insurance initiative shows.

Almost a third of respondents would still depart if DFAT raised its Smartraveller advice to Level 3 (“reconsider your need to travel”), and 25% of those people said the appeal of the destination justified the risk.

In the under-30 age group, 60% say they are attracted to places that feel adventurous.

About 10% of travellers choose not to buy insurance, with 15% of those saying they expect to be safe in their destination while 71% are going to a country where they hold nationality.

The research finds 22% of men under 30 travel overseas without insurance and one in four travellers wrongly believes the Federal Government will pay for medical treatment or emergency transportation if something goes wrong.

Understand Insurance is an initiative of the Insurance Council of Australia.

The Smartraveller advisories range from Level 1 (“exercise normal safety precautions”) to Level 4 (“do not travel”).

ICA says travel insurance is available for most high-risk destinations except Level 4 destinations, which are usually excluded. Policies may not cover financial losses resulting from acts of terrorism, war and civil war, but most will cover medical costs.

Travellers who decide not to go on a booked trip before departure in response to an upward change in advice are likely not to be covered for cancellation unless the advice moves to Level 4.

But travellers who go to a country despite a Level 3 or 4 advice are likely to find claims relating to the advice level are not covered.