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Travel insurance for a death in the family

Travel insurance can help with the expenses if a relative gets sick or dies when you’re away from home.

What you need to know

  • Travel insurance can reimburse you for costs associated with returning home at short notice.
  • To be covered, the emergency must be unexpected.
  • There is generally no cover if you were aware of any pre-existing medical condition before the policy started.

Does travel insurance cover you for a death in the family?

Yes. If a family member falls ill or dies while you are travelling or before you depart, comprehensive travel insurance can help you recover your cancellation costs including pre-booked tickets and hotels, costs associated with returning home at short notice and costs associated with resuming your journey at a later date. Most insurers have the following conditions:

How am I covered by travel insurance for family emergency? Compare your options

BrandMaximum age of relativeConditionsApply
Medibank Travel InsuranceNot stated
  • You are covered for the unexpected death, sudden injury or illness of relative.
  • No cover if you were aware of any pre-existing medical condition before the policy started.
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Freely LogoNot stated
  • You are covered for the unexpected death, sudden injury or illness of relative.
  • No cover if you were aware of any pre-existing medical condition before the policy started.
Bonus
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Zoom logo84
  • You are covered for the unexpected death, sudden injury or illness of relative.
  • No cover if you were aware of any pre-existing medical condition before the policy started.
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Fast Cover LogoNot stated
  • You are covered for the unexpected death, injury or hospitalisation of a relative in Australia or New Zealand.
  • If your relative is hospitalised or dies due to a pre-existing medical condition, you are only covered if you were unaware of the likelihood of hospitalisation or death when you purchased your policy.
Finder AwardBonus
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Insure4Less Travel Insurance Logo90
  • You are covered for the unexpected death, sudden injury or illness of relative.
  • No cover if you were aware of any pre-existing medical condition before the policy started.
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Travel Insuranz Travel Insurance Logo84
  • You are covered for the unexpected death, sudden injury or illness of relative.
  • No cover if you were aware of any pre-existing medical condition before the policy started.
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insureandgoNot stated
  • You are covered for the unexpected death, sudden injury or illness of a relative who is in Australia at the time the event occurs.
  • You are not covered for any of your relative's medical conditions you knew about before the policy started.
Bonus
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Tick LogoNot stated
  • You are covered for the unexpected death, sudden injury or illness of a relative who is in Australia at the time the event occurs.
  • You are not covered if you are aware of any pre-existing medical condition before the policy started or if during the 90 days before the policy they needed any treatments, consultation, required medication or had been diagnosed with a terminal condition.
Bonus
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World2Cover LogoNot stated
  • You are covered for the unexpected death, sudden injury or illness of relative.
  • No cover if you were aware of any pre-existing medical condition before the policy started.
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Covermore logoNot stated
  • You are covered for the unexpected death, sudden injury or illness of relative.
  • No cover if you were aware of any pre-existing medical condition before the policy started.
Bonus
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Southern Cross LogoSCTI84
  • You are covered for the unexpected death, sudden injury or illness of relative.
  • No cover if you were aware of any pre-existing medical condition before the policy started.
Finder Award
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Travel with Kit LogoNot stated
  • You are covered for the unexpected death, sudden injury or illness of a relative who is in Australia at the time the event occurs.
  • You are not covered if you are aware of any pre-existing medical condition before the policy started.
More info
Travel with Jane LogoNot stated
  • You are covered for the unexpected death, sudden injury or illness of a relative who is in Australia at the time the event occurs.
  • You are not covered if you are aware of any pre-existing medical condition before the policy started.
More info
Travel Insurance SaverNot stated
  • You are covered for the unexpected death, sudden injury or illness of relative.
  • No cover if you were aware of any pre-existing medical condition before the policy started.
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Easy travel insurance logoNot stated
  • You are covered for the unexpected death, sudden injury or illness of relative.
  • No cover if you were aware of any pre-existing medical condition before the policy started.
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84
  • You are covered for unexpected hospitalisation or death of a relative.
  • If your relative is hospitalised or dies due to a pre-existing medical condition, you are only covered if you were unaware of the likelihood of hospitalisation or death when you purchase your policy.
More info
All clear travel insurance logoNot stated
  • You are covered for the unexpected death, sudden injury or illness of relative.
  • No cover if you were aware of any pre-existing medical condition before the policy started.
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Australia PostNot stated
  • You are covered for the sudden disabling injury, sickness or disease or death of relative.
  • You are not covered for any of your relative's medical conditions you knew about before the policy started.
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Not stated
  • You are covered for the unexpected death, sudden injury or illness of relative.
  • You are not covered for any of your relative's medical conditions you knew about before the policy started.
More info
84
  • You are covered for the unexpected death or hospitalisation of a relative.
  • If your relative is hospitalised or dies due to a pre-existing medical condition, you are only covered if you were unaware of the likelihood of hospitalisation or death when you purchased your policy.
More info

Note: This information was last updated August 2022

What do insurers consider as a ‘relative’?

In order to qualify for trip cancellation cover following the illness or death of a relative, your family member must meet the insurer’s definition of ‘relative’. The term normally refers to a:

  • Spouse, de facto partner, fiancé or a fiancée
  • Parent or parent-in-law
  • Son, daughter, son-in-law or daughter-in-law
  • Brother, sister, brother-in-law or sister-in-law
  • Grandchild or grandparent
  • Step-parent, step-son or step-daughter

The exact definition of a relative for each travel insurance policy will differ. It is best to check with your insurer if you're unsure.

Am I covered if my relative falls ill or dies from a pre-existing medical condition?

A pre-existing medical condition is a condition that is known about prior to an insurable event.

In most cases, you won't be covered if a relative falls ill or passes away due to a pre-existing condition. This is an exclusion with most insurers. However, if you were unaware of the condition at the time you took out the policy, then travel insurance can cover you.

What is considered as 'aware'

Travel insurers will typically exclude cover if your family member is on any sort of waiting list or if you were aware of any recent:

  • Treatments
  • Consultation
  • Diagnosis
  • Required medication
  • Upcoming surgery

Can I resume my trip and be covered for it?

Most trip cancellation policies will allow you to resume your journey at a later date after being forced to return home due to the illness or death of a relative. There are normally specific conditions surrounding this type of cover, including:

  • Your trip must have been for a minimum number of days
  • Your insurance must have had a minimum period left to run (usually at least 50%)
  • You must have had no knowledge that such an incident might occur prior to your departure
  • Your resumption expenses must be pre-approved by your insurer
  • You must resume your journey before your policy expires.

Example: John and Sue's trip re-arrangement

John and Sue were into the second week of their month-long European holiday when their son called and told them that his 9-year-old daughter, Emily (their granddaughter), was unwell and had been admitted to hospital. She had been diagnosed with a rare blood disease and would be undergoing life-saving treatment in the next few days.

This was completely unexpected news for John and Sue, and they immediately rang their airline and insurance company to arrange to cancel their trip and return home to be with their granddaughter.

Emily remained in hospital for several weeks, but soon began to make a full recovery. A relieved John and Sue were then able to resume their interrupted European holiday, thanks to their resumption of journey cover reimbursing them for the costs associated with rebooking their flights and accommodation.

Costs incurred

  • Fee for bringing the date of original return flight forward: $200
  • New round trip flights back to resume journey: $3,500
  • Fees for changes to accommodation dates: $150

Total costs covered by insurance

  • $3,700

Out-of-pocket costs

  • $150 in excess

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Frequently asked questions

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