Travel Insurance FAQs

Answers when you need them

Have a question about travel cover for your next domestic or international holiday? Relax; Sergei is on the case!

Travel Insurance Frequently Asked Questions

Applying

Can I get travel insurance when pregnant?

Yes, you can get travel insurance when pregnant to cover medical expenses for issues related to a normal, uncomplicated pregnancy. That said, most travel insurers will have restrictions or exclusions in their policies, and will only cover pregnancy up to a certain number of weeks.

These limits do vary wildly between insurers. Some provide cover only up to as early as 18 weeks, or as late as 36 weeks. And that’s just for single child pregnancies; limits on cover for multiple child pregnancies can vary just as much.

Some insurers may require a note from your doctor to confirm you are safe enough to travel in order to be covered. However, there are some common reasons that you may not be able to get travel insurance while pregnant.

For example, depending on your policy, you may not be covered if:

  • It’s an assisted reproductive pregnancy (IVF), though some providers may offer to cover these for an additional premium;
  • You need to claim expenses for the actual childbirth or health care of the newborn while you’re travelling. However, some insurers may cover emergencychildbirth in your policy (if the baby comes early, up to the maximum weeks listed);
  • There are complications with the pregnancy at the time of booking your trip or purchasing travel insurance;
  • You have pregnancy complications afterthe maximum number of weeks permitted in your policy;
  • Your doctor has advised you not to travel;
  • You’re planning to travel after the maximum weeks of pregnancy stated on your policy (usually beyond the third trimester);
  • You’ve had a pre-existing condition or previous pregnancy complications.

Once you have travel insurance, you may be covered for trip cancellations and other expenses due to complications of pregnancy and childbirth. However, any issues must be confirmed by a qualified medical practitioner. It’s highly recommended you check your Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) or call up your insurer to determine an adequate level of cover when pregnant. Find out more about how pregnancy affects your travel insurance.

When is it too late to buy travel insurance?

It’s too late to buy travel insurance once you’ve already been injured, suffered a loss or mishap, after the flight is cancelled or after a natural disaster has already struck.

So, in other words, you can’t take out travel insurance to cover you for an incident that has already happened.

For example, let’s say you’ve booked your holiday to Bali and a volcano erupts (or is about to erupt). While you could get travel insurance at this time, you may only get luggage cover, and you won’t be covered for changing flights, accommodation or any disruption caused by the volcano as it’s too late, the eruption has already happened.

With a majority of insurers, it may also be too late to buy travel insurance once you depart Australia. Some may allow you to take out cover when you’re overseas, but you may be subject to a waiting period and more exclusions.

It’s a good idea to book appropriate travel insurance well in advance should you wish be covered for cancellations and delays as well as other things that may affect your trip. Check your Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) to understand your cover and any exclusions.

What should I look for when buying travel insurance?

You should look for travel insurance that offers a breadth of cover suitable to your circumstances while keeping an eye out for policy limits and exclusions that may affect you.

Some other features you can look for include:

  • Medical cover. Claiming on medical expenses and accommodation is a major reason people buy travel insurance, as falling ill or sustaining an injury overseas without appropriate cover can be expensive.
  • Cancellation & delay cover. In case you can’t travel, or your flights are disrupted, cancellation cover can go a long way to recuperating your losses. You may also be covered for changing flights or temporary accommodation if needed.
  • Luggage and personal effects cover. If baggage handlers damage your luggage, or if your luggage or personal items are stolen, you’ll need a suitable level of cover for the worth of your personal items (policy limits may apply here).
  • Appropriate cover for your destination. Getting adequate cover depends on your needs and where you’re going. For example, if you’re heading to the snow, make sure your policy covers you for skiing and snowboarding. Or, if you’re departing on a cruise, take out cruise travel insurance.

Always ensure you read your policy’s Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) thoroughly, so you understand exactly what you’re covered for and are aware of any exclusions.

Buying travel insurance through a reputable company is important when looking for cover. The good news? You can compare travel insurance from a range of trustworthy providers with us.

How long does it take to get travel insurance?

It only takes around five minutes to complete a travel insurance quote through our comparison service. You can usually get travel insurance instantaneously and be ready to go, provided there are no special requirements like pre-existing conditions that need to be approved by the insurer. You could even get travel insurance on your way to the airport, although it might suit you to get it earlier so you can be covered for cancellations and delays (should your policy cover this).

Although it doesn’t take long to acquire travel insurance, make sure you take the time to understand your level of coverage by reading your Product Disclosure Statement (PDS). Your PDS will list all exclusions, how much your excess is, and how much you’re covered for. It is important to make sure the product you choose provides the cover you need for your personal circumstances.

Can I have two travel insurance policies?

Yes, you can have two separate travel insurance policies, although you can’t claim twice for the same incident on those two policies. This means you won’t be in a better position than if you had one suitable level of cover.

It’s worth noting that if you already have travel insurance through your credit card, bank account or some other type of insurance, this cover may be limited. Furthermore, if you do take out another policy at the same time to have a broader level of cover and make a claim through this separate travel insurer, they may divide the costs of the claim between them and your credit card’s travel insurance.

Rather than pay for two policies, why not compare travel insurance policies from a range of providers to find one policy that gives you all the cover you need?

Can I buy travel insurance from another country?

Most travel insurance providers require travellers to purchase insurance prior to leaving Australia. You can get travel insurance when you are already overseas, but not all providers will offer it, or there may be exclusions.

When looking to buy travel insurance from another country, you’ll want to find cover that’s listed as “already overseas” or “already abroad”. Most of these travel insurance policies will have a time excess or exclusion period, particularly for medical-related losses. For example, there may be an exclusion period where you won’t be covered if you have an accident within 48 or 72 hours after you’ve taken out the cover, or you may also need to pay a higher excess if you’ve taken out travel insurance from another country.

Remember, the next time you’re planning a trip to another country, you may be able to find travel insurance when you are abroad, but you can also compare travel insurance well in advance of landing in your destination. This way, you can be covered for cancellations and delays before you leave, and much more while you’re overseas.

Basics

Travel insurance only covers me when I’m on holidays, right?

No, your travel insurance doesn’t just cover you when you’re on holidays. Depending on your policy, you can be covered for the cancellation of your trip before it even starts. However, this will usually only be covered if it was due to unforeseen circumstances outside of your control (e.g. falling ill, getting a medical certificate and not being able to go). It also won’t cover your flight being cancelled, missing your flight or changing your mind.

Your travel insurance then starts to cover other benefits from the time you leave your home to go on your trip until you return home from your holiday. For example, if you’re catching a cab to the airport and the taxi crashes, you may be covered for any injuries, damage to your items and costs to cancel and re-book another flight (if cancellation is included in your policy; usually found in comprehensive cover).

Read your Product Disclose Statement (PDS) to understand what you’re covered for and exactly when your travel insurance coverage begins. Even if you’re on your way to the airport to embark on your trip, it’s not too late to compare travel insurance and find a policy to cover you on your holiday.

Is travel insurance worth it for domestic flights?

Yes, travel insurance can be worthwhile for domestic flights. Even though domestic flights aren’t as long, and trips around the country don’t seem as risky, domestic travel insurance can still be an affordable precaution to have.

Depending on your policy, domestic travel insurance can cover or reimburse you if:

  • Your luggage is lost or damaged in transit;
  • Your luggage or personal items (like a phone or wallet) are damaged, lost or stolen in the city or town you’re travelling to;
  • Your flight is cancelled or delayed beyond your control, which can affect your accommodation and any pre-booked events (flow-on costs can add up!);
  • You’ve had an accident in your hire car and need to pay an excess on your rental vehicle insurance (comprehensive travel insurance can cover this cost);
  • You require emergency medical transport (i.e. ambulance) in another state where you may not be covered. Read more about ambulance cover.

Learn more about domestic travel insurance for peace of mind on your next trip within Australia.

Should I get travel insurance for a cruise?

Whether you should get travel insurance for a cruise is entirely dependent on your individual circumstances and needs. Generally, travel insurance for a cruise can provide cover or reimbursement for some of the costs associated with the following situations:

  • You can’t go on the cruise and need to cancel, or have to pull out of any planned on-cruise activities due to sickness or injury;
  • You get sick on board and need medical attention;
  • Your luggage gets stolen on board, or you accidentally drop something like your bag, phone or wallet into the ocean;
  • You get injured on board (e.g. slip by the pool and hurt your foot);
  • You hurt yourself during an activity like jet-skiing or snorkelling;
  • You have to evacuate the ship for some reason.

However, you might not be covered for injuries or dropping something overboard if you’re under the influence of alcohol. Generally, you also won’t be covered for not enjoying your cruise due to bad weather or rainy days, certain pre-existing conditions, adventure activities or cruise company insolvency (going bankrupt). You typically won’t be covered for cruise cancellation if your cruise carrier organises reimbursement or re-books you for another trip.

Remember to read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) to know exactly what you are and aren’t covered for.

It’s also important to remember that even if you’re going on a domestic cruise in Australian waters (say a cruise from Sydney to Norfolk Island), you may need an international travel insurance policy. This is because most foreign cruising boats don’t accept Medicare, as there may be an international doctor on board that isn’t covered by Medicare, and therefore won’t be covered by domestic travel insurance.

Learn more about cruise travel insurance for your next sea adventure.

Why is travel insurance important?

Travel insurance is important for the peace of mind that while you’re on holiday or travelling, you’re covered for financial loss if something unfortunate happens.

Depending on what type of policy you take out, it can cover you for:

1. Emergency medical assistance and expenses. This can save you from potential financial ruin, especially if you have an injury or health scare in a country like the USA, where overnight hospital costs are particularly expensive.

2. Cancellation fees and additional expenses. If your flights are cancelled (e.g. due to bad weather), it can cause a flow-on effect on your planned accommodation, transport and any other events you have booked in advance.

3. Personal liability.If you accidentally cause the injury or death of another person on your trip, or inadvertently damage or destroy someone else’s personal property (or public property), your travel insurance can take care of the costs (up to a limit).

4. Loss, theft or damage of luggage/baggage. It’s bad enough having your luggage stolen or damaged on holiday, let alone having to replace those items without having any cover. Travel insurance makes sure this process is as painless as possible by covering some of the costs.

Comprehensive travel insurance can also cover you for a range of other things that might occur on your trip.

What is comprehensive travel insurance?

A comprehensive travel insurance policy is generally a policy that covers a broad range of events, typically more than the other levels of travel insurance. You may find that comprehensive policies have roughly the same excess and amount of cover for overseas emergency medical assistance and hospital expenses as a mid-range or basic policy.

However, the main difference is that a comprehensive policy can cover cancellation fees (e.g. lost deposits and cancellation fees for travel arrangements and plans), and will also offer a higher amount of cover for:

  • additional expenses (e.g. emergency accommodation when you’re stranded somewhere);
  • personal liability (covers costs if, due to your negligence, you cause damage to or destroy another person’s property, or are liable for causing injury or death to someone else, e.g. if you accidentally hit someone with a hire car);
  • luggage/baggage and personal effects (replacement or repair costs if they’re mishandled, damaged, lost or stolen – may not be covered if it happened while your luggage was unattended).

Comprehensive travel insurance policies may also include limited cover for:

Accidental deathAlternative transport expensesCutting your trip short
Delayed luggage at the airportDental expenses (if there’s an accident)Hijack
Hospital cash allowanceLoss of incomePermanent disability
Pet careRental vehicle excess coverResumption of journey
Theft of cashTravel delay expensesTravel documents, credit cards and traveller's cheques


While not all comprehensive policies will cover those mentioned above, these policies typically provide a broader level of cover. Check your Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) to see what benefits are included in your policy, or
compare comprehensive travel insurance for peace of mind on your next trip.

What is a travel insurance excess?

An excess is the amount of money you may have to pay if you need to claim on your travel insurance policy. Your excess is typically deducted from the settlement amount (i.e. what you are paid following a successful claim).

For example, say you lose your luggage which is worth $500, and your excess is $100; if the claim is accepted, your insurer will reimburse you the balance of $400 (or up to the limit of your policy’s benefit) after you’ve contributed the $100 excess from your payout.

Even if you get seriously injured on holiday and accumulate expensive hospital bills, you will only need to contribute your excess as specified on your travel insurance policy. However, if you lose something worth only $50, and your policy excess is $100, the claim won’t be paid as your loss is less than the policy excess.

You can elect to have a higher travel insurance excess to lower your premium; however, this means you will contribute more to any loss in the form of a higher excess when you want to make a claim. You may also have the option of the alternative, where you pay higher premiums for lower excess.

Refer to your travel insurance’s Policy Disclosure Statement (PDS) or Certificate of Insurance issued by the insurer to determine how much your excess is. Learn more about travel insurance excess and make sure you keep in mind the excess amount when comparing travel insurance for your next holiday.

Is it illegal to travel without travel insurance?

No, it generally isn’t illegal to travel without travel insurance, unless you’re travelling to particular countries (sometimes for over a particular number of days) or travelling as part of a group tour (e.g. Contiki Tours), where it may be a requirement.

When visiting a country that necessitates you take out travel insurance prior to entry, it’s important to keep those documents handy, especially at airport customs. You can check the conditions of entry on websites like Smartraveller and foreign embassies.

If you’re going on a group tour, some tour providers may have a compulsory requirement to get travel insurance. In contrast, others will recommend having travel insurance with medical, luggage and cancellation cover. Cruise companies may also encourage you to purchase international travel insurance for cruising (even if you’re travelling domestically) as there may be a doctor from abroad on board who won’t be covered by Medicare.

While not compulsory, it’s perhaps a good idea to compare travel insurance for certain countries where it’s common to experience a scam, mishap, theft, physical accident or high hospital costs. For example, it’s a good idea to get travel insurance for the United States of America where healthcare and hospital costs are some of the highest in the world.

Does my credit card cover travel insurance?

Some credit cards will include basic travel insurance cover as a complimentary extra, but not all do. Although, if your credit card does include travel insurance, the cover might be limited and not as comprehensive as getting a separate travel insurance policy.

You may find there are common exclusions and restrictions to your credit card’s travel insurance policy. For example, it may restrict cancellation cover, exclude death cover or not insure trips for longer than a particular duration.

Also, some financial institutions and providers may require you to use your credit card to pay for part or all of your trip or flights to activate your travel insurance cover, and might only cover you for a trip (or part of the trip) that you paid for on your credit card.

It’s important you check your credit card’s Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) to make sure you’re covered for everything you need (e.g. baggage loss or theft, medical expenses, cancelled flights). If you aren’t, compare standalone travel insurance policies to ensure you’re more comprehensively covered.

Does family travel insurance cover individuals?

Yes, family travel insurance does include cover for individuals. Just because it’s a family travel insurance policy doesn’t mean you are only covered for claims relating to the whole family! Such policies work similarly to singles policies but will usually have higher claim limits to cover more travellers.

For example, if one member of the family gets sick or injured, has something stolen or loses their bag while travelling, they may be covered under the family policy. Also, if your kids are under 21 and don’t work full time, your insurer could cover them under your policy at no extra cost (some insurers extend this to dependents up to 25 years of age).

Most travel insurance policies cover families of three kids (under 21 or 25) travelling with two adults at no extra cost. However, if anyone in the travel party travels alone for part of the journey, they’ll need their own policy.

It’s important to check the terms and conditions of cover and any exclusions that may apply, which can be found in the Policy Disclosure Statement (PDS).

Learn more about family travel insurance or compare travel insurance for your next family holiday.

Managing your policy

When does travel insurance start?

If your travel insurance policy covers cancellations, it will start to cover them from the day your insurer approves your cover. Some policies cover cancellation of your trip before it starts, but this will only be covered in unforeseen circumstances outside of your control (e.g. falling ill). However, it won’t cover missing your flight, changing your mind or cancelled flights if you were already refunded by your airline.

Your travel insurance usually starts to cover you more comprehensively from the time you leave your home to begin your trip. For example, if you’re catching a cab to the airport and it crashes, you’re generally covered for any injuries, damage to your items and to cancel and re-book another flight.

During the cooling-off period (normally 14 days after purchasing travel insurance), you can cancel your policy for a full refund, unless your trip has already commenced or you’ve made a claim. If you cancel your policy after the cooling-off period ends, you may not be eligible for a refund, or may only receive a partial refund.

Check your Product Disclose Statement (PDS) for further details on what you’re covered for and exactly when your travel insurance kicks in. Even if you’re on your way to the airport, it’s still not too late to compare travel insurance and find a policy that covers you.

Can I cancel travel insurance?

Yes, you can cancel your travel insurance at any time; however, depending on when you cancel, you may not be fully reimbursed. There is normally a 14-day cooling-off period after the day you purchased your travel insurance, where you can cancel and get a full refund as long as your trip or policy hasn’t begun.

It’s difficult to get full reimbursement after that cooling-off period or after your trip has already commenced, especially if your policy has cancellation cover. This is because your travel insurance covers cancellation risks from the day you purchase your policy. If, for example, you’re three weeks into your cover but haven’t yet departed on your trip, your insurer may still have provided cover for cancellation for those three weeks.

After three weeks of being covered, you will be outside of the standard 14-day cooling-off period to get a refund. However, depending on your insurer and the reason you’ve cancelled your travel insurance (e.g. due to sickness), you may still get a partial reimbursement after the 14 days.

Refer to your policy disclosure statement (PDS) for information regarding cancellation cover. If you do want to cancel your travel insurance, contact your insurer as soon as possible.

How do I claim travel insurance?

If you want to claim on your travel insurance, the first thing you should do is submit a report to the proper authorities (e.g. local police for theft) when the incident occurs. To validate your travel insurance claim, you may need to provide medical receipts, or a report from the airport, police or other relevant authorities.

The next thing you should do is contact your insurer. It is recommended you get in touch as soon as possible (i.e. while you’re still on holiday, the same day if possible) and tell them about the incident, as they can guide you on what you’ll need for your claim and direct you to medical facilities or local embassies if needed. Your policy documents or your Policy Disclosure Statement (PDS) should have a contact number, hours of operation and details on how to make a claim. It’s important that you’re prepared on your trip by knowing how to contact your insurer and what times you can contact them (by keeping this contact number on hand, either stored on your phone or written down and kept safe with your travel documents).

Lastly, you’ll need to submit your claim, which can either be done while you’re on your trip or when you get back home (be aware that insurers may mandate a time frame within which you can claim). This will involve compiling any relevant reports or documentation which you should be able to submit by post, fax, email or online (depending on your insurer).

Keep in mind that you may need to pay an excess when making a travel insurance claim (the amount will differ per policy). For example, if your $350 pair of sunglasses is stolen on your trip and your excess is $100, you will have to contribute the $100 excess from your settlement payout, after which your insurer will reimburse you the balance of $250 for the glasses. The same goes for medical expenses and whatever else is covered on your policy.

Your claim shouldn’t take long to process, but that will depend on how complicated it is and what is stipulated on your PDS. After you’ve submitted your claim, your insurer should contact you periodically to keep you updated on its progress.

Learn more about how to claim on your travel insurance.

Pre-existing conditions

Which is the best travel insurance to buy for pre-existing medical conditions?

Policies may cover all or a limited number of pre-existing medical conditions, provided the condition is stable, hasn’t necessitated medical attention or hospital treatment in the last one or two years and won’t require you to have any  planned treatment or surgery in the future.

Depending on your condition, it’s best to conduct your research by reading the Product Disclosure Statements (PDS) from a wide range of insurers to see who covers what.

If you have a significant pre-existing medical condition (e.g. heart problems, stroke or diabetes), you may incur higher premium costs, or have to endure additional terms and conditions. You might also have to undergo a medical assessment so your insurer can approve your cover for overseas emergency medical and hospital services relating to your condition. Expenses related to some pre-existing conditions – like terminal illness, cancer, conditions requiring ventilation/oxygen, chronic lung disease and heart failure – are not covered by most travel insurers.

Read more about travel insurance for pre-existing conditions, including the types of medical conditions that generally are (or aren’t) covered.

Can I get travel insurance with terminal cancer?

Yes, you can still get travel insurance if you have terminal cancer, but what you’re covered for may be limited. You may be able to get cover for your luggage or trip disruption that results in additional expenses. However, cover for medical expenses and cancellation may be limited or excluded entirely, particularly if claims for medical assistance are directly connected to your terminal cancer.

Most insurers usually won’t cover medical expenses for chronic conditions, some terminal illnesses, chronic lung disease and certain types of cancer. However, you can still get cover for other common losses.

As always, it is best to refer to your Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) for more information. Read more about travel insurance for pre-existing medical conditions.

Can I get travel insurance with a heart condition?

Yes, you can get travel insurance if you have a heart condition. However, travel insurance that covers pre-existing conditions, like a heart condition, may attract more expensive premiums (as it’s more of a risk) and there may be specific limits, restrictions or other terms and conditions. If you have a pre-existing medical condition, you may need to go through a special medical assessment process for cover to be confirmed.

If your insurer accepts your condition, your policy should cover overseas emergency medical expenses that may be a result of your pre-existing condition on top of whatever else your policy covers (e.g. cancellations, luggage loss). However, you may still have limited or conditional travel cover for adventure activities like skydiving and snorkelling.

A heart condition may be considered a travel insurance exclusion if your insurer doesn’t know about it. For example, if you neglect to tell them about the condition or try to hide it, you won’t be able to claim on medical expenses if you fall ill and they find out about your medical history.

Find out more about how pre-existing medical conditions affect travel insurance.

What's covered?

Travel insurance only covers me when I’m on holidays, right?

No, your travel insurance doesn’t just cover you when you’re on holidays. Depending on your policy, you can be covered for the cancellation of your trip before it even starts. However, this will usually only be covered if it was due to unforeseen circumstances outside of your control (e.g. falling ill, getting a medical certificate and not being able to go). It also won’t cover your flight being cancelled, missing your flight or changing your mind.

Your travel insurance then starts to cover other benefits from the time you leave your home to go on your trip until you return home from your holiday. For example, if you’re catching a cab to the airport and the taxi crashes, you may be covered for any injuries, damage to your items and costs to cancel and re-book another flight (if cancellation is included in your policy; usually found in comprehensive cover).

Read your Product Disclose Statement (PDS) to understand what you’re covered for and exactly when your travel insurance coverage begins. Even if you’re on your way to the airport to embark on your trip, it’s not too late to compare travel insurance and find a policy to cover you on your holiday.

Does travel insurance cover scuba diving?

Yes, depending on your policy, you can be covered for scuba diving on your holiday.

While not common, some travel insurance policies (usually comprehensive policies) may cover expenses related to scuba diving as standard (e.g. if you get injured and need medical attention). However, other insurers may have an adventure sports optional extra to add to your cover, which will increase your premium but will cover you for sports like scuba diving, water skiing, snorkelling, jet-skiing and more.

Like most travel insurance policies, there may be restrictions or exclusions that could stop you from claiming. For example, most cover for scuba diving will be restricted to depths no greater than 30 metres. Also, there may be exclusions that you can’t go scuba diving without a proper licence. Insurers may require that the diving policyholder holds an open water diving license that is recognised in Australia or that they are diving with an instructor who is licensed to be covered.

Also, you may not be covered for scuba diving or any other adventure sports if you have a pre-existing condition; it’s best to check this with your insurer.

If you’re planning on having an active holiday, make sure you compare adventure travel insurance policies and check your product disclosure statement (PDS) to make sure you’re covered for any claims regarding scuba diving.

Does travel insurance cover missed connecting flights?

Some travel insurance policies may cover missed connecting flights if it’s due to a specific event found on the policy (e.g. a natural disaster). This feature is usually only found in comprehensive policies, which can have limited cover for travel delay expenses, costs of resuming your journey and delayed luggage allowance (e.g. when your luggage is delayed and you have to buy replacement clothing), as well as cover for cancellation and amendment fees.

If your policy does cover you for missing a connecting flight, it may also cover the flow-on effects, such as the costs of a new flight, necessary temporary accommodation or sometimes even the cost of missing an event that you were travelling for (like a concert).

You are not covered, however, just because you turned up late to the airport and missed the flight.

Also, your insurer may not pay out any claims if the airline puts you on another flight or organises accommodation while waiting for another flight.

Does travel insurance cover medical expenses?

Yes, travel insurance does cover medical expenses if you fall ill or are injured on your trip overseas. Comprehensive travel insurance policies can include unlimited cover for overseas emergency medical assistance and overseas hospital expenses, as well as (potentially) a limited cash allowance for each day you’re in a hospital. Basic travel insurance policies can also cover medical expenses (up to a substantial limit) but may not offer a cash allowance.

This is crucial cover while you travel, but you should be mindful of a few things:

  • Exclusions. Travel insurance policies may list exclusionsthat prevent you from claiming. For example, treatment for self-harm and attempted suicide, stays in a private room or any non-immediate, non-medically necessary treatments may not be covered.
  • Pre-existing conditions. If you had poor health at the time of travelling, conditions arising from this may be precluded from any claims you make. If you disclose your health status to your insurer before you get covered, they may still cover you.
  • Domestic cover. While travel insurance policies cover your medical expenses while overseas, it won’t if you’re travelling within Australia as Medicare and/or private health insurance cover this.

Overseas medical expenses can be costly without travel insurance (especially hospital accommodation in certain countries like the USA), which is why it’s best to read your policy’s Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) to make sure you’re covered for the unexpected. If you aren't covered for medical expenses, compare travel insurance policies.

Can travel insurance cover death abroad?

Yes, travel insurance can cover death abroad, but this will depend on the policy and manner of death. A comprehensive policy may cover the costs to bring the deceased back home, as well as (potentially) flying a family member over to bring the deceased home. If the death is accidental, any associated costs (up to a certain limit) can be covered by a comprehensive travel insurance policy.

Travel insurance may not cover death abroad if the insured person has terminal cancer or another pre-existing condition and dies from an ‘anticipated event’. Also, travel insurance will usually have exclusions for alcohol or drug-related deaths.

No matter how safe your trip might be, you never know what could happen, which is why it’s important to get travel insurance that covers you in most scenarios.

Be sure to check the policy’s Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) for more information on how death abroad is covered.

Can travel insurance cover car hire excess?

Yes, travel insurance policies can cover rental vehicle excess (i.e. the amount owed to the rental company if your vehicle is damaged or stolen). This feature is usually only found as standard in comprehensive policies; however, some insurers might only offer it as an optional extra (at an additional cost).

Some policies will specify a limited amount that you’re covered for (e.g. $2,000, $6,000). If the excess exceeds this limit, you’ll have to pay the rest yourself. Not only that, but you’ll also have to pay the rental car company excess upfront, and then submit a claim to your travel insurer.

Furthermore, some insurers will not cover your excess if you’re in breach of your rental agreement. For example, if you:

  • disobeyed the law or the road rules;
  • drove under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
  • used the incorrect fuel type in the rental car; or
  • drove in prohibited areas or at prohibited times.

Check your Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) to make sure you’re covered for car hire excess and to see how much you’re covered for. Learn more about car hire excess cover if you’re planning on renting out a set of wheels for your next trip.

Can travel insurance cover cancellation?

Yes, if you take out travel insurance around the time of booking your trip or well before you take off, it may cover cancellation and travel delays (both major and minor).

However, this will largely depend on the type of policy you have. For example, basic travel insurance policies usually won’t cover cancellation and amendment fees or travel delays. On the other hand, comprehensive travel insurance policies can cover cancellation costs if your flight is cancelled or if you are no longer able to travel (due to unforeseen circumstances like illness) and need to cancel.

Comprehensive policies may also cover you for cutting your trip short and cancelling it altogether if, for example, you need to return home because an immediate or close family member (under a certain age) is sick or has passed away unexpectedly. Comprehensive policies may also have limited cover for flow-on expenses of cancellation or delay, such as alternative transport expenses, delayed luggage allowance (e.g. when your luggage is delayed and you have to buy replacement clothing), costs of resuming your journey and travel delay expenses.

Also, if your trip is cancelled due to a natural disaster, your policy will need to list ‘natural disasters’ as an inclusion to cover any cancellation or delay expenses.

Check your Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) to make sure there are no exclusions for cancellations and to identify the limits of your cover if your flight or trip gets unexpectedly cancelled.

Are natural disasters covered by travel insurance?

Yes, you may be covered for expenses that you might incur as a result of unforeseen natural disasters or bad weather, as long as you had purchased your travel insurance policy before the event occurred and it covers natural disasters. For example, if you experience a flood, earthquake, thunderstorm, hurricane, tornado, typhoon, landslide, tsunami or volcanic eruption while you’re travelling, you may be covered for medical expenses cancellations and delays that are a result of this natural disaster.

However, you generally won’t be covered (or will have limited coverage for luggage and medical expenses, but no cover for flights and accommodation) if you get travel insurance after the natural disaster has already begun. Also, your travel insurance may not cover you if you travel to a region or country with an active travel warning from Smartraveller. If the event has already started, insurers might place an embargo (restriction where they won’t offer new policies) for that region or country until the natural disaster is over.

If it’s general knowledge that there are usually issues because of a natural disaster in the region or country you’re travelling to, then you won’t be able to claim on your insurance for natural disaster events. You shouldn’t have any problems claiming if an unexpected natural disaster occurs after you’ve arrived at your destination, though.

Check your Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) to make sure natural disasters aren’t an exclusion on your policy. Above all else, make sure you compare travel insurance and find a policy that covers natural disasters before you go.

What is multi-trip travel insurance?

Multi-trip travel insurance (also known as annual travel insurance) can cover you for every trip you make within 12 months. Depending on your policy, it can cover you for cancellations, overseas medical costs, theft, loss or damage of luggage or possessions, personal liability and more. Just be mindful that cover may be limited for some of the above benefits.

If you’re regularly travelling within Australia, you can purchase a domestic multi-trip policy. However, your cover will be subject to you being a minimum distance from your home, and it won’t cover medical or hospital expenses already covered by Medicare.

If you’re making multiple overseas trips throughout the year, you can buy an international multi-trip policy. However, if you’re travelling to specific countries, you’ll need to make sure you’re covered for those regions in your policy.

If you’re an owner or employee of a small business and your regular trips are work-related, it might be worth checking out business travel insurance instead. Bigger companies will usually have a corporate travel insurance policy to cover all their employees for the 12 months.

Multi-trip travel policies will be subject to the same exclusions you might find in regular travel insurance. This may include conditional cover (or no cover at all) for travellers with pre-existing health conditionssnow or extreme sports (like skiing) or cruises. It could also include limited cover for travellers over a certain age (usually 65).

Multi-trip policies will also have a maximum length of cover per trip (usually 20-90 days). This means your policy won’t cover you for any losses incurred while travelling if your trip exceeds the maximum trip length listed in your Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) or on your Certificate of Insurance.

You’ll need to be in Australia when your Certificate of Insurance is issued, so these policies can’t be bought from overseas (i.e. after you’ve departed for your trip). If you want to be covered for multiple trips throughout the year, compare travel insurance policies.

What does travel insurance not cover?

If you want to find out what your travel insurance does not cover, it’s best to read your Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) or contact your insurer. However, there are some common travel insurance exclusions which are usually not covered or will invalidate any claims, including:

  • If you purchase a policy afteryou’ve been injured, your luggage has been stolen, or an incident or natural disaster has occurred;
  • If you act recklessly, knowingly put yourself in danger, do something illegal, engage in a high-risk activity or break the law in the country you’re visiting;
  • If your luggage is stolen while unattended;
  • If you have poor health, as some pre-existing conditionswon’t be covered at all. Some conditions may need a medical assessment and approval by your insurer;
  • If you’re pregnant beyond the limit of cover (e.g. you’re in your third trimester);
  • If you’re injured while under the influence of alcohol or drugs (even if the incident wasn’t your fault);
  • If you were already adequately compensated by a third party (e.g. tour operator, airline);
  • If you travel to a dangerous country with an active travel warning that you knew about (see Smartraveller), if your claim is based on an incident in war, invasion or a revolution or your travel plans were affected by a terrorist attack (you may still be able to claim medical expenses for a terrorist attack);
  • If you didn’t have the proper licence to drive a particular vehicle;
  • If you went scuba diving without a licence or without someone who is properly licensed;
  • If you weren’t wearing appropriate headgear (e.g. helmet when riding a scooter) at the time of your accident;
  • If your hotel/tour/cruise operator goes broke;
  • If you get injured in extreme sports or winter sports, where you’ll need adventure travel insuranceor ski insurance (which may have limitations and exclusions like off-piste skiing);
  • If you get sick because you didn’t get the proper vaccines before leaving Australia; or
  • If you didn’t report a theft to the proper authorities (local policies, airline, hotel and insurer) within a particular timeframe - usually 24 hours after the incident.

What can travel insurance cover?

If you want to find out what your travel insurance covers, it’s best to read your Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) or contact your insurer. Travel insurance provides a range of coverage, depending on the type of policy you take out. You can see what travel insurance generally covers in the table below.

What’s covered by travel insurance?Basic policyComprehensive ‘top level’ policy
Overseas emergency medical assistance and hospital expensesYes (usually unlimited)Yes (usually unlimited)
Personal liability (covers costs if you’re responsible for injury or death of someone else or damage or destruction of someone else’s belongings or public property)Yes (limited)Yes (higher limit than basic)
Luggage/baggage and personal effects which are lost, stolen or damagedAvailable on select policies (limited)Yes (higher limit than basic)
Dental expensesAvailable on select policies (limited)Available on select policies (limited)
Additional expensesAvailable on select policies (limited)Yes (higher limit than basic)
Cancellation and amendment fees / cutting your trip shortNoYes (usually unlimited)
Accidental deathNoAvailable on select policies (limited)
Alternative transportNoAvailable on select policies (limited)
Delayed luggage allowanceNoAvailable on select policies (limited)
Hospital cash allowanceNoAvailable on select policies (limited)
Loss of incomeNoAvailable on select policies (limited)
Permanent disabilityNoAvailable on select policies (limited)
Pet careNoAvailable on select policies (limited)
Rental vehicle excessNoAvailable on select policies (limited)
Resumption of journeyNoAvailable on select policies (limited)
Theft of cashNoAvailable on select policies (limited)
Travel delay expensesNoAvailable on select policies (limited)
Travel documents, credit cards and traveller's chequesNoAvailable on select policies (limited)


It’s best to check your Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) to determine exactly what you’re covered for.

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