Find Cheap Travel Insurance for the essentials

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Want the cheapest travel insurance? Compare basic cover with discounts to save further.

If you're looking for cheap travel insurance, it's sometimes hard to know what's a good deal and what's not. If your just looking for basic cover for the essentials that won't cost you an arm and a leg, you can find it on finder.com.au in 3 simple steps:

  1. Work out how much cover you really need
  2. Check out the latest policy discounts on finder.com.au
  3. Compare travel insurance policies online

Compare budget quotes and save with exclusive discounts

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Win $10,000 toward holiday or $500 Budget Direct Prepaid Visa card

Simply purchase a Comprehensive or Annual Multi-Trip policy from Budget Direct to enter draw to win $10,000 toward holiday or $500 Budget Direct Prepaid Visa card. T's and C's apply.

Free Visa Prepaid Gift Card and Global Roaming sim

Receive a Free Woolworths Visa Prepaid Gift Card and Global Roaming sim with every Comprehensive Travel Insurance.

Should I spend more or less on travel insurance?

This will depend on your personal preferences and travel needs. Here's a simple way to decide:


What's the difference between basic and comprehensive travel insurance?

Finding cheap travel insurance is not as easy as just looking at the cost of the policy. Sure, getting the cheapest* travel insurance policy may seem like an easy way to cut your travel costs, but it's important to weigh up both the initial cost and what cover you are getting for your money.

Sample trip

Trip featuresDetails
DestinationUSA
Trip duration14 days
Age of traveller35

Side-by-side comparison of InsureandGo travel insurance policies.

FeaturesBare Essentials (Basic)Gold Policy (Comprehensive)
Policy typeSingle tripSingle trip
Overseas medical expensesUnlimitedUnlimited
Cancellation -Unlimited
Luggage and personal effects$2,000$8,000
Excess$100$100
Travel delay -$2,000
Personal liability$1,500,000$5,000,000
Curtailment  -Unlimited
Rental vehicle excess waiver -$4,000
Cost of policy$56.36$86.95

*Prices retrieved and correct as of March 2016. Price subject to change. Price demonstrated includes an exclusive finder.com.au discount

While the Bare Essentials policy is clearly the cheapest* travel insurance policy of the three, it is limited in what provides. If you're after value for money and not just the cheapest* policy, then the Gold Policy would be most suitable to you.

How do I compare different levels of cover on finder.com.au?

1. Fill out your trip details in the form above.

2. You can then filter your quote results by the level of cover (look on the left side).

compare-basic-comprehensive


What do I need from a budget travel insurance policy?

Make sure your policy covers most or all of these essential features

It's crucial to look past the price consider looking out for these features when looking at cheaper policies

  • Cancellation cover. If you have to cancel your trip due to unforeseen circumstances, cancellation cover protects you for out of pocket expenses you incur because of lost pre-paid deposits or additional cancellation fees. An indication of good value from a basic policies is one that offers cancellation cover.
  • Emergency medical cover. Budget travel insurance policies from Australian insurers generally cover emergency medical expenses.

What's does emergency medical cover include?

  • 24 hour emergency
  • medical assistance
  • ambulance fees
  • medical evacuations
  • funeral arrangements
  • messages to family.
  • hospital expenses including surgeries
  • Luggage and personal effects cover. If your bags are lost by your travel provider, your insurance generally covers the replacement costs for your personal items. If your bags are delayed (generally for more than 24 hours), you'll receive a benefit amount to help to buy new clothes until your luggage is located.
  • Personal liability. Cheap travel insurance should also cover personal liability, which protects you if you're liable for damage or injury to a third party.
  • 24/7 assistance. Make sure your cheap travel insurance policy has 24/7 worldwide emergency assistance.

What else should I look for in a low-cost policy?

Go through this checklist before you commit to purchasing a basic plan:

Check the policy covers activities you are participating in

  • Cheap travel insurance policies normally cut back on cover in order to provide basic levels of cover. So, if you're planning on participating in a risky activity on your trip such as skiing, chances are your budget travel insurance policy won't cover it.

Check the limits and sub limits of cover

  • Let's use the previous example of limits and sub limits, with a policy that has unlimited cover for medical and evacuation but a sub limit of $100,000 for medical and evacuation expenses due to terrorism. However, let's say that this applies to a comprehensive travel insurance policy and that the budget travel insurance policy has a limit of $50,000 for medical and evacuation but a sub limit of $15,000 for medical and evacuation expenses due to terrorism. Comparing these limits side-by-side helps you to see just where those saving are coming from with cheap travel insurance policies.

Check pre-existing conditions are covered

If you have an existing health condition it is crucial to make sure that it is cover. You should disclose any existing health conditions to your insurance provider. It may be difficult to find cheap travel insurance for health conditions as if you are wanting cover for that existing condition, you will generally need to pay an additional premium (if the insurer will cover the condition).

Check the excess

  • One way insurers are able to offer cheap travel insurance is by having a higher excess.

Check the definitions in each policy.

  • A common trap to watch out for when comparing low-cost travel insurance policies is to look at how events are defined by the insurer. Ideally, you should review the terms listed under the policy glossary.

Can cheap travel insurance cover rental excess?

If your rental car is crashed, stolen or maliciously damaged during your trip, the rental company may charge you an expensive insurance excess, which is often several thousands of dollars. If you have travel insurance cover in place, this excess may be covered as part of your policy. You can find cheap travel insurance policies that include car rental excess cover through finder.com.au's quote engine.

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 cheap 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.


How do I get the cheapest* policy without compromising cover?

When looking for cheap travel insurance, it's easy to get wowed by price and sign up for cover without reading through the policy. Below are some key steps to take when comparing different budget travel insurance policies.

    • Know your cover needs. In order to get the right cover, it's important to know what features are relevant for your trip. While you may be trying to find the cheapest* travel insurance policy, it's crucial to make sure you're protection suits your needs. For example, cheap travel insurance policy normally have lower limits for cancellation, which is an issue if you have a lot of pre-paid travel expenses.
    • Know your limits. To have adequate and reasonably priced travel insurance, you need to look at the limits and sub limits of the policy. For example, a policy may have unlimited cover for medical and evacuation but a sub limit of $100,000 for medical and evacuation expenses due to terrorism.
    • Know what cover you already have. If you have a credit card (or even a high end debit card) you may have free travel insurance provided by that institution.
    • Look out for special offers and discounts. Insurers regularly offer discounts to help you save further. Check out some current discounts available here
    • Consider annual-multi trip or policies offering free child cover. This could save you hundreds if travelling with your family or if you are a frequent traveller
    • Know your exclusions. When looking for affordable travel insurance it is important to look at the restrictions and exclusions of a policy. Each insurer has a section that lists what they don't cover. Some typical exclusions to watch out for include:
      • Illness or injury arising from pre-existing medical conditions
      • Injury from potentially risky sports (this will usually require a specific policy)
      • Loss arising from act of terrorism, civil unrest or war
      • Negligence from policy owner i.e. left their baggage unattended
      • Events where the policy owner has been under the influence of drugs or alcohol
      • Many policies won’t cover accidents arising from motorbikes, scooters or rickshaw transport that is common in many Asia Pacific destinations

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 cheap 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.

Brands Product Product Details Apply
Virgin Money Basic

Unlimited overseas emergency assistance

Unlimited overseas medical expenses

$1,000,000 personal liability

Get quoteMore info
InsureandGo Bare Essentials Single Trip

Unlimited overseas medical expenses

$1,500,000 personal liability

$2,000 baggage

Get quoteMore info
Budget Direct Travel Insurance Last Minute

Unlimited overseas medical expenses

$2,500 luggage and personal effects

$1 million personal liability

$5,000 disruption of journey

Get quoteMore info
Check-In.com.au Travel Insurance Basic Single Trip

Unlimited overseas medical expenses

$5,000 cancellation fees and lost deposits

$5,000 luggage and personal effects

$2 million personal liability

Get quoteMore info
Fast Cover Single Trip - Standard
  • Unlimited Cancellation Fees and Lost Deposits Cover
  • Unlimited Overseas Medical Expenses Cover
  • $500 for Dental expenses
  • $2,500,000 Personal Liability Cover
Get quoteMore info

Is free credit card travel insurance enough?

If you're searching for good cheap travel insurance deals, chances are you're already aware of complimentary travel insurance through your credit card. While many credit cards offer free travel insurance, there are both positives and negatives of choosing this type of cover.

BenefitsDrawbacks
  • Free is free. If you are looking for cheap travel insurance, you can't get cheaper than free. However, you insurance will need to be activated, generally by you paying for part or all of your trip with your credit card.
  • Cover for you and your dependents. Just like with your standard insurance policy, you can get cover for both you and your dependents.
  • Simple to apply. As the insurance is not based on your destination, the process of getting insurance is normally simple and less time consuming.
  • Annual fees. Cards that offer complimentary credit card insurance generally have a higher annual fee than those that don't.
  • Have to use your credit card. Generally you have to have paid for all or part of the trip on your card.
  • Watch the exclusions. There are generally exclusions relating to your participation in things like skiing.

Find out more about credit card travel insurance

Can seniors find affordable travel insurance?

Travel insurance becomes more expensive the older you get. That doesn't mean that you can't find a deal. You may be asking yourself, but how do I find cheap travel insurance for seniors? Compare, compare, compare. The more seniors travel insurance quotes you look at, the better chance you have of finding good cheap travel insurance. If you are in good health, the chances are that you'll be able to find more affordable travel insurance than someone else your age, it just takes time. Go on the offensive. Contact as many insurers as possible. Better still, find a seniors travel insurance specialist.

Want to know more about travel insurance for seniors?

What should I look for in a low-cost policy?

  • Check the policy covers activities you are participating in. Cheap travel insurance policies normally cut back on cover in order to provide basic levels of cover. So, if you're planning on participating in a risky activity on your trip such as skiing, chances are your budget travel insurance policy won't cover it.
  • Check the limits and sub limits of cover. Let's use the previous example of limits and sub limits, with a policy that has unlimited cover for medical and evacuation but a sub limit of $100,000 for medical and evacuation expenses due to terrorism. However, let's say that this applies to a comprehensive travel insurance policy and that the budget travel insurance policy has a limit of $50,000 for medical and evacuation but a sub limit of $15,000 for medical and evacuation expenses due to terrorism. Comparing these limits side-by-side helps you to see just where those saving are coming from with cheap travel insurance policies.
  • Check pre-existing conditions are covered. If you have an existing health condition it is crucial to make sure that it is cover. You should disclose any existing health conditions to your insurance provider. It may be difficult to find cheap travel insurance for health conditions as if you are wanting cover for that existing condition, you will generally need to pay an additional premium (if the insurer will cover the condition).
  • Check the excess. One way insurers are able to offer cheap travel insurance is by having a higher excess.
  • Check the definitions in each policy. A common trap to watch out for when comparing low-cost travel insurance policies is to look at how events are defined by the insurer. Ideally, you should review the terms listed under the policy glossary.

Annual or single trip, which is right for me?

Most insurance providers offer both single trip and annual multi-trip policy options. Choosing the right option enables you to save hundreds in premium payments each year.

Single Trip Insurance

As far as cheap travel insurance goes single trip is the 'cheaper option', as it costs less in the short term than an annual travel insurance policy. Single trip travel insurance covers travellers for one trip and one trip only and is the most common type of travel insurance. A single trip policy covers you for a limited amount of time and is generally more suitable for people who travel infrequently.

Annual Travel Insurance

If you travel a lot, then annual travel insurance might be your best bet in securing a cheap travel insurance option. Annual travel insurance works out cheaper for frequent travellers as you are buying one policy as to multiple policies throughout the year. Below is a table that demonstrates how the costs vary between an annual and single trip policies provided by Southern Cross Travel Insurance.

Single TripAnnual Multi-Trip
Age 3535
Policy TypeSCTI TravelCareSCTI TravelCare
DestinationWorldwideWorldwide
Trip Duration14 days365 days
Features
Medical & EvacuationUnlimitedUnlimited
Changes to Your Journey$50,000$50,000
Baggage & Personal Items$25,000$25,000
Cash & Travel Documents$1,000$1,000
Personal Accident$25,000$25,000
Personal Liability$1,000,000$1,000,000
Rental Vehicle Excess$5,000$5,000
Excess$100$100
Cost of Policy*$93*$429

*Prices retrieved and correct as of January 2015. Price subject to change As you can see, if you are only travelling once the single trip is the cheaper travel insurance policy. However, if you are going on more than 4.6 trips during the year (using this example), then annual policy is the cheapest* travel insurance option.


Should I buy travel insurance online?

More and more travellers are now going online to find and compare budget travel insurance options. Some key benefits of purchasing insurance cover online include:

      • Convenience and ease. You can compare prices and features of plans at a glance, without leaving your home.
      • Compare many different policies simultaneously. Enjoy the convenience of being able to compare multiple policy options at once as opposed to having to go through each policy document separately. Once you have a couple of suitable options, you may want to conduct a more in-depth comparison.
      • Excellent choice. You're able to access a range plans and providers online, which can boost your chances of finding the right plan at the right price.
      • Great value for money. Finding the cheapest* travel insurance policy that also offers the cover you need is easy online, not only because you can cut out the middle man and go direct to the insurer but also because you can find coupons and discount codes for those policies with the click of a button.

Get cheap travel insurance with the help of these coupon codes

      • Availability of policies with no medical exams. There are a number of insurers that provide cover without you having to undertake medical exams. However, if you do have a pre-existing medical condition, you'll need to contact the insurer and may have to fill out a questionnaire.
      • Speed. Once you have found a policy that you are pleased with you can go about getting cover in place right away. Travel Insurance can be put in place securely entirely online in a matter of minutes.

Here's why you really should read the PDS

While buying cover online is convenient and straightforward, it's critical you take the time to read through your product disclosure statement before purchasing the policy. Many people buy their budget policy without reading through the terms and conditions, placing themselves at risk of an unsuccessful claim. Every year the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) assist roughly 20,000 Australians who get into difficulty overseas. This includes:

  • 1,400 hospitalisations
  • 1,000 deaths
  • 30 evacuations for medical treatment.

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 your body to Australia should you 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. DFAT has been called on to arrange medical evacuations from the popular holiday destination of Bali where emergency medical costs have exceeded $60,000.
      • It costs more than $10,000 to have your remains returned home from Europe if you were to die while travelling.
      • The USA, 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.

Cheap travel insurance horror story

After years of skimping and scraping, Lenny got enough money together to go on his dream holiday to Bali. In order to save some cash, he decided that even though he was planning on riding a motorcycle while in Bali, he would go for the cheap travel insurance option, rather than getting a comprehensive policy. While riding, Lenny was blindsided by a drunk driver and rushed to hospital. His son, George, was contacted by the hospital and told of Lenny's condition. As Lenny was not insured for the use of a motorbike, George had to pay out of pocket for his fathers medical bills. Unfortunately, Lenny succumbed to his injuries and passed away. In order to pay for the repatriation of Lenny's remains and medical costs, George had to remortgage his home.

Common cheap cover traps to avoid

While cheap travel insurance is better than no travel insurance at all, you still have to make sure the cover you do get is satisfactory to 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 on what to look out for. So, what should a good cheap travel insurance policy cover?

      • Assuming that all cheap 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. Cheap travel insurance policies usually limit this clause to only cover you in the event of a breakdown of public transport.
      • Assuming that cheap 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. Cheap 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 will 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 excess that a more expensive policy will 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.

Questions you should ask when it comes to budget cover

  • How is my travel insurance so cheap? Specific exclusions are another way of creating cheap travel insurance policies. In these cases you will find that quite severe exclusions have been imposed as part of the conditions.
  • How is depreciation treated by your budget supplier? Wear and tear deductions are a feature on most of the cheaper policy baggage claims. The cheaper travel insurance policies will usually reduce the value of the item by its age, wear and tear condition.
  • Is there cheap travel insurance with no excess? 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 excess that a more expensive policy will not have included.

Find reasonably priced travel insurance and apply online

If you have a trip coming up and are looking to find affordable travel insurance, you can compare policies and apply entirely online. As stated previously, it is critical that you are fully aware of the conditions of your policy and the level of cover that is provided. If you are unsure about any of the policy features or definitions, don't hesitate to contact the insurer to have any queries resolved.

Compare cheap travel insurance options today

* 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 subject to our disclaimer. You should consider seeking independent financial advice and consider your personal financial circumstances when comparing products. *$20 price based on 3 day trip to New Zealand for 18 year old traveller
Picture: Shutterstock

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