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Travel insurance excess

A travel insurance excess is something you need to pay when you make a claim and is typically charged by all providers in Australia.

What you need to know

  • A travel insurance excess is the amount you agree to pay an insurer if you make a claim.
  • Many brands let you choose an excess anywhere between $0 to $200 (this is the "standard" excess for most policies).
  • The higher the excess, the lower your your premium tends to be (e.g. cost of your policy).

How does a travel insurance excess work?

A travel insurance excess is the amount you agree to pay an insurer if you end up claiming on your policy. Take for example, a travel insurance policy for a week in Bali. The same policy could cost you $60 with a $200 excess, $72 with a $100 excess or $108 with a $0 excess. As you can see, choosing a higher excess can save quite a bit.

That's the good news. The bad news is that you'd have to pay that amount before you could claim anything. Say you lose your phone that's worth $500 and you have a $200 excess. Once your insurer approves your claim, you'll have to pay the excess amount, which means you'd only get $300 back. Another potential shortfall of this option is for lower value claims, where the claim amount would end up being comparable to that of the payable excess.

Choosing the higher excess option is slightly riskier if you end up needing to claim but if you're just looking to save some coin in the short term, it's not a bad way to go.

Compare policies by their default excess

When calculating your travel insurance quote, Finder uses the travel insurers default excess option, which means you can sort your results from lowest to highest excess option.

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Compare your travel insurance quotes

BrandLowest excess optionExcess Option 2Excess Option 3Excess Option 4Apply
Medibank Travel Insurance$0$100$250n/a
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Freely Logo$100n/an/an/a
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Zoom logo$100$200n/an/a
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Fast Cover Logo$0$100$200n/a
Finder AwardBonus
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Insure4Less Travel Insurance Logo$200n/an/an/a
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Travel Insuranz Travel Insurance Logo$200n/an/an/a
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Finder AwardBonus
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Tick Logo$0$200n/an/a
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World2Cover Logo
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Covermore logo$0$100$250n/a
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Southern Cross LogoSCTI$0$100$250n/a
Finder Award
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Travel with Kit Logo$200n/an/an/aMore info
Travel with Jane Logo$200n/an/an/aMore info
Travel Insurance Saver$0$150$250n/a
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Easy Travel Insurance$0$100$250n/a
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1Cover Logo
$100$200n/an/aMore info
American Express logo$100$200$500n/aMore info
Stella travel insurance logo$0$100$250n/a
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australia post travel insurance$0$100$250n/a
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RACV Travel Insurance Logo
$0$100$250n/aMore info
Picture not described$0$100$250n/aMore info
Worldcare$100$200$500n/aMore info

Note: This information was last updated August 2023

Types of travel insurance excess

Standard excess

A standard excess is the set amount stipulated by the insurer that you must pay if you make a successful claim.

Voluntary excess

Many insurers will give you an option to select the excess amount on your policy. The price of your premium (policy) will change depending on which excess amount you select. As mentioned earlier, the higher your excess, the cheaper your premium.

Additional excess

This isn't as common but can apply to certain benefits – for example, ski-related claims.

When do you have to pay your excess?

How and when you pay an excess will depend on the policy and the insurer. Some insurers require you to pay the excess upfront before they will pay the claim, while others will simply deduct the amount of the excess and pay out the remainder of the benefit.

Does multiple claims mean multiple excess charges?

Claiming on multiple sections of the policy does not generally mean you will pay multiple excesses. Most of the time you're charged one excess for an event even if you are claiming on multiple benefits.

The same goes if you're claiming on a family policy, even if that event impacts multiple travellers such as both parents and children; you'll only pay the excess once.

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Editor, Insurance & Innovations

Gary Ross Hunter was an editor at Finder, specialising in insurance. He’s been writing about life, travel, home, car, pet and health insurance for over 6 years and regularly appears as an insurance expert in publications including The Sydney Morning Herald, The Guardian and Gary holds a Kaplan Tier 2 General Advice General Insurance certification which meets the requirements of ASIC Regulatory Guide 146 (RG146). See full bio

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4 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    kimJuly 31, 2017

    Hotel in Menorca lost 2 adults 2 children’s passports, insurance company are paying for replacement passports etc but have said our excess is £100 per person. The certificate from travel agents only says excess £100, no policy booklet was given as Thomson’s didn’t have any in stock. I believe it has been mis-sold as I was unaware of excess being per person.

      Default Gravatar
      LiezlAugust 1, 2017

      Hi Kim,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      I’m sorry to hear about this mishap. I’m afraid we cannot check this information for you as we do not have the insurance details. You may want to contact the insurance company and ask for the policy booklet so you can ascertain the excess charging.

      It’s a good idea to always check the features and details of the policy, as well as the relevant Product Disclosure Statement and if necessary, reach out to the insurance company before buying an insurance.

      Kind regards,

    Default Gravatar
    BarryJune 27, 2016

    I asked Google, “why do we have to pay an excess on our Travel Insurance”. I got this page as an result ( ). It explains how an excess works. Any Dip-Stick knows how it works, Derrr. I asked why do we have to pay it. If you insure something. It should replace the total value of what is insured. I accept depreciation. But why do we have to pay an excess. It Google that led me here. Not So shows you how bright google is. Not very. So why do we have to pay an excess. Seems a SCAM to me. That everyone accepts.

      RichardJune 28, 2016Finder

      Hi Barry,

      Thanks for your question.

      When you buy travel insurance with an excess option, you are assuming a part of the risk on behalf of the insurer in return for a lower premium. There are travel insurance brands out there that offer zero excess options but this means you are paying more upfront. If you wish to check your options, here’s a list of insurers offering excess reduction travel insurance.

      I hope this was helpful,

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