Man writing in a notebook

Travel Insurance with Personal Liability Cover

Don't get stuck overseas swimming in legal costs. Discover why personal liability travel insurance is a must

Every year the Australian media is dotted with stories about Australians that have been "banged up abroad" or forced to fork out tens of thousands in legal fees following a legal mishap in a foreign country with foreign regulations. These situations can escalate extremely quickly and without the correct protection in place, you can find yourself extremely deep in debt, extremely quickly.

What is personal liability travel insurance cover?

Personal liability travel insurance covers third-party insurance claims. In other words, this insurance pays for the cost of damages, loss or injury to someone or their property that you or a member of your travelling party is personally responsible for causing.

While personal liability benefits cover such claims, it does not cover intentional harm. It’s essential that you understand the different benefits covered by various policies and the general exclusions of personal liability cover before purchasing travel insurance.

How do Australian travel insurance providers cover personal liability?

BrandMaximum personal liability cover*What exactly are you covered for?Apply
1-cover-new1$5 million
  • Legal liability including the payment of compensation if you accidentally cause bodily injury or death of a third party or damage to third party property.
  • Reasonable legal expenses of settling or defending the claim against you with the written consent of 1Cover.
Get quote
AMEX Travel Insurance$5 million
  • Legal liability including the payment of compensation if you commit an act of negligence that causes damage to third party property or bodily injury or death of a third party.
Get quote
AIG$2million
  • Compensatory damages you are legally liable to pay if during your trip you accidentally cause the injury or death to a third party or damage someones property by accident.
  • Reasonable legal costs with AIG's approval.
Get quote
Budget Direct Travel Insurance$5million
  • You are covered for the payment that you become legally liable for if you injure a third party or damage or lose third party property.
Get quote
Citibank Travel Insurance$3 million
  • Legal liability including the payment of compensation if you commit an act of negligence that causes damage to third party property or the injury or death to a third party during your journey.
Columbus Direct$5 million
  • Legal costs and expenses incurred with Columbus Direct's written consent if you are legally liable for the accidental bodily injury to a third party or the accidental loss or damage to third party property during your trip.
Get quote
CoverMore$2.5 million
  • Compensation payment you become legally liable for if you commit a negligent act that causes the bodily injury or death of a third party or damage to third party property.
Get quote
Downunder$5 million
  • Compensation you are legally liable for accidentally causing injury or death to a third party or damaging third party property by accident.
  • Reasonable legal expenses of settling or defending the claim against you with the written approval of Allianz.
Get quote
Easy Travel Insurance$3 million
  • Compensation you are legally liable to pay for because of your negligence that causes injury or damage to the property of a non-travelling part or someone who is not a family member, and who's property is not if your control.
  • Reasonable costs for the liability with QBE's written consent.
Get quote
Fast Cover$5 million
  • Compensation you are legally liable for accidentally causing injury or death to a third party or damaging third party property by accident.
  • Reasonable legal expenses of settling or defending the claim against you with written approval from Allianz.
Get quote
Go Insurance$5 million
  • Costs you are legally liable to pay if you accidentally cause injury or death to a third party or damage third party property by accident (including your holiday accommodation and its contents).
  • You are also covered for legal costs that you incur.
Get quote
InsureandGo$5 million
  • You are covered for the payment that you become legally liable for if you injure a third party or damage or lose third party property.
Get quote
iTrek$2.5 million
  • Compensation you are legally liable for accidentally causing injury or death to a third party or damaging third party property by accident.
  • Reasonable legal expenses of settling or defending the claim against you with the written consent of Allianz.
Get quote
MultiTrip Travel Insurance$2.5 million
  • Payment that you become legally liable for if you injure a third party or damage or lose third party property.
Get quote
Simply Travel Insurance$5 million
  • Payment of compensation you are legally liable for accidentally causing injury or death to a third party or damaging third party property by accident.
  • Reasonable legal expenses of settling or defending the claim against you with the written consent of Allianz.
Get quote
Skiinsurance.com.au$5 million
  • Compensation you are legally liable for accidentally causing injury or death to a third party or damaging third party property by accident.
  • Reasonable legal expenses of settling or defending the claim against you with the written consent of Allianz.
Get quote
Southern Cross$1 million
  • Damages, compensation and legal expenses you become legally liable for due to your negligence that causes the bodily injury or death of a third party or damage to third party property.
 n/a
STA Travel Insurance$5 million
  • Compensation you are legally liable for accidentally causing injury or death to a third party or damaging third party property by accident.
  • Reasonable legal expenses of settling or defending the claim against you with the written consent of Allianz.
Get quote
Tick Travel Insurance$3 million
  • Payment that you become legally liable for if you injure a third party or damage or lose third party property.
Get quote
Travel Insurance Direct$2.5 million
  • Damages you are legally liable to pay for because of your negligence that causes injury or damage to the property of a non-travelling part or someone who is not a family member, and who's property is not if your control.
  • Reasonable legal costs for the liability with the written consent of TID.
Get quote
Travel Insurance Saver Logo$3 million
  • Compensation you are legally liable to pay for because of your negligence that causes injury or damage to the property of a non-travelling part or someone who is not a family member, and who's property is not if your control.
  • Reasonable costs for the liability with QBE's written consent.
Get quote
Travel Insuranz$7.5 million
  • Costs you are legally liable to pay if you accidentally cause injury or death to a third party or damage third party property by accident (including your holiday accommodation and its contents).
  • Legal costs that you incur with written consent from Travel Insuranz.
Get quote
Virgin Money$1 million
  • Compensation if you are legally liable for accidentally causing injury or death to a third party or damaging third party property by accident.
  • Reasonable legal expenses of settling or defending the claim against you with the written consent of Allianz.
Get quote
Woolworths Travel Insurance$2 million
  • Compensation you are legally liable for accidentally causing injury or death to a third party or damaging third party property by accident. Reasonable legal expenses of settling or defending the claim against you with the written consent of Woolworths.
Get quote
Worldcare Travel Insurance$5 million
  • Compensation you are legally liable for accidentally causing injury or death to a third party or damaging third party property by accident.
  • Reasonable legal expenses of settling or defending the claim against you with the written consent of Allianz.
Get quote
youGo$2.5 million
  • Compensation payment you become legally liable for if you commit a negligent act that causes the bodily injury or death of a third party or damage to third party property.
Get quote

*Maximum benefit is dependant on the specific policy you choose from the provider. Check the exact personal liability benefit for the policy you interested in purchasing on the providers page.

Is personal liability cover even worth it?

Some of the key benefits of personal liability travel insurance include:

  • Automatically included benefit. Most travel insurance policies automatically include cover for personal liability, which makes travel insurance a smart financial choice.
  • The additional cost has additional perks. Some basic policies may not include personal liability cover or they may have a lower benefit limit. A comprehensive policy with personal liability will also have greater benefits for medical expenses, stolen luggage and cancellations.
  • Protection in the long term. You should consider paying slightly more initially for a policy with personal liability cover to protect you from a potentially greater cost down the track.

Cost of travel insurance vs legal fees

If you were sued while travelling in the United States, you’d be looking at anywhere from $200 to $1000 per hour to hire an attorney. On the other hand, a travel insurance policy for a two-week trip for someone 21 years old or over is only $98.45*, which is less than half the amount for the cheapest lawyer, per hour. You also could be liable for potential court fees and compensation on top of the attorney fee.

AJ's Accident

AJ learned early in life that prevention is better than a cure. The day he accidentally set fire to the lodge he was staying in at the Pocono Mountains in the US would have been the end of him if he didn’t have travel liability insurance. The candle that AJ forgot to put out when he went to bed resulted in the lodge burning down and the injury of two other patrons. AJ was faced with a $2 million lawsuit that his personal liability travel insurance covered. </p>

Expenses that AJ faced:

  • Cost for destroyed cabin: $100,000
  • Medical expenses and hospital stay for people affected by fire: $100,000
  • Total lawsuit amount: $230,000 (miscellaneous expenses and lawyer fees included)

Amount covered by AJ's insurer

$230,000

Out-of-pocket expense

$200 excess

When you compare the cost of travel insurance to the costs you could face in a liability case, it’s clear that travel insurance is absolutely worth it, especially when personal liability cover is included.

*Cost based on the average cost of travel insurance going to the USA. Price last obtained November 2015.


What to do if you become liable for third party injury, death or property damage

  1. Contact your insurance provider as soon as possible. The first thing you must do is get in touch with your travel insurance provider or the underwriter of your provider.
  2. Provide the required documents. Your provider will take you through getting the required documents to process the claim for damages.
  3. Seek approval for legal fees. Your provider can give you approval to cover your legal fees if necessary.

What you must NOT do once you become liable

  • Hire any lawyer, attorney or legal team without approval. This is a move that can void your cover. Most travel insurance policies require their written approval before you incur any legal fees or costs.
  • Admit fault to the third party or any relevant party. Admitting fault or promising to pay money will also void personal liability cover on your policy.

Am I covered for personal liability in car crashes?

Nearly every comprehensive travel insurance policy includes a certain level of protection for personal liability. What most travellers don’t realise, however, is that this cover does not extend to car crashes. You can usually find this mentioned in the policy’s list of general exclusions or personal liability-specific exclusions. Most policies have words to the effect that they will not pay any claim for a legal claim against you for causing bodily injury, death, or property damage while using a mechanically propelled vehicle.

  • If you cause personal injury to someone else or damage their property when driving a rental car, travel insurance does not provide any cover.

So what does travel insurance cover when it comes to car crashes?

When it comes to crashing a rental car during your journey, travel insurance offers a couple of key benefits:

  • Medical cover. If you’re injured in a car accident, you’ll be covered for the ambulance, medical , surgical and hospital costs you incur as a result. In addition, some companies will also cover the cost of returning the car to the nearest rental depot if you’re medically unable to do so.
  • Rental vehicle excess. If your rental car is crashed, stolen or damaged while in your possession, your travel insurer will usually cover the cost of the rental company’s insurance excess, which could be several thousand dollars.

How can I get personal liability cover for car crashes?

When you rent a car from a licensed rental agency, basic motor vehicle insurance is typically included as part of the rental agreement. This includes compulsory third party insurance to cover your liability for causing property damage or injury to someone else, as well as physical damage to the car itself in the event of a collision.

In fact, in order to qualify for rental vehicle excess cover from your travel insurer, most insurers will make it a requirement that basic motor vehicle insurance is included in your rental agreement. With this in mind, read the rental agreement closely before you sign so that you know exactly what is covered.


Four situations where personal liability travel insurance can protect you

Accidents involving another party can happen, and you could find yourself in financial hardship if they occur while you’re travelling overseas. Possible liability situations that can occur while travelling include:

  • Injuring someone while playing sport. If you pick up a game of soccer with some teenagers in the back streets of Buenos Aires and get a bit too aggressive contesting the ball, you could be liable for another person’s broken leg.
  • Falls due to spilled liquids. If you get careless in your shared hostel accommodation and leave water on the bathroom floor, someone could slip and hurt themselves.
  • Accidentally burning down your accommodation and injuring patrons. If you’re helping out with the BBQ in the shared hostel area and mishandle the gas cooker, things could go wrong.
  • Breaking hotel facilities and equipment. If you accidentally short-circuit the power in your hotel room and damage the audio system, the hotel may seek compensation for the equipment on top of the bond you paid.

Personal liability cover can cover legal and compensation expenses brought against you in these unfortunate circumstances.


What personal liability insurance won’t cover you for

While most insurance policies offer similar cover, there are differences in what each insurer will and won’t cover. When it comes to personal liability, most insurance companies won’t cover claims in the following situations:

  • Losses to you or your travelling party. Injuries or property damage caused by you to you or your travelling party won’t be covered.
  • Losses involving cars and other vehicles. Injuries or damage from the use, ownership or custody of a mechanical, aerial or water-propelled vehicle won’t be covered.
  • Work and profession cases. Injury, loss or damage that relates to your profession or personal business won’t be covered.
  • Unlawful acts. You won’t be covered if the injury, damage or loss was caused by an illegal act.
  • Sexually transmitted diseases. Communicable disease transmitted by you won’t be covered.
  • Non-monetary claims. Claim in any form other than monetary compensation is not included.
  • Intended conduct. You won’t be covered if third-party losses occur because you are wilfully neglectful and intend to cause harm or damage.

Personal travel liability insurance exclusions for any loss, damage or expenses are not limited to this list. It’s imperative that you read your insurance policy carefully before travelling and before making a claim with your insurance provider.

Receive a personal travel insurance quote from Australian insurance providers

Made a search before? Retrieve your search results

At least one destination is required
Both dates are required
Add more travellers
Enter the age of each traveller between 0 and 99

Enter a valid email address

At least one destination is required
Both dates are required
Add more travellers
Enter the age of each traveller between 0 and 99

Enter a valid email address

Type or select your destination

Popular Destinations

Americas
Asia
Europe
Pacific
Africa
Can't find your destination? Just type it in the box above.

We compare products from

By submitting this form, you agree to finder.com.au privacy policy
Picture: Shutterstock

Maurice Thach

Maurice is a publisher for finder.com.au. Daily research of Australia's insurance offerings allows him to breakthrough the noise of the many policies out there to uncover what can (and can't) be covered. Maurice hopes to make finding the right insurance easier for all.

Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

Related Posts

Ask a Question

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Disclaimer: At finder.com.au we provide factual information and general advice. Before you make any decision about a product read the Product Disclosure Statement and consider your own circumstances to decide whether it is appropriate for you.
Rates and fees mentioned in comments are correct at the time of publication.
By submitting this question you agree to the finder.com.au privacy policy, receive follow up emails related to finder.com.au and to create a user account where further replies to your questions will be sent.

2 Responses to Travel Insurance with Personal Liability Cover

  1. Default Gravatar
    dominique | June 20, 2016

    My son is 21. He is a French/Australian national. He recently bought a motorbike in France and wants to travel extensively throughout Europe i.e. from France to China via Greece, Turkey, etc, which will take him approximately 3 months or less. He owned a motorbike in Australia for one and a half year.
    Is there any travel insurance that can cover him for personal liability?

    Thank you.

    • Staff
      Richard | June 21, 2016

      Hi Dominique,

      Thanks for your question. Travel insurance brands have varying conditions when it comes to riding a motorcycle overseas, including whether or not they hold a valid license either at home or in the country they are travelling in, whether they were obeying the road rules and the size of the engine. This article contains more about motorcycle travel insurance.

      I hope this was helpful,
      Richard

Ask a question
feedback