Travel insurance review

How do you get the right travel insurance without having to book a second holiday to get over the headache of buying travel insurance for the first one?
 
Learn more
 
 
 
 
 

01 .How to choose travel insurance

couple-on-a-moped

We compare over 80 travel insurance policies from 30 insurers offering cover for backpackers, singles, couples, families and seniors, to recommend the best travel insurance for you.

Insurers include Southern Cross Travel Insurance, One Cover, Virgin Money Travel Insurance, Aussie Travel Cover and CGU Travel Insurance.

Unbiased travel insurance comparisons

We're not like the other insurance comparison websites - we don't get paid by any of the insurers we're comparing. Instead, we find the best travel insurance policies for consumers by focusing on:

  • Price – we get over 1000 quotes to rank policies from the cheapest ($) to the most expensive ($$$$$).
  • Features – we collect information on over 80 policies and assign them a score for the policy features out of 100. This includes medical, cancellation, baggage, public liability, activities covered and more.

Compare policies from these insurers

  • AIG
  • Good2Go
  • Jetstar Travel Insurance
  • 1300insurance
  • 1Cover
  • Allianz
  • Aussietravelcover
  • Defence Health
  • FastCover
  • HSBC Australia
  • itrek
  • STA
  • Travel Insurance Plus
  • Virgin Australia
  • Virgin Money
  • Webjet
  • World care
  • Zuji
  • Bupa
  • CGU
  • Columbus Direct
  • Real
  • Travel Insuranz
  • Ouch Online Travel Insurance
  • Travel Insurance Cover
  • Southern Cross Travel Insurance (SCTI)
  • AAMI
  • APIA
  • GIO
  • Westpac

CHOICE travel insurance cheat sheet

Why should I get travel insurance?

  • So you're not a burden on your family and friends - foreign hospitals can be really expensive and the Australian government won't pay your medical bills for you.
  • So you don't have to worry as much about what could go wrong on your holidays.
  • It's relatively cheap and easy to do compared with what it could cost you if you don't.
  • Because you're travelling overseas.

It's really that simple. If you're going overseas, even to London or just visiting family, it's your responsibility to get travel insurance just like it's your responsibility to bring your passport.

If you don't believe us, ask Claire*

Claire fell down some stairs while visiting historic sites in Madrid, crushing her skull. She underwent emergency surgery and was unconscious for four days. Thankfully, Claire's travel buddies quickly notified her insurance company.

The insurer was able to help Claire and her family immediately. The travel insurer paid for her mother to fly to Spain for support as she recovered and also met all of the costs associated with her medical treatment, her recovery in Spain and her medical evacuation to Australia.

Claire's insurance saved her and her family more than $140,000.

Why should I bother? Insurers don't pay out

Actually.... in the 2012-13 financial year, around 90 per cent of travel insurance claims were paid - that's more than 200,000 claims. Of the claims that are denied, this often boils down to a misunderstanding of the policy by the person who bought it.

What travel insurance should I get?

Getting the wrong travel insurance can be just as bad as getting none at all.

Everything you need to know about your travel insurance is written down by the insurer in its Product Disclosure Statement (PDS). Look out for these things in the PDS:

  • The table of benefits and the policy cover section are useful to understand what is included or excluded in the policy. Do you have valuable items, like a digital SLR camera? Make sure they're covered.
  • Pre-existing medical conditions are often not covered. This bit is essential reading for anyone with any kind of medical condition, no matter how mild.
  • General exclusions is a list of events that aren't covered by any section of the policy. Not all policies provide cover for things like contracting avian bird flu or injuries sustained while drinking or taking drugs. So if you have a few drinks, then slip and break a leg, this may not be covered because arguably it happened while you were drunk.
  • The word definition table also clarifies important terms of the policy - a good place to check on the definition of a 'relative' or even a 'moped'.
  • The claims section lists some further pointers to avoid or be aware of (e.g. you must not admit fault or liability in the case of an accident) and the paperwork you may need to collect while you're away if you need to make a claim (such as police reports).
  • Not all activities – skiing, riding a moped or quad bike, or jumping out of a plane for example – are covered.

Not convinced?

Sean Kenzie thought he was covered by his insurance when a taxi knocked him off his scooter in Thailand. But riding a moped was an optional extra he hadn't opted for.

Instead, the hospital in Bangkok refused him full treatment because he couldn't afford his $20,000 bill. Sean was transferred under guard to a "rat infested" hospital until friends and family coughed up the funds.


How do I save money?

Travel insurance isn't expensive. It can save you hundreds of thousands of dollars and you can get great deals online:

  • You can bargain - compare product prices and ask your travel agent what they can match.
  • If you know you'll do several trips each year, consider an annual multi-trip policy.
  • Buy your policy early so you will be covered for any events that occur before you travel.
  • Take advantage of member discounts offered by health insurance funds.

Where do I get it?

  • Online - there are dozens of providers.
  • With your travel agent or often with your airline.
  • Through credit cards - but look out for conditions.

What do I do when I think the insurer is wrong?

If you do have to claim and you don't agree with the outcome, the first port of call for complaints is the insurers Internal Dispute Resolution process and if at the end of that process you're still not happy you can escalate it to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). Travel insurance is one of the least likely insurance types to be referred to FOS for dispute, with more than three times as many people complaining about their car insurance in 2013-14.

More?

If you've read this far and are thirsting to find out more about what to look out for and how to save money on your travel insurance, read the CHOICE Travel Insurance Buying Guide or go to smartraveller.gov.au/insurance

* Names have been changed to protect personal information
 
 

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  • The price is a rating ranked from the cheapest policies ($) to the most expensive ($$$$$).

Comprehensive

In this category we've assessed the policies that insurers classify as their Comprehensive insurance offering. Comprehensive travel insurance generally has higher levels of cover for medical, cancellation, baggage, public liability and cover for the excess on your car hire.

Like most things in life, the more you get the higher the price you pay. But our analysis picks out the CHOICE buys with the above average cover at below average prices.

Budget

The insurer's budget offerings cover the medical essentials with reduced or excluded cover for cancellation and baggage at more affordable prices than the full comprehensive offering.

Annual multi-trip

If you travel regularly throughout the year for periods of up to 90 days at a time then an annual multi-trip policy may be best suited to your needs. Policy travel times vary from a maximum of 15 days to 90 days.

CHOICE tip: medical conditions incurred between trips are considered a pre-existing condition on your next trip with some policies. Check with your insurer.

Seniors

The Seniors $ rating is based on the average premium for a 65 year couple. The price for seniors increases year on year after a set age for many insurers, we've listed this in the 'Age of price loading' column.

To qualify for consideration in the Seniors category an insurer must be available for travellers over 65 and offer cover for pre-existing conditions subject to approval and an extra premium or fee.

Most insurers list pre-existing conditions that are automatically covered by the policy. These may include conditions such as asthma, certain allergies, and epilepsy. Anything outside of these conditions may either be excluded or you would need specific approval for so it's important to check with the insurer whether you need cover for an existing condition.

6 CHOICE buys

Annual multi trip - Good2Go Frequent Traveller

Travel Insurance
Product Scored 77/100 | $ 77%

Good points:

• One of the highest ratings for Medical, Cancellation and Baggage
• The cheapest rating for average premiums

Bad points:

• Trips can't be extended beyond the standard 45 days travel
 

Comprehensive - Good2Go The Works

Travel Insurance
Product Scored 77/100 | $$77%

Good points:

• One of the highest ratings for Medical, Cancellation and Baggage
• Rated among the second to lowest group for average premiums
• A CHOICE buy for being among the best value travel policies available for the third year running

Bad points:

• Average cover for public liability
 

Seniors - APIA Comprehensive

Travel Insurance
Product Scored 76/100 | $$$$76%

Good points:

• A specialist insurer for the over 50s, APIA's comprehensive policy scored among the highest Trips can be extended beyond the standard 60 days for an extra fee
• Unlimited policy age limit
• Cover for pre-existing conditions can be obtained subject to approval

Bad points:

• Average premiums for a 65 year old earns them an above average 'Seniors price rating'.
 

Comprehensive - Travel Insuranz Deluxe

Travel Insurance
Product Scored 72/100 | $$72%

Good points:

• A high features score but in the second to lowest group for average premiums
• One of the few insurers that cover cancellation expenses for terrorism (subject to other policy restrictions as always)

Bad points:

• Average level of cover for baggage
 

Annual multi trip - Travel Insurance Cover Annual Multi Trip

Travel Insurance
Product Scored 71/100 | $$71%

Good points:

• Rated among the second to lowest group for average premiums
• Trips can be extended beyond the standard 60 days for an extra fee

Bad points:

• Average cover for public liability
 

Budget - Travel Insuranz Classic

Travel Insurance
Product Scored 62/100 | $ 62%

Good points:

• One of the highest features scores for budget policies
• The cheapest rating for average premiums

Bad points:

• A lower rating for cancellation expenses
 
 

How to use the table

  • By default, all policies are listed, so use the filters to select Comprehensive, Budget or Annual policies.
  • Additional columns can be viewed by using the Next/Previous buttons.
  • You can view up to five items in a side-by-side comparison by selecting the items and clicking on the 'Compare' button.
  • The Overall features score assigns the policy features a score out of 100 and is made up of the Medical, Cancellation, Baggage, Activities and other features which are also scored out of 100.
  • The price rating is ranked from the cheapest policies ($) to the most expensive ($$$$$).
  • See below the table for more information on on how the insurers perform when it comes time to claim, the features score and the price rating.
  • Scroll to the end using the >| button to view the price rating for seniors quotes.

Compare products

 
Table Allowing the user to select a number of products dependant on their filter options.
Items to compare

Select up to 5 items below.
Then click the compare button

Compare
 
FSPPolicy typePrice ratingOverall features score (%)Medical score (%)Cancellation scoreBaggage score (%)Activities Score (%)Medical expensesMedical evacuation expensesMedical expenses for terrorismMedical expenses for kidnap or hijackMedical expenses for pandemic or epidemicMedical expenses for natural disasterExpenses for companion to escort sick policy holder homeDaily hospital cash allowanceHours of hospitalisation before eligible for cash allowanceDental expenses for accident or injuryDental expenses for sudden and acute painFuneral expensesExpenses for companion to escort mortal remains homeCancellation expensesCancellation expenses for terrorismCancellation expenses for kidnap or hijackCancellation expenses for pandemic or epidemicCancellation expenses for natural disasterCancellation expenses for involuntary retrenchmentCancellation for DFAT alert "Reconsider your need to travel"Cancellation for DFAT alert "Do not travel"Travel agents cancellation feesCancellation for insolvency of a travel services providerCancellation for insolvency of a travel agentMonetary compensation for frequent flyer pointsCancellation for life-threatening illness of a relativeCancellation limited if relative is aged aboveCancellation for relatives that don't live in Australia or NZCancellation if the relative has a pre-existing conditionExpenses for resumption of the journeyExpenses for delay caused by the carrierHours before travel delay coveredLimit per 24 hour periodExpenses for lost or stolen baggageLimit for a single unspecified itemLimit for a cameraLimit for a laptopLimit for mobile phoneRaise limit for specified items for an extra feeOverall limit for specified itemsPer item limit for specified itemsIs baggage locked in boot of a car during day coveredIs baggage locked in boot of a car overnight coveredValuables (eg laptop, camera) locked in boot of a car coveredValuables in check-in bags on airline, train or bus coveredCover limit for cashIs cash stolen from an unoccupied, locked hotel room coveredReplacement costs for lost credit cardsReplacement costs for lost travel documentsLimit for baggage 'lost temporarily'Hours before cover applies for baggage lost temporarilyPersonal liability expenses (millions)Cover for legal costs relating to personal liabilityCover for legal costs relating to a motor vehicle accidentMoped below 50cc with helmet, no Australian motorcycle licenseMotorcycle with helmet and Australian motorcycle licenseDo you cover AbseilingBungee jumpingCanyoningHang-glidingHiking without ropesHorse-ridingBallooningParachute jumpingParaglidingScuba DivingSkiingSkiing (off-piste)SnowboardingSnowboarding off pisteSnowmobileTandem skydivingWhite water raftingCompensation for accidental deathCompensation for Total and Permanent DisabilityCompensation for loss of income due to injuryCover for hire car damage excessCover for women who know they are pregnantPregnancy covered until (weeks, up to and including)Childbirth (if it occurs before this stage)Fee for covering pregnancyCover for non-pregnancy conditionsPregnancy complications if didn't know about pregnancyCover for IVF pregnanciesStandard max days per trip for annual multi-tripCan trips be extended beyond this for a feeIllness in Australia between trips excluded as pre-existingWebsiteCan the policy be purchased after departing AustraliaBasic policy excess ($)Excess applied once per eventHow many dependants are permitted on a family policy?What is the maximum age for dependants?Seniors price ratingPolicy age limit in years (up to and including)Cover pre-existing medical conditions, subject to assessmentHigher premium or fee approved pre-existing medical conditionsCover for claims relating to mental illnessBrand
                                                                                                            
AIGAnnual$7793806560Good2Go
AIGAnnual$$$$7793806560AIG
AllianzAnnual$$$$7395685580STA Travel
Online Insurance BrokersAnnual$$$$7290645080Travel Insuranz
QBEAnnual$$7183647080Travel Insurance Cover
AAIAnnual$$$$$7090526560GIO
AAIAnnual$$$$$7090526560Westpac
Southern Cross BenefitsAnnual$$$$6978647580Southern Cross Travel Insurance
AllianzAnnual$$6773685580Worldcare
AllianzAnnual$$$$6773726060Aussietravelcover
AllianzAnnual$65736855601300insurance
AllianzAnnual$6575646540Travel Insurance Plus
AllianzAnnual$$$6578645060Allianz
AllianzAnnual$$$6575684580Virgin Australia
LloydsAnnual$$$6580486060Columbus Direct
AllianzAnnual$$$$$6573685560Virgin Money
AllianzAnnual$$$6373645540Fast Cover
Online Insurance BrokersAnnual$6288523580Travel Insuranz
AllianzAnnual$$58606050801Cover
LloydsAnnual$$5873445560Columbus Direct
HollardAnnual$5670446040Real Insurance
AllianzAnnual$5370602580Webjet
AllianzAnnual$$$$$5370602580Zuji
AllianzAnnual$$4848485540Defence Health
AllianzAnnual$$$4728685560HSBC
CGUBudget$$$6683764060CGU
CGUBudget$$$$6683764060BUPA
Online Insurance BrokersBudget$6288523580Travel Insuranz
AllianzBudget$$$$6173643580Virgin Australia
AllianzBudget$$$$$6188523580STA Travel
AllianzBudget$$$$$5973604560Aussietravelcover
LloydsBudget$$$5873445560Columbus Direct
AllianzBudget$$$$5673524040Travel Insurance Plus
AllianzBudget$$$5573563540Fast Cover
AIGBudget$5480522540Good2Go
AllianzBudget$$$5363563580Webjet
AllianzBudget$$$$5363563580Zuji
QBEBudget$$$$$5070443060Travel Insurance Cover
HollardBudget$$4868364040Real Insurance
AllianzBudget$38758080ITREK
AllianzBudget$$$36730060Allianz
AllianzBudget$$35680080Worldcare
AllianzBudget$336800601300insurance
AllianzBudget$33680040Virgin Money
AllianzBudget$$305500801Cover
AllianzBudget$$16250040HSBC
AIGComprehensive$$7793806560Good2Go
AIGComprehensive$$$$$7793806560AIG
AAIComprehensive7695727080Apia
QBEComprehensive$$$$$7593686580Ouch
AllianzComprehensive$$$$7395685580STA Travel
CGUComprehensive$$$$$7390765560BUPA
CGUComprehensive$$$$$7390765560CGU
Online Insurance BrokersComprehensive$$7290645080Travel Insuranz
CGUComprehensive$$$7290765060BUPA
CGUComprehensive$$$7290765060CGU
QBEComprehensive$$$$7083646580Travel Insurance Cover
AIGComprehensive$$$$$7093724060Jetstar
Southern Cross BenefitsComprehensive$6978647580Southern Cross Travel Insurance
AAIComprehensive$$$6890525560Westpac
AAIComprehensive$$$$6890525560GIO
AllianzComprehensive$$$$6873726060Aussietravelcover
AIGComprehensive$$$$$6893723560Jetstar
AllianzComprehensive$$6673685580Worldcare
AllianzComprehensive$65736855601300insurance
AllianzComprehensive$$6573685560Virgin Money
LloydsComprehensive$$6580486060Columbus Direct
AllianzComprehensive$$$6575646540Travel Insurance Plus
AllianzComprehensive$$$$6578645060Allianz
AllianzComprehensive$$$$6575684580Virgin Australia
AllianzComprehensive$6473684580