Explore Travel Insurance

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.

Tiana Lee-CollinsWritten by Tiana Lee-Collins
Reviewed by Adrian Taylor
Last updated 10/01/2024

Key takeaways

Most Australians usually go on holiday for a few weeks a year, but there are those that travel for months at a time! If this is you, you should keep in mind that these adventures abroad may require travel insurance that protects you for the longer term.

  • Most travel insurance will typically cover single trips up to 12 months.
  • What your policy covers will vary depending on your insurer, your level of cover and your optional extras, and this cover remains consistent until the return date on your policy.
  • A comprehensive travel insurance policy can cover you for a range of unforeseen events, including medical care, cancellation cover, personal liability, luggage cover and more.

Why take out long-term travel insurance?

Travel insurance is a safeguard for your trip in case unexpected events threaten to ruin your holiday and cause expenses you hadn’t planned for. There are a lot of reasons taking out travel insurance for a long-term trip is important, and we’ve covered a few of them below:

  • The more time you spend overseas, the more chance there is of something going awry, but having travel insurance can help you manage any disruptions that impact your journey.
  • Even a basic level of cover can offer peace of mind on international trips with medical cover, as otherwise, you would have to pay for any medical treatment out of your own pocket.
  • If you’re planning on taking a working holiday, you’ll likely be overseas for a significant amount of time. Travel insurance can cover you for your holiday and work adventures alike, as long as the activities are covered under your policy.

 

Choosing long-term travel insurance

When comparing travel insurance quotes for a long trip, it’s more important to choose a travel insurance policy that suits your trip from start to finish.

  • When purchasing a travel insurance policy, it’s important to plan ahead and get cover for any activities you plan to participate in at any point in your trip; this might including skiing, renting a car to drive or taking part in risky activities like bungee jumping or scuba diving.
  • When you’re taking a long trip, it’s even more important to make sure you understand the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) to ensure you know the inclusions and exclusions of your policy before you need to claim. Another important document to check is the Target Market Determination (TMD), as this will outline whether a policy is suited to your situation and plans.
  • Keep in mind that long-term travel insurance and annual travel insurance are not the same type of policy. While annual multi-trip policies do offer cover up to a full year as well, this policy is designed for travellers taking multiple trips in a year (up to a maximum number of days for each trip).

Adrian Taylor, Executive General Manager

Expert tips for managing your long-term travel insurance policy

Compare the Market’s travel insurance expert, Adrian Taylor, has these tips for long-term travellers looking to take out insurance.

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

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

About long-term travel insurance

Planning long term trip with travel insurance

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.

Your travel insurance cover 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 I 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

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.1

If you’re travelling long-term domestically, your policy won’t include medical cover. 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

Many travel insurance policies won’t automatically cover adventure activities and sports (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.

Cover for theft and lost belongings

Whether you’re temporarily moving to Thailand for work 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’re 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 in public.

Cover for trip cancellations and travel 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

If you choose to hire a car and are involved in an accident, travel cover may look after your rental car excess. Rental companies can charge thousands of dollars in excess to cover damages to the vehicle, so it can be well worth taking out cover that includes this option.

What does long-term travel insurance exclude?

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
  • Returning home before the end of your trip; if you return home early, your insurer may suspend your cover until your trip recommences.

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

Important to know

Woman on long term overseas trip in italy with travel insurance

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?

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.

However, 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 or time of your purchase, so it’s best to purchase your travel insurance in advance.

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.

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 number of weeks of your pregnancy, depending on your insurer and whether you’re having a single or multiple pregnancy.

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.


Sources

1 Smartraveller. Reciprocal health care agreements. Last updated November 2011. Accessed August 2023.

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