Dangers of chasing the European sun

Allianz Travel Insurance gives Australians advice ahead of their European Getaway

With over 1.6 million Australians travelling overseas in July and August, the peak European Summer season[1], Allianz Travel Insurance reminds travellers to be mindful of the smaller dangers whilst overseas, as well as the more confronting threats.

During the months of July and August 2015 and 2016, over 5,000 travel claims were made to Allianz Global Assistance[2].  Amongst claims such as petty crime, lost luggage and theft, medical claims were one of the most expensive concerns for Australian travellers. Throughout this period over $1.6 million was paid in medical claims to Australians who travelled to some of the top European destinations[3].

Top European countries for medical claims between July and August in 2015 and 2016[4]:

  1. Greece (330 claims)
  2. United Kingdom (277 claims)
  3. France (270 claims)
  4. Italy (255 claims)
  5. Germany (247 claims)
  6. Spain (174 claims)

Senior Nurse, Rebecca Goodchap, says, “Europe is the perfect summer destination for Aussies wanting to escape winter. When travelling across Europe I want to remind Australians to always be cautious and bear in mind that you are in a new city, where you can easily fall victim to petty crime or medical mishaps. 

“Over the last couple of years[5], we’ve received over 1,500 medical claims from Australian travellers across the most popular European destinations. Countries such as France and Germany have fantastic medical services if something does go wrong, however they are extremely pricey and without travel insurance you could be out of pocket.”

Although medical claims are generally the most expensive, luggage and personal item claims follow closely behind, with over $790,000 claimed for in July and August in 2015 and 2016. This includes stolen items, lost and stolen luggage, and broken items.

Top tips when travelling to popular European destinations:

  • Germany’s medical facilities are among the best in the world. However, it’s likely that hospitals will require upfront payment or proof of travel insurance before providing any treatment. Before travelling, always print out a copy of your travel insurance policy and carry it with you always.
  • In Italy, tourists often end up in hospital due to simple things such as underestimating the heat. Follow the same Australian sun rules even though you’re in Europe – stay hydrated and carry sun cream.
  • Petty crime is common, especially in big cities. In Spain, 70 per cent of paid claims for belongings were due to theft. Ensure you carry a bag that secures properly and which can be carried close to your body – the front of your body is recommended.
  • Ignore beggars on the street in France. Often, they are working with an accomplice who will try to pickpocket you when you approach to make a donation.
  • There are plenty of transport facilities in the UK, but take care when using escalators, the tube, hopping on and off busses and walking on cobbled streets. Small injuries can easily impact the rest of your holiday.
  • Greece is known for their beautiful waters and sailing activities. However, be aware that most beaches don’t have lifeguards or first aid facilities. Make sure you swim where the locals are swimming and be cautious with the current.
  • As a lot of Australians travelling to Europe make the most of seeing multiple cities. If you are travelling from country to country, ensure you plan and check for cancelled or delayed transport If transport is cancelled, it’s important to contact your travel insurance provider as soon as possible to find out what you may or may not be covered for and to see if they can assist with alternative transport options.

Rebecca concludes, “We encourage all travellers to carefully consider their coverage needs before they travel and ensure they purchase the correct level of cover or policy depending on the type of activities they wish to engage in. If travellers are unclear on the level of cover, always read the Product Disclosure Statement and call customer service.

“There are also tools available such as the Global Travel Assistant website we recently launched.  It includes insights on how to stay safe when travelling abroad and offers dedicated information and advice on the top 20 countries most frequently visited by Australians, including Europe.”

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For more information on the Global Travel Assistant tool visit:


[1] Source:  Australian Bureau of Statistics, (2016). Overseas Arrivals and Departures, Australia, July and August 2016.


[2] Source: Allianz Global Assistance Data, July and August 2015 / 2016.  Allianz Global Assistance is part of the global Allianz Group.

[3] Source: Allianz Global Assistance Data, July and August 2015 / 2016.  Allianz Global Assistance is part of the global Allianz Group.

[4] Source: Allianz Global Assistance Data, July and August 2015 / 2016.  Allianz Global Assistance is part of the global Allianz Group.

[5] July and August 2015 and 2016