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When confronted with the idea of getting travel insurance for a domestic holiday, have you thought, “Why would I need insurance when I’m travelling in Australia?”

It’s because the unexpected can disrupt travel plans no matter where you go. Have you ever been on a beach holiday on the Gold Coast and your camera was stolen? Would you dread missing a State of Origin decider due to a delayed or cancelled flight? Travel insurance can cover you in these instances.

Need more convincing? Let’s have a look at top reasons why travel insurance is a smart idea for any Aussie on-the-go.

Do I need domestic travel insurance?

It may be easy to overlook at times, but travel insurance for holidays in Australia is important to consider. If your plans are disrupted by lost or stolen luggage, cancelled flights or excess for hired car claims, travel insurance can be a great safety net to ensure your holiday stays on track.

What should my domestic travel insurance policy include?

Similar to travel insurance for overseas destinations, your domestic travel insurance policy should include cover for your baggage, flight cancellations, rental car excesses and cover for meals and any personal items you might need if your journey is delayed for an extended period.

Kangaroo at Lucky Bay in the Cape Le Grand National Park near Esperance, Western Australia

What can domestic travel insurance cover?

Lost or damaged belongings

Whether it’s during transit or once you’ve arrived at your final destination, losing your belongings is a common fear. In particular, losing your credit card while you’re travelling can be a major inconvenience. That said, travel insurance can ease the financial burden of having to replace any lost or damaged items.

N.B. Your policy may not cover unattended items that are lost or damaged. Remember to always check your Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) to know exactly what you’re covered for.

Theft

Australia is a reasonably safe place to travel around. However, any holiday where you’re exploring new surroundings may lead you to unexpected places. In these instances, it’s at least comforting to know that your belongings may be covered if they’re stolen.

Cancellation fees / the cost of delays

Most Australian airlines are reliable when it comes to delays and cancellations. According to the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities, almost 83% of flights arrived on time in February 2019, while over 84% of departures left airports on schedule.[i] Furthermore, the same research found that only 1.9% of all flights during that month were subject to cancellation.

While statistics suggest that delays and cancellations don’t occur regularly, it’s a good idea to have a plan for such instances. Your travel insurance policy could potentially reimburse you for cancellation fees or lost deposits (depending on the policy you hold) if circumstances were out of your control.

For example, if you book concert tickets in another city, but your flight is cancelled and are unable to attend, your travel insurance policy could pay out a lump sum of cash to make up for the loss.

Car rental excess

When you hire a car, you’ll generally have to take out insurance from the rental company in case your vehicle is damaged. This is a smart extra to pick up, as you’ll be driving on unfamiliar roads in a car you’ve never used. However, if an accident happens, you may owe an excess to the rental car company.

Travel insurance can pay for car rental excess, which means you have one less thing to worry about during an already stressful time. Keep in mind this may come as an optional extra that you pay a little more for.

Medical expenses

Domestic travel insurance won’t cover any doctor or hospital expenses. However, if you have a Medicare card, you have access to subsidised healthcare all over Australia. As such, you don’t have to worry too much about medical expenses when travelling domestically.

That said, Australian residents (except those who live in Queensland or Tasmania) who don’t have cover that pays for emergency transportation across the country, and need to use an ambulance, may be out of pocket for those ambulance expenses.  In many cases, travel insurance will cover these costs.

We detail the cost of those expenses on our ambulance cover page.

Cruise

Standard domestic travel insurance policies generally don’t include cruise cover as a standard benefit. However, it may be added as an extra for travellers specifically looking to go on a cruise holiday. This addition could be crucial, as Medicare and hospital insurance will not cover medical expenses while on board the ship.  Additionally, having cruise cover will ensure any claims for cancellation fees can be assessed.

Domestic travel insurance for seniors

Retirement can be a great time to go on that Australian road trip, and seniors under 99 years of age can still be covered by travel insurance. While there may be reduced limits for Australians over 70, senior travellers can still have the peace of mind knowing some expenses such as delayed flights, lost luggage and activity cancellations may be covered.

Domestic travel insurance exclusions

Every travel insurance policy has instances where you may not be covered. Common exclusions for domestic travel insurance policies are:

  • cases where you’re already compensated. If your flight or other booked activities have been delayed or cancelled, travel insurance may cover any costs incurred. However, this won’t be the case if the airline or activity provider has already reimbursed you.
  • unlicensed operation of vehicles. When operating any vehicle, always make sure you have the license required. Otherwise, any accident you may have might not be covered by your travel insurance policy.
  • scuba diving without a licensed instructor. The Great Barrier Reef is one of the seven wonders of the world, and it’s an essential sight for any bucket list. To explore the iconic landmark safely, always do so under the supervision of a licensed professional.
  • injuries from activities not covered by your policy. There are specific activities you might need to disclose with your travel insurance provider. For example, if you’re looking to carve the slopes at Perisher, you’ll probably need snow sports cover included in your policy.

For a comprehensive list of common travel insurance exclusions, visit Sergei’s Solutions Hub (see: What does travel insurance not cover?). Remember to always read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) of your policy to know exactly what you are and aren’t covered for.

Top domestic travel tips

1. Pack essentials in your carry-on bag

Whether you’re travelling from Melbourne to Hobart or Brisbane to Perth, always ensure you have what you need in your carry-on, particularly if it’s medication. After all, the latter flight can take over five hours, and cancellations or delays could always leave you somewhere longer than expected.

If you need to carry medication on your flight, make sure it’s in its original packaging and that you have a note from your doctor clearly explaining what it is and your dosage requirements.

2. Be wary of time zones

During daylight savings, east coast states such as New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania are three hours ahead of Western Australia. While it might not seem like much, it should be considered when making your holiday plans. After all, booking a flight at 8 am in Perth during summer would be equivalent to booking it at 5 am in Sydney!

3. Don’t carry restricted items while travelling interstate

Similar to travelling overseas, there are restrictions on what you can take with you when travelling domestically. Items such as plants, fruits, vegetables and animal products can carry biosecurity risks including weeds, pests and diseases. To avoid getting fines from Australian Interstate Quarantine, it’s recommended to dispose of these items before travelling.

4. Research road rules

Even if the differences are subtle, it’s important to acknowledge road rules for every state you visit. For example, if you’re travelling to eastern states, you might have to pay tolls on certain motorways, while a state like Queensland has limitations on using horns.

For more information, read our guide on how road rules differ across Australia.

5. Follow all warning signs

Australia has many places to swim, but some areas may be off limits. Whether it’s a sign warning you about crocodiles or one about staying between the flags at the beach, it’s best not to take any risks. Along with the potential dangers, disregarding these warnings could also void your travel insurance.

Compare domestic travel insurance

Looking for a policy to cover your next holiday? We can help!

You can find a great deal in just minutes through our free travel insurance comparison service. Instead of going to multiple websites, we can show you prices from several reputable partners on one page. We don’t mark up prices, meaning you’ll pay the same price with us as you would be going directly to the provider.

So, why not see if we can help cover your next journey?

Setting your sights on a trip overseas? We look at international travel cover for different countries too!

Sources:

Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities. Airline On Time Statistics – Monthly.

Queensland Legistlation. Transport Operations (Road Use Management – Road Rules) Regulation 2009.

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