Looking for the cheapest travel insurance possible without compromising on cover? Here's how to find it.
If you're travelling on a budget and have spent up big booking your flights and accommodation, you're probably looking for a travel insurance policy that’s as affordable as possible. So how can you find cover on the cheap that offers all the protection you need?
- Know what you're after. For instance, if you're not planning on hiring a car, you probably won't have much use for rental car excess insurance.
- Compare multiple quotes. Don't just look at the price - check what's covered and to what limit.
Compare to see how much you can save below, or read on to see how you can find cheaper travel insurance.
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How can this page help me find cheap* travel insurance?
- What kind of policy do I need?
- What is cheap travel insurance?
- What features does a budget policy normally include?
- Is it worth spending a bit more for comprehensive insurance?
- How to compare cheap* travel insurance policies
- What else should I know about low-cost policies?
- Can cheap* travel insurance cover cancellations?
- How do I get the cheapest* policy without compromising on cover?
- Can I get comprehensive medical on a discount policy?
- Isn't my credit card travel insurance enough?
- Here's why you really should read the fine print
- Common cheap travel insurance traps to avoid
- Find low-cost travel insurance and apply online
Cheapest travel insurance quotes on finder**
|Provider||Kango||Tick Travel Insurance||Online Travel Insurance||itrek|
|Overseas Medical Expenses||$5,000,000||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Cancellation Fee Cover||n/a||$5,000||n/a||n/a|
|Luggage & Personal Effects||n/a||$2,000||n/a||n/a|
|Length of Trip||14 days||14 days||14 days||14 days|
|Age of Traveller||25||25||25||25|
|Total cost of cover||$20.45||$23.50||$30.52||$31.65|
|Get quote||Get quote||Get quote||Get quote|
**Quotes were based on a 14-day trip for a 25-year old going to Bali and United States. Prices shown are accurate as of November 2017. Prices are illustrative only and subject to change - for the most accurate pricing, use the quote engine above.
|Provider||itrek||Kango||Fast Cover||Online Travel Insurance||Virgin Money|
|Overseas Medical Expenses||Unlimited||$5,000,000||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Cancellation Fee Cover||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|Luggage & Personal Effects||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|Length of Trip||14 days||14 days||14 days||14 days||14 days|
|Age of Traveller||25||25||25||25||25|
|Total cost of cover||$45.10||$45.48||$45.70||$47.84||$55.36|
|Get quote||Get quote||Get quote||Get quote||Get quote|
**Quotes were based on a 14-day trip for a 25-year old going to the United States. Prices shown are accurate as of November 2017. Prices are illustrative only and subject to change - for the most accurate pricing, use the quote engine above.
The answer to this question really depends on your definition of cheap. For some travellers, a cheap policy is budget travel insurance that provides a basic level of cover. It includes cover for overseas medical expenses, cancellation costs, personal liability and not a whole lot else.
However, a cheap policy doesn’t necessarily need to provide only basic cover. For other travellers, their definition of cheap might mean a comprehensive policy that provides a broad range of benefits and a high level of cover, but that offers much more affordable premiums than other policies on the market.
It’s important to remember this distinction when shopping around for cover, as the right cheap travel insurance policy for one person may not be the one that's right for you.
What features does a budget policy normally include?
If you choose a budget travel insurance policy, you can expect cover for:
- Overseas emergency medical expenses. Many entry-level policies are also known as medical-only travel insurance, so you can usually expect a high level of cover for overseas emergency medical and hospital expenses. You’ll also be able to access 24/7 emergency assistance and cover for in-hospital expenses, medical evacuation and repatriation to Australia if required.
- Personal liability. If you accidentally cause death or bodily injury to someone else or damage their property, budget travel insurance policies can cover your legal liability.
Some budget policies will only offer these two benefits, but some insurers will also add limited cover for:
- Luggage and personal belongings. This benefit covers the cost of repairing or replacing lost, stolen or damaged luggage and personal items.
- Cancellation costs. If you’re forced to cancel your trip due to unforeseen circumstances beyond your control, for example the death of a close relative, budget travel insurance may cover your cancellation fees and lost deposits.
- Accidental death and permanent disability. Your policy may also pay a lump sum benefit if you become permanently disabled or die as a result of an accident during your trip.
How do I know what kind of policy I need?
This will depend on your personal preferences and travel needs. Here's a simple way to decide:
Is it worth spending a bit more for comprehensive insurance?
Most insurers offer at least two levels of cover – basic and comprehensive. Some companies will also offer a mid-range policy in between, but the choice between basic and comprehensive travel insurance is available from the vast majority of insurers.
What’s the difference? Well, as the name suggests, basic cover only provides benefits for a few essential items, including overseas medical expenses and personal liability. As a result, it’s relatively inexpensive to buy.
On the flipside, comprehensive travel insurance not only offers a much wider range of benefits but also higher cover limits - usually for not a whole lot more. In addition to the features of a basic policy, it also covers things like your luggage, travel delay, rental vehicle insurance excess, and the theft of cash and travel documents.
To give you a better idea of what a comprehensive policy can cover (in this case for only an extra $13!), we’ve compared Travel Insurance Direct’s entry-level policy, "The Basics", with its "The Works" comprehensive policy in the table below.
|Example Basic Policy||Example Comprehensive Policy|
|Overseas medical expenses||$5 million||Unlimited|
|Additional expenses / medical evacuation||$500,000||Unlimited|
|Loss of income||-||$9,000|
|Resumption of trip||-||$3,000|
|Rental vehicle insurance excess||-||$4,000|
|Withdrawal of services||-||$500|
|Total permanent disability||$12,500||$12,500|
|Luggage and personal effects||$3,000||$12,000|
|Personal liability||$1 million||$2.5 million|
**Note: Cost quoted in the table is for a 35-year-old taking a two-week trip to the USA. Valid as of 10/11/17. For current pricing, please use the quote engine above.
So should I consider upgrading to a higher level of cover?
In the battle to find the cheapest* travel insurance available, sometimes it’s easy to overlook what you’re actually getting for your money. In many cases, you may be surprised to find that you actually get much better value for money by upgrading to a higher level of cover. By spending just a little more on your premium, you may be able to access a much broader range of benefits.
While the comprehensive policy above offers a much wider range of benefits and substantially higher cover limits, it’s only $13 more expensive than the basic policy. Spread out across a two-week holiday, that works out to less than $1 a day, but will provide a whole lot more peace of mind during your trip.
How to compare cheaper* travel insurance policies
Comparing travel insurance can be confusing business. Make sure you consider the following when searching for affordable cover:
- What’s covered. Check the table of benefits to find out when your policy will cover you. Are there any situations that you need cover for but which aren’t included? For example, will you be covered if you engage in high-risk adventure activities like scuba diving or skydiving?
- Cover limits. Take a look at the maximum amount the insurer will pay for each section of cover. How does this compare to the limits imposed by other insurers? As well as overall cover limits, also check for any sub-limits that may apply to individual benefits. For example, while your insurer may cover up to $10,000 for luggage and personal items, it may only pay a maximum of $500 for any one item. If you’re taking an expensive laptop or camera on your trip, you may need to purchase additional cover.
- What’s not covered. Next, read the list of general exclusions to make sure you’re aware of the situations when no cover is available. This will prevent any nasty surprises come claims time.
- Excess payable. OK, so you’ve found a policy with a very attractive premium, but remember that if you have to claim on your policy you’ll need to pay an excess. Some insurers suck in unwitting customers with cheap premiums but then sting them with a big out-of-pocket excess when they make a claim, so check the excess amount before buying a policy.
- The underwriter. Rather than focusing on the brand that sells travel insurance, check to see who underwrites the policy. Is your insurance backed by a reputable company
- Claims process and customer support. Read the PDS to find out what you need to do to make a claim. Read independent customer reviews to see whether the insurer handles claims efficiently, and check how easy it is to contact the provider if you ever need assistance.
- Full disclosure. If you’re worried about the impact your pre-existing medical condition will have on the cost of cover, it can be tempting to “forget” to mention that condition to the insurer. This is a big mistake – though your premium may be slightly cheaper, any claims that arise due to your condition will be refused and your policy may be cancelled.
- Price. OK, if you’re looking for cheap* travel insurance, this is obviously going to carry plenty of weight in your comparison. But don't let your love for a bargain prevent you from getting adequate cover. Compare your options using the quote engine on this page, but just make sure that the premium isn’t the only factor you consider when choosing a policy.
What won't be covered by my policy?
Travel insurance isn’t designed to cover every possible event or incident that could turn your dream holiday into a nightmare, and there are a number of specific situations excluded from cover. You won’t be covered if:
- Your claim arises because you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Your claim is caused by a pre-existing medical condition
- You participate in high-risk adventure activities
- Your claim arises due to your own negligence – for example, if you leave your bag unattended in a public place and it's stolen
- You break the law
- You travel against medical advice
- You ignore a travel advisory from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)
Our guide to travel insurance exclusions has a full rundown of the situations when you won’t be covered.
It’s also important to remember that budget travel insurance policies tend to only provide cover for a few key risks, and often have lower benefit limits than standard or comprehensive policies. With this in mind, never assume that something will be automatically covered by your policy – check the PDS to make sure.
What else should I know about low-cost policies?
Go through this checklist before you commit to purchasing a basic plan:
Can cheap* travel insurance cover cancellations?
If unforeseen circumstances beyond your control force you to cancel your trip, for example if you suffer a serious injury and are unable to travel, you may be charged cancellation fees for your holiday and lose pre-paid deposits. The good news is that some budget travel insurance policies offer cover to help reimburse you for those costs.
Check the fine print as cancellation certainly isn’t covered by all basic policies.
So how do I get the cheapest* policy without compromising on cover?
When looking for a bargain on travel insurance, it's easy to get wowed by the price and sign up without reading through the policy. Below are some key steps to take when comparing different budget travel insurance policies.
- Compare your options. This is the easiest way to find affordable travel insurance that covers everything you need. By comparing quotes and policy features across a range of insurers, you’ll not only be able to find the cheapest travel insurance but, more importantly, the policy that offers the best bang for your buck.
- Only pay for cover you need. If you don’t want comprehensive cover for a broad range of benefits, don’t pay for it. Similarly, if you don’t need additional cover for skiing, golf or adventure activities, don’t add them to your policy.
- Buy online. Many travel insurers provide a premium discount to customers who buy their policies online rather than over the phone or in person.
- Don’t buy from your travel agent or airline. If you opt to buy cover from your airline or travel agent, you could pay as much as three times more for your policy than if you purchase direct from the insurer. This is because travel agents and airlines add their own hefty commissions on top of the cost of the policy.
- Look for promo codes. It’s always worth checking for the latest travel insurance coupon codes and special offers that can reduce the cost of your premium.
- Get a discount. From multi-policy discounts and loyalty discounts to discounted cover for members of certain organisations, you might be surprised just how much a discount can help you save. Keep an eye out for any special deals that could help you save.
- Consider a multi-trip policy. If you’re a frequent traveller, the cost of buying a separate insurance policy for each trip you take quickly adds up. That’s why it could be worth your while investing in annual travel insurance, which provides a high level of cover for all the trips you take during the entire year. If you take two or more trips every 12 months, annual multi-trip cover often works out to be much more affordable.
- Enjoy power in numbers. Travelling overseas with a friend or relative? Instead of buying cover separately, if you team up to buy a joint policy the total cost will usually work out cheaper.
- Vary your excess. By selecting a higher excess amount should you need to make a claim, you can enjoy cheaper travel insurance premiums.
For more details on how to find cheap premiums, check out our guide to how to save on travel insurance.
Can I get comprehensive medical on a discount policy?
One of the chief concerns of people looking for a travel insurance deal is whether the decrease in premiums means a dip in the level of medical cover. While this is true of many cheaper travel insurance policies, it is possible to get unlimited cover for medical and dental with budget travel insurance. Displayed below are budget policies from insurers in our panel that offer unlimited medical cover.
Isn't my credit card travel insurance enough?
If you’ve got a high-end or rewards credit card, there’s a good chance your card might include complimentary travel insurance as part of its rewards package. This insurance can be an easy and convenient way for you to get cheap travel insurance cover for your trip.
Credit card travel insurance is free – well, not really, since your card probably has an annual fee – and can provide cover for a wide range of risks.
However, don’t just assume that credit card travel insurance will be enough for your trip, as it does have a few significant drawbacks:
- You’ll need to activate cover. Each card has its own terms and conditions that you must satisfy in order to activate travel insurance cover. For example, you’ll usually need to pay for a certain portion of your trip using your card, and if you fail to do so then no cover will be available.
- Cover can be limited. Standalone travel insurance usually offers much higher benefit limits than credit card travel insurance. As an example, while many standalone policies offer unlimited cover for overseas medical expenses, some credit cards limit medical cover to just $500,000.
- Limited trip duration. While standalone policies can cover trips of up to 12 months, many credit card insurance policies only cover maximum trip durations of three months.
- Not as flexible. Standalone travel insurance policies can be tailored to suit your needs by adding cover for things like skiing and adventure sports; some credit card policies will automatically exclude these pastimes.
- Higher excess. As a general rule, you’ll need to pay a higher excess when you claim on credit card travel insurance.
For a detailed breakdown of the ins and outs of credit card travel insurance, check out our handy guide.
Here's why you really should read the fine print
Have you ever had your holiday disrupted by an unexpected mishap? Perhaps you suffered a broken leg in a car accident, had all your baggage “disappeared” by an airline, or had your handbag and wallet stolen by thieves. More seriously, perhaps an overseas medical emergency left you with an extended stay in hospital and massive medical bills to deal with.
Though travelling is one of the most enjoyable things in life, the fact is that it’s a highly unpredictable beast. A whole host of unexpected circumstances can conspire to turn your trip into a disaster, from unexpected illnesses to flight delays and cancellations, and if you don’t have any protection in place you could end up significantly out of pocket.
This is why taking out travel insurance cover is essential for anyone planning a trip for business or pleasure. It offers crucial financial protection against an array of travel risks, ensuring that your wallet won’t suffer if something goes wrong while you’re travelling. With an increasing number of insurers offering travel insurance online, it’s easier than ever to take out travel insurance cover.
While buying cover online is convenient and straightforward, it's critical you take the time to read through your product disclosure statement (PDS) before purchasing a policy. Many people buy the first policy they see without reading through the terms and conditions, placing themselves at risk of an unsuccessful claim. According to a 2016-2017 report, the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) assisted over 12,000 Australians that got into difficulty overseas. This included:
- 1,701 hospitalisations
- 1,653 deaths
- 52 cases of repatriation
When an uninsured person gets into this type of situation, the personal tragedy can be magnified through long-term financial hardship. Medical evacuations, hospitalisation and the return of a person's body to Australia should they die overseas can be extremely expensive. The following are some real-world situations:
- South East Asia has been a popular destination for Australians for years, with many not realising that in many places the cost of hospitalisation can exceed $800 a day. Emergency medical costs can be astronomical, and the government can't help pay for those bills. DFAT shares some case studies where people did not get travel insurance or understand the exclusions, resulting in significant financial distress.
- The United States, another popular destination for many Australian travellers, is one of the most expensive places to get into trouble. Evacuation from the USA can cost between $75,000 and $95,000, with people having paid up to $300,000.
Common traps to avoid
While cheaper travel insurance is better than no travel insurance at all, you still have to make sure the cover you do get is satisfactory and meets your needs. Policy conditions for what you are and are not covered for can be quite complex so it is important to have an idea of what to look out for. Here are some things to look out for:
- Assuming that cheaper policies will cover trip interruptions. Many policies cover you for when your car breaks down on the way to catch your plane causing you to miss your flight. Cheaper travel insurance policies usually limit this clause to only cover you in the event of a breakdown of public transport.
- Assuming that the policy will cover missed connections. When you inadvertently miss a connecting flight, a cost is involved in buying another ticket and sometimes the need for overnight accommodation. Budget travel insurance does not usually cover you for such losses.
- Assuming that budget travel insurance will cover family emergencies (e.g. the passing of a close family member). The definition of ‘close relatives’ can be different on a budget policy than that of the comprehensive travel insurance cover. An uncle or aunt becoming ill and causing you to have to change plans might not cut it with a cheaper travel insurance policy.
- Thinking of just the upfront cost. The cheaper types of policies usually make you pay an excess before the actual insurance is payable even if the event can be claimed. You will find that although you are still covered for many events, you will have to pay an excess that a more expensive policy may not have included.
- Expecting that pre-existing conditions are covered. The most common exclusion is for pre-existing medical conditions. If your illness or injury can be traced back to a pre-existing condition that was present before you made the claim, you claim will be declined unless it is automatically covered, or you have reported it to your insurer and been approved cover for it.
* There is no such thing as the cheapest travel insurance. 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 'Cheap' and 'Cheapest' does not represent the overall value of the product, and is subject to our disclaimer. You should consider seeking independent financial advice and consider your personal financial circumstances when comparing products.
*The $20 price is based on 3 day trip to New Zealand for an 18-year-old traveller.