A trip lasting two or three weeks is usually the most many Aussies can muster for their annual holiday, what with budgeting and finding the time to squeeze it all in.
However, if you’re one of a lucky few, you can travel for months at a time. Keep in mind that these adventures may require a type of travel insurance that protects you for the longer term.
Long-term travel insurance simply refers to a travel insurance policy that covers prolonged domestic or international trip. Depending on your insurer, they may cover you for six months, 12 months or longer.
Travel insurance is designed to financially protect you while travelling if something unexpected were to happen. For instance, your policy can cover you if you were hospitalised overseas or if someone stole your luggage or money. The amount your insurer reimburses you will depend on your policy’s cover limits.
The stress of travelling and exposure to foreign pathogens and climates may put even the strongest immune system to the test.
Whether you catch a cold from your accommodation’s air conditioning or food poisoning from the delicious (albeit questionable) street food; travel insurance offers peace of mind with medical cover.
If you’re travelling overseas without travel insurance, you’d need to cover your own medical costs. Footing the bill could be financially crippling in countries where healthcare costs are typically exorbitant.
You may travel to a country that has a Reciprocal Healthcare Agreement with Australia. This means that you may be able to access a level of care for free – or for a subsidised cost. However, keep in mind that this agreement doesn’t always cover all medical costs.
If you’re travelling long-term domestically, your policy won’t include cover for injury or illness. In Australia, we’re fortunate to be able to rely on the public and private healthcare systems.
On your trip away, you may want to try surfing in Hawaii, or skiing and snowboarding through Japan. However, doing so carries with it a certain amount of risk.
Standard travel insurance policies typically don’t cover adventure sports and activities automatically. However, many insurers let you add on cover for these activities at an extra cost.
Find out more about cover for adventure sport and activities.
Whether you’re state-hopping in Australia or you’re country-hopping around the world, travel insurance may cover your belongings if, say, your airline loses them or if they’re stolen.
Each policy comes with different cover limits for your luggage and belongings (e.g. $5,000), so it’s important you choose a level of cover that adequately protects your gear.
Remember: insurers won’t cover items that you leave unattended (e.g. leaving your suitcases left in the hotel foyer while you hail a taxi outside).
You can never be sure that your flight will leave or arrive on time. And, the more you’re travelling, the more likely you’ll run into delays at some point.
If a delayed or cancelled flight means you may miss out on an activity (like a wedding or pre-paid concert), your travel insurance may cover the cost of alternative transport to help you get to your planned event. Keep in mind that policy limits will apply.
You might choose to hire a car to explore the winding roads of the French countryside or the Aussie outback. However, if you’re involved in an accident, travel cover may look after your rental insurance excess!
Rental companies can charge thousands of dollars in excess to cover damages to the vehicle, so it’s well worth taking out cover that includes this option.
If you have a long-term trip coming up, compare travel insurance policies to find a competitive level of cover.
Travel insurers impose standard exclusions on their policies. Below are situations where insurers typically won’t provide cover:
Before you purchase your policy, ensure you tick these boxes:
This process may become more arduous if you’re looking for year-long travel insurance, for example. However, writing down all your destinations and activities within this period is crucial, so that you aren’t left without cover when you need it most.
Policies differ between insurers, so it’s important you compare travel insurance quotes to find cover that works for your trip and budget.
Our free comparison tool lets you weigh up policies from some of Australia’s biggest insurers. In one place, you can easily compare:
If you have any questions about your cover, jot them down and ask the insurer.
If you’re travelling with others on the same policy, also ensure they disclose their pre-existing conditions to the insurer.
Different countries require different vaccinations, so ask your GP which ones are best for you. If you aren’t vaccinated, it’s possible that your insurer may reject any medical claims relating to the illness.
Your travel insurance policy’s premium (the amount you pay for your cover) will vary, depending on:
If you want to extend your trip, you may need to take out a new policy to cover your travels. Otherwise, some insurers may allow you to add onto your policy for an extra cost. Keep in mind that some insurers may place a cap on the length of cover they may provide.
Yes, you can purchase cover while you’re already overseas. This is particularly helpful if you decide to take a detour to another country that isn’t on your current policy.
Learn more about taking out cover while you’re overseas.
Travel insurance with emergency medical assistance will typically cover your emergency evacuation back to your home in Australia. If you find yourself in this situation, contact your insurer right away.
Check with your insurer to see if they’ll provide cover if you visit a country with a travel warning. Typically, insurers won’t cover destinations with a travel ban.
Ensure you check Smartraveller before you purchase your policy, and again before you leave for your trip.
If you’re already overseas when a travel warning or ban is released, you should follow the Australian Government’s and your insurer’s advice.
Your insurer will likely attempt to contact you if conditions change after your trip commences. However, you should contact them immediately if you become aware of new travel warnings or bans.
If you go against the Australian Government and your insurer’s advice, your insurer may void your cover.
Some insurers will extend your policy beyond its end date if a covered event delays your return home. This cover should extend until you return home.
However, be sure to check with your specific insurer and policy, as terms and conditions differ between providers.
If you fall pregnant while you’re overseas, your insurer may cover you for up to a certain period within your pregnancy (e.g. up to the 24th week for single pregnancies and the 19th week of multiple pregnancies).
However, insurers typically won’t cover antenatal care, childbirth or newborn care. If you fall pregnant while overseas, ensure you contact your insurer for their advice.