Travel Insurance Comparison

Advertisement

Useful Information

Article

Why you need Travel Insurance

Article

When is the best time to buy Travel Insurance?

Article
Travel exclusions to check
Advertisement

What is travel insurance?

CANSTAR 2016 Outstanding Value Travel InsuranceTravel insurance covers emergencies or accidents you while you are on holiday. It will cover you for different things depending on whether your trip is within Australia or overseas. This may include hospital cover, lost or stolen luggage and even vehicle accident cover.

See ‘Types of travel insurance and what they cover’ below for more information.

Why do you need travel insurance?

A study by Expedia shows that a massive 83% of young Aussies aged 18-24 plan to take an international holiday in next 12 months.

Overseas travel has become more affordable. Expedia’s data shows international air ticket prices have decline by 20% over the last three years. This is because of an increase in competition among low-cost airlines. But could you afford travel if something went wrong while you were in another country?

The Australian government’s Smart Traveller website recommends travel insurance for any kind of travel, especially for anyone travelling overseas. If you don’t have travel insurance you will have to cover all costs on your own. This could include:

  • loss of your luggage
  • unexpected accidents
  • medical emergencies
  • legal incident

Things like changing flight plans can be expensive, but hospital bills are even worse. Medicare is not available overseas. So a medical emergency could cost you thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars – chances are you not brought that much money with you.

If you have travel insurance, you can travel knowing you can get financial help in an emergency.

What else should you do before you travel?

Smart Traveller Travel Advice Page

You should check the Smart Traveller website to see what the current risk of travel to your chosen country is. When a country is flagged as “do not travel” be aware that you may not be able to get insurance for the trip.

Register your travel plans

You should register your travel plans with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. This will ensure they know where you’ve gone and how to reach you in an emergency.

Keep a hard copy of your documentation

Make sure you have a copy of all your documentation with you. Also leave a copy of all your documentation with someone back home.

Keep contact details of the appropriate overseas Australian Embassy. You never know when you may need it while travelling.

 

Written by: TJ Ryan

There are two types of travel insurance cover policies.

1. Domestic travel insurance:

Domestic travel is travel within Australia and is not international or overseas. According to Tourism Research Australia, domestic tourism is worth almost $70 billion. About 70% of domestic tourists traipsing around the country are Aussies. Australia has become the most sea-loving nation in the world. In 2014, a record high 4.2% of our population took a cruise around the Australian and South Pacific seas and shores.

Our Canstar Blue research in 2014 showed that 41% of domestic travellers loved a beach holiday, while 30% preferred urban city destinations. The largest number of people wanted to visit sunny Queensland (39%), followed by Victoria (20%).

Plenty of us are travelling “at home”, but that doesn’t mean that nothing can go wrong. It’s definitely still worth taking out insurance in case you get stuck.

2. International travel insurance:

International travel is travel outside of Australia and therefor overseas to another country. Aussies have always been keen nomads, and we’re travelling more than ever before. According to the most recent Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures, Australian residents took almost 9.2 million short-term overseas trips in the year ending June 2015; compared to 9 million in the previous year.

Our most common destinations this year were New Zealand, Indonesia and the USA. We’re also partial to the UK, Thailand, and China. One thing these fascinating destinations all have in common is that your trip is safer with travel insurance!

What does domestic travel insurance cover?

What does a domestic travel insurance policy usually cover you for?

  • Lost or stolen luggage or other items.
  • Cancelling your trip unexpectedly due to illness, accident, holiday leave being revoked. Also for natural disasters at home or at your intended destination.
  • Rental vehicle excess you have to pay if you have an accident driving a hire car. Most domestic policies will cover at least $2,500 of your rental vehicle excess. (This is a good thing, because our Canstar Blue research shows that 19% of Aussies who’ve used a hire car have crashed or dented it…)
  • Legal liability; the vast majority of policies researched include coverage for legal liability. Don’t take this as an excuse to break the law though – you may end up invalidating your policy!

What is not covered by domestic travel insurance?

One thing domestic travel insurance does not include is medical cover. However, as you’re still in Australia you can still access Medicare and private health insurance (if you have it).

Domestic travel insurance policies also typically excludes certain “hazardous pursuits” from your coverage. If you’re doing dangerous activities such as skiing, scuba diving or bungee jumping, you need to disclose it on your application. However, even if you disclose it, you still might not be covered for an accident that happens as that activity may be excluded from the policy. Ensure that you read your policy terms and conditions carefully.

What does international travel insurance cover?

What does an international travel insurance policy usually cover you for?

  • Medical or dental emergency. Typical emergency medical cover will include hospital admission, emergency care and medical evacuation to another country’s hospital. If your medical situation is not an emergency, we recommend you telephone your insurer before you have any treatment done. It’s important to check if you’re covered for the treatment.
  • Repatriation. If tragedy strikes while you are away, repatriation covers the cost of flying you and your belongings back home. Some travel insurance funds also include a separate sum for funeral expenses. You should also be covered for if you fall sick overseas and need to be evacuated back to Australia for medical treatment.
  • Lost or stolen luggage, passport or other items. Replacing luggage and travel documents is the most common claim for travel insurance – and one of the cheapest.
  • Cancelling your trip unexpectedly due to illness, accident, holiday leave being revoked. Also for natural disasters at home or at your intended destination.
  • Legal liability if you break a local law and need a lawyer and/or interpreter. Ignorance of the law is no excuse in most countries, so make sure you read up on Smart Traveller for things you should know before you go! For example, in some Muslim countries, it is an offence to wear a bikini on a public beach. If you break a law on purpose, your travel insurance policy will not cover your legal fees.

What is not covered by international travel insurance?

No travel policy will cover you for every single thing that might go wrong while you’re away. It’s important to read your policy terms and conditions PDS carefully and know what is not covered.

Some common international travel insurance exclusions are:

  • High risk countries. Check the government’s Smart Traveller website for the travel advisory status of your destination. Countries deemed “do not travel” may not be covered under your policy.
  • Risky behavior. Any injury or loss caused by you behaving recklessly while you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs can be excluded from cover. This doesn’t apply to a medication prescribed to you by a doctor and taken correctly according to the instructions.
  • Pre-existing medical conditions. If you have experienced symptoms of a condition before travelling, even if the condition wasn’t diagnosed, medical expenses for it will generally not be covered. Read your policy terms and conditions carefully.
  • High-value items. Many policies have a dollar limit that you can claim for each item, which may not be as much as it costs to replace the item.
  • Notification period. Your policy may specify that you need to notify your insurer of an accident or event within a specified timeframe such as 24 hours. It’s important to be aware of that notification period and call your insurer as soon as you can.
  • Loss of items left unattended. Keep an eye on your belongings at all times. You might not be covered if you leave your wallet and keys wrapped in a towel on the beach, or hidden in a shared room, or even in your checked-in luggage.
  • Hazardous pursuits. Dangerous activities such as scuba diving, bungee jumping and hang-gliding may be excluded. However, they can often be added to your policy for an extra fee. Out of the international travel insurance policies we researched, most included the following activities as either standard or optional: motorbike and scooter riding, snow sports, jet skis and water sports. However, most of the policies we researched did not include rock climbing or yachting in international waters.

How much does domestic travel insurance cost?

The good news is that the cost to insure your trip around Australia is relatively small compared to the cost of your overall holiday. The cost of domestic travel insurance depends on whether you are travelling as a single, a couple, or a family. It doesn’t matter where you’re going within Australia: the price is the same whether you’re going to Alice Springs or Adelaide.

Based on the domestic travel insurance policies analysed by Canstar, insurance for a single for a 5-day trip will cost around $49 on average. Whereas, a 10-day trip will be around $63, and a 21-day trip will be more like $86.

A couple can travel for less than twice that amount on average: $94 for 5 days, $120 for 10 days, and $162 for 21 days.

Amazingly, a family of two adults and two kids can travel for almost the same as a couple! On average, travel insurance will cost you $96 for 5 days, $120 for 10 days, or $166 for 21 days.

You can compare domestic travel insurance prices on the Canstar website.

How much does international travel insurance cost?

When you compare it to the cost of your airfares, accommodation, and activities, travel insurance is a tiny add-on that could save you a lot of stress. The cost of international travel insurance depends on who you’re travelling with and the destination you’re travelling to.

For a 10-day overseas trip, an Aussie single, couple and family of four can expect to pay average travel insurance premiums of:

10-day Overseas Trip Average Travel Insurance Cost
Country Single Couple Family
Bali $80 $147 $153
Thailand $93 $172 $178
China $94 $175 $180
France $100 $187 $194
UK $96 $180 $186
USA $122 $231 $240
Japan $100 $188 $195
Fiji $77 $143 $147
New Zealand $76 $142 $146

You can research how much international travel insurance would cost you for different destinations on our Canstar website.What affects the cost of travel insuranceSeveral factors affect how much travel insurance will cost you.

  • Where you go: The country you’re travelling to changes the amount your travel insurance price. This is because each country has a different level of risk for various events happening. This doesn’t apply for domestic travel insurance.
  • The type of trip you are taking and whether it involves plane flights, a boat cruise, train travel or bus trips
  • The length of your trip the longer you are away, the higher the cost, generally, of your travel insurance
  • The activities you will be participating in while away: Risky or otherwise dangerous activities can be either excluded from your travel insurance policy or covered for an increased cost.
  • Your age: As you get older, the cost of your travel insurance will tend to rise.
  • Pre-existing medical conditions
  • The level of cover or limits you would like
  • Optional extras: Some insurance providers offer optional extras including cover for:
    • Travel delays
    • Trip cancellations
    • Baggage delays
    • Extreme sports
    • Resuming your journey after cutting the trip short
    • Carrying valuables like iPads, cameras, phones, or jewellery
    • Pet care if your return is delayed while your pet is in boarding
    • Loss of income due to injuries while travelling

Please note that these are a general explanation of the meaning of terms used in relation to travel insurance policy cover. Your insurance provider may use different wording and you should read the terms and conditions of your insurance policy carefully to understand what you are and are not covered for. Refer to the product disclosure statement from your provider.

Accident: An unexpected, unforeseeable, or unusual event that was unintended and caused loss or harm while you are on a trip covered by your policy.

Accommodation: Any type of dwelling or lodging that you pay a fee to stay in overnight.

Additional expenses: Additional expenses for accommodation and transportation that occur because of events such as illness, natural disasters, loss of travel documents, and transport union strikes.

Beneficiary: The person who would receive compensation from your insurance policy if you were to pass away during your travels.

Benefits: What your insurance provider gives you according to the terms of your policy. Benefits can apply if you make a claim or they can apply if a certain event happens, e.g. during an emergency.

Cancellation or amendment costs: The cost of cancelling, changing, or rearranging your journey because of unforeseen circumstances outside your control such as illness, accidents and extreme weather events.

Claim: A request for your insurance provider to pay certain expenses back to you in accordance with your policy.

Cover or coverage: The extent of protection given to you by your policy. If you are covered for an event, it means that you can claim back from your insurance provider a specified amount of expenses you incurred during that event.

Current market value: The amount of money you could get for an item if you sold it in the current local market. This amount is based on the original cost, the current condition and age of the item, and what it could be sold for in its present state.

Damage: Harm or injury to a person or property, resulting in the property losing value or not being able to be used properly.

Disability: A physical or mental condition that restricts a person’s movements, senses or activities. A disadvantage or handicap, especially one imposed or recognised by the law.

Emergency medical care: Medical care that is needed in an unexpected emergency. This does not include any type of regular medical care or foreseeable medical needs.

Endorsement: Any special condition listed on your insurance policy as an extra reason for you to buy the policy.

Excess: The excess is an amount that you pay instead of the insurer, e.g. “the first” $250 or $500 of a claim. Insurers usually have either a policy with different excess options that you choose between, or separate policies that each have a different excess amount. You can pay a lower premium if you have a higher excess, but you need to be sure that you could afford to pay the excess unexpectedly if you had to make a claim.

Exclusions: Anything that is not covered by your policy. Common exclusions include travel to high-risk countries, dangerous activities such as bungee jumping, risky behaviour such as taking alcohol or drugs, pre-existing medical conditions, and loss of items left unattended.

Home: Your usual place of residence in Australia.

Incidental: Costs associated with an unexpected covered event, which are not directly related to the event.

Inclusions: Any event, item or expense that is covered by your policy.

Injury: Anything that physically harms you and occurs by accidental or violent means, which is covered by your policy.

Journey: One of the terms insurers use to talk about the period you’re covered for, from the time you leave home until the time you return to your home. Also known as your trip, voyage, or travels.

Limit / Benefit limit: Policies have a limit on the amount of benefits you can claim per year or per journey.

Luggage and personal effects: Personal items that you own or carry with you on a trip that is covered. This includes but is not limited to: suitcase or backpack, clothing, jewellery, computer or laptop, music players, and other portable electrical devices or equipment.

Medically necessary: Medical treatment that is needed to preserve your health, is suitable to treat your symptoms, and can be safely provided in your current location. This does not include treatment or procedures that are performed in your current location because it is merely convenient.

Natural disaster: An event caused by nature and not by any human activity, including earthquakes, storms, bushfires and floods.

Overseas medical expenses: Expenses incurred overseas for ambulance transport, hospital admission, surgical nursing, and emergency dental treatment.

Period of cover: The time your travel is covered by your policy.

Personal liability cover: Cover for costs incurred for which you are legally liable. You are legally liable if your negligence causes loss or damage to someone else’s property. Personal liability also covers you for injury to a person who is not a member of your family or travelling party. Personal liability cover does not cover damage you caused deliberately or that breaks the law; damage caused by your business or your employee; your ownership or use of a vehicle, aircraft or watercraft; or you passing on an illness to someone else.

Policy: The travel insurance contract you have taken out with an insurance provider.

Pre-existing condition: A medical condition that existed in any form before you signed up for the insurance policy, whether or not you had your symptoms examined by a health practitioner. Your policy may usually list a time limit for the condition to be pre-existing, e.g. you have seen a medical practitioner in the past 90 days before you started your journey, or you have been prescribed a medication within the past 60 days.

Premium: The amount you pay your insurance provider for your travel insurance cover. Your premium must be paid on time for your travel to be covered.

Reasonable: When associated with an expense or cost, “reasonable” refers to what is usual, needed, and matches the standards of your previously scheduled travel.

Refund: Cash or company credit that can be given to you as reimbursement for your expenses, according to the terms of your policy.

Rental car insurance excess: The excess charged if your hire car is damaged or stolen.

Resumption of journey benefit: The benefit you receive if you claim the expense of resuming your travels. You can make a claim if you had to return to Australia suddenly due to a serious injury, illness, or the death of one of your relatives or business partners in Australia.

Sudden illness or serious injury: Illness or injury that occurs during your period of cover and requires immediate treatment by a health practitioner.

Travel delay: Scheduled transport that is delayed by over 6 hours. Scheduled transport can include plane flights, trains, trams, buses, ferries or cruises.

Unforeseen: Any circumstance that is out of your control. This can include illness, accident, cancelled flights, or natural disasters.

Travel Insurance Providers

Everyone knows you can have an amazing holiday on a budget, and travel insurance is no different. However, you want to be sure that your policy is going to cover everything you could need during an emergency on your holiday.

Not all travellers are the same or have the same requirements. Canstar assesses travel policies designed for the three most common traveller profiles:

  1. A single person
  2. A couple of adults who travel together
  3. A family consisting of two adults and two children

Ratings and awards Canstar gave to travel insurance providers

Canstar’s most recent travel insurance star ratings report (2015) compared 229 domestic and international travel insurance products from 73 insurance providers. It determines which ones offer outstanding value for travellers.

Domestic travel insurance policies we gave a star rating were required to cover the following basic features:

  • Luggage and personal effects
  • Cancellation fees and loss of deposit
  • 24-hour helpline and ability to extend cover while travelling

International travel insurance policies we gave a star rating were required to cover the following basic features:

  • Luggage and personal effects
  • Cancellation fees and loss of deposit
  • Overseas medical and hospital cover
  • Repatriation and evacuation services

Canstar also granted two awards for outstanding value for Domestic Travel Insurance and International Travel Insurance. For insurance policies to be eligible for the awards, they must meet the basic features for domestic or international travel. Award-winning international travel insurance policies also had to cover $25 million or more of family cover for overseas medical and hospital expenses, and $5 million or more of family cover for repatriation and evacuation services.

In 2015 the award winners were:

  • Outstanding Value Domestic Travel Insurance: Downunder Insurance Services and SGIO/SGIC/NRMA
  • Outstanding Value International Travel Insurance: The winners were Southern Cross Travel Insurance and Insure and Go.

Who offers travel insurance?

The following travel insurance providers were included in our travel insurance comparison:

Domestic Travel Insurance Providers

  1. 1300 Insurance
  2. 1Cover Travel Insurance
  3. AIG
  4. Allianz Australia
  5. American Express
  6. ANZ
  7. Aussietravelcover
  8. Australia Post
  9. Australian Unity
  10. Big Sky
  11. Budget Direct
  12. Bupa
  13. CGU
  14. CHi Travel Insurance
  15. Citibank
  16. Columbus
  17. Cover-More
  18. Duinsure.com.au
  19. FastCover
  20. Flight Centre Travel Group
  21. GIO
  22. Go Insurance Travel
  23. Good 2 Go!
  24. Greater Building Society
  25. HBF
  26. HCF
  27. HSBC
  28. Hume Bank
  29. Insure 4 Less
  30. Insure and Go
  31. Kango Cover
  32. Medibank
  33. MyCover
  34. NAB
  35. National Seniors Insurance
  36. NRMA
  37. OnePath
  38. Online Travel Insurance
  39. People’s Choice Credit Union
  40. Priceline Protects (with AIA Australia)
  41. QBE
  42. RAA
  43. RAC
  44. RACQ
  45. RACV
  46. Real Insurance
  47. SGIC
  48. SGiO
  49. Simply Travel Insurance
  50. Skiinsurance.com.au
  51. St. George
  52. STA Travel
  53. Stella Travel Services
  54. Suncorp Bank
  55. SureSave
  56. Travel Insurance Direct (TID)
  57. Travellers Choice
  58. Velocity Frequent Flyer
  59. Virgin Money
  60. Westpac
  61. Woolworths Money Insurance
  62. WorldCare
  63. Zuji

International Travel Insurance Providers

  1. 1300 Insurance
  2. 1Cover
  3. AAMI
  4. Allianz
  5. American Express
  6. ANZ
  7. Aussie Travel Cover
  8. Australia Post
  9. Australian Unity
  10. Big Sky
  11. Budget Direct
  12. Bupa
  13. CGU
  14. CHi Travel Insurance
  15. Citibank
  16. Columbus
  17. Cover-More
  18. Duinsure.com.au
  19. FastCover
  20. Flight Centre Travel
  21. GIO
  22. Go Insurance Travel
  23. Good 2 Go!
  24. Greater Building Society
  25. HBF
  26. HCF
  27. HSBC
  28. Hume Bank
  29. Insure 4 Less
  30. Insure and Go
  31. iTrek Travel Insurance
  32. Kango Cover
  33. Medibank
  34. My Cover
  35. NAB
  36. National Seniors Insurance
  37. NRMA
  38. One Path
  39. Online Travel Insurance
  40. Ouch.com.au
  41. People’s Choice Credit Union
  42. Priceline Protects (with AIA Australia)
  43. Qantas Cash
  44. QBE
  45. RAA
  46. RAC
  47. RACQ
  48. RACV
  49. Real Insurance
  50. SGIC
  51. SGiO
  52. Simply Travel Insurance
  53. Skiinsurance.com.au
  54. Southern Cross Travel Insurance
  55. St. George
  56. STA Travel
  57. Stella Travel Services
  58. Suncorp Bank
  59. SureSave
  60. Travel Insurance Direct (TID)
  61. Travel Insuranz
  62. Travellers Choice
  63. Velocity Frequent Flyer
  64. Virgin Money
  65. Webjet.com.au
  66. Westpac
  67. Woolworths Money
  68. WorldNomads.com
  69. WorldCare
  70. Zuji

Our Travel Insurance Ratings & Guides

Travel Insurance 2016 Star Ratings

Travel Money Cards 2016 Star Ratings

Travel Credit & Debit Cards 2016 Star Ratings

Customer Satisfaction Ratings from Canstar Blue for domestic airlines, hotels, online accommodation bookings, and hire cars.

Country-Specific Travel Guides

Travel Insurance for Bali

Travel Insurance for Brazil

Travel Insurance for China

Travel Insurance for France

Travel Insurance for Japan

Travel Insurance for South Africa

Travel Insurance for Thailand

Travel Insurance for the UK

Travel Insurance for the USA

General Travel Insurance articles and guides

5 travel insurance mistakes that people make

What a travel agent does and why we still use them

What is Australia’s working culture like?

What is Travel Insurance & What Does It Cover?

Baggage Allowances & Restrictions – Check Your Limits

Compare credit cards that offer complimentary travel insurance

Travelling overseas: What to do if you lose your wallet

Best budget family holidays to escape the winter

There’s more to Bali than bogan-infested zones

Top 7 overseas holidays for two with $5,000 to spend

Check travel insurance exclusions before you book travel

Choosing a travel insurance policy

Souvenirs NOT to bring back home

How do I know if I will get seasick on a cruise?

What To Pack for a Trip | 10 Essentials

Best places to visit on your winter holidays

What annoys us on the train

7 Amazing cruises departing from Australia this year

Travel Packing Essentials – 3 Things to Take

How travelling can improve your health this year