COVID-19 Travel Insurance FAQs

Answers about COVID-19 (coronavirus) and travel insurance

How does the current pandemic situation affect travel insurance? We’ve compiled answers to some of the questions we are receiving from customers. The situation is evolving, so we’ll keep this page up to date with new information as it is released.

Note: On 24 March 2020, the Australian Government enacted a ban on international travel under Australian biosecurity laws, on top of the earlier warning against all foreign travel.

COVID-19 Travel Insurance FAQs

If I do travel overseas and contract COVID-19, am I covered?

Australians are banned from travelling overseas at this time, barring a few exceptions (for example, leaving Australia if your regular place of residence is overseas).[i]

In the event you are one of these exceptions, any policy you take out for this trip now will not cover any losses as a result of COVID-19, because it is a known event and a loss is not unforeseeable.

Read your product disclosure statement (PDS) to learn more about your cover.

[i] Coronavvirus (COVID-19) – information for Australian travellers. Smartraveller, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australian Government. 2020.

Last update: 06/04/2020

If I get travel insurance for my trip later this year, will it cover any cancellations due to COVID-19 (coronavirus) restrictions?

It is unlikely that policies bought now will cover losses as a result of COVID-19, as it has been declared as a pandemic and a loss is not unforeseeable.

Last update: 06/04/2020

Are travel insurers offering customers any remuneration for cancelled trips?

Depending on when you purchased travel insurance, your insurer could provide compensation if you don’t receive a refund from your airline or accommodation provider. This will depend on the policy, as they don’t all cover cancellations or delays. To be sure, check your Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) for the details of cover and the circumstances in which you’d be able to claim.

According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, if flights or other travel services such as cruises are cancelled, refunds or other remedies (such as a credit note or voucher) are expected to be offered by the service provider.[i]

[i] COVID-19 (coronavirus) information for consumers. Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Australian Government. 2020.

Last update: 06/04/2020

What is ‘cancel-for-any-reason’ cover, and can I still get it for trips and holidays?

With some travel insurance policies, there can be an add-on that lets you cancel your trip for any reason, which can help you gain some money back. However, it may not cover the full cost of your lost expenses from cancelled bookings.

As COVID-19 continues to spread, some travel insurers have stopped selling policies to new customers, including cancel-for-any-reason cover. Even a ‘cancel-for-any-reason’ policy may not cover epidemics (the fast spread of a disease through a local community) and pandemics (the global spread of a new disease), though. The dates from which travel insurance policies no longer covered events relating to COVID-19 (and when insurers stopped selling policies) differs between insurance companies.

Before you make any decisions, read through the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and discuss any details with the travel insurer.

Last update: 06/04/2020

Do I have to postpone my travel plans?

Customers need to follow the advice of the various Governments and other local authorities. At this time, there is a nationwide ban that prohibits any international travel. Also, state and territory governments have imposed quarantine restrictions for those entering the area, making interstate travel for most Aussies impractical or impossible.

As such, you’re urged to reconsider any travel plans you have at this time. For more information, visit the following government resources:

If you’ve made any bookings for accommodation, flights, tours or experiences, you should contact these providers to see whether you could postpone your trip to a later date.

Last update: 06/04/2020

Do I get my money back on my travel plans if they’re cancelled due to COVID-19?

While some travel service providers will provide refunds or vouchers for customers, some will be left out of pocket. Customers need to contact their travel service provider so they can explain whether any compensation is available and what they should do in their particular circumstances.

If the airline, hotel (or other accommodation) and any tours booked don’t give you any money back, you may be able to claim the lost expense on your travel insurance. However, this will depend on (a) the policy you hold and (b) when you took it out (i.e. before the pandemic or epidemic was declared). Call your insurer and read your product disclosure statement to understand the extent of your cover.

Last update: 06/04/2020

Has all international and domestic travel been banned?

The Australian Government has banned Australians travelling overseas under the Biosecurity Act. It remains active as of April 2020. The ban followed an earlier travel warning against all overseas travel under Level 4 travel restrictions.[i]

As for domestic travel, Australian states and territories such as Western Australia, the Northern Territory, South Australia, Tasmania and Queensland have enacted border restrictions as of 24 March 2020.[ii], [iii], [iv], [v], [vi] Many airlines have suspended international and domestic services.

In most cases if you travel overseas to a country with a Level 4 travel warning (and in some cases Level 3), you’ll void your travel insurance.[vii]Remember to always check your Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) to know the exclusions of your policy.

Also check Smartraveller for details on travel warnings internationally, and with your local state or territory government for any border and travel restrictions.

[i] Coronavirus (COVID-19). Smartraveller, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australian Government. 2020.
[ii] Queensland border restrictions. Queensland Government. 2020.
[iii] COVID-19 coronavirus: Western Australian Government response. Government of Western Australia. 2020.
[iv] Border controls. Northern Territory Government. 2020.
[v] Coronavirus Information: Tasmanian border restrictions. Department of Health, Tasmanian Government. 2020.
[vi] Direction released for travel into South Australia. South Australia Police, Government of South Australia. 2020.
[vii] COVID-19 – Travel advice level changes. Smartraveller, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australian Government. 2020.

Last update: 06/04/2020

If I travel interstate and get sick, am I covered?

Domestic travel insurance policies do not cover medical-related expenses. However, the public health system is managing the treatment of COVID-19. Provided you have a Medicare card, you will be treated as a public patient if you are admitted to hospital.

Travel insurance can also help cover other costs though. For example, say you’re travelling interstate and a family member falls ill and requires treatment for COVID-19. The family members who haven’t contracted this condition may need to pay for accommodation, food, and more – in order to self-isolate nearby for a period. Insurance may help contribute towards this cost, depending on your policy.

If your travel plans are impacted by illness, it is best that you contact your insurer to better understand what assistance or cover they can provide.

Last updated: 27/03/2020

Is my trip covered for COVID-19?

Depending on when you took out travel insurance, COVID-19 may or may not be covered, as travel insurance often excludes claims relating to epidemics and pandemics. If you were insured before COVID-19 was declared a pandemic on 11 March 2020, then you may be covered.

Check the extent of your cover in the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) or contact your insurer for more information.

Last update: 06/04/2020

I have redeemed my reward miles for an airfare. What happens if I cancel my travel?

Should you cancel a flight paid for with reward points or Frequent Flyer miles, you may be entitled to get those points back, subject to the terms and conditions of your provider. However, airlines will have different approaches to ticket purchases made using reward points, though.

You should discuss this with the airline directly, as well as your rewards program operator.

Last update: 06/04/2020

Does my travel insurance policy exclude pandemics?

Commonly, travel insurance policies will not cover losses related to epidemics (the quick spread of a virus through a community beyond expected levels) and pandemics (the fast spread of a new disease across the planet).[i]. COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization on 11 March 2020.

Depending on the policies and procedures of your insurer, if you took out cover after this event became known, you may not be covered (although, the specific date from which coverage ceased may vary between insurers).

You can read up on other common travel insurance exclusions here.

Customers need to read their product disclosure statement (PDS) or contact their insurer to understand the extent of the cover they have purchased.

[i] Definitions: Emergencies. World Health Organization. 2020. 

Last update: 06/04/2020

If my policy won’t cover me for COVID-19, what can I do?

If you are left without any insurance cover, you should first follow the advice and directions from the Australian government or the authorities in the country where you are travelling.

You have a few options if your travel insurance won’t cover you for COVID-19:

  • You may be able to get a refund from any bookings made if you have to cancel, such as airfares and hotel stays by contacting these providers directly.
  • You can reach out to the nearest Australian embassy or consulate if you’re already travelling and require assistance.

Last update 06/04/2020

I’m currently travelling. Am I covered for COVID-19 under my travel insurance?

Most insurers will not cover losses that relate to a pandemic. Depending on when you purchased your travel insurance policy you may still be covered under your policy. Customers should read their product disclosure statement (PDS) to understand the cover what is available, and contact their insurer.

Be aware that on 24 March 2020, the Australian Government enacted a travel ban on international travel under Australian biosecurity laws, on top of the earlier travel warning against all foreign travel.

Should you be unable to return to Australia, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade encourages Australians to follow the advice and direction of local government authorities, including self-isolation if need be.[i]

[i] Coronavirus (COVID-19). Smartraveller, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australian Government. 2020.

Last update 06/04/2020

Can I still get travel insurance if I haven’t bought it already?

Travel insurance is still available to purchase, but most insurers will not be providing cover for any losses related COVID-19. Sadly, this might include flights, accommodation bookings, and more.

A travel ban is in place for all Australians for international destinations, effective 25 March 2020, and travel within Australia is being actively discouraged by the Federal Government. Some states and territories have even closed (or are limiting access to) their borders.

So, even if you wished to take out travel insurance for a trip, you may find that your options for going on that trip are now limited.

All customers need to read their product disclosure statement (PDS) to make sure they understand the cover available.

Find out more about Australia’s international travel warnings with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s (DFAT) Smartraveller website.

Last update: 06/04/2020

What happens if a travel warning is put in place after I’ve booked accommodation or flights?

As the Australian Government has banned all Australians from travelling to any overseas destination,[i] you may have difficulty getting travel insurance to any international destination.

If you already have travel insurance, then you may still be covered for cancellations, depending on your policy wording and the date you purchased your policy.

Your insurer can explain whether the travel warning or ban has had an impact on your policy (e.g. cancellation cover). Refer to your product disclosure statement (PDS) in the first instance and contact your insurer if you have any additional questions.

When the Australian Government advises against travelling to a specific country or destination, you may be able to cancel any bookings for accommodation or flights for a refund. You should contact the provider of your accommodation, flights, and any other bookings for more information, or learn more about this on the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission’s website.

[i] Update on Coronavirus Measures. The Hon Scott Morrison MP, Prime Minister of Australia, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Australian Government. 2020.

Last update: 06/04/2020

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