Travel Insurance That Covers Non-Travelling Relatives

If a relative of mine passes away or is hospitalised am I covered by travel insurance for trip cancellations?

If a family member falls ill or dies while you are travelling or before you depart on your journey, the cancellations portion of your travel insurance can help cover the costs you incur for cancelling your trip. Trip cancellation cover can reimburse you for:

  • Pre-booked non-refundable tickets and accommodation
  • Costs associated with returning home at short notice
  • Costs associated with resuming your journey at a later date

Conditions of cover for non-travelling relatives

To be eligible to make a claim, your family member must:

This guide outlines the benefits and conditions that apply to trip cancellation cover, particularly with regards to resumption of journey and pre-existing medical conditions.

Specific conditions of Australian travel insurance brands

BrandMaximum age of relativeConditionsApply
1-cover-new185
  • You are covered for unexpected hospitalisation or death of a relative.
  • If your relative is hospitalised or dies due to a pre-existing medical condition, you are only covered if you were unaware of the likelihood of hospitalisation or death when you purchase your policy.
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AMEX Travel InsuranceNo age limit stated
  • You are covered for the unexpected accidental death or hospitalisation of a relative.
  • No cover if the death, injury or the onset of sickness occurs before you start your journey or if any reasonable person would be aware of the onset of sickness.
Get quote
AIG99 as a guide
  • You are covered for the unexpected  death or illness of a relative in Australia.
  • No cover if the death or illness is due to a pre-existing health condition or any hereditary or chronic conditions of your relative they are aware of when you apply.
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Budget Direct Travel InsuranceNo age limit*
  • You are covered for the unexpected death, sudden injury or illness of relative.
  • Not cover if you were aware of any pre-existing medical condition before the policy started or if during the 90 days before the policy they needed any treatments, consultation, required medication or had been diagnosed with a terminal condition.
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Citibank Travel InsuranceNo age limit*
  • You are covered for the unexpected accidental death or hospitalisation of a relative
  • No cover if the death, injury or the onset of sickness occurs before you start your journey or if any reasonable person would be aware of the onset of sickness.
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Columbus Direct85
  • You are covered for any unexpected serious illness, injury or death of a relative.
  • No cover if the death or illness is due to a pre-existing health condition.
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CoverMoreNo age limit*
  • You are covered for the sudden serious injury, sickness, disease or death of a relative.
  • No cover if the death is a result of an injury or illness that occurs before you commence your journey.
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Downunder85
  • You are covered for the unexpected death, injury or hospitalisation  of you relative.
  • If your relative is hospitalised or dies due to a pre-existing medical condition, you are only covered if you were unaware of the likelihood of hospitalisation or death when you purchased your policy.
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Easy Travel Insurance80
  • You are covered for the sudden hospitalisation or death of a relative in Australia as a result of serious illness or injury.
  • If your relative has a pre-existing medical condition you can get cover, but you must complete a Non Travelling Relative Medical Appraisal form. Once it has been submitted, a QBE representative will inform advise you if cover is approved.
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Fast Cover85
  • You are covered for the unexpected death, injury or hospitalisation of a relative.
  • If your relative is hospitalised or dies due to a pre-existing medical condition, you are only covered if you were unaware of the likelihood of hospitalisation or death when you purchased your policy.
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Go Insurance85
  • You are covered for the unexpected death, accidental injury or illness of a relative.
  • You are not covered if you are aware of any pre-existing medical conditions before the policy started or if your relative currently (or within 90 days of purchasing the policy) receives medical treatment or consultation.
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InsureandGoNo age limit stated
  • You are covered for the unexpected death, sudden injury or illness of a relative.
  • You are not covered for any of your relative's medical conditions you knew about before the policy starts.
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iTrek85
  • You are covered for unexpected hospitalisation or death of a relative.
  • If your relative is hospitalised or dies due to a pre-existing medical condition, you are only covered if you were unaware of the likelihood of hospitalisation or death when you purchase your policy.
Get quote
MultiTrip Travel InsuranceNo age limit stated
  • You are covered for the unexpected death, sudden injury or illness of a relative.
  • You are not covered if you are aware of any pre-existing medical condition before the policy started or if during the 90 days before the policy they needed any treatments, consultation, required medication or had been diagnosed with a terminal condition.
Get quote
Simply Travel Insurance85
  • You are covered for unexpected hospitalisation or death of a relative.
  • If your relative is hospitalised or dies due to a pre-existing medical condition, you are only covered if you were unaware of the likelihood of hospitalisation or death when you purchased your policy.
Get quote
Skiinsurance.com.au85
  • You are covered for unexpected hospitalisation or death of a relative.
  • If your relative is hospitalised or dies due to a pre-existing medical condition, you are only covered if you were unaware of the likelihood of hospitalisation or death when you purchase your policy.
Get quote
Southern Cross80
  • You are covered for the unexpected death or hospitalisation of a relative.
  • You must provide all medical and death documents upon request if the cause of death of illness is due to an existing condition
n/a
STA Travel InsuranceNot stated
  • You are covered for the unexpected death or hospitalisation of a relative.
  • If your relative is hospitalised or dies due to a pre-existing medical condition, you are only covered if you were unaware of the likelihood of hospitalisation or death when you purchased your policy.
Get quote
Tick Travel InsuranceNot stated
  • You are covered for the unexpected death, sudden injury or illness of a relative.
  • You are not covered if you are aware of any pre-existing medical condition before the policy started or if during the 90 days before the policy they needed any treatments, consultation, required medication or had been diagnosed with a terminal condition.
Get quote
Travel Insurance DirectNot stated
  • You are covered for the unexpected death or hospitalisation of your relative in Australia.
  • If your relative is hospitalised or dies due to a pre-existing medical condition, you are only covered if you were unaware of the likelihood of hospitalisation or death when you purchased your policy.
Get quote
Travel Insurance Saver Logo80
  • You are covered for the sudden hospitalisation or death of a relative in Australia as a result of serious illness or injury.
  • If your relative has a pre-existing medical condition you can get cover, but you must complete a Non Travelling Relative Medical Appraisal form. Once it has been submitted, a QBE representative will inform advise you if cover is approved.
Get quote
Travel Insuranz85
  • You are covered for the accidental serious injury, serious illness or death a relative.
  • No cover if your relative's death or illness that arises from pre-existing medical conditions.
Get quote
Virgin Money85
  • You are covered for the unexpected death or hospitalisation of a relative.
  • If your relative is hospitalised or dies due to a pre-existing medical condition, you are only covered if you were unaware of the likelihood of hospitalisation or death when you purchased your policy.
Get quote
Woolworths Travel Insurance85
  • You are covered for the unexpected death or hospitalisation of a relative due to the serious injury or sickness.
  • No cover for death, illness or sickness of relative that arises from pre-existing medical conditions.
Get quote
Worldcare Travel Insurance85
  • You are covered for the unexpected death or hospitalisation of a relative.
  • If your relative is hospitalised or dies due to a pre-existing medical condition, you are only covered if you were unaware of the likelihood of hospitalisation or death when you purchased your policy.
Get quote
youGoNot stated
  • You are covered for the sudden serious injury, sickness, disease or death of a relative.
  • No cover if the death, injury or illness occurs before you commence your journey.
Get quote

What do insurers consider as a ‘relative’

In order to qualify for trip cancellation cover following the illness or death of a relative, your family member must meet the insurer’s definition of ‘relative’. The term normally refers to a:

  • Spouse, de facto partner, Fiancé or a fiancée
  • Parent or parent-in-law
  • Son, daughter, son-in-law or daughter-in-law
  • Brother, sister, brother-in-law or sister-in-law
  • Grandchild or grandparent
  • Step-parent, step-son or step-daughter

The exact definition of a relative for each travel insurance policy will differ. It is best to check with your insurer if you're unsure.


Am I covered if my relative falls ill or dies from a pre-existing medical condition?

A pre-existing medical condition is a condition that is known about prior to an insurable event.

If you're unaware of the condition, then yes

Trip cancellation cover may still be available if you were unaware of the likelihood of the illness or death occurring at the time of applying for cover. However, most insurers will only pay a limited benefit amount in such circumstances (typically around $2,000 for a single policy and $4,000 for a family policy). For example Check-In Travel Insurance states an exclusion for pre-existing medical conditions of your relative unless you are 'reasonably unaware'.

If Your Relative is hospitalised in or dies in Australia or New Zealand after the Policy is issued and the hospitalisation or death is due to a Pre-Existing Medical Condition that at the time of Policy issue You could not reasonably be aware would result in hospitalisation or death, then We will pay up to $2,000

What is considered as 'aware'

Travel insurers will typically exclude cover if your family member is on any sort of waiting list or if you were aware of any recent:

  • Treatments
  • Consultation
  • Diagnosis
  • Required medication
  • Upcoming surgery

Can I resume my trip and be covered for it?

Most trip cancellation policies will allow you to resume your journey at a later date after being forced to return home due to the illness or death of a relative. There are normally specific conditions surrounding this type of cover, including:

  • Your trip must have been for a minimum number of days
  • Your insurance must have had a minimum period left to run (usually at least 50%)
  • You must have had no knowledge that such an incident might occur prior to your departure
  • Your resumption expenses must be pre-approved by your insurer
  • You must resume your journey before your policy expires.

John and Sue's trip re-arrangement

John and Sue were into the second week of their month-long European holiday when their son called and told them that his nine-year-old daughter, Emily (their granddaughter), was unwell and had been admitted to hospital. She had been diagnosed with a rare blood disease and would be undergoing life-saving treatment in the next few days.

This was completely unexpected news for John and Sue and they immediately rang their airline and insurance company and arranged to cancel their trip and return home to be with their granddaughter.

Emily remained in hospital for several weeks and, but soon began to make a full recovery. A relieved John and Sue were then able to resume their interrupted European holiday, thanks to their resumption of journey cover reimbursing them for the costs associated with rebooking their flights and accommodation.

Costs incurred

  • Fee for bringing the date of original return flight forward: $200
  • New round trip flights back to resume journey: $3,500
  • Fees for changes to accommodation dates: $150

Total costs covered by insurance

  • $3,700

Out-of-pocket costs

  • $150 in excess

Am I still covered if my relative is over 90 years old?

Age limits apply to many trip cancellation policies when it comes to the illness or death of a relative. The age your relative can be will vary with insurers, but many set a maximum age of around 90, after which the illness or death is not deemed to be ‘unexpected’ and therefore no cover is offered. Some travel insurance brands do not state an age limit, however the health of your relative is a condition many policies will consider.

If your relative is elderly and you are concerned about whether you will be covered if an incident occurs while you’re away, you should read your product disclosure statement (PDS) carefully and contact your insurer for further information.


When won’t I be covered?

As with all forms of insurance, trip cancellation cover has certain exclusions or circumstances in which a claim will not be paid. These depend on the individual insurer, but they generally include:

  • Travelling despite suspecting that your relative might die or become hospitalised
  • Expenses that you incur while you’re at home
  • The cost of a return flight home if you haven’t already booked one (considered part of normal costs rather than emergency expenses)
  • Any expenses that you’ve already claimed for elsewhere in your travel insurance policy

Conditions of Australian travel insurance brands for non-travelling relative deaths and injuries

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.

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