Explore Travel Insurance

Most Australians usually go on holiday for a few weeks a year, but there are those that travel for months at a time! But as the length of time you spend overseas increases, so does the possibility of something going awry. You should  keep in mind that these adventures abroad may require travel insurance that protects you for the longer term.

What is long-term travel insurance?

Long-term travel insurance (sometimes known as long-stay travel insurance) is a travel insurance policy that covers prolonged domestic or international trips. Depending on your insurer and your policy, they may cover you for 6 months, 12 months or even longer.

At Compare the Market, we only compare products with up to 365 days of travel cover. If your cover expires while you‘re abroad, you may be able to seek an extension from your original insurer or purchase a new policy while you‘re already overseas.

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 someone stole your luggage or credit cards. The amount your insurer reimburses you will depend on your policy’s cover limits.

Why do you need travel insurance for long trips?

No matter your trip’s duration, the unexpected can disrupt even the best-laid plans. From severe weather and lost luggage to injury and illness, those unfortunate ‘surprises’ can quickly burn a hole through your holiday savings.

You could argue that these risks grow the longer you’re travelling. As such, it’s crucial you explore different travel insurance options and take out a competitive policy that covers your trip from beginning to end.

Here are some of the top reasons why you should consider a comprehensive travel insurance policy:

Cover for illness and injury

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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.

Travelling overseas without travel insurance means you’d need to cover your own medical costs. Footing the bill could be financially crippling in some countries (like the USA), where healthcare costs are typically quite excessive. Your travel insurance policy can also cover you if repatriation or medical evacuation back to Australia is necessary after a medical emergency.

You may travel to a country with a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement with Australia. This means that you may be able to access a level of care for free or for a subsidised cost. However, remember that this agreement doesn’t always cover all medical expenses and is only available in 11 countries.

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, so your domestic travel policy won’t cover medical expenses.

Cover for adventure sports and activities


On your trip away, you may want to try stepping out of your comfort zone and tackling adventures head on. However, doing so carries a certain amount of risk.

Many travel insurance policies will not cover adventure sports and activities (like bungee jumping, scuba diving, hiking and more). However, many insurers let you add cover for these activities at an extra cost. Keep in mind if you‘re heading to the snow for skiing or snowboarding, these activities usually have their own winter sports cover.

Find out more about cover for adventure sports and activities.

Cover for theft and lost belongings

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If you’re taking a week-long vacation in Thailand or spending your gap year backpacking across Europe, travel insurance may cover your belongings if they’re lost or stolen.

Each policy comes with different cover limits for your luggage and belongings, so it’s important you choose a level of cover that adequately protects your gear. If you are taking valuables with you, you may consider taking out extra baggage cover to increase your cover limit.

Remember, insurers won’t cover lost, stolen or damaged items you left unattended (e.g. leaving your suitcases in the hotel foyer while you hail a taxi outside).

Cover for trip cancellations and delays


You can never be sure that your flight will leave or arrive on time. And the more you travel, the more likely you’ll run into delays at some point.

If a delayed or cancelled flight means you miss out on an activity (e.g. a wedding, pre-paid concert, sporting event, cruise departure or pre-paid tour), 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.

Cover for rental car excess

rental car

You might choose to hire a car to explore the winding roads of the French countryside or the Australian 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.

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Long-term travel insurance cover: Exclusions to watch out for

Travel insurers impose standard exclusions on their policies. Below are some situations where insurers typically won’t provide cover:

  • You didn’t abide by local laws.
  • Travel to a country or region with an active travel ban.
  • Alcohol and drug-related incidents.
  • Pre-existing medical conditions in certain circumstances (e.g. you didn’t disclose your condition and get special cover for it).
  • Incidents that happen after your policy’s expiration date. Your policy documents will outline how long you’re covered for.
  • Travel where you don’t plan on returning to Australia. Please see our page on one-way travel insurance for this type of cover.
  • Returning home before the end of your trip. If you return home early, your insurer may suspend your cover until your trip recommences. Read more about annual multi-trip travel insurance if you’re looking to return home throughout a year of travel.

To understand exactly what’s included and excluded in your policy, check the policy wording of the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) before purchasing travel insurance.

Planning out a trip with long-term travel insurance

What should I consider when taking out long-term travel insurance?

Before you purchase a travel insurance policy, it’s a good idea to tick off the following:

Write down your destinations and activities

If you’re looking for year-long travel insurance, this process might be more relevant than when taking a short-term trip. However, writing down all your destinations and activities within this period is crucial; by having a solid itinerary, you can be sure that you aren’t left without cover when you need it most.

Thoroughly read – and understand – the policy’s PDS

The PDS will explain the specifics of your policy so you can understand what you’re buying and how it can benefit you and your wallet. If you have any questions about your cover, jot them down and ask the insurer.

Tell your insurer if you have any pre-existing conditions

If you’re travelling with others on the same policy, ensure they also disclose their pre-existing medical conditions to the insurer. Disclosing your conditions doesn’t mean they’ll automatically be covered by your policy, but it does mean your insurer is aware of them and can potentially offer you extra cover for your conditions (depending on your policy).

Get vaccinated and have a health check-up before departure

Different countries require different vaccinations, so ask your GP which ones are best for you. If you aren’t vaccinated, your insurer may reject any medical claims relating to vaccine-preventable illnesses.

Frequently asked questions

How much does long-term travel insurance cost?

Everyone will pay a different price for long-term travel insurance. This is because your travel insurance policy’s premium (the amount you pay for your cover) will vary depending on:

  • How long you’re travelling
  • How many people are covered by the policy
  • Where you’re travelling
  • The activities on your itinerary

Can I extend my trip insurance?

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 extend your policy for an extra cost. Keep in mind that some insurers may place a cap on the length of cover they may provide.

Can I buy insurance while I’m already overseas?

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, or if you simply forgot to organise a policy before you left.

Most insurers will delay the start of cover for 48 – 72 hours after the date / time of your purchase, so it’s best to purchase your travel insurance in advance.

Learn more about taking out cover while you’re already overseas.

What happens if I fall sick or become injured and need to come home?

Travel insurance with emergency medical assistance will typically cover your emergency evacuation back to your home in Australia. If you find yourself in any serious situations, you should contact the local authorities and your insurer for 24/7 emergency assistance.

Will I be covered if I travel to a country with an official travel warning?

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 advice of the Australian Government and your insurer.

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.

If a situation covered by my policy delays my return home, will my insurer extend my cover?

Some insurers will extend your policy beyond its end date if a covered event (like illness or injury) 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 insurance providers.

What if I fall pregnant while I’m overseas?

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.

More interested in a short-term holiday?

At Compare the Market, we only compare travel insurance policies for trips up to 12 months. However, for trips up to 365 days, you can use our free travel insurance comparison tool that lets you weigh up policies from some of Australia’s biggest insurers.

Policies differ between insurers, so it’s important you compare travel insurance quotes to find cover that works for your trip and budget. No matter how long your trip, having protection against unexpected events could save you thousands!

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