International travel is back: How to get travel insurance that covers COVID

Posted: 21 February 2022 2:29 pm
News
international travel insurance covid

Smartraveller says that if you're going overseas, travel insurance is as important as a passport. Here's how to get the least fun (but very important) part of your trip sorted.

It has been 704 days, but the day has finally come – Australia's international borders have reopened.

If you're one of the many Australians planning to travel soon, it's a pretty exciting time – so let's get the boring but necessary bit out of the way first: travel insurance.

According to the Australian government's travel advice website, "If you're going overseas, travel insurance is as important as a passport. If you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel."

In addition to Smartraveller's stern messaging, lots of countries have also made travel insurance mandatory. Some even require you to have a minimum amount of medical cover.

Basically, the line is, if you plan to travel, get travel insurance.

The good news is that, in addition to protection for all the usual travel mishaps (like lost luggage), travel insurance can cover you for COVID-19-related expenses as well.

What COVID-19 expenses can it cover?

We found 22 travel insurers that offer some form of COVID cover. All can reimburse you for the following:

  • COVID-19 medical expenses
  • Trip rearrangement costs if you, a fellow traveller or your host gets COVID and it impacts your trip
  • Expenses if you're unexpectedly forced into quarantine during your trip

Some can also cover you for:

  • A prepaid activity that's booked in Australia or New Zealand is shut down
  • Extra child care costs if you get COVID
  • The accommodation you planned to stay at if it's closed due to a COVID-19 outbreak
  • Added pet care costs if you're infected and can't return home

We've made a list of the policies that come with COVID-19 benefits below.

BrandCovers some COVID-19-related expenses?Apply
World2Cover Logo
Yes
Get quote
Fast Cover Logo
Yes
Get quote
Freely Logo
Yes
Get quote
Medibank Travel Insurance
Yes
Get quote
Covermore logo
Yes
Get quote
Travel Insuranz Travel Insurance Logo
Yes
Get quote
Insure4Less Travel Insurance Logo
Yes
Get quote
InsureandGo Logo
Yes
Get quote
TIck Logo
Yes
Get quote
Southern Cross LogoSCTI
Yes
More info
Travel Insurance Saver
Yes
More info
Easy Travel Insurance
Yes
More info
1Cover Logo
Yes
More info
ahm life insurance
Yes
More info
Boomers Logoboomers-travel-insurance
Yes
More info
Qantas travel insurance
Yes
More info
RACV Travel Insurance Logo
Yes
More info
Travel Insurance Direct Logo
Yes
More info
Picture not described
Yes
More info
Worldcare
Yes
More info
Travel with Kit Logo
Yes
More info
Travel with Jane Logo
Yes
More info

What COVID-19 expenses won't I be covered for?

There are a few other COVID-related situations where travel insurance won't help out. These include if:

  • There's a government-imposed border closure or lockdown – for example, if this is announced while you're overseas, you won't be covered for rearranging your flights.
  • You go into quarantine or self-isolation that you knew about in advance.
  • You ignore a doctor's advice that you aren't well enough to travel.
  • You contract COVID-19 on a multi-night cruise.
  • You travel to a "Do Not Travel" country. You can find these on the Smartraveller website.

These are the main COVID-related exclusions but for a full list of what's not covered, it's worth reading the product disclosure statement (PDS) before you buy. You can usually find this at the bottom of the insurer's website.

"When it comes to COVID-19 cover, we strongly encourage our customers to carefully read their policy to really understand the benefits available to them, and the circumstances in which they could realistically make a claim," said Southern Cross Travel Insurance CEO Jo McCauley.

For example, travel insurance doesn't cover PCR test costs. This is because insurance only covers unforeseen events, not ones you should have been aware of in advance.

It has been a while. Remind me, what else does travel insurance cover?

Travel insurance can also reimburse you for:

  • Medical expenses including repatriation
  • Cancellation fees and lost deposits
  • Rescheduling flights
  • Luggage and personal belongings
  • Rental vehicle excess insurance
  • Legal fees and penalties – for example if you accidentally injure someone

A helpful tip if something does happen

Even with travel insurance, it's worth putting some extra funds aside just in case something happens. "Having access to extra funds is a safety net before you make your insurance claim," said Finder credit card expert Amy Bradney-George.

For example, if you or your partner catch COVID and need to quarantine, you'll need to pay upfront for the hotel and rearrange your flights. Your travel insurance generally reimburses you for those costs after you've returned home.

"It's worth setting some savings aside, or keeping a credit card with you just in case – whether it's a frequent flyer card to earn more points or a low rate card to keep costs down. Just remember you'll need to make monthly payments, and when your claim is approved, you can clear the balance," added Bradney-George.

Have you ticked travel insurance off your list yet? You can compare policies on our COVID travel insurance page here.

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