Knowing how to prep for travel after pandemic woes

Airline passengers line up for check-in at the airport.

The Omicron variant was the spanner in the works of the Australian airline industry’s hopes for recovery in 2022. With airline staff forced into isolation as close contacts or positive cases, and consumer confidence in travel significantly degraded, January 2022 saw the industry operating at a mere 50% of its pre-COVID-19 capacity.

Before the shift back to restrictions, state borders were reopening and airline staff were dusting-off their uniforms, eager to take off in 2022 with increased seating capacity on domestic flights. It was, after all, the Christmas holiday period, and people were on the move. 

In fact, scheduled capacity reached 95% of pre-pandemic levels in the week of Christmas 2021, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). But as we’ve come to learn, in a pandemic things don’t always go to schedule. Airlines were forced to pull the plug on hundreds of flights as passengers and staff were sent into isolation, severely halting the upward trajectory of passenger numbers from 17% (of pre-COVID levels) in October, to 47% in December. 

According to the ACCC, the Qantas Group blames the Omicron wave for a 6 month setback on their recovery, with competitor, Virgin, recording a 25% reduction in their scheduled capacity over January and February 2022. 

It’s been a harsh reality of late but maybe we can learn something from this and be better prepared next time. With so many flights having been cancelled, and the potential for the same to happen again, how can you save yourself from the headaches of flight cancellations and travel delays, due to COVID-19?

Travel insurance and COVID-19

In most cases, travel insurance providers usually list epidemics and pandemics as a general exclusion to their policies. What this means is that if you want to make a claim on one of your policy benefits, which resulted in connection with an epidemic or pandemic, then your policy provider may refuse to cover that claim. 

The reason that general exclusions, especially those linked to disease outbreaks, exist is that the risk is often too high for them to cover safely. General exclusions can be found in a policy’s product disclosure statement (PDS), which is why we always stress that you read through your PDS. While some general exclusions may appear obvious, there are some which might take you by surprise. So, make sure you know what you’re signing up for, as insurance providers expect you to be aware of their conditions, exclusions, and limitations. 

However, due to the current pandemic’s reluctance to leave us be, some providers have added limited cover for COVID-19 related events in their travel insurance policies. At the time of writing, these cover inclusions are usually subject to the Australian Government’s Smartraveller warnings. If your destination is subject to a ‘Reconsider your need to travel’ or ‘Do not travel’ warning, or if a government authority restricts border access, then you are less likely to be covered under your travel insurance policy for any insured events. 

The two main kinds of Covid-related cover currently on offer can include: 

  • Cover for nonrefundable trip expenses or reasonable costs to reschedule or rearrange your trip
  • Overseas medical expenses (including emergency repatriation/ evacuation) if you or your travelling companion is diagnosed with Covid.

Compare travel insurance 

If you’re still looking at going on a trip in 2022, then there’s a good chance you’ll be thinking about finding yourself a travel insurance policy. After all, if you can’t afford travel insurance, then you can’t afford to travel. Have a look at some of the policies on offer below.

Travel insurance comparisons on Mozo - last updated 29 May 2024

Search promoted travel insurance below. Advertiser disclosure Important information on terms, conditions and sub-limits.
  • Mozo Expert Choice Badge
    International Travel Insurance
    covid medical cover
    Yes
    covid cancellation cover
    Yes
    overseas hospital
    Unlimited
    cancellation cover
    $5,000 limit per policy with option to increase limit

    Get protection in a few simple steps with Freely travel insurance all in the palm of your hand. Freely Travel offers 24/7 emergency and medical support, 24/7 customer service. Plus, you can tailor your policy so you only pay for what you need, and adapt your cover in near real time. Add-ons such as car rental excess, snow sports or other activities also available. Receive 10% off your travel insurance policy with promo code: MOZO10. T&Cs apply, go to site for full detail.

    Details
  • Mozo Expert Choice Badge
    Comprehensive
    covid medical cover
    Yes
    covid cancellation cover
    No
    overseas hospital
    Unlimited
    cancellation cover
    Unlimited

    Enjoy unlimited medical cover and 24/7 emergency assistance services when you travel. Get unlimited cover for cancellation fees and prepaid travel expenses. Cover for luggage and travel documents. $5,000,000 personal liability cover.

    Details
  • International Travel Insurance
    covid medical cover
    Yes
    covid cancellation cover
    Yes
    overseas hospital
    Unlimited
    cancellation cover
    Optional Extra - up to $40,000

    Be prepared for the unexpected on your adventures with Butter Travel Insurance. Emergency medical and hospital cover. COVID-19, accident and personal liability cover. Optional trip cancellation & interruption cover. Customise your cover with added extras like Motorcycle and ski cover (T&Cs apply).

    Details
  • Mozo Expert Choice Badge
    Comprehensive
    covid medical cover
    Yes
    covid cancellation cover
    Yes
    overseas hospital
    Unlimited
    cancellation cover
    Choose $10,000 to Unlimited

    Backed by the NIB, one of Australia’s largest travel insurance providers, Travel Insurance Saver brings you peace of mind on your travels. Compare three tiers of insurance cover, featuring benefits like 24 hour emergency assistance, emergency medical cover, luggage cover, cancellation cover and more.

    Details
  • Mozo Expert Choice Badge
    International Comprehensive Single
    covid medical cover
    Yes
    covid cancellation cover
    Yes
    overseas hospital
    Unlimited
    cancellation cover
    Choose $2,500 to Unlimited

    Enjoy the security of single trip cover on your next holiday with Southern Cross Travel Insurance. Get 24 hour emergency assistance, cover for cancelling or changing your journey before you leave, protection for lost, stolen or damaged goods as well as cover to replace lost or stolen cash, banks or travel documents. Be in to win 1 of 5 $1,000 cash prizes! T&Cs Apply. Offer ends 30 September 2023.

    Details
  • Mozo Expert Choice Badge
    Top
    covid medical cover
    Yes
    covid cancellation cover
    Yes
    overseas hospital
    Unlimited
    cancellation cover
    Unlimited

    Be covered for international overseas and medical expenses. Emergency medical assistance 24 hours/365 days a year. Cover for cancellation fees and lost deposits. Cover for luggage and personal money. Dependents covered free of charge (conditions apply). Limited COVID cover available. Cancellation cover for COVID claims limited to $3,500.

    Details

^See information about the Mozo Experts Choice Travel Insurance Awards

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