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Travel insurance & family emergencies 101

It's only natural to be concerned about your loved ones when you go away on your holidays.

If a family member or travelling companion falls ill or is injured on your trip, or before you depart for your holiday, it's important to know where you stand with your cover.

A common question that comes up again and again is; does travel insurance cover family emergencies? The answer is yes, but like all insurances, there are exclusions that will affect your claim.

Keep reading to learn about the cover conditions when it comes to travel insurance and family members.

What is classed as ‘Family’?

You may consider friends or pets as family, however, when it comes to travel insurance it's a little different. Those considered 'family' in the world of cover relate to your spouse (or legally recognised de facto) and your dependants.

What is classed as a ‘Relative’?

'Relatives' in terms of travel insurance, will typically only include: you or your travelling companion's spouse, de facto partner, parent, parent-in-law, daughter, son, daughter-in-law, son-in-law, brother, sister, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, grandchild, grandparent, step-parent, step-son, step-daughter, fiancé, fiancée or guardian.

NOTE: Typically aunties, uncles, cousins, close friends are not included as a ‘relative’ under a standard policy.

When does travel insurance cover for family emergencies?

Your policy will kick in if a family member or relative (as defined above);

  • Dies unexpectedly
  • Is disabled by an injury
  • Becomes seriously sick and requires hospitalisation

NOTE: You would not be covered for any of the above scenarios if they were related to pre-existing illnesses. However, if the family member is hospitalised (in Australia or New Zealand) after your policy was issued, but when you bought the policy you were unaware of the illness then you may have provision to claim, irrelevant of whether the illness was pre-existing or not. Confusing right!

For example, you may be able to claim for cancellations costs or lost deposits if a family member were diagnosed with cancer and had to cancel your trip and you did not know before.

When are you not covered?

Like any type of insurance terms and conditions apply to your cover. You are unlikely to be able to claim for out-of-pocket expenses due to family emergencies...

  • If you were aware, before your journey commenced, that it might be cancelled, disrupted or delayed
  • If the death, injury or illness was from a pre-existing medical condition
  • If the death was due to the relative committing suicide, or was due to alcohol or drug consumption
  • If you are due compensation from other sources such as your airline, travel insurance would not reimburse you for the loss as well
  • If your relative lives outside Australia or New Zealand
  • If the death, injury or illness happens to a particularly elderly person (age limitations detailed below)

Compare family member age limits

In many policies there are age restrictions concerning family members and when you'd be covered for claiming. For example, if you had a policy with 1Cover Insurance and your grandmother suddenly became ill while you were overseas and you wanted to return home quickly. If your grandmother was over 84 years of age you would not have provision to claim. 

 INSURER

Underwriters

AGE LIMIT

1Cover Certain underwriters at Lloyd’s 84 and under
AA Traveller Allianz Australia Insurance Limited No limit
American Express Chubb Insurance Australia Limited No limit
AMP Allianz Australia Insurance Limited No limit
ANZ Allianz Australia Insurance Limited

No limit

ASB Cigna Life Insurance New Zealand Limited No limit
Cigna Cigna Life Insurance New Zealand Limited No limit
Columbus Direct Certain underwriters at Lloyd’s 84 and under
Countdown Insurance Cigna Life Insurance New Zealand Limited No limit
Covermore Zurich Australian Insurance Limited No limit
Downunder Certain underwriters at Lloyd’s 84 and under
NZ Travel Insurance Allianz Australia Insurance Limited No limit
QBE QBE Insurance No limit
Southern Cross Southern Cross No limit
STA Travel Allianz Australia Insurance Limited No limit
State Zurich New Zealand Insurance Limited No limit
TINZ Certain underwriters at Lloyd’s 84 and under
Tower Tower Insurance Ltd No limit
TID Certain underwriters at Lloyd’s 84 and under
Webjet Allianz Australia Insurance Limited 84 and under
World Nomads Certain underwriters at Lloyd’s No limit
World Care Allianz Australia Insurance Limited 84 and under
Zoom Certain underwriters at Lloyd’s 84 and under

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