Travel insurance without medical cover

Only want cover for cancellations and lost luggage? Non-medical travel insurance plans are a great way to cover just the basics you want.

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    Trying to find travel insurance without medical can be like looking for a needle in a haystack because, let's face it, medical cover is a must for most travellers. But you're not most travellers. People look for travel insurance without medical for many reasons including domestic travel, international travel where you are visiting a country with a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement with Australia or (most often) because it's cheap. So, if you're after travel insurance without medical keep reading and find out what to look for in a policy and, most importantly, who offers these policies.

    What does cancellation only cover?

    Travel insurance without medical coverage is usually referred to as Cancellation Only insurance. The following is a brief summary of what Cancellation Only insurance will cover and what is not usually covered:

    • Missed flights – these are covered if you are delayed because of an accident enroute, but not if the delay was due to your negligence or missed connections.
    • Cancelled flights and resultant missed accommodation – these are covered if due to severe weather or airline strikes, but not if caused by the airline, in which case you must seek compensation from them.
    • Extreme events – natural disasters, hijacking, riots and civil unrest that affect travel arrangements are covered, but only after policy cover has commenced.
    • Severe sickness or injury – this is covered if a medical practitioner deems you unfit to travel, but not if it relates to a pre-existing medical condition or you fail to cancel your pre-booked trip promptly.
    • Death of a close relative – this is covered if you need to cancel or curtail your trip, but is subject to age limitations and pre-existing medical conditions.
    • Theft of passports, travel documents or credit cards – this is covered providing you obtain a police report within 24 hours and the theft did not occur while you were intoxicated.
    • Loss of Frequent Flyer points – this is covered by some insurers if you used the points to help pay for your trip, which was then cancelled.
    • Disruption of journey – this is covered if your trip is delayed by more than six hours and pays a benefit amount every 24 hours towards emergency meals and accommodation.
    • Alternative transport expenses – these are covered if your flight is cancelled on your way to a sporting match, wedding, funeral or other pre-booked event.

    Want cover for more than just cancellation and luggage? Compare travel insurance brands

    What should I look at in a policy?

    The type of travel insurance you choose will depend on the type of travel you’re undertaking. As mentioned previously, if you are only travelling within Australia, you won’t need medical and hospital cover as you are already covered by Medicare or private health insurance.

    Other considerations to factor in include:

    Whichever type of travel insurance you opt for, make sure you read the fine print first, as every policy contains different limits to benefit amounts and exclusions where cover is not offered. You should also buy your policy as soon after you have booked your trip as possible, so that you are covered for cancellations that could occur prior to your departure.

    Won’t the airline pay for it?

    Travel insurance is like any form of insurance; the insurer will only pay when costs are not redeemable from any other source. So, there are instances where you won’t be covered by travel insurance and must seek compensation from the carrier instead. But compensation varies with each carrier and is usually at their discretion.

    • Delay or cancellation – if due to things such as mechanical problems or timetable changes, your carrier will usually put you on the next available service, reroute you through another carrier or give you a refund or credit for future travel.
    • Compensation – payments for accommodation, transport, meals and phone calls incurred due to carrier delays and cancellations are purely at the discretion of the carrier.
    • Fares and reservations – these usually have strict conditions and are often non-refundable, particularly if they are discounted.
    • Overbooking – if a carrier overbooks a service and you are affected, you may be entitled to compensation. There is an agreed industry rate in Australia, but rates vary in other countries with international carriers.
    • Baggage – if a carrier loses or damages your baggage, they will usually compensate you, but only if you report it promptly (within 3 days for cabin luggage and 21 days for checked bags).
    • Seating – carriers are not obliged to guarantee seating and may reseat you, even in a lower class than you booked. Any compensation for this is at the carrier’s discretion.
    • Death or personal injury – the liability of domestic carriers for the death or personal injury of a passenger is limited to $500,000 and overseas, compensation is governed by international conventions.

    As can be seen, the extent of a carrier’s liability depends on the circumstances and any compensation is largely at their discretion, so foregoing travel insurance in the hope of being reimbursed by your carrier for any mishaps would probably not be the wisest move.

    Won’t the Reciprocal Health Care Agreement cover me?

    Relying on your carrier for insurance is not a great idea and neither is assuming that because you are travelling to a country with a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA) with Australia that you don’t need travel insurance with medical and hospital cover.

    And that’s because, while RHCA countries will provide Australian travellers with subsidised health care similar to Medicare, they each offer different levels of cover and some medical costs are not covered at all, including:

    • Ambulance cover
    • Dental care
    • Elective surgery
    • Funerals
    • Medical evacuation to Australia
    • Para-medical services
    • Treatment and accommodation in a private hospital
    • Treatment and accommodation as a private patient in a public hospital
    • Non-urgent treatment

    Australia has Reciprocal Health Care Agreements with 11 countries, so if you are travelling to one of them, be sure to have travel insurance that includes adequate medical and hospital cover.

    Find out more about the Reciprocal Health Care Agreement

    Compare no medical travel insurance

    As this guide shows, there are few instances where you can forego travel insurance and rely on other sources of compensation if something goes wrong. Whether it’s Cancellation & Luggage Insurance in Australia or Medical & Hospital cover when overseas, travel insurance is something none of us can afford to leave home without. Use the comparison tool below to compare all of your options.

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    6 Responses

      Default Gravatar
      GarryAugust 13, 2017

      Have 2 stents after heart attack. Age 70 going way for 4 months. Will travel insurance be out of reach ?

        Default Gravatar
        MariaAugust 14, 2017

        Hi Garry!

        You may enter your details and compare your options on our page about seniors travel insurance.

        Once you’re shown the results page, you may make use of the filters on the lower left of the page that matches your preferences.

        Then you may choose an insurer to consult with on your medical history to be considered in your quote.

        Please note that is a comparison and information service and we are not permitted to provide our users with personalised financial advice or product recommendations. However, we do help guide you through the process of comparing options.

        I hope this helps.


      Default Gravatar
      ThomasMay 19, 2017

      Your heading reads as follows:

      “Travel Insurance Without Medical.
      Looking for travel insurance without medical? Compare travel insurance for cancellation and luggage only”.

      This is a con: when contacting the companies listed, none of them offers such cover for international travel!

      Your heading is false, and causes a waste of time to those who fall for it.

      19 May 2017

        Avatarfinder Customer Care
        MayMay 30, 2017Staff

        Hi Thomas,

        Thanks for your comment.

        We’ve double checked our page, and STA does, in fact, offer a Cancellation and Luggage only policy as stated. If you click on “Get quote”, it will take you to a page where you will need to provide information about your trip, and one of the options should be Cancellation and Luggage only.

        Hope this helps.


        Default Gravatar
        ThomasMay 31, 2017

        31 May, This refers to the reply from May, dated 30 May 2017. I did inquire on the web, and got in reply a message that there was a problem. There was no indication whatever as to the nature of the problem. I rang the telephone number given in that message. In that conversation, which led to no result, I was given another ‘phone number in Melbourne. I rang that number. After some conversation, it transpired that I exceeded the age limit for such policies. It would have saved me a lot of trouble this that had been indicated in the original reply on the web.

        Moreover, an age limit may make some sense just for medical reasons. But if medical insurance is not included in the policy, there seem to be scant justification for an age limit. A cancelled flight affects every passenger no matter whether they are young or old.

        31 May 2017


        Avatarfinder Customer Care
        MayMay 31, 2017Staff

        Hi Thomas,

        Thanks for getting back and for this information you gave.

        Please accept our apologies – we weren’t aware that there is a maximum age for cancellation and luggage cover. We have confirmed with STA that the maximum age is 80 years old for this particular policy, and we have updated our page to reflect this. You may want to check out Boomers Travel Insurance which offers the non-medical Essentials policy and applies no age limits to single trips (please note that annual policies do have an age limit of 74). Please read more about Boomers Travel Insurance and their Essentials policy.


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