Like all insurances, travel insurance covers you for the unexpected and unforseen. It won’t cover you for events that are likely to happen, or as a result of acting irresponsibly.
It’s not always obvious to know when you’re covered. So to make things a bit easier we’ve explained the ins and outs so you can head off happily on your holiday knowing when you're protected :)
Medical emergencies and evacuation
The main reason why we buy travel insurance. If you get sick or injured overseas it’s gonna cost big! Did you know treatment for appendicitis in the USA could easily set you back $20,000? And if you’re talking evacuation you’re looking at over $100k! Ouch!
Luggage and personal items
Pick pocked in Barcelona, loose your camera in Canada or drop your smartphone down the toilet in Taiwan, travel insurance will cover you for your lost or stolen items. If you’re taking an expensive item away, you might have to pay a bit extra to cover it.
Delays and cancellation
Buy early to cover you for cancellation. You’ll be covered for cancellation from unforseen events like illness, accident, severe weather conditions, natural disasters, airline strikes, or death of close relative.
If you’re involved in an accident or cause damage that was your fault, your insurance will cover your liability and legal fees.
Rental vehicle excess
Travel insurance often covers your rental vehicle excess if you have an accident. Damage excess regularly costs between $3,000 – $5,000 so this is a great benefit to look out for.
If your flight was cancelled due to a covered reason such as severe weather or airlines strikes and you missed pre-booked accommodation, your policy would reimburse you for this.
Theft of passports, travel documents or credit cards
If your passport or documents are stolen, you'll be reimbursed for any expenses you incur when replacing your items.
Frequent flyer points
If your flight is cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances (and you've used air miles to pay for your flight) some insurers will reimburse you the monetary value for loss of frequent flyer points that you might have used to pay for your flight.
Disruption of journey
If your flight/transport is delayed more than 6 hours (timings may vary between insurers) you're entitled to claim accommodation and food. You can claim around $200 (again will vary from insurer to insurer) for each full 24 hour period that the disruption continues.
Alternative transport expenses
If your flight/transport is cancelled and you need to reach a pre-booked event (e.g. sporting event or funeral) your alternative transport will be paid for. Even if the reason your flight/transport was cancelled was due to a non-covered event such as mechanical fault. As you have already started your journey you can use the ‘alternative transport delays’ benefit of the policy rather than ‘cancellation benefit’.
What’s not covered?
Did you know that if your luggage is lost or stolen from the storage compartment of a transport carrier, you’re not covered? Any items not on your person, unsupervised, or left unattended will not be covered. All expensive items you take with you, such as computers, cameras or jewellery should be kept with you in your hand luggage when you travel, or locked away in a safe at your hotel, or left with a close family member or friend if you’re occupied. When you’re on holiday, take care of your possessions so if you do unfortunately have to make a claim, the insurer can’t reject you for not safeguarding your belongings.
Pre-existing medical conditions
Medical conditions that exist before you travel will not be covered. You can of course still buy a policy that would cover you for all other benefits, and for any unrelated illness or injury to your pre-existing condition would of course still be covered.
There are certain conditions that are not covered at all such as mental, psychological or nervous disorders including anxiety, depression, neurosis or psychosis. Terminal illness, cancer, aids and STD’s. See our guide which goes into more detail explaining what conditions are not covered.
Deliberately putting your life in danger is not covered. So if you find yourself cliff jumping and break your leg…you’ll be paying for the treatment, not your insurer. You have been warned!
Travel supplier financial default
You’re not always covered for insolvency of travel agents, tour wholesalers, tour operators or booking agents, but it pays to check as this is not always the case.
Countries with travel warnings
If you visit a country that travel is not advised by DFAT then you shouldn’t go there. And if you do, your not insured to do so. Anytime that you put yourself intentionally at risk is not covered. This includes acts of war.
If your flight is cancelled due to a mechanical fault, overbooking or airline company closure you wouldn't be covered as it's seen as the airlines responsibility.
Business or contractual obligations
If your annual leave is cancelled you’re not covered.
Change of plans
You’re not covered if you just decide you don’t want to go on holiday anymore, or the weather forecast doesn’t look good!
Insurance fraud is huge. For that reason insurers ask that you provide proof of loss or delay by providing receipts, police reports, photos, written statements and more. If you cannot provide evidence or proof of loss you might find your claim is denied. You must report any events to the police within 24 hours and get a written report for your insurer.
High risk activities are not always covered
Did you know that American football, boxing, skydiving, competitive cycling, rock climbing, polo and motor sports are not always covered? If a high risk activity is seen as too dangerous, an insurer will not cover it. Always check what activities are covered in your policy, and consider upgrading your cover if you’re planning on doing anything a bit risky. See our handy guide which explains which activities are typically not covered.
Alcohol and drugs
Travel insurance doesn’t cover recklessness. If you’ve had a few too many Pina Coladas and then fall down some stairs and break a leg - you're on your own in terms of costs.
If you lie about your medical history and then become ill while overseas due to this previous illness or ailment, then your insurer may deny your claim.
Not all insurers cover pregnancy after 26 weeks, or pregnancy with complications. Find out who-covers-what here.
Read the small print
If you’re still having trouble finding out if you’re covered, you can always give your insurer a call or read your policies’ product disclosure statement which includes a full list of all the policy benefits.