What does good travel insurance look like and why do you need it?

Updated 08/05/2024
What does good travel insurance look like and why do you need it?

Time to read : 4 Minutes

You’ve picked the destination, booked the hotels and planned the itinerary. But before you set off, there’s one more decision you need to make. 

Travel insurance can provide valuable protection and peace of mind in the case of unexpected events during your trip. Travel insurance isn’t just about covering you in case you get sick or injured, it can also help you out if you lose your luggage, experience significant delays or if you’re the victim of crime. 

Selecting the right travel insurance might not be the most fun part of your holiday, who wants to swap scrolling recommendations on social media for comparing policies, so here are some simple tips to help you work out the right policy for you. 

Why do you need travel insurance?

In an ideal world, you could have the perfect holiday and nothing would happen to distract from that. But unfortunately that doesn’t always happen. Travel insurance’s primary function is to protect you from the unknown. 

The most important thing to remember when you’re looking at travel insurance is that, often, nobody else will cover you if something goes wrong. 

It’s getting harder and harder to get refunds for delayed or cancelled flights, and missing luggage. If you end up getting injured or falling ill overseas there isn’t a way to recoup your costs. 

Medical costs in some countries may be far higher than you’re used to paying, particularly for non-residents. There are also some countries that won’t allow you to visit them without health insurance. So even if you’re on the fence about the cover you’ll need, you’ll have to take out a policy.

What does good travel insurance look like?

Good travel insurance for you will be unique to your situation, but there are a few things to keep in mind.

Consider your needs: your travel insurance for a cruise around Europe will look very different from the cover you need for a skiing holiday in Japan. Make sure you check any specific exclusions of a policy that may mean your activities aren’t covered.

Understand the different policies: just like other insurance types, travel insurance comes in different forms. You can select a policy that would just cover you for the basics, or one that has a higher level of care, but the cost will be significantly different. 

Check your existing cover: many people don’t realise they may already have travel insurance through their health insurance provider, a credit card provider, or a travel booker. Before you pay for more cover you don’t need, check the offerings on your existing service providers.

Read the fine print: specifically, look at the days covered as some travel insurance maxes out at a certain point, and the excess. A good policy will only apply excess once per claim, but some providers will apply it per traveller, or use different excesses for different claim types.

Are all travel insurance policies the same?

In short, no. All travel insurance policies, and all providers, are not the same. When you’re comparing different options, make sure you’re comparing like for like. If one policy is significantly cheaper than another one, it’s likely something has been removed.

For travellers over 60, insurers may charge higher premiums, bigger excesses and restricted conditions. Consider a provider who specialises in coverage for older travellers, or look at whether your existing insurance provider also offers travel insurance and can give you a discount. 

Another consideration is for those with pre-existing medical conditions. The response from an insurer to a pre-existing condition will probably depend on the condition, but it can be anything from refusal of coverage to higher premiums, or just the removal of coverage for anything related to that condition. There are a couple of things an insurer will consider:

  • Has the condition been stable for 12 or more months?

  • Have you recently had surgery or do you have a surgery planned?

  • Have you received treatment in the last 12 months?

Specific conditions such as coronary problems, lung disease, epilepsy or stroke, will usually require a medical assessment before your provider will issue coverage. You will need to declare these conditions to your provider; if you don’t there will be issues if you have to make a claim. 

Be aware: insurers are allowed to change the features of your policy based on a pre-existing medical condition, they cannot discriminate based on assumptions related to a disability. If you believe you are entitled to cover and are being denied by an insurer, consider getting a letter from your medical specialist to support your claim. 

Do I need to book travel insurance for a domestic holiday?

The primary thing we think of when it comes to travel insurance is cover for medical issues. Of course, if you’re travelling domestically, that becomes less of an issue. 

However, if you’re planning a once-in-a-lifetime style trip with lots of connections, extravagant experiences, or carrying a lot of expensive luggage, it may still be worth it. 

Adding on travel insurance to the wider cost of your holiday might not change the bottom line much, but it could make a big difference financially if something happens while you’re on holiday. 

Look at the options and consider whether it’s worth it for your trip.

Bottom line

  • Good travel insurance will protect you from the unknown without costing a fortune, and give you peace of mind in the event something happens on your holiday. 

  • Just like not every holiday is the same, not every policy is the same. If you’re planning a very specific holiday, like whitewater rafting in Zimbabwe, you need a policy that matches. 

  • Pre-existing medical conditions or age may make it harder to find a provider that suits you, so make sure you shop around and consider all the options before you book. 

  • Travel insurance isn't the most fun part of planning your holiday, but it could be the most important part!

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Financial Disclaimer

The information contained on this web page is of general nature only and has been prepared without taking into consideration your objectives, needs and financial situation. You should check with a financial professional before making any decisions. Any opinions expressed within an article are those of the author and do not specifically reflect the views of Compare Club Australia Pty Ltd.