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Travel Insurance And accommodation 101

It’s all about location and for most travellers, the saying couldn’t be truer.

From a five-star resort to a backpackers hostel, most of us can attest to the transformative power of a standout booking experience. Friendly service, clean amenities and safe, secure facilities can turn an average holiday to perfection.

However, no matter how fantastic your dwelling, just a small slip-up can turn your holiday upside down. Whether an emergency forces you to cancel your booking or you return to your room to discover your valuables missing, there’s no accounting for how your accommodation provider will handle the situation. Travel insurance on the other hand, can protect you from a range of travel troubles so your hotel stay doesnt turn into a headache.

Keep reading to understand the ins and outs of travel insurance and accommodation cover.

What's covered? 

Lost or stolen luggage

Unless the loss is as a result of a fault on the accommodation provider's part, a hotel may only be liable to pay you a limited sum for missing items. For instance, in New South Wales, hoteliers can offer a maximum of $100 for any lost or stolen items. On the other hand, a travel insurance policy could cover the full cost of your possessions. Phew!

Provided you leave your valuables in a safe, locked compartment and are able to provide receipts for your items, travel insurance can fully compensate you for the cost of your belongings. Most policies will cover your items for up to $750 each and more for specified valuables.


It’s every traveller’s fear; some freak occurrence has shattered your long-held plans, forcing you to give up on your dream holiday while burning through your prepaid travel expenses. A natural disaster for instance, can have a ripple effect on your itinerary, causing you to miss your flight, hotel check-in, tour date and more. In that scenario comprehensive travel insurance could bail you out, covering your lost costs and prepaid deposits.  The following are some of the scenarios for which you’d be covered:

  • Severe sickness or severe injury: You will be covered for lost deposits 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.
  • Family emergency: 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 then your travel expenses will be covered. This is subject to age limitations, pre-existing medical conditions and the relative must reside in Australia or New Zealand.
  • Transport disruptions:  If a natural disaster, strike, riot, hijack, civil protest, bad weather or an accident impacts upon your mode of transport and you can no longer make it on holiday, you would be eligible to claim on lost accommodation costs. Additionally, some insurance policies would pay for any essential accommodation and food costs you require, which could prove invaluable should you incur delays over an extended period of time.
  • Traveller error: If you unknowingly broke a quarantine law, lost your passport, travel documents or transaction cards, and thus were unable resume your travels, you may be eligible to claim.
  • Home damage: If your home is rendered uninhabitable by a fire, explosion, earthquake or flood and you were forced to cancel your trip, your prepaid accommodation expenses would be covered.

Personal liability  

Should you injure yourself at your accommodation (or at any point during your travels) you would be eligible to claim for any incurred losses. Provided your injury was not the consequence of a drunken mishap or reckless behaviour, your policy would cover you for any medical and hospital expenses you incur.

Financial collapse

While many don’t, a few travel insurers do provide cover for the insolvency of an accommodation provider. Cover levels and limits do apply so it’s essential to check your PDS prior to purchasing.

What's not?

Unattended items

It’s important to note that your claim could be denied for failing to take reasonable care of your belongings. This can include leaving your items on a table while taking a dip in the pool or forgetting your mobile phone in your hotel room after checking out. It’s imperative that you keep a close eye on your things. Your valuables must also be reasonably secured when left in your room, and locked in a safe if possible.

Your room is not what you expected

You were promised balmy ocean views and a pristine beachside villa but discover a dilapidated shack with a car park lookout. Unfortunately travel insurance won’t cover a disappointing stay so it’s essential that you do your research and read plenty of reviews before booking your visit. Accommodation providers are obligated to match any written or visual representation of their rooms and services so you may be entitled to a full or partial refund if you believe you have been deceived. If possible, try first to resolve your issue directly with the accommodation service provider or booking agent. If that fails, you can make a complaint to the ACCC or your state-based consumer affairs body.

Change of mind

Although there are plenty of occasions where travel insurance will cover your trip alterations, change of mind is not one of them. While cancellations for medical reasons and unforeseen emergencies are usually covered, not having your holidays approved at work or a break-up are not coverable under travel insurance. Deciding to upgrade to a better hotel or a different holiday location due to a change of heart won’t be covered either so choose wisely.

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While finding your ultimate suite retreat may be your end goal it’s just as important to to read your insurers policy documentation (known as the Product Disclosure Statement) to make sure you understand when you're covered, and when you're not. Once you have peace of mind, you can start to unwind and let those holiday vibes begin!


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