Neon sign signifying exclusions

Travel Insurance Exclusions

What doesn't travel insurance cover? Common travel insurance exclusions from Australian insurers

Exclusions are the circumstances in which your insurer won’t pay. These are listed in the product disclosure statement (PDS) and there are usually a range of general exclusions that apply to most travel insurance policies, including:

  • Lost, stolen or damaged belongings left unattended or unsupervised
  • Unapproved pre-existing medical conditions
  • Engaging in reckless behaviour
  • Participating in unapproved high-risk sports and activities
  • Travelling against government advice or warnings
  • Not obeying the road rules of the country you are driving in
  • Changing your mind about travelling
  • Acts of war, rebellion, revolution or military coup
  • Suicide or attempted suicide

As well as general exclusions, there are specific exclusions that apply to travel insurance policies. This guide looks at them in more detail.

Overseas Emergency Medical Assistance

Doctor

This portion of your policy provides cover for 24-hour emergency medical assistance, ambulance, hospital guarantees, messages to family, medical evacuations and funeral arrangements.

Common exclusions include the following:

  • No cover if you do not promptly follow the medical advice of the insurer’s emergency medical assistance provider.
  • No cover for medical evacuation, funeral services, cremation or bringing your remains back to Australia if you do not get prior approval from the insurer before incurring expenses.
  • No cover for subsequent medical, hospital or evacuation expenses .
  • No cover for medical evacuation or the transportation of your remains from Australia to an overseas country.

Overseas Emergency Medical and Hospital Expenses

This portion of your policy covers emergency medical or dental treatment and hospital expenses incurred on the advice of a medical adviser.

Common exclusions include the following:

  • No cover if you fail to follow the advice of the insurer’s emergency medical assistance provider.
  • No cover for incurred expenses without getting prior approval.
  • No cover if you receive treatment under a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement
  • No cover if the expenses you incurred are the result of an undisclosed pre-existing medical condition.
  • No cover for damage to bridges, crowns dentures and dental prostheses.
  • No cover for dental treatment involving the use of precious metals or for cosmetic dentistry.

Additional Accommodation and Travel Expenses

This portion of your policy covers additional expenses incurred if you are injured on your trip and a medical adviser either certifies you unfit to travel or advises you to return to Australia. It also covers disrupted journeys due to strikes, riots, hijackings, accidents, weather, natural disasters, loss of travel documents and destruction of your home in Australia.

Common exclusions include the following:

  • No cover if you had prior knowledge that your journey would be disrupted.
  • No cover if your additional travel and accommodation expenses are recoverable by other means.
  • No cover if your transport or accommodation provider becomes insolvent.
  • No cover if you or your travel partner simply change travel plans.
  • No cover for cancellations, delays, rescheduling or diversions to your scheduled or connecting transport except for situations listed in your PDS, such as strikes.
  • No cover if you’re in breach of the rental agreement when driving a rental vehicle.

Family Emergency

This portion of your policy reimburses you for expenses incurred by you if your travelling companion or a relative dies unexpectedly during your journey or becomes hospitalised due to illness or injury.

Common exclusions include the following:

  • No cover if you had prior knowledge that such an incident would occur.
  • No cover if the illness, injury or death was the result of a pre-existing medical condition.
  • No cover if you are able to seek compensation from any other source.
  • No cover if the claim arises as a result of you or your travelling companion changing travel plans.

Emergency Companion Cover

This portion of your policy reimburses you for additional expenses incurred as a result of you or your travelling companion becoming ill or injured during your trip and being certified unfit to travel by a medical adviser.

Common exclusions include the following:

  • No cover if you had prior knowledge of such an event.
  • No cover if you are able to claim compensation from another source.
  • No cover for reckless use of a rental vehicle.
  • No cover if your travel companion changes travel plans.

Resumption of Journey

This portion of your policy reimburses you for airfares so you can return to the place where your trip was disrupted and resume your journey following the death or hospitalisation of a relative.

Common exclusions include the following:

  • No cover if you resume your journey more than 12 months after returning to Australia.
  • No cover if you had prior knowledge of the likely disruption.
  • No cover if you are able to claim your journey resumption expenses from another source.
  • No cover if the cause of the disruption was the death, injury or sickness of a relative  with a pre-existing condition not covered by the policy.

Hospital Cash Allowance

This portion of your policy pays you a daily benefit to cover incidentals while you are hospitalised overseas.

Common exclusions include the following:

  • No payment for a predetermined period of time at the beginning of your hospitalisation.
  • No payment if you are ineligible to claim for overseas emergency and hospital expenses.

Accidental Death

This portion of your policy pays a benefit to your estate if you are injured during your journey and die because of that injury or if you are presumed dead as a result of an accident involving your transport carrier.

Common exclusions include the following:

  • No payment if you die more than 12 months after being injured on your journey.

Permanent Disability

This portion of your policy pays you a benefit if you are injured during your journey and you become permanently disabled (lose the sight of an eye or use of a limb) because of that injury.

Common exclusions include the following:

  • No payment if you become disabled more than 12 months after receiving your injury.
  • No payment if your disability is not deemed to be permanent by your insurer’s medical advisers.

Loss of Income

This portion of your policy provides a weekly benefit for a specified period if you are disabled due to an injury sustained on your journey and lose all your income because you are unable to work.

Common exclusions include the following:

  • No payment for the first 30 days of disablement.
  • No payment for the loss of income of your dependents.

Credit Card Fraud and Replacement

This portion of your policy reimburses you for the costs associated with replacing your credit cards if they are lost, stolen or fraudulently used.

Common exclusions include the following:

  • No cover if you don’t report the incident within 24 hours and obtain a written statement from the police and your bank.
  • Payment will only include the amount not covered by your bank or credit card provider.

Traveller’s Cheques and Travel Documents

This portion of your policy reimburses you for the cost of replacing lost or stolen travel documents, including passports and traveller’s cheques.

Common exclusions include the following:

  • No payment unless you report the incident within 24 hours and obtain statements from police and your bank.
  • Payment only for losses not covered by your bank or issuing company.

Theft Of Cash, Bank Notes, Currency Notes, Postal Orders or Money Orders

This portion of your policy  pays you for stolen cash, bank notes, currency notes, postal orders or money orders.

Common exclusions include the following:

  • No payment if not reported within 24 hours and statements obtained.
  • No payment if the items were not on your person when stolen.

Luggage and Personal Effects

This portion of your policy pays the calculated value or cost of repairs of lost, stolen or accidentally damaged luggage and personal items.

Common exclusions include the following:

  • No cover for items left unattended in a motor vehicle outside of daylight hours or not in a concealed storage compartment.
  • No cover for losses unless reported within 24 hours and statements obtained from police or transport authorities.
  • No cover for items checked in as cargo rather than as carry-on luggage.
  • No cover for items of a negotiable nature such as cash, bank notes, currency notes and cheques.
  • No cover for loss, theft or damage to bicycles.
  • No cover for items left behind in accommodation or transport.
  • No cover for loss, theft or damage of watercraft (apart from surfboards).
  • No cover for items sent unaccompanied or under a freight contract.
  • No cover for loss or damage resulting from cleaning, repairs or alterations.
  • No cover for loss or damage due to wear and tear, deterioration, weather, insects or vermin.
  • No cover for items left unsupervised in a public place.
  • No cover for loss or damage due to electrical or mechanical breakdown.
  • No cover for items that are fragile or brittle or have an electronic component that is broken or scratched.
  • No cover for loss, theft or damage where you are entitled to compensation from another source, such as  a transport carrier.
  • No cover for loss or damage to sporting equipment while in use (including surfboards).

Luggage and Personal Effects Delay

This portion of your policy reimburses you if your items are delayed, misdirected or misplaced by a carrier for longer than 12 hours.

Common exclusions include the following:

  • No payment unless you obtain written proof of delay from the carrier.
  • If you are entitled to compensation from the carrier, the insurer will only pay the remaining amount not covered by the third party.

Cancellation Fees and Lost Deposits

This portion of your policy pays your cancellation fees and lost deposits for prepaid travel and accommodation arrangements due to unforeseen circumstances beyond your control.

Common exclusions include the following:

  • No cover if for an incident you were aware of before your cover commenced.
  • No cover for the injury, illness or death of a relative with a pre-existing medical condition.
  • No cover if uou or your travelling companion change travel plans.
  • No cover for unforeseen business, financial or contractual obligations.
  • No cover if a tour operator or wholesaler cancels due to insufficient numbers.
  • No cover for travel delays or rescheduling by a carrier.
  • No cover for losses due to the financial collapse of a transport, tour or accommodation provider.
  • No cover for the mechanical breakdown of your transport.
  • No cover for an act or threat of terrorism
  • No cover if your employer cancels your pre-arranged leave (unless you are a full-time member of the Australian Defence Force or emergency services).

Disruption of Journey

This portion of your policy reimburses you for the cost of additional meals and accommodation if your journey is disrupted for at least six hours due to circumstances beyond your control.

Common exclusions include the following:

  • No cover for losses due to the insolvency of a transport, tour or accommodation provider.
  • No cover for losses due to an act or threat of terrorism.
  • No cover if you are entitled to claim your expenses from another source.

Alternative Transport Expenses

This portion of your policy pays your additional travel expenses so you can attend a special event such as a wedding, funeral, conference, sporting event or prepaid tour if your scheduled transport is cancelled or delayed.

Common exclusions include the following:

  • No cover if the cancellation or delay is due to the insolvency of a transport, tour or accommodation provider.
  • No cover if the claim is related to an act or threat of terrorism.

Personal Liability

This portion of your policy covers your liability for legal expenses and payment of compensation for accidental death or injury of a third party or loss or damage to their property.

Common exclusions include the following:

  • No cover for claims related to death, injury or property damage incurred by you, your travelling companion, a relative or employee.
  • No cover for claims related to the use of a firearm, aerial device, watercraft or motorised vehicle.
  • No cover for claims related to the operation of a business, profession, trade or occupation.
  • No cover for loss, damage or expenses covered by an insurance policy or compensation scheme.
  • No cover for fines, penalties or aggravated, punitive, exemplary or liquidated damages.
  • No cover for a disease transmitted by you.
  • No cover for claims that arise due to a contract that imposes an additional liability on you.
  • No cover for claims that arise due to assault or battery committed by you or at your direction.
  • No cover for claims that arise due to reckless conduct by you intended to cause injury, property damage or liability.

Domestic Pets

This portion of your policy reimburses you for additional kennel or cattery fees for your dog or cat if you are delayed beyond your original return date due to a specified event.

Common exclusions include the following:

  • No cover for kennel or cattery fees incurred outside of Australia.

Domestic Services

This portion of your policy reimburses you for housekeeping services that you are unable to perform if you become disabled due to an injury on your journey and the disablement continues after your return to Australia.

Common exclusions include the following:

  • No payment unless you have a medical certificate confirming your disablement and ongoing need for housekeeping services.

Rental Vehicle Excess

This portion of your policy pays the insurance excess or liability fee you are required to pay if your rental vehicle is stolen or damaged in an accident.

Common exclusions include the following:

  • No cover if you were operating the rental vehicle in violation of the rental agreement.
  • No cover if you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • No cover if you were driving without an appropriate licence.

Now you know what's not covered, compare travel insurance policies today

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Richard Laycock

Richard is the senior insurance writer at finder.com.au and is on a mission to make insurance easier to understand.

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