Travel insurance claims made by travellers from Australia for dental conditions.Int Dent J. 2001 Aug; 51(4):268-72.ID
Little is known about dental problems suffered by travellers abroad. This study was designed to investigate travel insurance claims made by travellers from Australia for dental conditions, particularly examining demographic factors, type of travel insurance coverage, nature and duration of travel, when dental treatment was sought during travel, use of emergency assistance, type of treatment, and claim outcome, including cost.
1,289 claims submitted during 1998-99 to a major Australian-based travel insurance company were examined for dental claims.
104 (8.1%) claims for dental conditions were submitted, of which 45 (43.3%) were made by male and 59 (56.7%) by female travellers. The majority of claimants were in the 60 years and over age group 54 (52.4%). Dental conditions reported required conservative (mostly fillings) 31 (29.8%), endodontic (mostly root canal treatment) 19 (18.3%), prosthodontic 27 (26.0%), periodontal 8 (7.7%), oral and maxillofacial surgery 2 (1.9%) and other or multiple 17 (16.3%) treatments. Use of the travel insurance emergency telephone service for dental conditions was reported in only seven cases (6.7%). Almost two-thirds 64 (61.5%) of claims were accepted. Claims for prosthodontic treatment were significantly less likely to be accepted. The majority of dental conditions did not require further medical investigations, 74 (71.2%). The mean cost of payouts to claims was AU$238.06 for males and AU$182.58 for females. Claims for endodontic and prosthodontic treatment were significantly more expensive than other types of treatment.
Claims for dental conditions represent a noteworthy proportion of travel insurance claims made by Australian travellers abroad. More than three-quarters of claims for dental conditions were for conservative, endodontic or prosthodontic treatment. Travellers should be advised to have a dental check-up before departure overseas and to take care with pre-existing dental conditions, which may not be able to be claimed on travel insurance.