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It’s not uncommon for the adventurous to purchase a one-way ticket from Australia with no return date in mind. Many also like to fill their gap year by moving abroad. One-way travel insurance offers security and protection to those temporarily leaving Australian soil for an unforeseen amount of time.

What are the benefits of one-way travel insurance?

One-way travel insurance is beneficial for those who don’t require a round-trip insurance policy, including those immigrating to another country. Many travel insurance providers require a return date for you to be eligible for a policy. One-way travel policies don’t require a return date, so you can travel peacefully knowing you’re covered against certain events until you reach your nominated final destination. On top of this, you don’t need to return to Australia if you need to make a claim while overseas. Many policies will even select your nominated final destination if you need to be repatriated in the event of a medical emergency. In the event of curtailment, you can be covered for your return to either your final destination or your Australian home – whichever is closer.

How does one-way travel insurance work?

One-way travel insurance operates differently across various providers. Most require you to be an Australian resident and have your travel originate from Australia. Some comprehensive policies include one-way travel overseas. There are also some ‘already overseas’ policies designed to cover those returning from overseas to Australia. Be mindful that some of these ‘already overseas’ policies impose a 48-hour to 72-hour waiting period, so if you need to make a claim within this timeframe, you may not be covered. It’s important to note that one-way travel insurance expires after a certain amount of time – sometimes 24 hours, seven days, or as soon as you pass Immigration Control at your final destination as outlined on your itinerary. So if your final destination is Rotorua in New Zealand, cover will typically expire once you reach this city, not when you first enter New Zealand. Some insurers will extend your period of cover if you take longer to reach your final destination than expected.

What does one-way travel insurance cover?

One-way travel insurance coverage differs between insurance providers and policies. The following highlights certain inclusions you could expect in many one-way policies (some up to certain limits):

  • Overseas emergency medical assistance/ expenses
  • Cancellation fees and lost deposits under certain circumstances
  • Additional accommodation and travel expenses from unforseen illness or injury
  • Lost luggage, personal belongings, documents like your passport, and cash
  • Reimbursed cancellation fees caused by unforeseen circumstances
  • Personal liability, including legal liability if you accidently cause bodily injury or accidental loss or damage to a third
    party’s property while overseas
  • Rental vehicle insurance excess.

What isn’t covered by one-way travel insurance?

If you are repatriated to Australia for a reason covered in your policy, your return ticket would not be covered by your policy – you would usually need to foot the cost of an economy ticket for the return journey. Like most other travel insurance policies, other claims arising from the following scenarios are usually not covered:

  • Negligence leading to loss of personal property and valuables
  • Extreme or dangerous activities
  • Injury sustained from paid work
  • Drug or alcohol-related claims
  • Pre-existing health conditions
  • Pregnancy
  • Unlawful activity
  • Motorcycling
  • Pregnancy
  • Cancellation fees due to a change in mind.

For more information, take a look at some other common travel insurance exclusions. Also, be sure to check the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) of your policy to fully understand what is and isn’t covered.

How do I remain covered overseas if/when my one-way insurance expires?

Some providers will allow you to extend your one-way travel cover, whereas some policies will cease in a much shorter period of time. As the unexpected can happen on a trip away, it’s important you take out the appropriate level of cover at your new destination. If you’re overseas and reach out to Australian travel insurance providers and don’t have a return date in mind, you may be knocked back. Those wanting to further explore without a deadline could consider taking out a policy with an international provider. You should note that while some countries like New Zealand and the United Kingdom have a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA) with Australia (which allows you to access some health services and subsidised medicines), you may need to consider more comprehensive insurance.

What else should I consider if I’m taking out one-way travel insurance?

What is your age?

Your age can affect the length of cover provided by your one-way insurance. Some providers allow for a maximum of one day to one year of coverage for those aged up to 65 years until they reach their final destination, while reducing coverage to a maximum of 90 days for those 66 to 100 years old until they reach their final destination.

Do you have any pre-existing health conditions

Pre-existing health conditions may not be covered by one-way insurance policies, or may be incur a higher premium. Be sure to disclose all conditions with your provider, so you aren’t uncovered overseas.

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