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What does travel insurance cover?

Travel insurance can cover you for medical expenses, cancellations and much more – depending on the level of cover you get.

What you need to know

  • A basic travel insurance policy will cover you for medical expenses but not much more.
  • More comprehensive travel insurance policies can cover medical, luggage, cancellations, rental car excess and more.
  • Travel insurance will not cover you for known events (e.g. a volcano eruption that has already been in the news).

What is covered by travel insurance?

Medical benefits

  • Medical treatment for injuries or illness incurred overseas, including medical, hospital, surgical and nursing expenses
  • Overseas medical assistance, including 24/7 assistance, ambulance fees, medical evacuation, funeral arrangements, messages to family at home and hospital guarantees
  • Permanent disability e.g. a benefit payable for loss of sight in one or both eyes or loss of use of a limb within 12 months of an injury sustained on your trip
  • Accidental death e.g. an accidental death benefit is payable if you die as a result of an injury sustained during your trip
  • Dental expenses e.g the cost of emergency dental treatment, usually to a specified limit.

Transportation benefits

  • Additional transport expenses following travel delays in order to reach events such as weddings, funerals, conferences and prepaid tours
  • Cancellation fees and lost deposits e.g. cover for your prepaid travel arrangements is important when circumstances beyond your control such as illness, injury and natural disasters occur
  • Disruption of journey covers the cost of additional meals and accommodation incurred after a delay if your journey is disrupted because of unforeseen circumstances beyond your control
  • Family emergency covers the cost of additional travel expenses if your travelling companion or relative is disabled by an injury, requires hospitalisation or dies unexpectedly
  • A resumption of journey benefit protects you from the cost of airfares to resume your journey if it was disrupted due to the death or hospitalisation of a relative

Personal belongings benefits

  • Replacement of luggage and personal effects if they are lost, stolen or damaged during your trip
  • Replacement cost of lost or stolen credit cards and losses resulting from their fraudulent use
  • Delayed luggage provides cover to buy clothing and essential items due to the delay, misdirection or misplacement of your luggage and personal items by a carrier for more than 12 hours.
  • Cover for the theft of bank notes, currency notes, postal orders and money orders
  • Replacement cost of lost or stolen travel documents such as passports, travel documents and travellers cheques

Personal benefits

  • A hospital cash allowance provides a daily allowance if you are hospitalised overseas for longer than 48 continuous hours.
  • Loss of income pays out a weekly benefit if you become disabled as the result of an injury sustained on your trip and are unable to work after returning home.

Liability benefits

  • Personal liability covers your legal liability for injury or property damage to third parties, including legal costs and compensation.
  • Rental vehicle excess covers the excess payable on your rental vehicle's insurance if it is stolen or damaged and the cost of returning it to the nearest depot if you are unable to do so.

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Finder survey: Why do Australians get travel insurance?

Peace of mind76.08%
High-risk trip7.82%
Pre-existing medical conditions6.83%
Someone told me to get it1.26%
Source: Finder survey by Pure Profile of 1112 Australians, December 2023

What do the different types of travel insurance policies cover?

The three main types of travel insurance are single trip, annual and domestic travel insurance.

Single trip insurance



  • You'll need to take out a new policy each time you travel.
  • If you end up travelling a lot one year, you'll pay more than if you'd taken out an annual policy.

Annual travel insurance


  • You're covered for multiple trips for a full 12 months with one policy
  • Generally provides the same benefits as a single trip policy (though this can vary)
  • Annual travel insurance can work out cheaper if you travel more than a hand-full of times a year
  • Having one policy means you don't have to worry about insurance if you have to leave at short notice
  • A useful option for business travellers who make plans at short notice.


  • Generally, cover is limited to a maximum of 90 days per trip
  • Maximum age of policyholder is less than single trip (often up to 75)
  • Some policies don't extend cover for domestic trips
  • Not always suitable for people with pre-existing conditions.

Domestic travel insurance


  • Covers luggage loss or damage, trip delays and cancellations; and more
  • Policies cover legal liability expenses, in case you get sued.
  • Typically lower cost than international plans


  • Will only cover you for trips within Australia.
  • As we have Medicare, you'll not usually get the benefits of medical expenses

What isn't covered by travel insurance?

  • If you travel to a do not travel country
  • Known events (e.g. if you try to claim for something that you should have already known about, such as a volcanic eruption)
  • If you leave your bags alone they are stolen
  • If you try to claim for something while you are under the influence of alcohol or non-medication drugs
  • Illegal acts while driving
  • Claims arising from the confiscation, detention or destruction of anything by a government authority.
  • Pre-existing medical conditions unless stated otherwise by your insurer
  • Adventure activities considered to be high-risk such as skiing, sailing, rock climbing, contact sports, hang gliding and skydiving, unless additional cover has been obtained for them
  • Underwater diving using scuba gear, unless you are with a licensed instructor or have a current Open Water dive licence.

Are pre-existing conditions covered by travel insurance?

To be covered for a pre-existing medical condition in your travel insurance, you must either check the policy's PDS to confirm that your condition is covered or tell your insurer about your condition if it is not listed. Otherwise, if you experience any medical emergency on your trip related to that condition, you will not be covered.

What is covered?

  • Conditions covered by travel insurance vary from insurer to insurer, but usually include conditions such as asthma, cataracts and gastric reflux.

What isn't covered?

  • The conditions that insurers do not cover are also listed in the PDS and can include serious conditions such as cancers, heart disease and HIV.

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