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Travel Insurance FAQs

We know travel insurance can be confusing so we have come up with a handy list of  frequently asked questions to help you find the best cover.

General

Do I have to take out travel insurance for my holiday?

No, you are not legally obligated to take out a policy. Last year up to 20% of Australians went on holiday without any at all. This number is declining each year as we become more aware of the importance of being covered. Bear in mind that if you incur medical or other expenses while overseas and you don't have cover, you are personally liable for covering these costs. The Australian Government cannot pay these expenses. The Australian government sums this up by stating "If you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel!"

What is excess?

An excess is an amount that you pay upfront if you make a travel insurance claim. Remember that excess applies once per claimed event, not once per claim. So for example, if you are claiming for lost luggage and delay expenses you will have to pay the excess twice, once for each covered event.

Can I change the excess on my policy?

Yes, in most cases you will have the option to have the excess lowered or even removed on the policy for an addition amount.

Oopsy, I’m already overseas and forgot to buy insurance, is it too late?

Don’t worry, although many insurers require you to start your journey in Australia there are still a few companies that offer cover:  1Cover, Aussie Travel Cover, Insure4Less, Suresave, TID and Worldnomads all allow you to buy a policy when you’re already overseas.

Can I buy one way travel insurance?

Sure can, but it’s a bit more difficult to find because most insurers require you to have a start and end date to buy a policy. We’ve had a look for you and found that 1Cover, 1st for Women, Budget Direct, Columbus Direct, Downunder, Insure and Go, Southern Cross travel Insurance, and Travel Insurance Direct all offer one way policies. Oh yeah!

Which travel insurance company do you recommend?

We do not single out or recommend any particular travel insurer on this site. We bring the information to you so that you can make your own travel insurance comparison. If you need advice on a particular product you should contact that company directly.

How much do travel agents and airlines charge for travel insurance?   

Be careful when you auto-select travel insurance through travel agents and/or airlines as they tend to charge up to 50% commission on the price of the policies they sell. Buy direct and don’t pay for convenience.

How much do comparisons sites charge?

Nothing! Comparisons are free to use and the prices are exactly the same as buying direct with the insurer. The insurance brands on comparison sites pay a referral fee once a policy has been bought. This does not increase the premium a user pays. Woo hoo!

What’s the deal with free credit card travel insurance?

Credit card travel insurance can be a perfectly reliable way to get covered but there are a few things to watch out for... Credit card insurance usually only covers the card holder so if you’re on a family holiday you’ll need to get additional cover. You also will need to pay for the majority of your holiday using the card to ‘activate’ the policy. And it often provides cover for shorter trips.

How many children can I insure on my travel insurance policy?

This will vary from insurer to insurer, normally there is a set number for the amount of Adults who can be on the policy and generally the same for dependants, the common definition of “dependant” means your child or grandchild, not in full time employment, travelling with you 100% of the time.

My travel destinations

Do I need travel insurance if I am heading on a cruise or a domestic cruise?

Yes! Many people don't realise that even if you're on a cruise in Australian waters you need cruise cover. Once you have left port you are no longer covered by Medicare or your usual health insurance provider.

How do I find out about Government warnings on travel destinations?

Visit www.smartraveller.gov.au for the latest travel advice and warnings from the Australian Government. You can even register to receive updates for your chosen destinations.

Buying travel insurance

Are my details secured if I purchase online?

Yes, all your personal and payment details are encrypted before they are transmitted. If you’re unsure if a site is safe then you can check to see if they have a padlock icon which is usually displayed either on the address bar in your internet browser. Or alternatively you could call the company and arrange an insurance policy over the phone if you are concerned about your computer's security.

What are my cancellation rights?

Should you decide that you would like to cancel the policy most insurers have a cooling off period of 14 days for such situations. Always check with the insurer when purchasing the policy as there might be certain restrictions regarding this. Most insurers will issue a full refund of the premium paid as long as you haven’t started your journey, and you do not want to make a claim. After the 14 days cooling off period you can still cancel the policy or make any changes but you will not receive a refund for the premium paid. Always check through the PDS and make sure all your details are correct when you receive the certificate of insurance before travelling.

How is my policy delivered? When will my documents arrive through the post?

Most certificates of insurance are sent via email when the policy is arranged and paid for. You will also have the option with most insurers to request a hard copy be sent out with a copy of the PDS if available.

When does the cover begin and end on my policy?

You will need to confirm this with the insurer when arranging the policy, generally most insurance policies begin coverage from the moment you receive your certificate of insurance - this usually covers for things like cancellation fees and lost deposits should you be unable to travel on the date of the policy.

I’m going overseas for two years, what policy can I buy?

There are insurers out there that will offer cover for two years, most of the time you will need to purchase a 12 month comprehensive policy with the option to purchase an extension on the policy for a further 12 months. Insurers such as 1Cover, Columbus Direct, Easy Travel Insurance, Fastcover, Insure and go (subject to approval),  Simply Travel Insurance, TID and Worldcare all offer this option.

Are the prices see per person, or per policy?

On our site, the prices you see are for the total number of travellers, but policy cover levels are per person.

Annual multi-trip

I am going away a few times this year. Which policy might be most suitable for me?

If you travel frequently through the year or have multiple trips planned internationally or domestically then you could look at an annual policy that will cover for all the destinations you will be travelling to. For further details regarding this, have a look at our travel insurance for frequent travellers guide.

Can we all travel independently on an Annual Multi Trip policy?

This really depends on the insurer as some policies might require that the people listed on the certificate be travelling together, others don't. So in this case it pays to research.

Pre-existing medical conditions

What is a pre-existing medical condition?

A pre-existing condition is generally described by most insurers as having any illness, injury, disease or physical condition that has required medication and treatment, either in the past or currently. This generally also includes any hospitalization you have had within the last 12 months.

What if I have a pre-existing medical condition?

If you have a pre-existing medical condition then you must tell the insurer. Many policies automatically cover some existing medical conditions for free, and some require an additional premium to be paid. Generally the insurer won't pay for continuing or routine treatment or if you travel against medical advice. Once you have done your comparison, you will be directed to the insurer's website where you can investigate their terms and conditions on pre-existing medical conditions, prior to purchase. If your medical condition is serious, the insurer may request an assessment of your condition before deciding if they will provide cover for it. Read our tips for taking out travel insurance with pre-existing medical conditions.

If cover is refused for my pre-existing medical condition, am I still covered?

If your assessment has been refused then you would most likely still be able to claim for anything unrelated to these conditions -  but you would need to check with the insurer before purchasing the insurance policy. If however you have a condition that is excluded then you might only be offered limited cover which will not cover anything medically related and no cancellation or disruption to the journey cover.

I already have a policy but I've recently been diagnosed with a new medical condition. What do I do?

First things first, you would need to contact the insurer if you have been diagnosed with a new condition, generally most insurers will cover new medical conditions if you were unaware of them prior to purchasing the insurance. If however the condition was under investigation prior to purchasing the policy then this would not be covered.

Do I have the choice to declare my medical condition?

In some cases you might have the option not to declare your medical condition, but you must be aware that anything in relation to this condition would also not be covered if you decide not to declare it. If however your pre-existing falls into the category of 'compulsory disclosure' then you would need to declare this as this could void the entire policy if you decide not to inform the insurer.

What if I am pregnant?

Many insurers will offer cover for pregnant women up to 26 weeks of pregnancy, with some offering cover up to 30 weeks. The stage of pregnancy and level of cover varies between insurers. View our guide to learn more.

Is dental treatment covered?

Yes, most insurance policies will cover for dental treatment under their Medical benefits.

Am I eligible?

Can I buy cover for my parents who live overseas and are not AU residents?

It’s a little harder to buy cover for non-residents who are travelling to Australia, as the majority of Australian insurers only sell to AU residents. But never fear! We’ve done the hard work for you and found some companies that cover you, wherever you live. 1Cover, Aussie Travel Cover, North Travel Insurance, Suresave, Travel Insurance Cover and Travelinsure all offer non-residents policies. Age restrictions and waiting periods tend to apply.

What is the maximum age I can buy insurance until?

This all depends on the insurer - age restrictions vary between 59 years to 130! Follow our link to our senior travel insurance age limit guide for further information.

Can I buy insurance for non-permanent residents of Australia visiting Australia?

Yes, there are a handful of insurers out there that will offer cover for non-resident visitors to Australia. They will have their own set of exclusions on these policies, so always check before purchasing. Have a look at our travel insurance for visitors to Australia guide for further information.

Can I buy insurance for non-permanent residents of Australia living here, going overseas on holiday?

Never fear all is not lost, there are insurers that cover such situations, but there will be certain requirements that you must meet. For further information have a look at our non-resident travel insurance guide.

High risk sports and activities

Am I covered to take part in hazardous sports and activities?

Most insurers will offer cover for certain activities and sports such as bungee jumping, white water rafting, kayaking etc. Always confirm with the insurer about what they cover. See more info here. 

Am I covered for scuba diving when I go travelling?

With its increased popularity for holiday makers you can easily find an insurer that will cover for this but there will be certain restrictions. For example most insurers will have maximum depth limit and you must hold a valid diving certificate or be diving with a qualified instructor. Check out our scuba diving cover guide.

Am I covered for Motorcycling when I go travelling?

There are companies out there that refuse to cover, and others that will...with certain requirements, for example: some of them have a maximum engine size that they cover to and some are unlimited. Over certain engine sizes they may also require that you hold a valid Australian motorbike license that is valid within the country that you are travelling to, as well as an international drivers permit (IDP). See our motorbike travelling guide for more.

Am I covered for trekking and/or climbing when I go travelling?

Trekking is covered the majority of the time, but be advised that there may be some restrictions like altitude limits and if you require the use of ropes. Climbing insurance might be a bit harder to find as most insurers are unable to cover outdoor climbing and only a select few cover for indoor climbing with the use of a harness. Always check with your insurer when arranging the policy to find out if they cover for this and if they have certain restrictions. For further details on this have a look at our climbing and trekking guide.

What activities are covered with your winter sports/ski travel insurance?

Most insurers cover you medically if you were to have an accident on the slopes, but only if it’s recreational, on-piste and within the resort boundaries. If you are wanting a higher standard of ski insurance to cover ski passes, equipment hire then a ski-specific policy is advised. See more info here.

What am i covered for?

Does travel insurance cover natural disasters?

Yes, no and maybe, is perhaps not the cut and dry answer you’d like to hear. Although most policies would cover you if you were to need medical assistance due to a natural disaster, you would need a more comprehensive policy to cover you for cancellations or delays as a result of a natural disaster. According to most travel insurance plans natural disasters are typically defined as a “flood, fire, hurricane, tornado, earthquake, volcanic eruption, blizzard or avalanche that is due to natural causes.” It’s worth knowing that not all policies will cover the same events, for instance, some may omit volcanic eruptions or avalanches, and it's important to note those exclusions. It's also worth paying attention to cut-off dates. Travel insurance exists to cover unforeseen events, and once a natural disaster has been reported in the mass media, it would be too late to purchase cover for that specific event. For this reason it is advisable to buy travel insurance as soon as you book your flights and accomodation.

Are my SLR camera, engagement ring or laptop covered?

If your policy has $10,000 cover level for luggage and personal items this doesn't mean you're covered for all high value items automatically. Every insurer has single item limits which can range from $250 - $3,000. So if you are taking expensive stuff on your holiday – make sure they are covered before you go putting them in the aeroplane hold.

I am going skiing (or snowboarding), am I covered?

Whether you’re shuffling down the bunny runs or tackling a black run – there’s one thing that every skier needs and that’s ski insurance! Most comprehensive policies cover for skiing and snowboarding holidays when the appropriate ski specific policy is purchased. A ski policy will typically cover you for emergency rescue, piste closure, equipment hire, bad weather closure (and all the usual stuff like overseas medical cover, luggage & personal items and cancellation too.) You might not be covered automatically for heli-skiing, skiing or snowboarding off-piste, racing, or for skiing in a professional capacity.

Am I covered for trip cancellation?

This all depends on the policy that you choose to go with, if you select a basic cover that only offers medical benefits then most insurers will not include this. If however you choose a mid-range policy then most will cover cancellation but at a lower claimable amount than comprehensive cover. Click for more information on cancellation.

Are my high value items covered?

Most insurers will cover laptops, cameras, smart phones and mobile phones for around $750-  $3000, however cover limits will vary from provider to provider. To cover higher valued items you might have the option to include this on the policy at an extra cost. The additional cost will vary from insurer to insurer too, so do your research. Lucky for we we've already made a start...

Am I covered for foreseen events (e.g. planned strike action or forecasted weather)?

If you are aware of any planned strikes or forecasted weather that has been reported by the media, chances are you would not be able to claim with anything in relation to this. Most claimable events are due to unforeseen circumstances. If however you purchased your policy before any of these things then you would have provision to claim if you were unable to travel or delayed. See more info here.

 

Change an existing policy

Can I change my policy?

Most insurers will give you the option to change the policy as long as it has not already started. Usually this will include date changes, destination, and names on the policy. But be advised that there may be an additional cost for amending these.

I need to amend the address or contact details on my policy. How can I do this?

All you need to do is contact the insurer that you purchased the policy with and they will be able to amend theses details and re-issue a updated certificate to you.

Can I extend my cover whilst I am away?

In most cases yes, but you must notify your insurer as soon as you are aware of the extension date and you must make sure the policy doesn’t end before you contact them. If you have a medical reference attached to the policy then unfortunately it would be unlikely that you would be able to extend it as the medical declaration covers that particular trip.

Claims

How do I make a claim?

Insurance fraud is huge. For that reason insurers ask that you provide quite a bit of evidence to back your claim. You might need to provide: proof of delay with a letter from an airline or transport carrier, receipts showing proof of ownership for an item that is lost, police reports for any thefts that took place, photos of accidents and written statements from relevant sources. If you cannot provide these types of evidence you might find your claim is denied. So try your best to get as much information together as you can. Don’t forget, any claimable situations that need police assistance should be reported to the authorities within 24 hours and you’ll need to get a written report. And in any situation where you are going to claim, you must notify your insurer asap.

I don't have receipts for my personal items. Can I still make a claim?

Yes, if you don’t have a receipt of purchase still then you can take a photo of yourself using the item before you travel. A copy of your bank/credit card statement when you purchased the item may also be also acceptable, but satisfactory proof of purchase will vary from insurer to insurer. 

Who do I contact in the event of an emergency?

When you receive your certificate of insurance there will be a 24/7 emergency assistance contact number detailed for you to reach the claims team in an emergency overseas.

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