While Compare the Market doesn’t currently offer travel insurance for travellers who are already overseas, it is still possible to protect yourself with a travel insurance policy, even if you’ve already departed on your trip.
Written by Tiana Lee-Collins
Reviewed by Adrian Taylor
Last updated 02/11/2023
Why take out travel insurance when you’re already overseas?
Taking out a travel insurance policy when already overseas can help safeguard the remainder of your trip and provide peace of mind. If you’re unsure whether you need cover, consider the following:
- Any incidents that occur overseas will need to be paid from your own pocket.
- If your plans change, your current policy might not include all the cover you need.
- Overseas medical bills can be expensive, which is why it’s important to protect yourself. against those costs with medical cover – particularly if you’re taking part in any risky activities.
Choosing cover for your trip when already overseas
If you’re looking to buy travel insurance when already overseas, you should consider the following before choosing a policy:
- Consider what activities are left on your itinerary to make sure your policy covers them – snow sports, cruising or adventure activities may require paying an additional premium for add-on cover.
- Your cover only starts after the waiting period, so be aware that if an incident occurs before you take out a policy or during the waiting period, you won’t be covered.
- Terms and conditions apply to every policy, but more may apply to already overseas policies. Read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) for details on your policy’s limits, sub-limits and exclusions.
About travel insurance when you’re already overseas
Why do you need travel insurance in the first place?
Travel insurance provides a financial safety net for a range of things that could go wrong on an overseas trip. When making travel plans, it’s recommended that you take out comprehensive travel insurance before you begin your journey, ideally just after you’ve booked your flights or accommodation.
That way, you’re likely to be covered from the very beginning, and with cancellation cover you can make a claim to recover lost deposits and booking expenses.
The travel insurance you get when you’re already overseas typically covers the same things as travel insurance purchased before your journey – though there might be some different limits and conditions. Depending on your insurance provider and your level of cover, you could be covered for:
Does travel insurance taken out while already overseas cover medical repatriation?
Your already overseas policy generally has the same coverage as if you purchased it before you left. If your policy includes emergency hospital expenses, medical repatriation to Australia is typically covered as well. Be sure to check your policy’s PDS for details.
Travel insurance for when you’re already overseas will generally have the same (but potentially more) exclusions as a standard policy that you purchased before your departure date. Some instances where your claim may be rejected are if:
- You were injured while behaving recklessly, dangerously or illegally
- You left your luggage unattended, and it was stolen
- You travelled against government or medical advice
- You travelled to a destination as a known excluded event was occurring (e.g. natural disasters or civil or political unrest)
- You tried to claim during the 48-72 hour waiting period from when your Certificate of Insurance was issued (if you become injured during this period, contact your insurance provider as they may make an exception).
Keep in mind that some policies purchased when the traveller is already overseas won’t offer a cooling-off period, so you will not receive a refund if you cancel your policy. Be sure to read the PDS of your policy before you purchase to understand the specifics of your cover.
Pre-existing medical conditions
If you have a pre-existing medical condition, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to receive cover for it with an already overseas policy. You can still purchase travel insurance if you’re overseas already, but you typically cannot make any claims for an incident related to your pre-existing condition.
However, you can still have coverage for other emergency medical expenses unrelated to your conditions, as well as all other events listed in your policy.
Eligibility for cover
Who is eligible for travel insurance when already overseas?
In most cases, only Australian residents can get travel insurance from Australian insurance providers after they leave the country. Some providers might also have age limits on who can purchase a travel policy once they’ve left Australia, and a return ticket is usually required for cover.
Eligibility isn’t limited to single trips either – you can still purchase annual multi-trip insurance even if you’ve already departed on a trip, but if you do, be sure to check the maximum travel days that are covered per trip
You can find the complete eligibility requirements of your travel insurance cover in the PDS of your policy.
Conditions of cover
Additional terms and conditions may affect your international travel insurance if you purchase cover when you’re already abroad, including:
- Waiting periods. Policies purchased when you’re already overseas often enforce waiting periods, meaning that you aren’t covered for losses incurred during this time (e.g. the first 72 hours of cover).
- You’ll need a return ticket. You’ll most likely need to have already booked a return ticket to Australia.
- Time limits. There are usually time limits for when you need to purchase cover and how long it lasts. For example, you may need to purchase travel insurance within 15-30 days of leaving Australia, which will only cover you for a set period, such as 90 days.
Specific conditions may differ across insurance providers, so it’s important to check the details of the policy before purchasing. You can typically find these details in the PDS.
Important to know
Am I covered if I extend my trip once I’m already overseas?
Some providers may allow you to extend your coverage if you already had travel cover and extend your time abroad beyond the period covered by your original policy. If your provider doesn’t allow you to extend your policy, your other option is to take out a new, already overseas policy.
If you’re intending to stay abroad for a long time, you should consider long-term travel insurance instead.
Can I still get travel insurance when already overseas if I don’t have a return flight to Australia?
Unfortunately, if you’re already overseas, most providers may require that you have a return ticket to Australia to get travel insurance, so that your trip ends in Australia or that you return home by the end date covered in your insurance.
If you don’t have a return flight planned and haven’t yet departed Australia for your overseas adventure, you should consider taking out one-way travel insurance.
Can I get overseas travel insurance with my credit card?
The good news is that you might already have travel insurance. Many credit cards come with complimentary travel insurance automatically included. While credit card travel insurance will typically have lower limits than buying comprehensive cover directly from an insurance provider, it can still cover you for most standard inclusions.
You may want to consider getting an overseas travel insurance policy on top of your existing one if you want extra cover for cruise trips, adventure activities or skiing and snowboarding. Keep in mind, you generally won’t receive coverage for any pre-existing medical conditions with credit card travel insurance either.
Want to know more about travel insurance?