Travel insurance available for Australians
Travel insurance was once seen as a somewhat unnecessary expense. But with more Australians travelling the world than ever before, people are starting to understand the importance of travel insurance.
Overseas medical emergencies can not only be life-threatening and stressful, they can be expensive. There’s a wide range of other travel risks to consider including cancellation fees, lost or stolen luggage, delayed flights, missed connections, stolen cash and crashed rental cars.
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Without travel insurance cover, these events can leave you with a mountain of bills. Travel insurance protects you against unforeseen events. This gives you the peace of mind and confidence you need to enjoy yourself and hopefully have a worry-free holiday.
- What Types of Travel Insurance Policies are Available to Australians?
- Travel Insurance Policy Options Available to Australians
- Where Can Australians Go With Travel Insurance?
- Specialty Travel Insurances for Australians
- Travel Insurance for Australians Already Overseas
- Travel Insurance for Non-Australian Residents
- Travel Insurance for Australians General Exclusions
- Travel Insurance for Australians FAQs
What Types of Travel Insurance Policies are Available to Australians?
If you’re travelling alone or simply want cover only for yourself, a single travel insurance policy is the way to go. You can choose from basic or comprehensive cover to provide the holiday protection you need.
If you’re heading away with a spouse or a travelling partner, you might want to look at taking out a policy for a duo. This offers the same benefits as you would find under a single policy, with the added benefit that it’s cheaper than taking out a separate policy for each person.
A family holiday is a great Aussie tradition, and it’s entirely possible to find an insurance policy that provides cover for the whole family. This will include cover for mum, dad and any dependent children, though the exact number of people you can cover under a family travel insurance policy does differ between providers.Back to top
Travel Insurance Policy Options Available to Australians
This is the most basic form of travel insurance policy that the majority of Australian travellers take out. As the name suggests, it offers protection against a wide range of travel risks for a single nominated trip. A time limit applies to the duration of trips you are able to insure, and once your trip finishes your cover ends.
If you take more than one trip in the course of a year, an Annual Multi-Trip policy might be more suitable for you. Though many Australians are unaware of this option, it allows you to take out cover for all the trips you take in a 12-month period. However, remember that time limits apply to the duration of each trip and the total number of days away that you will be covered for.
Which one is right for you? This will entirely depend on your travel plans. If you’re taking a one-off trip and are unlikely to need travel insurance cover in the following 12 months, a single trip policy will be more suitable for you. However, if you regularly travel, for example three to four times a year, taking out multi-trip cover can be a much more cost-effective option than taking out an insurance policy for each individual trip. This can help you save a great deal of money in the long run.Back to top
Where Can Australians Go With Travel Insurance?
There are plenty of destinations all around the world where your travel insurance policy will provide the cover you need. For starters, you can take out a domestic policy for travel within Australia. The first thing to remember about an Australia-only travel insurance policy is that it won’t cover medical expenses — after all, that is what our Medicare system is for.
However, a domestic policy will provide cover against the following risks:
- Cancellation fees and lost deposits. If unforeseen circumstances (for example illness or losing your job) force you to cancel or cut short your trip, you will be reimbursed for the cost of any cancellation fees or deposits you are unable to recover.
- Additional expenses. If your health problems or someone else’s health issues force you to incur additional accommodation and travel expenses, the cost of these will be covered by your policy.
- Accidental death. Your policy will pay a benefit to your estate if you die accidentally as a result of injuries suffered during your travels.
- Luggage and personal effects. If your luggage or personal belongings are lost, stolen or damaged, you’ll be covered for the cost of their repair or replacement.
- Travel delay expenses. This feature provides cover for additional meals and accommodation costs if your trip is delayed by circumstances beyond your control.
- Personal liability. If you are deemed legally liable for causing bodily injury or property damage to a third party, you’ll be covered for your liability.
- Rental vehicle excess. If your rental car is crashed, stolen or damaged, your insurance provider will cover the expensive cost of the rental company excess.
Of course, it’s also possible for Australian travellers to take out travel insurance that offers international cover. You can opt for worldwide cover, or some insurers will let you select a policy that provides cover for only certain regions of the world, for example the Americas. When applying for international travel insurance cover, however, it’s important to be aware of the fact that you will be excluded from cover if you visit a country or region which the Australian Government has issued an advisory warning against travelling to.
International policies provide cover for the risks mentioned above, but they will also provide protection for your overseas emergency medical expenses. This includes ambulance transportation, medical treatment and hospital costs, emergency dental costs, emergency evacuation, and even repatriation back to Australia if required.
Other features, such as cover for the loss of your passport or other important travel documents, are also typically included in an international policy.Back to top
Specialty Travel Insurance for Australians
Winter Sports Insurance
If you’re planning a skiing holiday you might want to consider adding this optional cover to your insurance policy. While this type of policy will typically include protection against all the usual travel risks, it will also include cover for potential problems unique to a snow holiday. At the top of this list is emergency transport to hospital if you injure yourself on the ski fields, even if this includes evacuation via helicopter. If extreme weather such as a blizzard or snowstorm forces you to cancel your trip, you’ll be reimbursed for any pre-paid costs you are unable to recoup. The loss or damage of hired ski or snowboard equipment is also covered, as are travel and accommodation expenses when the weather forces you to find a new resort, unused ski passes and lesson, unused equipment hire, piste closure and even heli-skiing adventures.
If you’ve read the list of exclusions on a normal travel insurance policy you will have noticed that there is typically no cover provided for a range of adventure sports. But this is where an Adventure Sports travel insurance policy comes in. As well as cover for all those other holiday risks — cancellation fees, lost luggage and travel delays — these types of policies also ensure that you are covered when participating in a number of adventure activities. These include abseiling, horse riding, bungee jumping, hot air ballooning, sky diving, scuba diving and deep sea fishing.
While most travellers take trips of maybe two or four weeks in length, some travellers prefer to take their time when they are out exploring the world. With this in mind, Backpackers travel insurance is specially designed to cover much longer trips, usually those that last up to 12 or even 18 months. You can take out cover for multiple countries on one extended trip, plus you can choose from medical-only cover or a much more comprehensive policy. As backpackers are usually on pretty tight budgets, this type of cover is also designed to be as affordable as possible.Back to top
Travel Insurance for Australians Already Overseas
Despite the importance of travel insurance, it is easy to get caught up in the excitement of an impending trip and forget to take out any cover. Then when you get overseas, you realise with horror that you really do need some level of cover in place. While there are plenty of companies who will refuse to offer cover to Australians who are already overseas, there are some who will happily offer protection even if your trip has already begun.
Of course, there are a few criteria you will need to satisfy to qualify for cover, the most important of which being that you plan to return to Australia at the end of your trip. You’ll also have to be an Australian residents and satisfy any age requirements, plus it also may not be possible to take out cover for any pre-existing medical conditions.
You may have to sit out a short waiting period until the cover takes effect, but your policy details will soon be sent to you via email. Once you’ve got an adequate level of cover in place, you can simply relax and enjoy the rest of your holiday.Back to top
Travel Insurance for Non-Australian Residents
If you’re a non-resident of Australia and you’re looking for insurance cover for a trip to or within Australia, you may have come across the fact that some insurers are not willing to offer you cover. However, there are a number of Australian insurers who offer policies for non-residents. This includes people staying in Australia on a 457 Temporary Business long stay visa, a 411 Exchange visa and a 417 Working Holiday visa.
In order to qualify for cover, you’ll typically need to be spending the majority of your trip in Australia and meet any relevant age requirements. In addition, you’ll need to familiarise yourself with your provider’s treatment of pre-existing medical conditions before taking out cover.
A travel insurance policy for non-Australian residents will typically cover you against risks such as emergency medical expenses, cancellation fees and lost deposits, luggage delay, travel delay, lost or stolen luggage, rental vehicle excess and personal liability.Back to top
Travel Insurance for Australians General Exclusions
Every insurance policy, no matter whether it’s life insurance, travel insurance or anything in between, will come with a list of exclusions. While exclusions will obviously differ between policies, your insurance claim will typically not be paid if:
- it is the result of an intentional self-inflicted act or attempted suicide
- you leave your luggage or personal belongings unattended and they are stolen
- you don’t take any reasonable action to minimise the loss you suffer
- it arises from the insolvency of a travel agent tour operator or travel provider
- it is a result of you acting irresponsibly or unlawfully
- it is the result of a pre-existing medical condition
- it is the result of you riding a motorcycle or moped
- it relates to a government authority confiscating, detaining or destroying anything
- it arises from an act of war
- it is a result of you being under the influence of alcohol or drugs, except those prescribed by a medical practitioner
- you participate in any sports or adventure activities not covered under your policy.
Travel Insurance for Australians FAQs
Why do I need travel insurance cover?
Travel insurance offers critical financial protection against an extensive range of common travel risks. Without any form of cover in place, you could end up significantly out of pocket if unexpected circumstances ruin your holiday. Travel insurance gives you the peace of mind you need to enjoy a worry-free holiday.
My travel agent offered me an insurance policy. Should I take it?
No, it is not recommended to buy cover from your travel agent. Agents add a large commission on top of the initial price of the policies they sell, so your best bet is to buy a policy direct from an insurance provider. This can be done quickly and easily online.
How do I find suitable cover for me?
The first thing you should do is consider the trip you are planning — where are you going, for how long, and what do you plan on doing when you get there? Answering these questions will help you determine the type of cover you need, and you can then start comparing the policies offered by a number of providers. Use finder.com.au’s comparison tools and seek advice from friends and family, while you can also obtain a number of quotes online. Read product disclosure statements closely to learn the benefits, limits and exclusions on a number of policies, then narrow down to the one policy that best meets your needs.
Taking out travel insurance cover for your next trip away is something that every Australian should consider doing. However, there is a wealth of policy options and cover features to choose from, so make sure to do plenty of research before you make a final decision on which policy is right for you.Back to topPicture: Shutterstock