Bali seems so idyllic. It seems like paradise. You picture palm trees over white-sand beaches, upmarket resorts with all the mod cons, the chance for a little fun and adventure in between lapping up the good life.
And a holiday in Bali really is all of those things. However, these journeys don’t always go according to plan. Occasionally, things go wrong, things that are quite often out of your control. There are ash clouds from volcanoes to think about. There’s petty crime, and scams. And of course there are the accidents and mishaps that you just never see coming. Bali is just that kind of place – it pays to be ready.
“One of the biggest issues our customers face while travelling in Bali is petty crime, and it has been getting worse over the last few years,” says Brendon Dyer, General Manager of Allianz Travel Insurance’s assistance provider Allianz Global Assistance (AGA). “Pick-pocketing and bag-snatching are all too common, especially in busy tourist areas like the beaches where holidaymakers are a prime target for thieves. The average cost of this type of claim is over $1000, which would put quite a dent in your holiday budget without travel insurance.”
The key to a successful, enjoyable holiday in Bali is to be aware of the risks before you leave, and to take all of the precautions available to either make sure nothing bad happens to you, or to ensure you’ve got the right travel insurance cover when they do. The recent volcanic ash cloud over Bali is a case in point – an unpredictable natural occurrence, something that’s very difficult to plan for, and yet fortunately many savvy travellers would have been covered.
“With the situation regarding the Mt Agung eruption – if you bought your policy before 7am AEST on 19 September, you’re covered as per normal,” says Dyer. “But if you bought it after 7am on that day, you may not be covered for claims that arise due to the eruption. That’s because our travel insurance isn’t designed to cover losses caused by an event you were aware of when you purchased the policy.”
Though it’s the ash cloud that’s been making news recently, there are other reasons cancellations might be necessary when you’re travelling to Bali. These can include injury or illness to you or a family member, bad weather or natural disasters, and other unforeseen circumstances such as an accident.
There are, however, potential mishaps that travellers need to be aware that they’re not covered for. These are the sorts of things travellers should be thinking twice about before getting involved.
“We might not be able to get you out of trouble if you’ve broken the local law,” says Dyer. “That includes any government regulations and prohibitions as well as visa requirements. Another thing to watch out for is trying to claim for something that happened while you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol – except prescription medicine, taken according to a doctor’s directions.”
So that’s the first precaution to take if you want to be covered. There are, however, plenty of other steps that can be put in place to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable time in Bali.
The first and easiest one is to avoid flashing too much cash or expensive items like jewellery or mobile phones while you’re in crowded places like shops, bars and markets. Carry only the money you’ll need for the day, and try to leave the expensive bracelets and necklaces at home. If you’re carrying a handbag, keep it slung over your shoulder and on your front, rather than beside you or behind.
Plenty of Australians will be planning to hire a scooter when they’re in Bali – it is, after all, one of the most popular forms of transport – but there are certain things to keep in mind if you want to be safe, and also covered by travel insurance.
“Pedestrians and other traffic can be unpredictable in Bali,” says Dyer. “A good safety tip is to honk the horn as you come up to a blind corner to warn other drivers to stay in their lane. Another quirk of Indonesian road rules is that the largest vehicle has the right of way, which is important to remember at intersections.
“Finally, make sure you hold the right licence for the bike you’re hiring and insist on a helmet. As well as protecting your safety, this will make sure all your ducks are in a row if something goes awry on the road and you need to make a claim.”
Off the road, one of the biggest concerns for travellers heading to Bali is the threat of “Bali Belly”, the dreaded food poisoning, as well as other health issues such as mosquito-borne diseases and unforeseen medical dramas.
The first thing to mention, particularly in regard to food, is that with the right precautions there’s no need to be scared. Balinese cuisine is some of the best on the planet, and you’d be crazy to avoid it. The trick is to seek out the most popular vendors (you can tell by the queues), and watch the food being cooked fresh in front of you. If you’re particularly susceptible to an upset tummy, you may even want to take some electrolyte powder sachets as these can help speed up your recovery.
A good precaution against viruses is to make sure your vaccinations are up to date, always use mozzie repellent and keep your skin covered up while you’re in Bali, and make sure you’re insured against any problems.
“One of our customers caught dengue fever while travelling in Indonesia and became very ill, to the point where they were suffering seizures,” Dyer says.
“Luckily the customer had travel insurance with us and we were able to arrange medical treatment and then evacuation from Indonesia. The total cost of their claim came to more than $100,000, so I don’t know what they would have done without insurance.
“Really though, what we do is about so much more than just the money. It’s scary being stuck somewhere you don’t speak the language without your friends and family. And that’s where we can help, by organising things like hospital transfers and return flights, making sure the standard of care is up to scratch, and hopefully taking some of the stress out of the situation. All of our travel insurance plans automatically come with unlimited overseas emergency medical assistance and unlimited overseas emergency medical and hospital expenses.”
Think of your travel insurance policy as peace of mind. Once you have it, all that’s left to do in Bali is enjoy yourself.
Allianz Travel Insurance provides a range of travel cover options and access to a global medical network. If you need to make a claim or require emergency overseas medical assistance, one phone call to their 24/7 Australian-based call centre is all it takes – so you’re never alone. Choose from a basic, comprehensive, multi-trip or domestic policy to suit your needs. Call 13 1000 or visit Allianz.com.au for a quote.
Allianz Travel insurance is issued and managed by AWP Australia Pty Ltd ABN 52 097 227 177 AFSL 245631 trading as Allianz Global Assistance on behalf of the insurer Allianz Australia Insurance Limited ABN 15 000 122 850 AFSL 234708. Terms, conditions, limits and exclusions apply. Before making a decision about Allianz Travel Insurance please consider the PDS available at allianz.com.au. AWP receives a commission which is a percentage of your premium -ask AWP for more information before they provide you with any services on this product.
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