While Compare the Market doesn’t compare one-way travel insurance at this time, here is some general advice that might be useful should you need one-way travel cover. Or check out our travel insurance page to compare other types of travel insurance products.
Written by Tiana Lee-Collins
Reviewed by Adrian Taylor
Last updated 10/10/2023
Why take out one-way travel insurance?
While taking out one-way travel insurance can’t protect your entire trip, it can still provide you with peace of mind if your trip gets disrupted. A few reasons you should consider a one-way policy include:
- Getting cover for part of your trip is a safer option than not getting cover at all and opening yourself up to paying unexpected expenses.
- If you’re a backpacker wanting to travel without a return date, you can still get protection while you’re travelling until your policy expires or in case you need to cancel your trip before you depart.
- If you get injured or fall ill during your journey and need medical treatment, your policy may help cover your medical expenses as long as your policy hasn’t yet expired.
Choosing cover for your one-way trip
If you’re looking to purchase one-way travel insurance, there are a few things you should consider before choosing a policy:
- Consider what activities you’ll be doing during the duration of your travel insurance policy, such as winter sports, cruises or adventure activities, as you may need to purchase extra cover for an additional premium.
- If you plan on driving while overseas and want rental vehicle excess cover in case you have an accident and owe your rental company an excess payment.
- One-way trip travel insurance may have different limits, sub-limits and exclusions to a regular single trip policy, so be sure to check your policy carefully before purchasing.
- If possible, consider purchasing travel insurance that covers your entire trip instead of only one-way. While it will be more expensive, having cover until you return home will allow you to travel with confidence.
Expert tips for finding the right one-way travel insurance for your trip
If you’re looking to purchase one-way travel insurance, Adrian Taylor, our General Manager of General Insurance, has some top tips for helping you search for a suitable policy.
Consider purchasing your policy as soon as you book
You should compare and purchase travel insurance as soon as you make a booking and pay any deposits to ensure you have trip cancellation cover should you need to cancel your trip – this benefit is usually only offered on comprehensive policies.
Contact your insurer if you need your policy extended
Even if you don’t have a return date, if you take out a travel insurance policy and realise part-way through your trip that you need it extended beyond what is listed in your certificate of insurance, contact your insurer to see if they can extend it.
Changing your excess can affect your premium
Consider a higher excess to reduce your premium. However, your excess is what you pay out of pocket if you need to make a claim, so always choose a manageable excess amount.
About one-way travel insurance
Can I get travel insurance for a one-way trip?
It is possible, but one-way travel insurance is less common and operates differently across various providers. Some comprehensive policies include one-way international travel insurance; however, most require you to be an Australian resident and have your trip originate from Australia.
How one-way travel insurance works
A typical return policy requires you to have a ticket back to Australia before you can take out travel insurance. One-way travel insurance is more flexible, so you don’t have to have an exact return date – or even return at all – to be able to access the cover you need. One-way travel insurance could suit you if:
- You’re going on a gap year and don’t know when you’ll return.
- You’re emigrating overseas and need cover until you can take out insurance in your new country of residence.
- You’ve been living temporarily in Australia, and you need cover for the trip home.
One-way travel insurance can cover you for short trips from Australia to your planned destination or, in the case of some policies, even up to a full year, though age limits may apply. You’ll typically have to nominate a destination that you’ll be repatriated to in a medical emergency.
One-way travel insurance also expires a certain amount of time after reaching your nominated final destination, which can sometimes be 24 hours, 7 days or as soon as you pass immigration control. So, if your destination is Rotorua in New Zealand, your cover will typically expire once you reach this city, not when you first enter New Zealand.
Some providers will extend your period of cover if you take longer to reach your nominated final destination than expected.
How long will one-way travel insurance cover me?
One-way travel insurance can cover you for up to a full year; however, it’s often expensive. You may be able to extend your cover for a further 12 months after that should you choose to stay longer, although you might have to seek cover from an insurance provider overseas.
Before travelling, consider Reciprocal Health Care Agreements and whether you need extended medical insurance to cover you in case of a medical emergency.
Inclusions and exclusions
What does one-way travel insurance cover?
One-way travel insurance coverage differs between insurance providers and policies. There are certain inclusions you can typically expect in many one-way policies (some up to certain limits), like:
- Overseas emergency medical assistance/expenses
- Cancellation fees and lost deposits under certain circumstances (e.g. travel delays)
- Additional accommodation and travel expenses from unforeseen illness or injury
- Loss or theft of luggage, personal effects, travel documents (e.g. passports), credit cards and cash
- Personal liability, including legal liability if you accidentally cause bodily injury or accidental loss or damage to a third party’s property while overseas
- 24/7 emergency assistance
What does one-way travel insurance exclude?
An exclusion specific to one-way travel insurance is if you’re repatriated to Australia for a reason covered in your policy, your repatriation costs are covered but you may still have to pay for a return ticket to Australia.
This is because your insurer cannot recoup costs from a refunded return ticket, as a one-way trip does not have one, meaning you’ll likely need to reimburse the insurer for the cost of economy return ticket.
Like most other travel insurance policies, one-way travel also won’t typically offer cover for:
- Negligence leading to loss of personal property and valuables
- Extreme or dangerous activities
- Injury sustained from paid work
- Drug or alcohol-related incidents
- Pre-existing medical conditions
- Unlawful activity
- Cancellation fees due to a change of mind
- Travel to a country with a travel alert or warning after it was issued.
Additionally, if you plan to take multiple trips in a year, one-way travel insurance likely isn’t for you. It may better suit your plans to take out an annual multi-trip policy, as annual cover isn’t available for one-way travel insurance.
Can I add more cover to my one-way policy?
Having one-way travel insurance doesn’t stop you from adding optional extras to your insurance if you plan to participate in an otherwise excluded activity. Depending on your travel plans, you may consider:
- Snowboarding and ski cover. If you’re planning on trying your hand at any winter sports, this cover will offer some protection on-piste.
- Cruise cover. If part of your one-way trip includes a cruise, you should consider getting cruise cover as your regular travel insurance usually won’t cover these trips.
- Adventure activities. If you plan on taking part in any sport or risky activities, you may need an adventure cover optional add-on to be covered.
Keep in mind that additional covers like these cost more to add to your policy and usually come with their own limits, sub-limits and exclusions. Be sure to read the PDS before deciding to purchase.
Are my pre-existing health conditions covered?
Pre-existing health conditions may not be covered by one-way insurance policies, and they may incur a higher premium if they are. Be sure to disclose all medical conditions to your provider before you travel. Should you not disclose your health condition and require urgent medical attention overseas, you might not be covered.
Important to know
What happens when my one-way travel insurance expires?
Some providers allow you to extend your one-way travel cover if you’re still overseas and want to continue, whereas some policies will expire in a much shorter period. As the unexpected can happen on any trip, 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 without 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.
Does your age affect your insurance?
Your age may affect the length of cover provided by your one-way insurance. Some providers allow cover for a maximum of one year for those up to 65 years of age until they reach their final destination, and may reduce coverage to a maximum of 90 days for those aged 66 to 100.
If you’re an older traveller concerned about getting the right cover, check out our travel insurance guide for seniors for more information on travelling as a senior.
What happens if I want to return home sooner than expected?
You might face a scenario where you have to return home sooner than expected. Usually, standard one-way travel insurance covers you for a short period, and anything after that time is not covered.
In this scenario, you may need to purchase another policy to cover any losses you may incur on your return trip home; bear in mind that you can’t make a claim for something that happened before you took out a policy. For many policies, there’s normally an exclusion period of 48-72 hours from the time you purchased the cover where you are unable to claim or be compensated for any losses.
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