Japan, Credit Cards and Travel Insurance

Cara Brett 2 February 2014
Well I am back from an amazing holiday in Japan, but my body is a little bit worse for wear. My husband and I, along with a few friends decided to do a week snowboarding in Hakuba followed by a few days in Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto to take in some of the sights and culture. My husband has spent some time snowboarding so he is happy and at ease on the slopes but I haven’t been snowboarding before, so I spent a week on the mountains trying to get the basics down enough to have a bit of fun by the end of the week. I don’t know about anyone else, but one thing I found about snowboarding, was the fact that in order to enjoy it, you need to push through days of pain, falling, and wet pants.

I am happy to say however that after a couple of hissy fits and a thousand bruises, by the end of the week I was hitting up the red runs (very slowly) with my friends and thoroughly enjoying the beautiful views that you just don’t get to see from the learner hills.

On day 2 of our trip however, I took a particularly violent fall and ended up spraining my right wrist. Most people can get by without your wrist for snowboarding, but for someone like me who was in the ‘I fall every 2 minutes stage’, I was always leaning or falling on my wrist, so I was done for the day!

Luckily for me my sprain was only a grade one. I was off to the physio first thing the next day for some emergency treatment, and to be fitted with some epic wrist braces so that I could continue snowboarding for the rest of the trip. I was back out on the mountains later that afternoon, so I can’t complain too much. The physio was not a cheap trip though. I had to pay for the treatment at top dollar as well as pay for the wrist braces, but I always put my health first, and if I didn’t pay for it, I would be sitting out the rest of the snow trip.

I am now going to go through the process of claiming on travel insurance if the policy allows, so will be able to keep you posted on that roundabout for those who have not previously been through this before. One of the benefits of my credit card, is that I get free travel insurance if I book and pay for at least $1,000 of the trip with my card. I use my credit card to book these things anyway, so it’s a great benefit that I get for free. It essentially saves me about $300 that I would have otherwise paid anyway.

For those of you who haven’t looked into the benefits on your credit card, here is a little reminder for you. So many credit cards have added extras that you don’t even know about, and for me, it’s free travel insurance. My credit card is nothing fancy, it costs about $25 a year, which is relatively low. At the time my credit card was about to expire I was changing my name anyway, so thought I would renew my credit card at the same time. Because I asked, they upgraded my credit card to the ‘new’ card which had added benefits for the same price I was paying before. Winning!

I called the insurance company the day before I left to confirm it covered snowboarding, which it did, so assuming my costs are higher than the excess, I should be able to claim back some of my costs. Watch this space.

So after bruise-fest in Hakuba, my husband and I went on to do a whirlwind trip to Kyoto, Osaka, and Tokyo. We spent our days walking the streets, eating amazing food and stopping for hot chocolate breaks to rest our weary feet and warm up. Japan wasn’t the most relaxing of holidays but I still had a great time and managed to learn the basics of snowboarding. I will most definitely go snowboarding again (in a year or two), but I’m a summer girl, so I am happy to be back enjoying Brisbane’s summer.

So, whilst this was a bit of a travel diary more than a finance blog, there are two things to take away from today. Firstly, check out your credit card and see what kind of benefits you have. There are sooooo many out there that do have benefits, so maybe consider switching if the cost is the same anyway. Just call and ask. If your bank isn’t willing to do something for you, there will be plenty out there who will. Secondly, I am a real life example of how you need travel insurance when travelling. You never expect to have any issues, but medical treatment can cost an arm and a leg in another country, so being properly covered for this is important.

I have heard several stories of more devastating travel accidents than mine, and I can tell you travel insurance is well worth the cost. What about you, do you have any travel injuries? Did you have travel insurance or did you go without?

– This post is from our resident senior financial planner, Cara Brett. Check out her details in our about us page.

Posted in: Insurance and Cara Brett

About the author: Cara Brett

Cara Brett proudly heads up Bounce Financial - founded in 2014 after a successful, decade-long career in the financial services industry. Cara’s experience encompasses both the financial product and financial advice sides. This gives her a comprehensive and holistic knowledge of all facets of financial planning.