COVID-19 and travel insurance

COVID-19 is a current global health risk with constantly changing conditions. All information on this page is accurate as of 1 September 2022.

Does travel insurance cover COVID-19?

Depending on your insurer, you can get travel insurance that covers costs resulting from or related to COVID-19 (coronavirus). Depending on your level of cover, some of these COVID 19 related expenses can include trip cancellations, medical expenses, quarantine accommodation and more.

However, it’s important to remember that every policy has inclusions, exclusions, limits and sub-limits listed in your Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) that apply to your cover.

Why do I need travel cover for COVID-19?

If you’re unprepared for it, you or your travelling companion testing positive for coronavirus can significantly impact your travel plans. Rather than risk paying thousands out of pocket for COVID-19-related expenses, having travel insurance with COVID-19 cover can help give you peace of mind on your trip.

With COVID-19 cover part of your travel insurance you can relax knowing that you’re covered even if you fall.

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What does travel insurance for coronavirus include?

Pre-trip cancellations

To get the most value from travel insurance policies that include cover for cancellation for a COVID-19 related incident, purchase your cover as soon as you make a booking and / or a deposit for any flights or accommodation. Cancellation cover begins as soon as you pay for your policy, so if you are diagnosed with COVID-19 in the interim before your departure, you may be able to recoup costs through your travel insurance.

Medical costs and hospital treatment

If you catch COVID-19 overseas, you may require medical treatment for your illness. If your policy covers COVID-19, your insurer might guarantee to pay your overseas hospital bills or reimburse you after your return to Australia. Without COVID-19 cover, any medical expenses will have to be paid out-of-pocket. You should always keep all receipts to allow your insurer to assess your claim and determine what is payable.

Additional expenses

If you or your travelling companion catches COVID-19 and your trip is disrupted or needs to be extended due to mandatory quarantine or a stay in hospital, you may face unexpected accommodation costs. You may also miss out on other pre-paid accommodation or travel arrangements or suffer cancellation costs. If your policy covers additional expenses incurred as a result of COVID-19 then you may be reimbursed or compensated by your insurer.

COVID-19 Travel Insurance FAQs

What else does my travel insurance policy cover?

Depending on whether you purchase a medical-only, standard or comprehensive policy, your travel insurance may also cover you for:

Most insurance providers have a variety of plans offering different levels of cover and the inclusions and exclusions vary between plans and insurance provider. Always check the PDS of a policy before purchasing to ensure you have the cover you need

Does my COVID-19 cover have limits and sub-limits?

Similar to other benefits in all single trip policies and annual cover policies, cover for COVID-19 related events will have certain limits, sub-limits and exclusions. Your policy’s benefit limits will depend on your insurer and your level of cover. Be sure to read your policy’s PDS to know the full details of your cover before purchasing.

If you want higher limits for COVID-19-related cancellations and medical expenses, you should consider a comprehensive travel insurance policy and compare the benefits and limits across a range of products and insurers.

Am I still covered for COVID-19 if there’s a travel warning in place?

If you depart on a trip when Smartraveller has an advisory of ‘Do not travel’ for your chosen destination you will not be covered for cancellation costs or other losses. You can find travel alerts and advice for overseas trips, including any travel bans or warnings, on the Smartraveller website.

When is COVID-19 excluded from my travel insurance policy?

Not all international travel insurance policies cover COVID-19 or have the same inclusions in their coverage. However, common exclusions can be:

  • If you try to claim for trip cancellations due to lockdowns or border closures at your planned destination or at home.
  • If you travelled to a destination with current Smartraveller travel warning of ‘Do not travel’ due to a COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Claims due to catching COVID-19 but you’ve not been diagnosed by a qualified medical practitioner.
  • If your policy’s PDS specifically excludes all pandemics and epidemics without COVID-19 exceptions.
  • COVID-19-related cancellation and quarantine costs if you have a medical-only policy.

Your policy will also have certain limits and sub-limits that might impact how much you can be reimbursed if you need to claim. You can read up on other common travel exclusions here.

Always check your policy’s PDS for the full details of your travel insurance coverage.

What can I do if my policy won’t cover me for COVID-19?

If your travel insurance policy won’t cover you for COVID-19, you should consider your individual circumstances before travelling. For instance, if you have a pre-existing medical condition that makes you at risk of severe illness from catching coronavirus, you should reconsider your need to travel.

Remember that the Australian Government will not cover you if you can’t afford quarantine, extended or unexpected accommodation expenses and medical costs that can result from COVID-19. Unless you can afford any unexpected expenses that arise if you test positive, you cannot afford to travel overseas.

If you decide to travel anyway, take safety precautions such as wearing a mask whenever possible and following public health and safety orders. You should also consider purchasing a new travel insurance policy that does cover your for COVID-19; and cancelling your original policy and seeking a partial or full refund.

How do I protect myself from COVID-19 when travelling overseas?

According to the Smartraveller website, there are a number of things you can do to protect yourself and your travelling companions from catching COVID-19:2

  • Wear a mask while travelling whenever possible
  • Practice both good hygiene and social distancing
  • Keep aware and follow any public health orders or advice from the Australian Government and your destination’s government
  • Get tested if you have symptoms
  • Financially protect yourself with travel insurance that covers COVID-19.

You should always check the Smartraveller website before departure and while on your trip. It’s recommended you follow travel advice from the relevant authority on your trip and take safety precautions against coronavirus.

What do I do if I catch COVID-19?

If you catch COVID-19 before heading overseas, and decide you need to cancel your trip; you should contact your insurer immediately to confirm the cover you have. If you test positive for COVID-19 (coronavirus) overseas, you should self-isolate and follow the COVID-19 regulations of your destination country.

Do I need COVID-19 cover on international cruises?

As general advice, you should always consider purchasing travel insurance for cruises, as you will not be covered by Medicare or standard travel insurance on your trip. You may be able to get cover for COVID-19, but some insurers may not offer COVID-19 cover on multi-night cruises.

Always be sure to check your policy’s PDS before purchasing insurance.

If you are interested in travelling on a cruise ship, you should also check whether your cruise line has any requirements, such as that all passengers over the age of 12 be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and test negative before departure.3 Cruise trips involve large groups of people in close quarters, allowing for easy transference of any illnesses, which is why cruises are a higher-risk travelling activity when it comes to COVID-19.

Do annual multi-trip or annual cover travel insurance policies cover COVID-19?

Yes, depending on the insurer, you can get cover for COVID-19-related expenses for both single trips and annual multi-trip policies. However, it’s important to remember that you may need to purchase a comprehensive travel insurance policy to receive COVID-19 cover.

Can I still travel if I’m not vaccinated against COVID-19?

If you’re leaving Australia to travel overseas, the Australian Government does not require you to be vaccinated against COVID-19, although it’s not advised to travel if you’re not fully vaccinated.1 However, you should check the regulations and vaccine requirements of your destination country before departing and on arrival.

Adrian Taylor, Executive General Manager

Meet our travel insurance expert, Adrian Taylor

As the Executive General Manager of General Insurance at Compare the Market, Adrian Taylor has over 13 years’ experience in the financial services industry. Adrian specialises in customer experience and is dedicated to helping customers better understand insurance products so they can save money on their household bills.

Adrian’s top tips on getting cover for COVID-19


1 Department of Health and Aged Care, Australian Government. International travel and COVID-19. Last updated July 2022. Accessed August 2022.

2 CHOICE travel insurance buying guide: COVID-19 edition. Last updated July 2022. Accessed August 2022.

3 Department of Health and Aged Care, Australian Government. Cruise Travel. Last updated May 2022. Accessed August 2022.

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