Travel insurance is a type of insurance that is designed to provide cover while travelling away from home. Typically it provides cover for events such as medical emergencies, sudden cancellations, lost or stolen luggage, alternative transport expenses and so forth. Travel insurance can usually be purchased for both domestic and international trips, although it is generally more popular for people travelling overseas.
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On 1 November 2021, the Australian government removed its global ‘Do not travel’ advisory, which had been in place since March, 2020. This change means that fully vaccinated Australians can now travel to countries that are not classified ‘do not travel’, without applying for an exemption first.
There are four travel advice levels countries can be classified as. The levels are based on factors such as crime, terrorism, health, medical care and natural disasters. From 1-4, the advice levels are:
According to Smart Traveller, most travel insurance providers will offer cover for travel to countries classified level one or two. Read more about the latest international travel advice for the country or countries you are planning on travelling to at: smartraveller.gov.au.
Fully vaccinated Australians can now travel outside of Australia without applying for an exemption. Plus, if you have been fully vaccinated with a TGA-approved Covid-19 vaccine, you will also be able to apply for an International Covid-19 Vaccination Certificate.
Before you get carried away thinking about all the places you could travel to though, it is important to remember that travelling now is nothing like travelling in pre-pandemic days. Prior to departing, you will need to make sure you are aware of what the rules are for entering the country you are travelling to. For example, many countries now require a negative Covid-19 test on arrival, as well as proof of vaccination. Some countries may also still have quarantine in place for vaccinated travellers.
To make sure you are prepared for an accident or emergency overseas, it’s a good idea to know what the laws are in the country you are travelling to and what emergency situations your travel insurance covers.
A few things you may want to take note of prior to travelling are:
While you can contact the Australian embassy or call the CEC for things like a lost or stolen passport, in a crisis situation Smart Traveller recommends getting in touch with the local authorities. If you have travel insurance cover, you could also call your travel insurance provider’s emergency assistance phone line.
What travel insurance covers will depend on a number of things including whether you’re purchasing domestic or international travel insurance, what level of cover you opt for and which insurance provider you go with.
Generally, domestic travel insurance offers cover for things like luggage and personal belongings, trip cancellations and delays, rental vehicle excess and personal liability. It should also be noted that most travel insurance companies will only offer domestic cover, if you are travelling more than a certain number of kilometres away from your home - usually around 100 to 250km.
International travel insurance takes into account a few more things like medical or dental emergencies. Typically it includes cover for instances such as overseas medical and hospital expenses, lost or stolen luggage, cancellations and trip delays, rental vehicle insurance excess and personal liability. Some policies may also provide cover for things like replacement travel documents and credit card fraud.
Generally travel insurance providers will offer four different types of cover, these are:
A few providers may offer more specific cover for things like going on a cruise, travelling as a student or in a group. Some may even provide cover specifically tailored towards seniors, skiing trips and Australians who are already overseas.
Whether you see travel insurance as expensive or a necessary cost for peace of mind will depend on your perspective. As with all types of insurance, travel insurance premiums are calculated on a case-by-case basis.
The cost of travel insurance will depend on a number of factors:
Having cover while abroad could help you dodge hefty costs if things do go wrong, so it can be a small price to pay to know you are covered.
We should start by saying that no one travel insurance policy will be the ‘best’ for everyone. People have different reasons for travelling, budgets and needs. That said, shopping around can help you find travel insurance that works best for you. Are you worried about being covered for medical expenses? Or are you more concerned about lost luggage? Once you have an idea of the cover you need, then you can compare policies.
Comprehensive travel insurance is the highest level of cover you can get when taking a trip overseas. Generally it offers cover for things like:
A lot of comprehensive travel insurance providers will also offer optional extras for specific types of holiday. For instance, things like snow cover or cruise cover. Others will also offer cover tailored towards certain individuals, such as cover for students, seniors and people travelling in a group.
Flight insurance is generally insurance that covers unexpected delays or incidents that happen when flying. Insurance providers do not typically offer standalone flight insurance, rather this will usually be included in a travel insurance policy.
Generally travel insurance providers will give customers the option to make a claim online, via email or by giving them a phone call. Details on how you can make a claim can usually be found on the travel insurance provider’s website. It might be a good idea to note down how to make a claim, before heading off on your trip.
The number of Australian border crossings is going up, which can only mean one thing: international travel is on the rise.
Two years of lockdowns and closed borders have given many insatiable wanderlust. So if you find yourself scrolling holiday inspo or wistfully comparing travel insurance policies, let’s explore how to make your dream a reality.
If you’re a NSW Resident over the age of 18, then you’re eligible for a $50 voucher which you can put towards booking accommodation. The vouchers are valid from February 21 2022, up until October 9 2022.
Do not buy travel insurance with these people. There is zero customer service. No call-backs. Wait times for hours - I've had to give up every time after being on hold for an eternity. My travel start date is coming up and I cannot make a minor change to the policy or confirm if my insurance covers a key component of my trip. The insurance was provided by my travel agent at the time of booking. Because I cannot contact them I am now having to buy travel insurance with another company to be sure I'm covered. Utter waste of money.Read full review
Do not buy travel insurance with these people. There is zero customer service. No call-backs. Wait times for hours - I've had to give up every time after being on hold for an eternity. My travel start date is coming up and I cannot make a minor change to the policy or confirm if my insurance covers a key component of my trip. The insurance was provided by my travel agent at the time of booking. Because I cannot contact them I am now having to buy travel insurance with another company to be sure I'm covered. Utter waste of money.
Worst customer service ever, 3.5 hours waiting on the phone just to change the date of travel! Should be able to do that online!Read full review
Worst customer service ever, 3.5 hours waiting on the phone just to change the date of travel! Should be able to do that online!