Business travel insurance (otherwise known as corporate travel insurance) is an important investment for both employers and employees because travel can be unpredictable, even if you have meticulously planned the whole trip.
If you’re up in the air for work-related trips, or regularly send a few of your brightest interstate or overseas to push company growth, this type of cover can safeguard your business against the likes of delayed or cancelled flights, ill or injured staff and lost or stolen luggage.
Business travel insurance offers an additional level of coverage on top of standard travel insurance policies for both domestic and international trips. Types of policies available include:
This can be the most suitable policy if you have one employee travelling either once or multiple times throughout a 12-month period. Depending on travel frequency, you can choose single or annual business trip insurance.
Instead of taking out an individual policy for each of the jet-setting workers within the one organisation, you can instead take out a policy for multiple employees. This can cover either a single trip or multiple journeys. When organising a group policy, you must know your workers’ pre-existing medical conditions, as well as their personal details, like their date of birth. There can be a cap on how many employees you can have on the one group policy.
For both individuals and groups, a basic policy can cover transport delays and cancellation within Australia. With domestic travel, providers will only cover those employees when they are travelling a certain distance (usually 250km) from their home.
Many business insurance policies include leisure travel cover for directors and nominated executives, as well as their accompanying spouses and dependent children. This can be limited to directors and nominated executives. These will also have a cap on trip length, with some providers allowing a maximum of 45 days.
Business travel insurance policies typically offer the same levels of coverage as standard travel insurance policies, with a few additions. You can be typically covered for:
Not all injury, loss, or damage relating to your profession will be covered by some business travel insurance policies.
Some providers might not pay for losses like bodily injury, sickness or accidental death if these are covered under any workers’ compensation legislation. This is known as extraterritorial workers compensation and is typically only available when an employee is carrying out their duties on a temporary basis away from their state or territory where they are employed.
As always, check your policy’s Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) to know what’s included in your cover. If you’re taking out a group policy, ensure each traveller has also read the PDS.
There are some limits both you and other insured workers should be aware of before travel commences. Claims resulting from the following are often excluded:
Many travel insurance providers will not cover pre-existing medical conditions or will only cover a small number of specified conditions. Many providers will also assess other medical conditions and potentially allow you to include cover for these.
Typically, business travel insurance doesn’t cover any pregnancy-related claims. This is because pregnancy is generally considered a pre-existing condition. Pregnant staff can still be insured by a corporate travel policy, but the insurance will only cover medical expenses that aren’t related to the pregnancy, as well as other claims outlines in the policy.
Travel insurance, whether it be for corporate travel or a personal holiday, won’t cover a specific destination if that country or region has an active travel warning. These travel warnings can change, based on the situation within that country, so it’s essential to check whether the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has any warnings for the countries you need to travel to before planning your trip.
You can view DFAT’s Smartraveller site for the latest travel advice.
If you plan a trip and take out business travel insurance prior to a travel warning being issued (e.g. due to a natural disaster or armed conflict), you can still be covered.
As noted by the Australian Tax Office (ATO), you cannot claim the cost of business travel insurance as a tax deduction.1 However, you can claim some other business travel expenses such as:
Private expenses that aren’t related to the business trip aren’t covered. This includes things like souvenirs, sightseeing or entertainment, for example.
If your family travels with you on a business trip, or you have staff travelling abroad with their family accompanying them, then the family members can be covered by business travel insurance. Different policies will have varying degrees of cover and details on what’s included, but typically medical costs, luggage and cancelled flights, if listed in the PDS, are covered for the employee’s family members.
1 ATO – Claiming a tax deduction for business travel expenses. Last updated August 2019. Accessed May 2021.