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Best travel insurance

Looking for the best travel insurance? We've compared 20+ brands, so you don't have to.

Finding the best travel insurance for you is easier when you use the Finder Ratings. Just enter your travel details into the comparison tool and your quotes will be sorted based on which policy offers you the best and most-comprehensive cover.

The higher the rating out of 10, the more-comprehensive cover you'll get. We pored over the benefit limits of dozens of product disclosure statements (PDS) so you don’t have to. Just pop in your trip details below and choose a policy.

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What is the best travel insurance in Australia?

Each year finder.com.au hands out awards for travel insurance in two categories:

Winner: Best Travel Insurance (Comprehensive) 2018: Budget Direct – Comprehensive

Budget Direct took home the finder Award for the best comprehensive travel insurance policy in 2018.

  • Unlimited overseas medical assistance and hospital expenses
  • Unlimited cover for cancellation fees, lost deposits and disruptions of journey
  • Includes cruise evacuation cover and medical cover while cruising as a standard
  • Up to $7,500 in luggage and personal effects

What separates Budget Direct from the pack?

Budget Direct Comprehensive cover edged out its competition in a couple of areas, specifically by providing unlimited emergency companion and disruption of journey cover. It also has one of the higher levels of cover for rental vehicle excess as standard.

Where is the policy lacking?

While this was rated our best comprehensive travel insurance, it did have a couple of shortfalls when compared to other similar products. Notably for its lower-than-average cover for accidental death, hijack and luggage and personal effects.

Honourable mentions

It was a tight competition in 2018, with Fast Cover’s Comprehensive coming so close to the top spot that it was highly commended. Other finalists were:

Winner: Best Travel Insurance (Value) 2018: Tick Travel Insurance – Standard

Tick Travel Insurance took home the finder Award for the best value travel insurance policy in 2018.

  • Unlimited overseas medical assistance and hospital expenses
  • Up to $5,000 cover for cancellation fees and lost deposits
  • Up to $4,000 cover for luggage and personal effects

What separates Tick Travel insurance from the pack?

While it was slightly more expensive than its competition, Tick Travel Insurance – Standard offers cover for accidental death, family emergency, hospital cash allowance, loss of income, cancellation fees, lost deposits, luggage and personal effects and a host of benefits not normally covered on lower-cost policies.

Where is the policy lacking?

Since this is a low-cost policy, it’s really hard to fault it for not being more comprehensive, but if you had to pick one thing it would be nice if it covered credit card fraud and replacement.

Honourable mentions

What makes a travel insurance policy “the best”?

Finding the best policy comes down to knowing what you want covered and the Finder Rating is a way for you to get a high-level idea about the value a policy offers.

We spoke with Travel Insurance Direct about not only what they thought was important to have covered but also how often those items were claimed:

Cover Importance Most commonly claimed
You need medical help 1 1
You are in an accident 2 2
Your flight is cancelled or delayed 3 4
Your travel is delayed 4 6
You have to return home early 5 8
You need medical evacuation 6 10
Your luggage and personal effects 7 3
You have to cancel your trip 8 5
Your bags are delayed 9 7
Your passport or travel documents 10 11
You have to pay rental car insurance excess 11 9
You incur a loss of income 12 13
Your credit cards 13 12
You suffer a total permanent disability 14 14
You become legally liable 15 15
Accidental death 16 16

planning a trip

What should the best policy cover?

When looking for travel insurance there are must-haves and nice-to-haves. When looking for the best policy, it really should have cover for both must-haves and nice-to-haves.

Must-haves

  • Medical cover
    • Medical cover protects you against the financial costs associated with overseas medical treatment for a sudden illness and covers costs such as rides in an ambulance, hospital or doctor’s bills. When comparing top travel insurance policies, the best international travel insurance policies offer unlimited cover.
  • Accident cover
    • Accident cover protects you against the financial costs associated with overseas medical treatment if you sustain a sudden injury and protects you from costs such as rides in an ambulance, hospital or doctor’s bills. When comparing top travel insurance policies, again you’re going to want to look for one with unlimited cover.
  • Flight cancellations and delays
    • If your flight is cancelled due to a claimable event such as a natural disaster your policy will cover you for the additional expenses you incur such as accommodation costs. A top policy will provide unlimited cover for this benefit.
  • Travel delays
    • If your trip is delayed due to an operational error on behalf of your airline, your policy will cover you for some incidental costs such as meals and in some cases accommodation.
  • Trip interruption
    • Trip interruption covers you for additional costs such as flights and meals if you have to head home for an unforeseen event such as a death in the family.
  • Medical evacuation
    • If because of a sudden onset of an illness or injury you need to be repatriated back to Australia or you require evacuation from a location to a nearby hospital, your policy will cover the associated costs. Again, the best policies offer unlimited cover for this.
  • Luggage and personal effects cover
    • If your luggage is damaged, lost or stolen, your policy will generally cover you for some of the replacement costs up to both the policy and per item limit. If you have expensive items, it’s better to find a policy that allows you to buy additional coverage for expensive items.
  • Trip cancellation
    • If you need to cancel your trip due to circumstances outside of your control such as an illness, your policy will cover cancellations costs such as lost deposits and non-refundable bookings. The best policies will offer unlimited cover.
  • Luggage delay cover
    • If you arrive somewhere but for some reason your luggage doesn’t follow suit, then your policy will provide you cover for the essentials to get you through until it arrives.
  • You have to pay rental car insurance excess
    • This is only a must-have if you’re renting a car but if you are, travel insurance excess cover provides you with cover for the deductible charge applied by rental companies when you’re involved in an accident.

Nice-to-haves

  • Your passport or travel documents
    • If your passport is lost or stolen while you’re overseas, a top policy will cover you for the reasonable replacement costs.
  • You incur a loss of income
    • If you’re involved in an accident overseas and you’re unable to return to work, the best policies will offer you some support in the form of a monthly stipend to replace your lost income.
  • Your credit cards
    • If your cars are lost or stolen while you’re away, your policy will cover you if you suffer a financial loss as a result.
  • You suffer a total permanent disability
    • If you’re involved in an accident overseas, the best policies will provide you with a lump sum benefit depending on the type of life-altering injury.
  • You become legally liable
    • If your negligence leads to someone getting injured or you damage somebody’s property, this benefit will cover you for compensation you’re legally liable for, with the best policies offering cover upwards of $1 million.
  • Accidental death
    • If you die while overseas, the best international policies pay a benefit to your estate along with the associated costs of repatriating your remains.

Is it best to get a single trip or annual policy?

When you’re looking for travel insurance you’ll come across the option of choosing a single or annual trip policy. Both have their pros and cons but single trip policies are best for you if you don’t plan on travelling much over the next 365 days or if you’re going on one long trip (annual policies cap the length you’re allowed to travel in a single go).

Annual policies are best if you’re a bit of a jet-setter. Buying an annual policy generally works out cheaper than buying single trip policies if you plan on making more than four shorter trips in the next year.

Single trip Annual multi-trip
  • Great if you have specific cover requirements, eg, 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 3 times per year.
  • Can provide cover for multiple destinations.
  • The maximum length of individual trips is usually 45–90 days.

What isn’t covered even by the best policies?

Sadly, not even the crème de la crème of travel insurance policies cover everything.

Below are a few items no policy provides cover for:

  • If you intentionally or recklessly put yourself in danger
  • If your claim is for consequential loss of any kind, for example loss of enjoyment
  • If your claim arises because you engage in manual labour on your journey (note that some policies will cover working holidays)
  • If your claim arises because you breach a government prohibition or regulation
  • If you fail to get the correct visa
  • If you fail to obtain a passport in time to travel
  • If you drive a vehicle without a current Australian licence or a licence valid for the country you are driving in
  • If your claim arises due to any errors or omissions in your booking arrangements
  • If your claim arises due to an act of war
  • If your claim arises due to a pre-existing condition that is excluded from cover
  • If you travel to a country for which the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has issued a “Do Not Travel” advisory
  • If you travel against medical advice
  • If your claim arises because you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs

All policies are different, so make sure you check the relevant PDS for a full list exclusions.

Best travel insurance companies

Finding the best travel insurance company is not as simple as getting the best policy. For the best travel insurance company, you’re going to want to look at how good its products are in conjunction with things like the company’s reputation and how many complaints it receives.

The table below displays data collected by the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) in 2017–18 on your chance of having a dispute per 100,000 with these travel insurers and underwriters. If you’re not sure what the underwriter for a travel insurance company is, you’ll be able to find it listed in the PDS.

Financial services provider Primary business Chance of dispute
Insurance Australia Limited General insurer Not listed
Chubb Insurance Australia Limited General insurer 0.3
AIG Australia Limited General insurer 4.5
AWP Australia Pty Ltd Underwriting agency 5.4
Lloyd's Australia Limited General insurer 8.5
The Hollard Insurance Company Pty Ltd General insurer 11.2
Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Company Limited General insurer 12
Auto & General Insurance Company Limited Underwriting agency 12.3
MEDIAN 12.3
Great Lakes Insurance SE Underwriting agency 12.9
Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co Ltd General insurer 22.9
Southern Cross Benefits Ltd General insurer 23.6
QBE Insurance (Australia) Limited General insurer 25.1
AAI Limited General insurer 28.7
Zurich Australian Insurance Limited General insurer 31.1

Check the underwriter

Those listed in the table above are the underwriters of a whole host of travel insurance brands in Australia. So when you’re looking at a policy, it’s always smart to look at which underwriter is used.

Check online reviews

Before you take out your policy, have a quick whip around the Internet to see what previous customers have said about their claims experiences, whether their emergency assistance team was helpful or just customer service in general. Sure, you’re always going to find negative comments, especially in the world of insurance but if the reviews are all overwhelmingly bad, you might want to look at taking your business elsewhere.

Getting the best value out of your travel insurance

Sometimes you’re not after the best policy but rather after the best bang for your buck, this is no truer than when trying to find the best travel insurance for the whole family.

We analysed policies from three of our most popular partners to see how their policies for Bali compared. We looked at a 10-day trip to Bali using a 30-year-old traveller. These quotes were retrieved on 30 August 2018.

Budget DirectTick Travel InsuranceFastCover
Price for 10 days' cover$56.71$22.28$24.80
Excess$200$200$200
Overseas emergency medical assistance and hospital expensesUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
Luggage and personal effects$2,500$2,000Not covered
Cancellation fees and lost depositsNot coveredNot coveredNot covered
Get QuoteGet QuoteGet Quote
Budget DirectTick Travel InsuranceFastCover
Price for 10 days' cover$71.89$34.27$39.90
Excess$200$200$200
Overseas emergency medical assistance and hospital expensesUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
Luggage and personal effects$5,000$4,000$5,000
Cancellation fees and lost deposits$12,500$5,000$15,000
Get QuoteGet QuoteGet Quote
Budget DirectTick Travel InsuranceFastCover
Price for 10 days' cover$76.76$37.05$47.80
Excess$200$200$200
Overseas emergency medical assistance and hospital expensesUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
Luggage and personal effects$7,500$7,500$10,000
Cancellation fees and lost depositsUnlimited$20,000Unlimited
Get QuoteGet QuoteGet Quote

How to find the best travel insurance for...

Every traveller is different, which is why finding the best policy is so hard. These guides should help you narrow down your search:

Picture: Unsplash

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12 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    SandraNovember 26, 2017

    I am about to travel soon. My flight is via Bali to KL. I haven’t bought the Travel insurance. Considering the volcanic eruptions situation in Bali which is the best travel insurance to get ? Thanks in advance
    Sandra

    • Default Gravatar
      AsiaNovember 27, 2017

      Hi Sandra,

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      As we are a comparison website, I’m afraid we cannot give an advice on which is the best travel insurance you can get because the decision is based entirely on your preferences. But, we do have a page that you can compare your travel insurance options. You may refer this information to the link address here: https://www.finder.com.au/travel-insurance-bali.

      I hope this information helped,

      Best,
      Asia

  2. 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

  3. 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

    • finder Customer Care
      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

  4. Default Gravatar
    RobynJuly 8, 2014

    Why can’t I type in departure date?

    • finder Customer Care
      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

  5. Default Gravatar
    February 27, 2014

    Do any travel insurance policies cover airlines collapsing?

    • finder Customer Care
      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

  6. 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.

    • finder Customer Care
      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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