What Does Travel Insurance Cover?

Need to know what your travel insurance covers? Compare and find out with Savvy today.

Written by 
Savvy Editorial Team
Savvy's content writing team are professionals with a wide and diverse range of industry experience and topic knowledge. We write across a broad spectrum of finance-related topics to provide our readers with informative resources to help them learn more about a certain area or enable them to decide on which product is best for their needs with careful comparison. Meet the team behind the operation here. Visit our authors page to meet Savvy's expert writing team, committed to delivering informative and engaging content to help you make informed financial decisions.
Our authors
, updated on September 4th, 2023       

Fact checked

At Savvy, we are committed to providing accurate information. Our content undergoes a rigorous process of fact-checking before it is published. Learn more about our editorial policy.

Compare Travel Insurance Quotes in 30 Seconds

Buying travel insurance ahead of your next holiday can cover you for a range of events, such as if you have to fork out costly medical bills or lost bags overseas. However, if you want to find out what else travel insurance can cover you while exploring the world, comparing with Savvy can help you out.

By comparing cover with us, you can find out what travel insurance does and doesn’t cover you for, how the price is determined and how to compare providers, helping take the guesswork out of your holiday homework. Consider your options with Savvy and learn more about travel insurance coverage today.

What does travel insurance cover?

One of the perks of travel insurance is that it can offer you coverage across a wide range of areas, whether you’re taking a domestic holiday around Australia or jetting overseas. However, this depends on the level of cover you choose and how much you’re willing to spend. Some of the benefits covered under comprehensive travel insurance policies include:

  1. Overseas medical and hospital bills: being caught overseas without travel insurance could see you forking out thousands of dollars in unnecessary medical expenses if you require healthcare. The cost of treatment for tourists in certain countries, such as America, is eye-watering, so it pays to take out cover when you’re travelling abroad.
  2. Evacuation: if you’ve fallen gravely ill and your insurance provider’s medical team determine you should return home, they’ll cover the cost of bringing you home to Australia. This also includes if you’re in a remote location and have to be evacuated.
  3. Cancellation: most travel insurance providers let you cancel your trip and retain the money you’ve already shelled out for hotels and flights. You’ll need a valid reason for cancelling, however, such as sustaining an injury that prevents you from travelling or needing to care for a family member who has been struck down with an illness.
  4. Delays: planes don’t always run like clockwork, and your travel insurer understands this. That’s why many allow you to claim a modest amount for accommodation, meals and essentials for every 24-hour block you’re left waiting for your flight.
  5. Lost, stolen or damaged belongings: losing your baggage or having it stolen can be an absolute nightmare. If your belongings are stolen or damaged, your insurance company can cover the cost of replacing or repairing them so you can get back what you’ve lost.
  6. Personal liability: being embroiled in an accident can be costly, with the legal fees tending to pile up. If you’re personally liable for someone else's injury or damage to property, your insurance company usually covers you up to $5 million.
  7. Pre-existing conditions: in most cases, insurers will have a list of about 40 pre-existing medical conditions which are automatically rolled into their standard policies. These include some types of diabetes, asthma and glaucoma. If you suffer from a more severe illness, such as a heart condition, you will need to pay extra for a cover.
  8. Theft of cash: whether you’re on holiday in the Middle East or walking the back roads of Sicily, pickpockets can strike at any moment. If you have your hard-earned cash swiped, your insurer allows you to claim back up to $250. However, they’ll usually require you to submit a report to a relevant authority, such as the police or your airline, if you want to make a claim.
  9. Accidental death: from time to time, holidays can turn into tragedy. Suppose you succumb to an illness or death due to a covered incident. In that case, your travel insurer would cover the cost of bringing your body home and any associated expenses, such as your funeral or cremation.
  10. Rental car excess: specific travel insurance policies automatically include cover for the excess on a hire car which protects you when you’re on the road, which generally reaches up to $8,000 to $10,000. This may sometimes come in the form of an optional extra, however.
  11. COVID-19 expenses: many insurers provide cover for COVID-19-related costs, such as medical treatment or needing to cancel your holiday because you or a loved one at home has tested positive.

Travel insurance companies don’t automatically include cover for ‘high-risk’ activities such as riding motorcycles, scuba diving or rock climbing. Therefore, you’ll need to pay a higher premium if you want to protect yourself while participating in these recreational activities.

What does travel insurance not cover?

While travel insurance affords you a wealth of benefits, it doesn’t necessarily protect you from absolutely everything. There's a range of incidentals where you won’t be covered, including:

  1. Travel to unsafe countries: most travel insurance companies won’t sell you a policy if you are travelling to travel to a country with active travel warnings. It’s important to check the Smartraveller website before you plan on travelling and keep a close eye on the travel warnings.
  2. Accidents while under the influence: if you’ve been consuming alcohol or drugs and injured yourself, your travel insurer won’t pay for any related costs, such as personal liability or medical expenses.
  3. Changing your mind: getting cold feet and deciding to call off your holiday isn’t a valid excuse for cancelling your travel plans in the eyes of most insurers, so if you change your mind, you won’t be covered for any pre-paid expenses.
  4. Leaving your items unattended: if you take your eyes off your bag and it’s snatched or damaged, it’s a standard rule that insurance companies won’t cover this under their policies. As such, remember to keep your items at hand at all times.
  5. Flying overseas to seek out medical treatment: if you’re taking part in some medical tourism, your travel insurance company won’t be able to cover you with a policy.
  6. A person living with terminal illness: if you’re suffering from a terminal disease, such as cancer, many travel insurance companies won’t be able to provide you with coverage for treatment for your condition, even if you’re able to pay extra.

There are a few travel insurance companies which can cover you for terrorism-related expenses, such as medical treatment, evacuation or the loss of your belongings. However, most insurers won’t cover this type of incident while you’re overseas or travelling around Australia.

What does travel insurance cover cost?

How much you pay for your travel insurance depends on various factors. Unlike purchasing a visa or a passport, there’s no all-encompassing amount or average price on what you pay for your insurance, which is why it pays to compare with Savvy to ensure you get the best deal. Some of the factors that can impact how much you pay for your policy include:

Basic or comprehensive

The level of instant cover you choose to purchase will impact how much you need to fork out for your travel insurance. Comprehensive policies are more expensive than basic; however, opting for top-level cover won’t be necessary for all travellers. Choosing the cheapest option also won’t suit everyone in terms of what it covers, given that it only really offers protection for medical expenses and personal liability, so it pays to weigh which suits your trip better.

Your age

The older you are, the more you’re likely to pay for travel insurance. This is because insurers typically consider older travellers more prone to injury or illness when they’re on holiday. For example, if you buy travel insurance for a two-week holiday to Asia, you may expect to pay around $300 for a top policy if you’re 70. This is about $150 more than the equivalent policy for someone who is 40 years old (prices correct as of 19 September, 2022).


Do you want to do some scenic rock climbing while you’re on your travels to Malaysia or scuba diving off Kangaroo Island? Most insurance companies don’t cover these ‘high-risk’ activities as part of their policies, so you’ll need to pay a higher premium if you want to cover them. Make sure you shop around to get the best price for your optional coverage.

Pre-existing conditions

More than three-quarters of Australians suffer from an ongoing illness. If you’re one of the millions who have a pre-existing health condition, you will need to factor it in when taking out travel insurance. While most providers offer some coverage for free, if you suffer a more severe illness, you’ll need to pay a higher premium.

Your destination

Certain countries cost more to travel to than others. In most cases, this is down to the cost of healthcare in the country you are visiting. For example, travelling to America will cost you more than travelling to the UK because of the out-of-pocket cost of medical treatment.

Top tips for comparing travel insurance cover

Weigh up the claim limits

Travel insurance policies limit how much you can claim, which differs from provider to provider. For example, some insurers allow you to claim up to $15, 000 for lost or stolen luggage, while others only let you claim up to $10, 000. Therefore, comparing to find reasonable claim limits for your holiday is best.

Look at the inclusions and exclusions

What’s included and what isn’t in each travel insurance policy tends to vary depending on your chosen policy. By comparing with Savvy, you can make a side-by-side comparison to check whether your coverage includes protections for certain things such as hire car excesses or pre-existing conditions.

Consider your excess

A low excess isn’t necessarily the best one for you. Standard excesses usually range from $100 to $250 when you take out cover, while some providers won’t make you pay a cent in certain situations. However, increasing your excess can reduce what you pay for your travel insurance. Consider which option is best for you when comparing offers.

Compare types of policies

Travel insurance comes in various shapes and sizes, and a standard policy may not always suit the type of traveller you are. Insurance companies offer various travel insurance products, including annual, single-trip and one-way policies. Compare them with your travel plans and see which works for you.

Frequently asked questions about travel insurance cover 

What countries does travel insurance not cover?

Many travel insurance companies won’t cover you if you travel to a country with a level three or four warning attached to it by the Australian government. These are countries which are experiencing ongoing threats of terrorism, civil unrest or widespread diseases.

Does travel insurance cover cruises?

Yes – you can purchase travel insurance for an international or domestic cruise. Some insurers automatically roll cruise cover into their standard policies, while others may require you to pay a higher premium. Even if you’re cruising in Australian waters, it’s best to ensure you’re covered. In most cases, foreign-owned ships won’t have a Medicare-accessible doctor on board, so you’ll have to pay your medical expenses out of pocket if you don’t take out insurance.

Can I get travel insurance coverage if I’m over 85?

You can purchase travel insurance if you’re over the age of 85; however, cover usually comes at a higher cost. For example, premiums can be more than double those of younger travellers and excesses can be up to $2, 000 for elderly people.

Can I get travel insurance coverage if I’m an expat?

Those already living abroad or planning a big move overseas can get travel insurance from a variety of companies. These policies cover you for much of the same benefits as standard policies.

How do I make a claim on my travel insurance?

Making a claim on your travel insurance is a relatively straightforward process when you do it online. When you head to your insurer’s website, enter your policy number and attached email address and then complete the following:

  • Fill in your claim form with ample detail
  • Attach any documents such as receipts, medical reports or proof of purchases
  • Submit your claim


In most cases, your insurance company should get back to you in about 10 working days. It’s a good idea to respond quickly to any requests for additional information so you don’t hamper the process.

Helpful travel insurance guides

Travel Insurance Banner - Group of women smiling and enjoying drinks on a cruise.

Compare Cruise Travel Insurance

Setting sail on your next holiday? Compare cruise travel insurance with Savvy.  Compare Travel Insurance Quotes in 30 Seconds Get...

Travel Insurance Banner - Group of young friends smiling on a ski lift overlooking the snow.

Optional Cover Travel Insurance

Explore the many optional extras travel insurance offers by comparing with Savvy. Compare Travel Insurance Quotes in 30 Seconds Get...

Travel Insurance Banner - Young couple with their baby checking into a hotel with a young female concierge.

Best International Travel Insurance

Travelling abroad? Compare policies and find your international travel insurance here with Savvy. Compare Travel Insurance Quotes in 30 Seconds...

Travel Insurance Banner - Father pointing out the window at the airport with his son.

What is Travel Insurance?

Compare with Savvy and find out more about what travel insurance is today. Compare Travel Insurance Quotes in 30 Seconds...

We do not compare all travel insurance brands currently operating in the market. Any advice presented above or on other pages is general in nature and does not consider your personal or business objectives, needs or finances. It’s always important to consider whether advice is suitable for you before purchasing an insurance policy.

Savvy earns a commission from our partners each time a customer buys a travel insurance policy via our website. We don’t arrange for products to be purchased from these brands directly, as all purchases are conducted via their websites.

Before purchasing your policy, we recommend you refer to the provider’s PDS for any further information on the terms, inclusions and exclusions.