Please Note - If you are cruising around Australia you need to select Pacific.
With Regions, variances can apply for Bali, Indonesia, Japan and Middle East.
You are not required to enter stop-over countries if your stop-over is less than 48 hours.
The common misconception is that all cancellations, delays, or missed travel situations are covered by travel insurance, but this is not the case. We help explain the misunderstandings around travel insurance and cancellation cover, so that you can head on holiday knowing when you're covered.
...and when are you covered for travel delays, alternative transport and cancellation?
Provided that you purchased your policy before you became aware of the circumstances (or they were published in the media), commonly covered scenarios include:
If your flight or cruise is cancelled due to severe weather or a natural disaster, such as a volcanic eruption, tornado, or bushfire, you may be able to claim for transport, accommodation and other pre-paid expenses. Most insurers also offer cancellation cover if your home in Australia is affected by a natural disaster, and you need to defend it or if it is rendered uninhabitable by a flood, fire, or explosion.
If you become injured or ill and become unfit to travel, or if you have to return home if a medical practitioner notifies the insurer that you are unfit to continue with your trip. You will need this in writing and it generally cannot be from an undeclared pre-existing medical condition.
If you need to return home or cancel a trip because a family member is unwell or there has been a death to a close family member. This is subject to limitations - most insurers do not cover if the relative is over 80-85, if they were hospitalised due to a pre-existing medical condition, or the relative resides outside Australia or New Zealand. Check out our guide on family emergencies for more.
If a strike, civil unrest or riot directly affects your flights or accommodation. If the unrest or rioting hasn't directly affected your travel arrangements, cancelling your trip may be considered by your insurer as a 'change of mind' scenario, which is generally not claimable.
If you missed your flight/booked transport because of a motor vehicle accident, railway accident or marine accident en route and you can prove that there was no other way for you to get to your transport carrier. You will generally need a letter from an authority, such as the police or transport provider to prove the accident happened.
If your passport or documents are stolen, travel insurance will reimburse you for your expenses incurred when replacing your items, as well as cancellation fees or lost deposits if you are unable to continue your journey due to theft of your passport.
If your flight or other transport has been cancelled or delayed, and you need to reach a special event, such as a sporting event, wedding, or funeral, many insurers cover your alternative transport expenses to get there on time - even if the reason your flight or transport was cancelled was the airline's fault. Different insurers consider different things a 'special event', so check that your policy does what you need it to.
If you experience a flight delay (typically of more than six hours), and your airline doesn't look after you, your travel cover can provide accommodation and food benefits of around $200-$250 per adult for each day the disruption occurs. If you miss a connecting flight due to the first airline's fault, some insurers also cover the cost of getting you on a new flight - provided that you've left at least 3-5 hours for connections. Check your insurer's policy documents to see if they offer this, or give them a call.
Many insurers cover full-time defence force, police and other emergency service personnel coverage if their annual leave is revoked. Again, each insurer is different on this, so be sure to check your policy works for your circumstances.
Claiming for trip cancellations doesn't have to be difficult. Check your insurer's product disclosure statement, and read through the sections on cancellations, alternative transport expenses, travel delays, etc, as well as the general exclusions so you're aware of what you can and can't claim for. Find your insurer's claims web page, fill out the form and upload your documents. You'll generally need copies of your itineraries, refund advice, proof of payments and proof of the reason for your trip cancellation - this will vary depending on the reason you need to cancel your holiday.
Visit our guide more on claiming for travel cancellations and delays.
Comprehensive travel insurance generally covers for cancellation due to illness or injury, where a doctor has provided documentation that you are not fit to travel, and that your cancellation was not due to an undeclared pre-existing condition. Additionally, family emergencies, where a close relative in Australia is hospitalised or passes away is also covered, provided that it was not due to a pre-existing condition and the person is not aged over 80-90 (depending on the insurer). There is no cancellation cover on medical-only travel policies.
Your trip cover may cover work-related issues, depending on your circumstances. If you are a full-time employee and are made redundant, you may have provision to claim with some insurers. Additionally, if you are a full-time employee of the defence forces or emergency services and your annual leave is revoked, many insurers will cover you for cancelling your trip. Checking for benefits like this can help in the long run.
Yes, provided that you were unaware of the natural disaster, and it hadn't been published in the mass media, you may have provision to claim for a cancellation due to natural disaster. However, some insurers have natural disaster add-ons which aren't automatically included. Other insurers only cover for natural disasters occurring within Australia - so check your policy before you buy.
Yes, provided you didn't know about the strike or rioting beforehand, it would generally be covered with most insurers. You would have to demonstrate that the strike or riot directly affected you though - so get a letter from your airline or accommodation or tour provider as evidence.
Very few insurers offer cancellation coverage for terrorism or acts of war - this is often a general exclusion, or they will only cover medical expenses if you are injured. Check your policy documents before you buy to confirm what coverage is available.
No, there are no insurers that we are aware of which cover if you cancel your trip and change of mind.
While you might think of your pets as a member of the family - we certainly think of ours that way - but most insurers do not cover you to cancel your trip if your furry buddies become ill. However, some insurers will cover your pets for veternary treatment
With a research and journalism background, and certified in Tier 2 General Insurance General Advice, Crystal is passionate about investigating customers’ tricky travel questions and helping them find the answers they’re looking for. A writer and filmmaker whose favourite trips have been to film festivals in Cuba and South Korea, and campervanning around the USA, she loves getting to know new people and seeing a glimpse of the world through their eyes.