Travel cover can be difficult to understand, but it’s an important purchase for any trip!
We don’t want you to struggle though, so we’ve outlined any common terms you’ll likely encounter when searching for travel insurance in easy-to-understand language.
With our travel insurance glossary of terms, we’ll help you get covered with confidence. Of course, the definitions adopted by travel insurers will vary. To ensure you have the cover you need please read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) from your chosen insurer.
Still confused? Check out our guides to learn more about travel insurance.
Accidental death & critical illness injury
Should you find yourself faced with death of a family member or other travelling companion, or serious injury to yourself or your travel companion, travel insurance can cover your transport back home (otherwise known as ‘repatriation’) and even your funeral expenses.
An add-on is an extra level of cover you purchase to receive protection that a standard comprehensive policy doesn’t include. You may choose to add-on protection for a pre-existing medical condition or a particular activity (e.g. snow sports or cruising).
Activities like diving, abseiling, trekking and hang gliding and more can be considered ‘adventure sports’ and may attract an extra cost when buying travel insurance. They may also be referred to as ‘extreme’ or ‘action sports’.
An age limit refers to the maximum or minimum age which something can or cannot be done. For example, insurers may see older travellers ats more of a risk, which is why those travellers might have more restrictions imposed on their cover (e.g. no skiing), or they may not be able to seek cover at all. This will vary from policy to policy, so check the PDS.
Cancellation of a trip or experience booked through an agent might incur a fee. If you need to cancel your trip for unforeseen reasons, your travel insurer could pay your cancellation fees owed to agents, up to a certain amount, provided your policy covers this event.
Basic insurance cover is usually the lowest tier of insurance offered by travel insurers. If you only wish to get covered for a few things (e.g. medical cover only), basic travel insurance cover may be what you’re looking for. It usually offers limited cover compared to more extensive policies.
A benefit in travel insurance is the term used to describe the types of cover that are available under a travel insurance policy. This may include cancellation cover, luggage cover, etc. All benefits will have limits, and many benefits will also include sub-limits.
Cancellation cover can look after the cost of missed departures, connections, lost deposits, cancellation fees, etc. if you need to cancel your trip due to unforeseen circumstances. It allows you to claim up to a set amount, as specified by your policy.
If you require exhaustive coverage, you can get a comprehensive travel insurance policy. This typically includes more cover than any basic or mid-range policy, such as rental car excess or cover for lost or damaged items. This form of cover is the most commonly purchased.
Coverage or cover is the protection a travel insurer provides you with. If an event or circumstance is included in your policy, you’ll be able to lodge a claim with your provider and receive compensation specified in your PDS. Cover will be limited by general and specific exclusions. These will vary between insurers.
If your policy refers to something as ‘current market value’, it’s the amount it would be worth today – not how much you paid for it at the time you bought it.
If you have to finish a trip early due to an unforeseen circumstance, such as a loved one passing away, or illness or injury, this is known as curtailment.
A dependent is usually a child or grandchild under a specified age that you care for on your holiday. They can be covered under your policy, rather than taking out separate cover. However, you can take out separate cover for them if they’re travelling alone.
Your obligation to be truthful during the process of purchasing insurance is called your duty to take reasonable care.
Whenever you take out insurance, you should be as honest as possible and answer any questions truthfully. Failing to do so could result in a claim not being paid out or not being adequately covered by a policy.
Your travel insurer may put you up in a hotel overnight or for several nights if circumstances beyond your control (e.g. a terrible storm) prevents you from departing at the time you intended. It ensures you have somewhere to stay when your trip is disrupted by something that’s not your fault.
An excess, also known as a deductible, acts as a deductible expense you have to pay or contribute for your claim to be fulfilled. You’ll need to pay an amount as specified by your policy before your insurer can fulfil your claim or it can be deducted from the amount owing to you.
In travel insurance, exclusions are events or circumstances that won’t be covered under a policy by a provider. They may refer to locations, activities, acts or omissions and illnesses.
Also known as a hospital cash allowance, hospital benefits help cover out-of-pocket expenses if you’re hospitalised on a trip.
Any cost you incur that’s caused by an event, but not directly related to the event, are considered incidental expenses. Say a flight is cancelled and you need to stay in a hotel until another flight is available, meals that are included in your hotel bill could be classed as an incidental expense
A joint policy, also known as joint cover, is where two people can be listed on the same travel insurance policy. Joint policy holders can be related but do not need to be related.
An event that could disrupt your holiday or plans that you knew about (or was widely known about) before purchasing a holiday or making plans is called a known event. This could include natural disasters, wars or company strikes.
Luggage and personal effects refer to the belongings that you chose to travel with. Should they be delayed, misplaced or damaged on your travels, you may be reimbursed for items at their ‘current market value’ – essentially, what that item is worth today, not when you purchased it.
Loss of income in travel insurance may refer to if you’re injured or become ill on a trip and are unable to continue working as usual when you return home.
This is the level of travel insurance cover superior to ‘basic’, and should cover a few things more than those policies, potentially including lost luggage and theft.
Are you travelling multiple times a year? You may prefer a multi-trip policy, rather than taking out insurance for every trip you take. This a good option for travellers who fly from place to place throughout the year. Depending on your provider, it can cover all things included in a comprehensive policy for 12 months.
One of the most important things to get covered for by a travel insurance policy is medical expenses. Things like hospital care, emergency transport, and medication costs are expensive when they aren’t subsidised, but can be covered by travel insurance policies.
Personal liability refers to your specific liability and covers any costs related to you injuring someone or damaging another person’s property.
A pre-existing condition, or existing medical condition, is a health condition you have before taking out a travel insurance policy. Some pre-existing conditions may be excluded from policies and could limit the types of cover available to you.
A premium is an amount you pay a provider in exchange for travel insurance.
Also referred to as a PDS, is a document describing the extent of your travel insurance cover. It details what you’re covered for, what you’re not covered for, and more. All policies will come with a PDS.
A price estimate of how much a travel insurance policy will cost you, based on a set of questions you answer to best determine which policy is right for you. It’s an estimate, so it may vary from the actual price you pay.
Rental car excess is a fee a rental car company charges you if the vehicle is damaged, stolen or involved in an accident. Many travel insurance policies will cover your rental car excess if you get in an accident, which can save you a lot of money.
A single trip travel insurance policy will cover you for journeys where you make one trip, even if it is to multiple countries, departing and returning to Australia just once.
Travel delay expenses mean any extra money spent due to travel delays. If you’re delayed due to circumstances out of your control, you may be able to claim on expenses related to that delay (e.g. toiletries, meals, etc.)
Underwriters accept the risk of insuring you, guaranteeing you will be paid if circumstances call for it. Your policy issuer isn’t necessarily the underwriter of your policy. Instead, the underwriter is the person or the company who evaluates the risk involved in insuring you.
May refer to an event that you can’t control that impacts your holiday, such as an illness or death. It doesn’t include a change of mind.