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What is travel insurance?

Travel insurance is designed to protect you against unexpected events when you’re travelling domestically or internationally. It can help with costs associated with events like illnesses and injuries while you’re overseas, lost or stolen luggage and personal effects, cancellation fees and flight delays. Depending on the type of policy and its level of protection, you can be covered for several events that can bring your travel plans to a halt.

What does travel insurance cover?

Travel insurance protects you against financial loss arising from unforeseen scenarios. Examples of these instances include (but aren’t limited to):

  • illness or injury while overseas (some policies also cover pre-existing medical conditions)
  • lost or stolen luggage or personal effects (e.g. laptop, suitcases)
  • cancellation fees
  • cancelled flights.

Depending on where you’re travelling to and how much cover you need, you can choose from a basic, mid-range or more comprehensive level of cover.

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Types of travel insurance


Saving up for a trip can be hard, especially when you’re juggling study and work. That’s why travel insurance for students is vital, as it can protect the money you’ve poured into your adventures. Be aware, however, that you can’t take out travel insurance on yourself if you’re under 16 years of age.

If you’re organising travel insurance for a group of students who require the same level of cover, you can take out a group policy, which can be both cheaper and more convenient than individual policies.


You could be eligible for discounts if you’re travelling in a group of up to 25 people – even if you’re only travelling with three or four couples for the entire trip. On top of this, you can save time by taking out one policy, as opposed to individual policies.

As everyone will have the same level of cover, it’s vital everyone is across the policy’s Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) so you’re all aware of any cover limitations or exclusions.


Many insurers cover Australians up to the age of 100 and assess your eligibility for cover if you have pre-existing medical conditions. By undergoing an assessment, you’ll find out how much extra you may need to pay to be covered for certain pre-existing conditions. Sometimes there is no additional cost.

As you’re comparing policies, take advantage of our custom filter to find insurers that offer an assessment. This way, you can travel with confidence, knowing what you’re covered for. Always check the policy’s PDS to be sure you’re aware of all inclusions and exclusions.


Family cover helps protect your loved ones all under the one policy. This type of cover usually features higher limits due to the number of travellers on the one policy. Most insurers can cover up to three children travelling with two adults at no additional cost.

Annual cover

Otherwise known as multi-trip, annual travel insurance is designed for those who travel often for business or leisure. Annual cover offers more value than single-trip policies and is more convenient than organising a new policy each time you travel. Most policies impose a maximum duration for each trip, which can be anywhere from 20 to 90 days. As such, you’ll be required to return home before your trip duration lapses to retain cover.

It’s important to note that if you’re travelling often for business, any work-related losses (e.g. damaged or stolen documents) won’t be covered. You’d need to take out a business pack add-on to cover these specific losses.

Ski cover

Ski insurance provides an additional level of cover if you’re skiing and snowboarding on and off-piste during your next trip. Some policies don’t automatically cover winter sports, so it’s important you select it as an add-on option to your policy (if this option is available), or as an individual policy before you hit the slopes.

Some top-line ski features can include (but aren’t limited to) 24/7 access to emergency medical assistance while overseas, ski hire cover and ski equipment cover. When using our comparison tool, you can customise your search to match your trip type, and only compare products that cover skiing and other snow sports.

Cruise cover

Travel cover is essential for any cruise trip, as it can cover you for a range of scenarios, including flight or cruise cancellations. Additionally, some policies may also cover certain activities (like jet-skiing and snorkelling) or even cover if you’re confined to your cabin.

Cover for illness or injury is particularly vital. If you’re onboard and need to go to a hospital, evacuations by helicopter or an unscheduled port stop could result in a major blow to your finances. Most cruise lines advise their passengers to take out travel insurance that covers medical expenses, because if you board any foreign cruise boat docked in Australia, you may have to pay for medical expenses out-of-pocket - even if you’re travelling domestically.

You may need to take out cruise cover as an extra feature on your policy or as separate cover. Be aware that some travel policies may not automatically provide cover for cruises.

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Frequently asked questions

Is travel insurance worth it?

We believe so, as travel cover provides peace of mind for a range of scenarios – including injury or illness.

When travelling internationally, you aren’t always afforded the same health care services and cover as you are in Australia. Moreover, you can’t always access these services without suffering a major blow to your budget. This means if you were to fall ill or become injured overseas, you could be hit with major out-of-pocket costs.

On top of this, there’s a chance your belongings could be stolen or damaged during your travels as well. Could you afford to replace your laptop or camera equipment? How about the contents of a lost suitcase? Depending on your level of cover and your policy’s Product Disclosure Statement (PDS), your insurer can compensate you for the loss of, or damage to, your belongings while you’re travelling both domestically and internationally.

Furthermore, if your flight is delayed or cancelled, and you don’t have travel insurance, you could be left to cover the costs of a new flight or alternative arrangements. Don’t forget that a cancelled flight can have major repercussions for your travel; perhaps you’ll miss your connecting flight or a pre-paid event, like a concert.

As travel insurers cover several specified events, why not enjoy peace of mind knowing you’re protected when you need it most?

How much is travel insurance?

The cost of your travel insurance depends on a range of factors, including:

  • your destination
  • your age and the age of other travellers
  • the number of travellers on your policy
  • any pre-existing health conditions of all travellers
  • whether or not you’re partaking in adventure sports
  • the length of travel
  • the level of cover you’ve taken out (e.g. basic, mid-range or comprehensive).

On top of this, the cost of your policy will greatly depend on which insurer you go through. As each policy is unique to the traveller, it’s important you compare insurance from a range of providers to ensure you’re getting great value for your cover.

What is travel insurance excess?

Excess refers to the amount you’ll pay if you ever claim on your policy. This amount is agreed upon when you first take out cover. When you make a claim, you’ll pay this amount or have it deducted from your settlement, and your insurer will pay the rest of your costs (e.g. any medical bills, refunded airline tickets) up to your policy’s benefit limit.

Does travel insurance cover medical expenses?

Yes, for international coverage – injuries or illnesses are some of the most important reasons to get travel insurance. Depending on the type of policy you take out, your travel insurance can cover your medical expenses.

If you have any known pre-existing medical conditions, you may receive cover up to a limit – provided you disclose this to your insurer before you take out your policy. Some policies will only cover certain pre-existing conditions, while others may not provide cover at all. As such, it’s crucial you speak to your insurer and check the policy’s Product Disclosure Statement (PDS).

Also, keep in mind that you may be required to undergo a medical assessment before you take out cover.

How does pregnancy affect your travel insurance?

Certain factors, like how far you are in your pregnancy or if your doctor advised you against travel, can affect your travel insurance. It’s important you talk to your insurer and check your policy’s Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) to be aware of any exclusions or limitations in cover.

Does travel insurance cover lost items?

Yes, your travel insurance may cover certain misplaced items, depending on your type of cover.

Insurers may not compensate lost belongings if you are negligent (e.g. you left your belongings unattended), you don’t report the theft to the authorities or if certain valuables – like your computer or jewellery – are placed in your check-in luggage.

In order to claim, you must be able to prove the value and your ownership of the items. You’ll also be restricted to only claiming up to your policy’s benefit limit.

Why should I purchase travel insurance?

Travel insurance can safeguard both your international and domestic trips from circumstances that are beyond your control. This may include instances where your luggage is lost or stolen, if you miss that big-ticket event your whole trip was based on, or other listed scenarios.

Need more convincing? Here’s three reasons why you should consider travel insurance every time you travel.

  1. To protect yourself (and loved ones) from huge expenses

Anyone who’s been sick on their holiday remembers the feeling of frustration as they waste their trip in bed. Imagine the additional agony if you also owed thousands of dollars in medical bills. This can be an unfortunate reality – especially if you travel to a country that doesn’t have a reciprocal healthcare agreement with Australia.

  1. Compensation when you’re delayed

While it isn’t a feature in every travel insurance policy, you can get covered for cancellations and delays that result in you missing out on key parts of your trip.

  1. Peace of mind

It’s nice to take your trip, explore your new environment, and relax – safe in the knowledge that you won’t have to dig deep into your bank account if you get into trouble.

Stephen Zeller, General Manager

Meet our travel insurance expert, Stephen Zeller

As the General Manager of General Insurance, Stephen Zeller is our resident expert in travel insurance. He believes in educating customers about this product so that anyone can kick back and make the most of their time away from home.

Stephen has over 30 years of experience in financial services and he’s also an allied member of the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance (ANZIIF). Stephen is passionate about helping customers prepare for their trip.

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