• Rafe MacLennan

Travel insurance – Will I get away with claiming for something that didn’t happen?

Question: What do you get when you cross a background in law enforcement, business interests in the security industry and a passion for all things travel related? Answer: AOSG - Alternative Options Security Group.

AOSG is a licensed Australian private investigation and security company that specialises in Travel Insurance claim investigations and travel security solutions. Although we are engaged by travel insurance companies to make enquiries and conduct investigations on their behalf, we are a third party, non-biased and impartial Australian investigation company. We do not investigate any claim with any bias and our aim is to gather facts relevant to a claim to provide assistance equally to an insured party and the insurance company. The reason we do this, is so our insurance company clients can make confident, unbiased and informed decisions about their customer’s travel insurance claim.

When you are travelling out of Australia, it is vital you take out a travel insurance policy. When you are looking for a travel insurance policy, of course look for the better value policy, but also read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) carefully. Know what is included and what is excluded.

I strongly recommend doing your research before settling on a product. There are multiple sites online to help you choose the correct travel insurance policy for you. One I have found useful in the past is from Australia’s Choice Magazine – Tips for purchasing travel insurance

Medical insurance: Don’t leave home without it!!

Private medical insurance in Australia is a highly competitive market. Our public health system is also one of the best in the world, so if you are an Australian citizen living in Australia, the choice of whether you take out private medical cover is a personal one which may be governed by your choice of lifestyle or income limitations.

When it comes to travelling overseas, you are generally not covered or treated the same way as we are here in Australia. Taking out a travel insurance policy is vital and could very well save your life! There are many countries that do not have the same, or even remotely similar health care systems to Australia, so before you receive treatment, you will need to provide them with your health insurance details. Hospital bills can reach the hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on your emergency and length of stay. Do not leave home without Health/ Medical Insurance. This is travel preparation 101!!

Having travel insurance is a MUST. If you must skip on some insurance cover to save money, then skip on additional personal belongings cover but DO NOT cut corners with medical insurance cover. Some travel insurance companies will not cover certain regions because of the potential for conflicts or natural disaster events, so you may need to look for an alternate insurer who does. Others may allow you to ride a motorcycle above 115cc while others do not. If you have an accident on a motorcycle that is excluded by your insurance policy, then they will not cover you for any damage to the motorcycle or cover you for your medical bills. So, to reiterate READ THE PDS CAREFULLY!

Personal belongings unattended in a pubic place = no cover

Smart travellers leave their precious valuables and sentimental items at home. If you are travelling to a country known for thieves, why take your best jewellery with you? The only people overseas who really care whether you have a diamond engagement ring or a Rolex watch on, are the thieves hoping to meet you and you will certainly get their attention wearing those items.

It doesn’t take much searching on Google to see reports of the increase in opportunistic and violent crime in places like Barcelona, Rome or Paris. People travelling to these places are warned not to wear jewellery, expensive cameras around their necks or expensive watches because it attracts thieves and pickpockets. There are that many warnings online, on travel bulletins, in travel magazines and in the media that it is with little wonder travel insurance companies look into claims from these countries with a litte more than just a passing interest.

An excellent online article from the travel company World Nomads – “Is Barcelona the pickpocket capital of the world?” contains advice on spotting pickpockets and how to protect your personal belongings from pickpockets and thieves. Their advice includes “Don’t dress like a traveller and jewellery is like a red rag to a bull for thieves”. I recommend you take some time to view their articles and others like them during the planning stages of your next trip

Having your valuables stolen could very well ruin your holiday, so take proper care of them and if you don’t really need them, leave them at home.

Please remember though, travel insurance is not a safety net to acting irresponsibly and to not take proper care of your possessions. If you get robbed because you were courting risk, not being careful with your belongings or you had left them unattended or unobserved in a public place, then there is a possibility your insurance company will not provide you restitution for your loss.

Travel insurance fraud - Do not risk it, It is not worth it!

The Australian Institute of Criminology have published an excellent article on fraud which includes the definition of fraud.

Fraud can be defined as: “Any dishonest activity causing actual or potential financial loss to any person or entity including theft of monies or other property by employees or persons external to the entity and where deception is used at any time immediately before or immediately following the activity”

Examples of what constitutes fraud within a travel insurance claim include:

  • Providing misleading information about your claim

  • Fabricating an incident or exaggerating the circumstances of a legitimate incident to gain a financial benefit.

  • Claiming for items that were not lost or stolen or to deliberately over inflate the value of claimed items. This is commonly referred to in the insurance industry as ‘claim padding’

  • Claiming for items or expenses that have already been recovered from another insurance company. This occurs when multiple travel insurance policies from different travel insurance companies have been taken out to cover the one trip and claims for the same incident have subsequently been lodged against all policies.

AOSG specialises in detecting fabricated and misleading Travel Insurance claims and from years of experience in dealing with all manner of claims, we are accustomed to what indicators to look for to determine if there are elements of fraud within a travel insurance claim.

To all those considering committing travel insurance fraud you should be aware AOSG has experienced and proven agents in almost every country in the world working for us. We use local investigators who speak the language of the country of the claim’s origin to validate details of shops, receipts and legal reports. Our agents will also visit police stations, hospitals and dental practices to validate police reports and medical records. This is what AOSG specialises in and why we have achieved great success in detecting fraudulent travel insurance claims.

If you are considering lodging a fraudulent or fabricated travel insurance claim to recoup the costs of your holiday, think again. Fraud is a criminal offence and a conviction could be damaging to your career and personal life. If your claim is found to have included information that is fraudulent or made recklessly or is contrary to your obligations to act in utmost good faith under the Insurance Contracts Act, your travel insurance company may very well refer your conduct to police.

In saying all this, I hope your future travels are fulfilling, exciting and memorable for all the right reasons. Whether you are travelling on a holiday or travelling for business, I highly recommend researching where you are going and putting some extra thought and time into planning the trip.

If an unfortunate event occurs and you need to lodge an insurance claim, please think about what I listed earlier of what constitutes travel insurance fraud. Don’t let a silly mistake on your travel insurance claim ruin the rest of your life. It simply is not worth the risk!!

AOSG is a local Sunshine Coast private investigation company. Although we are based on the Sunshine Coast, we have agents in every major city in Australia and around the world.

For more information about our travel insurance investigation services please contact us at:

To learn more about our range of other services please visit

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