Have glanced through earlier posts, and can't see if my question has previously been asked/answered. I'm heading off in January '11 to travel around Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Malayasia, before heading on to Australia where I intend to stay for (at least) a year on a working holiday visa.
I was looking for people's advice on whether or not I should only get cover for my time in Asia, or if I should extend it for perhaps my first few weeks/months in Australia? I am planning on also travelling to New Zealand in September & October for the Rugby World Cup, before returning to Australia. Should I perhaps take out a 10-12 month policy with a view to extending it if necessary?
All tips/advice gratefully recieved...
I would suggest that you ensure you have insurance cover for the entire time you are away from home, although I presume that once in Australia, you might get a different type of cover (eg one for residents) and then probably a different short-term travel policy for your time in NZ (to cover flights, loss or property and medical).
Why have a policy for your time in Aust? Primarily for health-related reasons. Consider what happens if you are stricken with a serious illness or are seriously injured in an accident (vehicle, rafting, bungy jumping, cycling, whatever) - what would you want to happen? Would you want to be expatriated back to your home country so that you are near family and friends? If that is the case, you will need insurance.
We had a young girl from South Africa who came to visit in NZ a few months ago who was struck with some deadly blood poisoning. She was in hospital for a couple of months and sadly, eventually died. Her 'estate' is being hit up for $300,000 for hospital bills. Fortunately for travellers (but unfortunately for taxpayers), NZ has a health system that treats people regardless of their insurance situation. But imagine the stress that the would have gone through to raise money to send her home, especially if still bed-bound. As it is, they are being hit with massive medical bills although I don't know the outcome of it. At least they were trying to do some fund-raising to help cover the expenses before she died, although mostly form NZ taxpayers who already paid the hospital bills!
More on that story here: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10657544
I'm not sure what the story is while on a working holiday in Australia but I'm sure you could organise a 'local insurance' for while you are living there. Others with more experience in this can hopefully help you out. But one of the questions I would be asking is: Will the fly you home if you are injured or sick.
Personally, I think it's responsible and naive to travel without it. It's expensive, but not THAT expensive when you look at the possible alternatives.
My two cents worth!