I recently had the misfortune of needing to visit a doctor while travelling in Porto, Portugal. I thought I would make the best out of this bad situation and share my experience with you. This is my review of ITrek Travel Insurance Australia.
My Experience with iTrek – when I realised it was time to see a doctor.
When I decided to go to the doctors, I had actually been sick for about 3 weeks at that point. I actually thought I was getting better. I had already been sick for about 1.5 weeks at the start of my trip and initially, the symptoms were almost identical to my first illness. So, I figured it would pass eventually.
When I arrived in Porto I started to have chest pain and pressure in the centre of my chest, I was super fatigued and felt very weak. I had never had symptoms in my chest like this before and it was slightly terrifying. After my family and friends begged me to see a doctor and days of these chest symptoms, I called my insurers Help and Emergency Assistance Line. I told them what was going on. They instructed to go the doctors urgently and advised of what I needed to do to ensure that I was reimbursed for my doctors visit. My accommodation provider then helped me to find an emergency outpatients clinic to visit and I walked there (that wasn’t fun with chest pain).
Visiting Hospital in Porto
I visited Santa Maria Hospital where they saw me promptly and I had a lady who could speak English fluently to assist me with my paperwork and to interpret for me. I didn’t enjoy this experience at all. The doctor was quite dismissive and this didn’t put my worries at ease. He didn’t even tell me what was wrong with me! As the consultation ended I actually had to ask, he laughed and through the interpreter said that I had the flu. He recommended that I pick up some medication from a pharmacy and that was that. The doctor said that I was fine to fly to Germany the next day. This would be a half day long trip involving getting to the airport, flying, taking the train to another city etc. I chose to miss my flight because I knew I wasn’t up to it.
Due to the doctor saying I was fit to fly I was unable to be reimbursed for my plane ticket by my insurer. Visiting the doctor ended up costing me 156 Euros or $248AUD. I figure the price was due to me requiring an interpreter. Note: For cost comparison, I have actually been to an outpatients hospital clinic in Paris before and it only cost me 24 Euros or $38.25AUD. It cost me a similar amount to visit a GP in Germany. I spent around 8 Euros or $12.80AUD on medication. So, the grand total of money spent on medical treatment was 164 Euros or $261 AUD. Ouch! I don’t even want to think how much money was ‘wasted’ by missing my flight. But at the end of the day, my health is my number 1 priority.
Claiming with iTrek – quick reimbursement
I spent the next few days in bed and extended my stay in Porto so I could recover. The day after visiting the doctor I submitted my claim, with a summary of what happened. I attached photos of receipts and my doctor’s notes. A week later I received an email stating my claim had been approved. The full reimbursement for my treatment was in my bank account 2 days after I received that email. I should note that when I purchased my policy that I paid an extra $20AUD so that I would have no excess to pay for making a claim. I was very pleased with how quickly ITrek reimbursed me for my treatment. As they advised me what I needed before even seeking medical treatment, I was completely prepared and there were no problems.
They followed up with me!
Another feature that I especially appreciated with ITrek was that they continued to follow up with me via email after my visit to the doctors. They encouraged me to see a doctor if I didn’t improve and even put a nurse in touch with me. About a week after visiting the doctor I was almost completely recovered. After a whole month with the flu!!
I decided to extend my policy after my positive experience with iTrek
I’ve since extended my policy with ITrek as I initially paid for 6 months knowing I could extend it later. You can be insured by iTrek for up to 18 months, making it one of the longest policies available on the market. I highly recommend ITrek now that I have actually used their services. Compared to other insurance providers the price point is great. I paid $596 AUD for 6 months and I am covered to travel throughout Europe and Asia. They also cover a wide range of activities including winter sports which are included in the cost. Other insurers often make you pay more for winter sports or simply won’t cover you at all.
If you are thinking about purchasing a travel insurance policy I recommend checking out my blog post I wrote about choosing a travel insurance policy where I go into detail about my personal selection process and things you might want to consider before purchasing a policy.