Best travel insurance*

Heading on a holiday? Discover how to find the best travel insurance for you.

The best travel insurance* cover is different for everyone, but there are some key strategies you can use to find the best policy for you.

This article will help you discover how to find the right cover for your needs, understand what a good policy will provide, and how to get proper cover.

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4 ways to find the best travel insurance*

1. Understand what type of cover you actually need

Every traveller has different insurance needs. Whether you’re going for a luxurious holiday or keeping it simple and backpacking, there’s a range of policies out there to suit every need.

Ensure you are looking at policies that actually satisfy your requirements. There’s no point forking out cash for luggage cover if you’re only travelling with a backpack. Don’t feel the need to pay more for cover that you don’t need.

2. Don’t be tricked by cheap policies

A big mistake travellers make is purchasing a policy purely based on its price tag. Selecting the cheapest option can mean that you’re not covered for essential factors. This could lead to you being more out of pocket if something bad were to happen on your trip.

3. Read between the lines

Whilst it may be difficult to comprehend at times, ensure you know what your policy is really covering you for by reading the fine print and understand what is included and excluded in your policy. This will help you avoid situations you might not be covered for.

4. Compare!

A good way to find the right travel insurance for you is to compare policies from a range of different providers. Once you’ve determined what kind of cover you need, find yourself the best deal possible.

What could my policy cover me for?

When trying to find the right travel insurance policy for you, it’s important to be aware of what kind of features you need. Read up on the most common features and extras, and find a policy that fits the bill.

FeatureHow can it help me?
Overseas hospital expensesMake sure your policy has a high limit for emergency medical and dental; the best value travel insurance policies normally make this one of the focal points of their cover.
24-hour emergency assistanceThis type of cover gives you protection 24 hours a day. This cover will often include ambulance fees, funeral arrangements and messages to family.
Luggage and personal itemsMake sure you find a policy that covers for the loss or damage of your personal items while travelling.
CancellationThis is one of the most important sections of cover to pay attention to when looking for the best Australian travel insurance, as it covers for cancellation of flights, tours and other prepaid travel costs. Conditions for cancellation vary between insurers so check the fine print.
Travel delaysSome policies provide cover if your flight is delayed for more than 12 hours.
Family emergencyFamily emergency covers additional expenses related to travelling and accommodation expenses if your partner or travelling companion becomes seriously ill or injured.
DentalSome policies provide cover for dental expenses if you experience acute pain while travelling.
Hospital cash allowanceA hospital cash allowance provides a benefit for a specified number of days if you are required to stay in hospital while overseas.
Accidental deathThis is a lump sum benefit paid for accidental death that occurred on your journey or within the 12-month period following.
Loss of incomeIf you suffer a loss of income due to an insurable event and are unable to work to your full capacity after returning home, this cover pays a benefit to help you cope with the bills.
FraudCredit card loss and fraud covers the replacement cost following loss and use of your credit card on your journey.
Alternative transportIf you have a special event such as a wedding, funeral or conference and you experience a delay with your transport, you will be compensated for additional transport that you have had to take as a result.
Personal liabilityMost policies cover legal liability for any claims made against you following bodily injuries or damage to property. However, be wary of the so-called best value travel insurance policies, as these sometimes offer a lower limit when it comes to liability insurance.
Rental vehicle excessFind a policy that covers for excess charged by rental companies following crash, damage or theft of your rental vehicle.

What else should I be looking for in my policy?

It's quite common for people to go with the first policy they see, whether it is because it offers a low premium or because they just can't be bothered to keep looking. This section provides key insights into the important aspects of policies to review before reaching for your wallet.

    • What pre-existing conditions are covered? Each insurer has conditions for the acceptance of pre-existing medical conditions. The Product Disclosure Statement should clearly state what is and isn't covered. In the event that your condition is not covered you may need to contact the insurer to discuss other options.
    • Consider if you are taking expensive items with you. Many policies allow you to register high-value items for additional cover. It is crucial that you check if there is a sub-limit for each item. As an example, you may have $10,000 in cover for high value items but a claim limit of $1,500 per item.
    • Do you need family cover? Most policies allow you to include your spouse, children or grandchildren on your policy provided they are travelling with you for the duration of the journey.
    • Understand how depreciation works. Most providers account for depreciation when reviewing claims for lost or damaged luggage and other valuables. Review in your policy the conditions of depreciation.
  • Consider your excess. Most policies allow you to pay a small fee to remove any excess that is payable in the event of a claim. This fee is usually around $25 and might be worth considering during application.

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Which is the best travel insurance company?

It really comes down to your own cover requirements and budget, but there are crucial points to consider when comparing different options.

1. Who is the policy underwritten by? Is it a reputable brand?

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the sheer number of insurance brands and policies available, but there are really only a handful of brands that actually issue and underwrite the policies. Get cover that's backed by a highly regarded underwriter and claims team to ensure you receive adequate emergency assistance and your claim is handled swiftly and efficiently. Major ones to look for include Allianz, AIG, ACE, Lloyd's of London, Mitsui Sumitomo and QBE.

2. Is reputable emergency assistance available 24/7?

Each major insurer should have its own 24/7 emergency assistance team to provide overseas and domestic support when needed.

3. Is the customer service reputable?

Can you contact the insurer any time of day and speak with an actual person? Is there an online chat service available? It's crucial to feel secure in the support you will receive from your insurer in the event of an overseas emergency. You should be confident that you can get in touch with them 24/7.

4. Is there a range of policies on offer?

If you're heading off on a cruise, look for cruise insurance. Hitting the slopes? Get ski cover. Look for brands offering a range of policies that offer additional protection and are not just the same policy with a fancy name to draw in more customers. Most leading brands are now offering policies geared towards specific types of travel, such as cruises, winter sports or business travel.

5. Are they flexible to work with?

If you're not 100% sure about how your travel plans will unfold, it's worth looking for a provider that lets you make adjustments to your policy before and after the policy commences. This could include adding additional family members to your policy, upgrading your cover with additional options or extending your policy while overseas.

6. What have other travellers' experiences been like?

You can search online forums to find out what sorts of experiences other people had dealing with their insurers. Keep an open mind when reading online user reviews; one disgruntled customer might not really reflect the true quality of the provider. Read reviews from a variety of sources to help you make an informed decision.

Single trip or annual trip travel insurance?

If you've got a few trips booked this year, you might be thinking about getting annual multi-trip travel insurance. Compare the features of annual multi-trip against single trip and discover if it's right for you.

Single tripAnnual multi-trip
  • Great if you have specific cover requirements, e.g. medical or sports activities
  • Great for travellers who only travel a couple of times a year
  • Cover can last for up to 12 months
  • Can be more suitable for travellers over 65 years of age
  • Great for frequent travellers who travel at least three times per year
  • Can provide cover for multiple destinations
  • Maximum length of individual trips usually 45–90 days

Can I be covered if I have a pre-existing medical condition?

Having protection against illness or injury is one of the most important reasons for taking out travel insurance. If you have a pre-existing medical condition you have to inform your insurer of this fact when applying for the cover.

Many travel insurers will cover you for some pre-existing medical conditions without imposing a loading. Others will impose an extra charge on your premium before they'll agree to cover you.

I still have some questions about finding the best Australian travel insurance

Travel cover is crucial for ensuring that in the event you suffer a loss overseas, you minimise your financial expenses. This section provides an overview of some key considerations to make when looking for a policy.

A. It's important to consider any other types of cover you already have in place that may be able to provide support in the event of a loss. This may lead you to consider more affordable cover and in doing so you can get the best value travel insurance.

  • Home and contents insurance. Many home contents insurance policies include a clause that insures your personal possessions when you are away from home.
  • Life insurance. In the event of your death while overseas the proceeds from your life insurance policy can be used to bring your body back home. You may also have permanent disability cover and other types of protection that can be called on to pay any hospitalisation or repatriation costs if you fall ill or become injured while away.
  • Car rental cover. You may already have a comprehensive car insurance policy in place that will cover you for the excess payable in the event that your rental car is crashed, damaged or stolen.

A. Many credit cards provide complimentary travel insurance. You have to check the quality of cover and level of benefits these services offer as many of these insurances are quite basic. The basic cover most of them provide includes travel accident cover, which gives you financial protection should you become seriously injured as a result of an accident. While the premiums may be low, the excess charged is also usually significantly higher and you generally have to pay for all or part of the trip with the card to activate the cover.

A. Many insurers require senior travellers to take out a specialised policy, often with a premium loading, to account for the additional risk that they present to the insurer. Senior travellers may need to undertake a round of medical underwriting to uncover any risks that they present to the insurer.

A. If you are a backpacker it pays to check out any limitations the insurer may place on the length of time you are covered for. Most insurers put a limit of 31 days on a trip and if you are a backpacker who isn't quite sure how long you'll be staying, this could be quite a restrictive option. A way around this is to seek out specialist backpacker, long stay or gap travel insurance. These policies usually cover you from three to 18 months across many countries.

A. Most policies will give you the option to select a basic travel insurance policy or comprehensive cover. Each will offer varying levels of cover with premiums obviously higher for comprehensive cover options. Deciding what option is right for you is a matter of:

  • Considering your travel plans and what you actually need to be covered for
  • Considering what other forms of insurance or compensation you are entitled to
  • Reviewing what excess is payable for claims on basic policies
  • Considering your budget. While it is not ideal to base your decision on the premium charged, price may be an important consideration for some buyers

A. Without travel insurance you could find yourself in a very difficult position when it comes to paying for the costs that result from situations such as lost or stolen luggage and medical or dental emergencies. Getting the top travel insurance you can afford may help to minimise these costs.

A. Basic travel insurance does not tend to cover specialist needs such as extreme sports , travelling whilst pregnant, pre-existing illnesses and the like. However, it does usually offer valuable protection in events such as:

  • Medical illness or emergency
  • Your luggage and personal effects lost or damaged
  • Airline or travel company issues
  • Cancellations

A. You may have special needs that require more cover than a standard travel insurance policy. For example, you may need to get cover for extreme sports, pregnancy or pre-existing medical conditions. To ensure your needs are met you should check the PDS of the plans you are considering. If you have any questions about the cover, contact the insurer to clear up any queries you may have.

A. You can search for policies that cover cruises on our cruise insurance page. Make sure you are covered for all of the places you are visiting, and where applicable, the various activities you will be taking part in. Many insurers do offer cruise travel insurance policies.

A. The cost of travel insurance is based on a number of factors so there is no general answer to this question. However, comparing deals and top travel insurance policies enables you to try and find the most affordable travel insurance. Some of the things that may affect the cost of your travel insurance cover include:

  • The level of coverage you take out
  • The provider you choose to take out your cover with
  • Whether you have any specialist needs when you take out your cover
  • The destination you are travelling to
  • The length of time you are going for
  • Whether you take out single trip, multi-trip, family or group travel insurance cover
  • Your medical history and general health
  • Your age when you travel
  • The type of activities you will be taking part in while you are away

A. Some travel insurance brands offer protection for various excursions and day trips. You should always check with your specific provider (if it is not made clear in the policy).

A. The easiest way to find travel insurance that is affordable and suits your needs is by comparing deals online. There is an abundance of choice available online, which means that you have a better chance of finding cover that suits both your needs and budget. It's essential to compare travel insurance plans and providers if you want to get the right plan at the right price, as there are so many plans on the market and the cost can vary widely.

A. It is advisable to take out travel insurance cover as soon as you have booked and paid for your trip. This way you can be covered for cancellations or if your travel company or airline goes bust, which means that you can get back your prepaid costs and deposits.

A. The excess on any insurance policy is the amount that you will have to pay from your own pocket before you receive any payout. So, if your excess is $300 and you claim for $1,000, you will only receive $700 because the first $300 comes from your own pocket. If your claim is therefore the same as or less than your excess there is no point making the claim because you will receive nothing. You will generally find that there is a higher excess for cheap travel insurance policies than with the more expensive.

A. You can get travel insurance cover if you are pregnant but you should bear in mind that there are restrictions and exclusions. Many insurers offer insurance if you are 26–30 weeks into your pregnancy but will insist that you travel back no later than eight weeks before your due date because of the risk of premature birth.

For a full guide on how to get cover, head to our travel insurance for pregnancy page.

A. Annual trip policies are only available for a period of 12 months so it is not possible to extend cover beyond this period. Single trip policies can be extended by contacting your insurer and requesting the necessary policy extension documentation. Single trip policies can be extended provided the cover does not surpass 12 months in total.


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* The offers compared on this page are chosen from a range of products finder.com.au has access to track details from and is not representative of all the products available in the market. Products are displayed in no particular order or ranking. The use of terms "Cheapest", 'Best' and 'Top' are not product ratings and are subject to our disclaimer. You should consider seeking independent financial advice and consider your personal financial circumstances when comparing products.

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10 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    StevenMay 26, 2016

    I am new to travel insurance, how does it work, for example if i get hurt while away ,does the insurance pay the hospital directly from day one or do i pay ,then claim it when i come back to australia

  2. Default Gravatar
    MarieNovember 23, 2015

    Is there a travel insurance cover for cancellation of trip due to threat of terrorism before we travel to a particular country

    • Staff
      RichardNovember 23, 2015Staff

      Hi Marie,

      Thanks for your question. Many policies do cover you for cancellation, trip delay and additional travel expenses that are the result of an act or threat of terrorism. However, whether or not you’ll be covered will depend if there is an advisory issued by the Australian government, such as a do not travel warning, or if the act of terrorism is a known event.

      I hope this was helpful,
      Richard

  3. Default Gravatar
    RobynJuly 8, 2014

    Why can’t I type in departure date?

    • Staff
      WilliamJuly 8, 2014Staff

      Hi Robbie,

      Thank you for your comment. You should be able to select your departure date by clicking on the departure box and selecting from the menu. The form does not currently allow users to type in dates, only select from the box.

      Thank you,

      Will

  4. Default Gravatar
    February 27, 2014

    Do any travel insurance policies cover airlines collapsing?

    • Staff
      ShirleyFebruary 27, 2014Staff

      Hi Jocelyn,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Australian Travel Insurance, QBE, Travel Insuranz, Commonwealth Bank Travel Insurance may cover a financial collapse up to a certain limit – please double check the fine print before committing to anything.

      Cheers,
      Shirley

  5. Default Gravatar
    JulesFebruary 24, 2014

    I’m a frequent traveller, but as my parents are now elderly, I am contemplating the scenario that at some point I may have to cancel travel arrangements prior to leaving date or cancel mid-trip to come home to care for my parents in an emergency. Does either or both “cancellation policy” or “family emergency” cover this scenario.

    • Staff
      ShirleyFebruary 25, 2014Staff

      Hi Jules,

      Thanks for your comment.

      This actually depends on the insurer and how they word their policies.

      It can be either their cancellation policy or their family emergency – before committing to anything, it’s important to read the PDS so you know which specific cover it is. If you have any doubts, it’s best to contact the travel insurer directly to clarify.

      Cheers,
      Shirley

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