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Let’s look at the big three common exclusions that would bar you from getting money back in a travel insurance claim, as outlined by the Insurance Council of Australia.1

  1. Theft of unattended luggage. The Australian Financial Ombudsman (now the Australian Financial Complaints Authority) told the cautionary tale of someone who left their luggage unattended in a bus terminal while greeting family members. The luggage, valued at a very upsetting $15,000, was stolen and their insurance claim was denied. Why? Because it was left unattended in a public place.2 Harsh, but fair.
  2. Poor health of the traveller. Anyone with a pre-existing medical condition needs to heed this advice: get a medical check up well before your trip, and make sure your insurer knows about it. If you hide it, or neglect to tell them, you run the very real risk of not being able to claim on medical expenses in the event you fall ill.
  3. Self-inflicted injury. The general rule is that if you knowingly put yourself in danger, you run the risk of not being able to claim on your insurance. Good luck getting covered for parkour, for example, or injuries suffered while under the influence of drugs and alcohol. One exception to this (depending on the insurer) is if you are trying to save a human life. Generally, however, taking part in reckless, or high risk activities or behaviour will not be favoured by your travel insurer.

Other common exclusions

SmartTraveller.gov.au tells the story of a young woman who has her drink spiked in a nightclub in Bali. She required hospitalisation, but because she was drinking underage in Bali, she was denied her claim for medical expenses.3

It acts as another example of why some people don’t get covered when they claim. Here are a couple of other exclusions that stop Aussies from claiming.

  • You were compensated elsewhere (i.e. by the tour operator, airline, etc.)
  • You broke the law.
  • You knowingly travelled to a country with an active travel warning.
  • Your claim is the result of an incident involving war, invasion, revolutions, etc.
  • You weren’t licensed to drive a certain vehicle, or wearing the appropriate head protection.
  • Your plans were delayed due to a terrorist attack (you should still be able to claim for unexpected medical expenses, however).
  • Your hotel/tour operator has gone broke.
  • You were injured while partaking in winter sports (typically you’ll need to pay extra for this).
  • You got sick because you didn’t get inoculated / vaccinated before leaving Australia.
  • You went scuba diving without a license.
  • You failed to report a theft within a certain timeframe to the police/your airline/your hotel and your insurer (usually 24 hours).

Need more information? We’ll help you understand the in’s and out’s of travel insurance.


  1. http://www.insurancecouncil.com.au/for-consumers/common-exclusions
  2. https://www.fos.org.au/custom/files/docs/20142015-fos-annual-review.pdf
  3. http://smartraveller.gov.au/guide/all-travellers/insurance/Pages/default.aspx

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