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What is travel insurance in Australia?

Travel insurance is an agreement between you and your travel insurer. You pay them a fee (also known as your premium) based on the risks associated with your trip. In exchange, your insurer agrees to pay you for unexpected bills related to your trip, up to an agreed amount. Travel insurance can help out in lots of ways by:

  • Helping to pay for medical expenses if you're sick or injured overseas
  • Reimbursing you if you need to cancel your trip or cut it short
  • Covering your valuables and travel documents if they get lost, stolen or damaged

When one of these problems does occur while you're away, travel insurance can reimburse you for the costs incurred, so you can travel with peace of mind.

Why compare travel insurance with Finder

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We don't charge you anything to compare policies with us. If you do choose to buy a policy by clicking through to one of our partners, you'll pay no more than going directly to their site.

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Get more than just a quote

We write our content based on information travellers are looking for. We're an independent publisher and want to help you find the best information.

How to compare travel insurance

Enter your trip details into our search tool and you can get loads of quotes in seconds. Here are some other features of our search tool to help you compare:

Star Finder Rating

The finder rating gives you an idea of how comprehensive a policy is, based on how many benefits are included and to what extent.

Star Price

You can sort policies by price - cheapest to most expensive (and vice versa). It's always worth comparing prices because you can get more value.

Star Benefits

If some benefits are more important to you than others, use the "More info" tab to compare included benefits and limits across different brands.

5 things you need to know about travel insurance

One Travel insurance doesn't protect you from yourself

Your claim can be denied if the insurer finds that you failed to take care or act responsibly. Consider this before you have a few too many drinks on your trip or jump on a moped without a helmet.

Two Rules about renting motorcycles and scooters on your holiday

Did you know that travel insurance will only cover you if you're riding with an Australian motorcycle licence, or a valid licence in that country? You also need to be wearing a helmet and stick to a specific engine size.

Three You might need to pay more for certain activities

You'll need to pay extra for some high-risk activities such as skiing and motorcycling. This can be added when applying online. You'll find that most Australian insurers have a list of activities found in the PDS which are included for free.

Four How travel insurers treat natural disasters

Travel insurance can cover cancellations and injuries that arise from natural disasters depending on your policy type and when it was issued. If you buy your policy after the natural disaster becomes a "known event", you won't be covered.

Five Don't make assumptions when it comes to claims

If you're unsure about what to do when the unexpected happens, most insurers have a 24/7 emergency assistance line that you can contact. They will advise you on the right steps to take and help start your claim process.

It's important to know that travel insurance doesn't cover everything. Check out our guide for a list of common exclusions from Australian travel insurers.

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How much does it cost?

There is no flat fee when it comes to travel insurance. The cost depends on a range of factors including:
  • The trip length
  • The level of cover you choose
  • The places you go
  • Your age
  • Activities you'll partake in
  • Pre-existing medical conditions

Prices can also vary based on which travel insurance company you choose. The graph below shows how the price of travel insurance for a 7-day trip in Bali for a 49-year-old differs between insurers. You'll also notice the difference in price between travel plans (basic and comprehensive), because cheaper policies will generally cover less. This is why it's so important to compare travel insurance.

This graph was last updated in August 2019.


Frequently asked questions

Travel insurance is compulsory for some countries such as Cuba, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Belarus. But even if it's not compulsory for other countries, Smartraveller.gov.au advises that if you can afford to travel, you can afford travel insurance. It's a small price to pay compared to the thousands you could lose if something unexpected happens.

Flight insurance is sometimes offered by airlines to cover you for the costs of flight cancellations and delays. It's different because it only covers flight related expenses compared to travel insurance which is more inclusive. Travel insurance can protect your entire trip including your flights, overseas medical costs and luggage to name a few.
A PDS (Product Disclosure Statement) is a legally binding document that outlines what you're covered for. If something's not mentioned in a PDS then that insurer won't cover it.
Before you buy any travel insurance policy, always read the PDS to make sure you're covered for what you need. After you buy a policy, you should expect an email with your certificate of insurance and a copy of the PDS.
In insurance, a known event is an incident that has been reported by the media or government, e.g. a planned pilot strike or weather warning. If you buy travel insurance after these incidents become known events, you most likely won't be covered for any related claims.

An excess is the out-of-pocket expense you'll have to pay if you need to make a claim on your travel insurance policy. Depending on how risk-averse you are, you can opt for a higher excess, which will mean lower premiums (policy cost), but this might mean that smaller claims are not worth it.

Most Australian insurers will have an age limit for seniors which can vary from 65 onwards. Those that do cover all ages often have limits on trip durations and exclusions on pre-existing conditions.
Most policies will cover kids for free if they're travelling with the parent or guardian listed on the Certificate of Insurance. You usually need to be under 21 to be eligible as a dependent, though this varies between brands.

Complimentary credit card travel insurance often comes with more conditions and exclusions than a standalone policy. For example, you might have to pay for a certain percentage of your trip using your credit card. You should always read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) for the fine print regarding the excesses you will have to pay, the benefit limits, the maximum trip duration and which pre-existing medical conditions are automatically excluded.

If you find the few dollars you save isn't worth the risk of being underinsured, consider taking out a standalone policy instead.

Depending on your condition and the insurer, you might be automatically covered for free, you may have to pay more for a policy, or you might not be covered at all. Either way, be sure to let your insurer know about your pre-existing conditions when you apply. Otherwise, any related claims you make are likely to be denied.

While there's nothing stopping you from just purchasing the cheapest travel insurance plan you can find, which you can do by sorting the search results on our travel insurance comparison tool by price, you should keep in mind that the cheap price may also mean cheap quality.

Often, cheap travel insurance policies come with

  • No cancellation cover
  • No cover for lost luggage
  • No rental vehicle excess insurance
  • No protection from theft of cash or credit cards

That said, there still are affordable travel insurance policies that offer adequate cover. Although we recommend travellers take out comprehensive policies, we know everyone has different priorities when it comes to travel, so we've looked into cheap travel insurance policies to help you find the best one to meet your needs.

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Ask an Expert

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37 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    MatildaAugust 28, 2019

    Are there any insurance companies that cover Outdoor Rock Climbing without a guide. My son has already left Australia.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      NikkiAugust 29, 2019Staff

      Hi Matilda,

      Thanks for your message. Yes, here is the page showing insurers who cover Outdoor Rock Climbing, however, they require all climbs to be with a professional/guide. Given that your son is already overseas, you may want to review this page listing out insurers for travellers who are already overseas. As a friendly reminder, carefully review the Product Disclosure Statement of the product before applying. You may also contact the insurance provider should you have any questions about their policy.

      Hope this helps and best of luck in finding an insurer for your son!

      Best,
      Nikki

  2. Avatarfinder Customer Care
    JessicaJuly 25, 2019Staff

    Hi Maureen,

    Thanks for getting in touch with Finder. As a comparison site, we can’t recommend a single insurer, but we can try to help you choose one that’s right for you!

    You might find our pages about seniors travel insurance and pre-existing conditions to be helpful.

    Some things to note:
    – Most brands cover cruises but not all brands cover all ages or pre-existing conditions
    – Depending on the nature and severity of your condition, you may want to look at insurers such as AllClear and InsureandGo that consider all ages and pre-existing conditions
    – Some brands that automatically cover cruises only include medical, while others offer cruise-specific benefits such as missed port departure etc. You can decide which one works best for you

    Best of luck and enjoy your trip!

    Cheers,
    Jess

  3. Default Gravatar
    EddieJuly 18, 2019

    Hi my daughter is travelling to the US and are looking for insurance however she has Cystic fibrosis. can you assist

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      NikkiJuly 19, 2019Staff

      Hi Eddie,

      Thanks for your question. Sorry to hear about your daughter’s condition. You can find travel insurance with pre-existing medical conditions options on this page. It gives you a guide on how to apply for one and an online form that gives you a list and estimated quotes relative to your daughter’s case.

      As a friendly reminder, carefully review the Product Disclosure Statement of the product before applying. You may also contact the insurance provider should you have any questions about their policy.

      Hope this helps! For any further questions, feel free to reach out to us again, we’re here to help.

      Best,
      Nikki

  4. Default Gravatar
    WallaceJuly 9, 2019

    I am looking for travel insurance covering high altitude trekking in Nepal up to 6000m

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      ZahraJuly 9, 2019Staff

      Hi there,

      No worries! You might find this guide on trekking and travel insurance to be helpful. It includes our research of our partner brands, a few of which will cover you for high altitude trekking up to 6000 metres.

      Safe travels!
      Cheers,
      Zahra

  5. Default Gravatar
    PatriciaMay 28, 2019

    Does Westpac free travel insurance cover medical evacuation like from ship to nearest port hospital?

    Thank you.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JeniMay 30, 2019Staff

      Hi Patricia,

      Thank you for getting in touch with Finder.

      Yes, medical evacuation, if needed/emergency, is covered. Please note that medical evacuation due to your pre-existing medical condition may not make you eligible for claims. You may learn more on Westpac credit card complimentary travel insurance on this page.

      I hope this helps.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

  6. Default Gravatar
    KayMay 24, 2019

    Will Amex Platinum Reserve card complimentary cover be enough for a trip to turkey. We are 74 and 77 years old , in good health and physical fitness. Will this cover emergency flight back home to Australia?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      ZahraMay 27, 2019Staff

      Hi Kay,
      Thanks for reaching out. In answer to your question, it looks like the insurance included with the Amex Platinum Reserve card covers medically necessary repatriation back to Australia up to a maximum of $2,500,000. It’s important to note however that it doesn’t cover any pre-existing medical conditions, so if you or your companion have had any medical issues in the past, you might want to look into a separate travel insurance policy and declare your condition. Our guide on pre-existing conditions and travel insurance might be helpful. As for whether it’s enough cover, unfortunately only you can decide that! Hope this helps and feel free to reach out if you have any other questions. Safe travels!
      Cheers,
      Zahra

  7. Default Gravatar
    BadenApril 1, 2019

    To cover jewellery only for a 3 week period travelling from Sydney to Lisbon Portugal, London &Amsterdam back to Sydney. Cruising from Lisbon to Amsterdam for 14days. The total value of the items is $30,000.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaApril 3, 2019Staff

      Hi Baden,

      Thanks for getting in touch with Finder. I hope all is well with you. 😃

      If you want to find travel insurance that will cover jewellery, please go to this page. On that page, you will be able to know who offers cover for expensive items. There’s a table that you can use to compare insurers based on product details. After comparing, you can then click on the “Get Quote” button to obtain a quote.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

  8. Default Gravatar
    JenMarch 29, 2019

    Hi, I have a very specific requirement for travel insurance – I need to find an insurer whose cancellation policy includes being able to fly home for a funeral of a family member who is both over 85 and in a nursing home. Thanks!

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      NikkiMarch 30, 2019Staff

      Hi Jen,

      Thanks for reaching out! We have a page that shows travel insurance providers for family emergencies such as death. It says on the page: travel insurance can help you recover your cancellation costs including pre-booked tickets and hotels, costs associated with returning home at short notice and costs associated with resuming your journey at a later date. Most insurers have the following conditions:

      The person must meet the insurer’s definition of a relative
      The person must be under a specified age limit (according to the travel insurance policy)
      The death or illness must be unexpected
      This guide outlines the benefits and conditions that apply to trip cancellation cover, including resumption of journey and pre-existing medical conditions.

      For more information, you can visit this page.

      Hope this was helpful. Don’t hesitate to message us back if you have more questions.

      Best,
      Nikki

  9. Default Gravatar
    JoseMarch 24, 2019

    Me and my partner are travelling on the same dates both to Mexico. We are flying in different flights and to different cities in Mexico. We will spend some days together and some days appart. I notice that couple insurance is cheaper than two singles. Can we buy couple and dont lose any benefit specially when making a claim? or should we buy two singles?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      ZahraMarch 24, 2019Staff

      Hey Jose,
      Thanks for getting in touch! You’re right – getting a couples policy will generally be cheaper – but you need to make sure that you read the fine print once you’ve chosen an insurer you like, to make sure that you’re covered. Generally, insurers will require that you both have the same departure and return dates, but some may also specify a certain percentage of time that you need to travel together to be eligible for a couples policy. You may find our Couples Travel Insurance page to be helpful. Have a great trip!
      Cheers,
      Zahra

  10. Default Gravatar
    SteveFebruary 11, 2019

    I am trying to find the right travel insurance for my partner and myself that will also include insurance for riding a motorcycle (125cc Yamaha NVX Moped) in Vietnam. Neither of us have a Australian motorcycle licence, BUT we both have a Class A1 Vietnamese Licence (between 50cc and 175cc). Some insures PDS state that you must have an Australian Licence and a licence for the country you are riding in. Others state that you must have an Australian licence OR a licence that you are riding in. We are just trying to find the best cover.

    Thanking you.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JeniFebruary 12, 2019Staff

      Hi Steve,

      Thank you for getting in touch with finder.

      You may check out this page to start comparing your motorcycle travel insurance options. Most Australian insurers will require the driver to have an Australian motorcycle license, regardless of the country you are riding in. You will need to check with the individual insurer to see if you will be covered with a Vietnamese license. Also, not all insurers will cover a 125 cc motorcycle. Kindly go through the attached page for more info on motorcycle travel insurance.

      I hope this helps.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

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