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Travel Insurance Glossary

Want to know what all those strange travel insurance terms mean? Here are the definitions.

Let's face it, insurance terms aren't always the easiest to understand. Like, what on earth is "curtailment", and what does an "excess" mean? Here are some common terms that you'll come across when looking through a Product Disclosure Statement (which is, handily, also explained below.) Have we missed something? Drop us a comment and let us know!


Note: The following definitions may vary between insurers and policies. These definitions are intended to be generally useful, rather than a guide to a specific policy or insurer.

man looking at a map beside a train track


  • Accident or accidental loss. A sudden, unexpected and unforeseeable event that happens on your trip and causes loss.
  • Accidental injury. Bodily injury that directly results from an accident.
  • Accidental death. Death caused by injuries sustained in an accident during your trip.
  • Annual multi-trip plan. This type of policy provides travel insurance cover for all your trips during a 12-month period.
  • Additional expenses. This term refers to the additional accommodation and travelling expenses you incur when your trip is disrupted by bad weather, a natural disaster, riot, civil commotion or strike.
  • Adventure sports cover. Available as an additional-cost option on some policies, this benefit covers you when you participate in adventure sports and activities during your trip.
  • Alternative travel expenses / Alternative transport expenses. If your scheduled transport is cancelled, delayed, shortened or diverted and you will be unable to arrive to a special event (wedding, funeral, flight departure, tour, conference etc) on time as a result, this benefit covers the additional travel expenses you incur to arrive on time.


  • Baggage and personal effects. Personal items owned by you and carried with you during your trip.
  • Baggage delay. When your baggage is misdirected, misplaced or arrives late to your destination due to the fault of a carrier.
  • Beneficiary. A person who receives a benefit payment from your insurance policy in the event of your death.
  • Benefits. What your insurer pays you in accordance with the terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy.


  • Cancellation fees and lost deposits. Penalties you are charged and non-refundable deposits when unforeseen circumstances beyond your control force you to cancel your trip.
  • Claim. A request for payment from an insurer in accordance with the terms and conditions of your insurance policy.
  • Cover / Coverage. This refers to the protection provided by your travel insurance policy. If an event is covered by your policy, you can lodge a claim with your insurance provider for the expenses you incurred due to that event, up to a specified limit.
  • Credit card fraud and replacement. If your credit cards or other transaction cards are lost, stolen from you or destroyed during your trip, travel insurance can cover the cost of replacing those cards. If your credit or transaction cards are lost or stolen, your insurer will also cover any loss resulting from the fraudulent use of those cards.
  • Current market value. The amount of money an item would be worth if sold today.
  • Curtailment. Refers to unforeseen circumstances beyond your control that force you to cut your trip short, for example, the death of a relative.


  • Damage. Injury or harm to a person or property.
  • Default excess on claims. This is the excess payable on all claims unless otherwise stated in the PDS.
  • Delayed luggage. If any of your luggage or personal effects items are delayed, misdirected or misplaced by a carrier (airline, cruise line etc) for more than a specified time period, you’ll receive cover for the cost of purchasing essential items such as toiletries and a change of clothing.
  • Dental expenses. Cover for overseas emergency dental treatment to relieve sudden and acute pain or accidental injury to sound and natural teeth.
  • Dependant. Your children or grandchildren who are under the age of 21 and not in full-time employment.
  • Disability. A physical or mental condition that restricts a person’s movements, senses or ability to undertake tasks and activities.
  • Disruption of journey. When an unforeseen event beyond your control impacts your travel plans, for example if your flight is delayed due to bad weather or you need to return home to care for a seriously ill family member. When this happens, travel insurance can cover your additional travel and accommodation costs, cancellation fees and lost deposits, and even the cost of resuming your journey after a disruption.
  • Domestic. Refers to travel and trips within Australia.
  • Domestic pets. This benefit provides cover for additional boarding expenses for your pet dog or cat when your return home to Australia is delayed by unforeseen circumstances beyond your control.
  • Domestic services. If you become disabled as a result of an injury suffered during your journey, a policy that provides domestic services cover will provide a daily benefit to help pay for housekeeping services that you are unable to perform yourself.
  • Duty of disclosure. Your duty of disclosure means that you must be honest with your insurer and answer all questions truthfully.


  • Emergency companion cover. This benefit covers:
  • The additional expenses you incur to stay with a travelling companion if they are unable to continue a journey due to sickness or injury
  • The expenses a companion or relative incurs to travel to you and stay by your side if you’re hospitalised overseas due to a serious medical condition, or to accompany you when you are medically evacuated to Australia
  • Emergency evacuation. This benefit covers your evacuation to a medical facility in Australia.
  • Emergency medical assistance. Usually available 24/7, this is a service provided by most insurers in case of an emergency. It can provide help such as transfer to the nearest hospital, medical evacuation, messages to family and employers at home and supervised return of your dependents if you're hospitalised.
  • Emergency medical care. Medical care required in an unexpected emergency. This does not include any medical care or treatment that you regularly receive or knew you would require before booking your trip.
  • Emergency medical expenses. Any medical, hospital, ambulance, surgical or treatment expenses you incur as a result of a medical emergency.
  • Epidemic. The sudden development and rapid spread of an infectious disease in a community.
  • Excess. The amount you must pay towards a claim.
  • Exclusions. These are events or expenses that an insurer will not cover.
  • Existing medical condition. See: Pre-existing medical condition.


  • Family emergency. A family emergency occurs when your spouse, one of your dependants or a relative:
  • Dies unexpectedly
  • Is disabled as a result of an injury
  • Is hospitalised with a serious illness

When this happens, travel insurance can provide cover for you to cancel or cut short your trip.



  • Hijack or kidnap. This benefit provides cover if you are kidnapped or the transport you are travelling on is hijacked during your trip.
  • Home. Refers to your primary place of residence in Australia.
  • Hospital cash allowance. Also referred to as a hospital benefit, this is a daily cash payment you receive to cover your out-of-pocket expenses while you are hospitalised overseas.


  • Illness. Sickness or disease that you did not know about when you purchased your travel insurance policy.
  • Incidental expenses. These are expenses that arise due to a covered event, but which aren’t directly related to the event. For example, if your flight is delayed overnight, incidental expenses refers to the additional accommodation and meals expenses you incur while waiting for your flight.
  • Inclement weather. Refers to severe weather conditions that delay or cancel your trip.
  • Individual plan. A policy that provides travel insurance cover for only one person.
  • Injury. An injury is anything that causes you bodily harm.


  • Journey. Journey refers to the period for which your insurance plan provides cover. It commences when you leave home and ceases when you return home.
  • Joint cover. A joint travel insurance policy (also referred to as couples travel insurance) also two people to be listed on the one policy and, sometimes, get a discounted rate of cover.


  • Kidnap. See: Hijack or kidnap.
  • Known event or known loss rule. Your travel insurance will only provide you with cover if your claim is for an unforeseen event. A known event is something that interrupts your trip that a normal person would have been aware of through the mass media. This includes natural disaster and strikes. See: Unforeseen event.


  • Limit / Benefit limit. Insurance policies feature a limit on the maximum amount you can claim for each benefit per trip. In the case of multi-trip insurance, annual limits may also apply.
  • Loss. Injury or damage you suffer as a result of an event covered by your insurance policy.
  • Loss of income. Refers to the income you miss out on when you suffer an injury or illness during your trip and are unable to return to work when you arrive home in Australia.
  • Luggage and Personal Effects. See: Baggage and personal effects.
  • Luggage and personal effects daily allowance. When your luggage or personal effects are delayed, misdirected or misplaced by a carrier (eg an airline) for more than a specified minimum period, your policy may offer a daily allowance to help you buy toiletries, clothing and other essentials.
  • Luggage Delay. See: Baggage delay.


  • Maximum trip limit. Refers to the maximum trip duration that can be covered under your travel insurance policy.
  • Medical evacuation. Refers to transport to an appropriate medical facility or back to Australia to receive the necessary treatment or care.
  • Medically necessary. Any medical treatment that is required, that is suitable for the symptoms you display and which can be safely supplied.
  • Money. Includes bank notes, coins and travellers cheques.


  • Natural disaster. An event caused by nature and not by human activity, such as an earthquake, storm or flood.
  • Non-resident travel insurance. Non-residents can get travel insurance but they must satisfy certain conditions.


  • Overseas emergency medical assistance. Most insurers provide 24/7 emergency assistance hotlines that can be contacted from anywhere in the world. If you’re injured or get sick overseas, you can contact your insurer’s hotline to receive advice and practical help such as:
  • Assessing and monitoring your condition
  • Helping you find the nearest hospital
  • Sourcing an interpreter or an English-speaking doctor in an overseas hospital
  • Paying your medical and hospital bills
  • Passing urgent messages to family
  • Arranging for your medical evacuation to Australia
  • Overseas medical expenses (aka Overseas medical and hospital expenses). Refers to hospital, surgical, nursing, ambulance and emergency dental expenses incurred overseas.
  • One-way travel insurance. A one-way policy can cover your trip either one-way back to Australia (also known as already overseas travel insurance) or your one-way travel to another country that you are emigrating to.


  • Pandemic. An epidemic that affects a wide geographic area.
  • PDS (Product Disclosure Statement). This document contains a range of important information about your travel insurance policy, including its benefits and risks. You should read the PDS closely before choosing a policy.
  • Period of cover. The time during which your travel insurance policy provides cover.
  • Permanent disability. If you’re injured on your trip and you permanently lose sight in one or both eyes, or you lose one or more limbs, some policies will pay a lump sum disability benefit.
  • Personal accident. This benefit provides cover for death, loss of sight, loss of limbs or total and permanent disablement sustained due to an accident during your journey.
  • Personal liability. This benefit covers any legal liability when you are responsible for causing bodily injury to someone else or damage to their property.
  • Pre-existing medical condition. An injury or illness for which you have received care, treatment or medical advice before cover commenced.
  • Premium. The amount you pay to purchase travel insurance cover.


  • Quote. A travel insurance quote is the initial summary of how much a policy will cost you.
  • Quarantine. Mandatory isolation or restrictions on where you can go or what you can bring into a country.


  • Rental vehicle excess. Also referred to as rental car insurance excess, this benefit covers the excess charges following theft of or damage to your rental vehicle.
  • Repatriation of remains. This covers the cost of returning your body to your home country if you die during your trip.
  • Resumption of journey. If you had to return to Australia during your trip due to the sudden serious injury, illness or death of a relative or business partner, this benefit covers the airfare costs you incur to resume your journey.


  • Sickness. An illness or disease which is diagnosed or treated by a medical practitioner during your trip.
  • Single-trip plan. A travel insurance plan that covers one trip only.
  • Special events. A wedding, funeral, pre-paid conference, major wedding anniversary or sporting event that cannot be delayed due to your late arrival. If circumstances beyond your control cause a travel delay that means you will be unable to arrive in time to attend a special event, travel insurance can cover the alternative public transport costs you incur to get to the event on time.
  • Sudden illness or serious injury. Sudden illness or serious injury refers to a medical condition which first occurs during your trip, requires medical treatment and results in you being certified unfit to travel.


  • Theft of cash. Cash, bank notes, or postal or money orders stolen from your person.
  • Total permanent disability. See ‘permanent disability’.
  • Travel delay. Refers to scheduled transport that is delayed by six hours or more.
  • Travel documents and travellers cheques. This benefit covers the cost of replacing essential travel documents (such as your passport) and travellers cheques that are lost, stolen or destroyed during your journey. Many policies will also provide cover for the fraudulent use of lost or stolen travellers cheques.
  • Travel exhaustion. You'll generally find this term in the exclusion section of your policy. The exclusion of travel exhaustion (also referred to as travel fatigue or physical, mental or emotional exhaustion) means you won't have cover if you're forced to cancel a portion of your trip due to tiredness. This is including but is not limited to jet lag.
  • Trip. The period of travel stated in the certificate of insurance.
  • Trip cancellation. This benefit provides cover for your cancellation fees and non-refundable deposits when circumstances beyond your control force you to cancel your trip.
  • Trip interruption. This benefit provides cover for the additional expenses you incur when your trip is interrupted by an insured event, for example injury or illness.


  • Underwriter. The underwriter of a travel insurance policy is the person that evaluates your risk and insures you.
  • Unforeseen event. Unforeseen circumstances are those that are outside your control, for example illness or injury.
  • Unlimited cover. This means that there's no capped dollar sum insured, however, other conditions and exclusions may still apply. Always contact your insurer directly if you need clarification.



  • Waiver. A travel insurance waiver may be gained for a medical condition that is not automatically covered by the policy.
  • Winter sports cover. Available as an additional-cost option from many travel insurers, this provides cover for your participation in winter sports and the associated risks.


  • X-ray/lab. Any diagnostic lab test or x-ray performed in support of basic health services.



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