How To Choose The Right Travel Insurance For Your Needs

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Shopping around for travel insurance can be a time consuming and complex task, even with the gamut of comparison sites available today, and it's important that go with an insurance provider which can offer you full and complete coverage for your holiday or romantic getaway. The first step towards deciding which cover to take out is to assess the various risks and factors associated with the destination or destinations you’re visiting, and then deciding how much cover you need for each eventuality.

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Here are some questions to ask yourself, to help you choose the most appropriate travel insurance:

Where Am I Travelling To?

This is naturally your number one consideration when deciding which travel insurance to take out. It's especially important to make sure that the travel insurance covers you for all of the countries you are visiting, if more than one, including any stopover destinations as well, however briefly you may be there. And bear in mind some countries like North Korea will not be covered at all. The Federal Government's SmartTraveller website is a good resource for checking on warnings before you book, as some insurance providers will not cover losses if you travel to a country or region against the advice of the Government.

How Long Am I Travelling For?

If you're doing a one-off trip make sure your insurance policy covers you for the full duration of that trip, including travel days each way. And if you are planning multiple holidays in a single year, check to see if it’s worth taking out a multi-trip policy, or a multi-trip worldwide policy, as it could save you money overall. Also, if you will be travelling for a long period of time (i.e. more than a month) it might be worth taking out a policy that includes "trip resumption", in case you have to return home to deal with an emergency.

What If There Is An Emergency?

It's not something you really want to think about, but you do need to know what your travel insurance provider can do for you if things go wrong. If you need to make a claim, you need a provider who can provide 24/7 telephone support and an easy claims process while you’re away from home. You also need an insurer that will be responsive and efficient to reduce your stress and inconvenience.

What Are My Possessions Really Worth?

The value of your passport, all baggage, and personal items including valuables such as jewellery and electronics will determine how much cover you'll need. Be aware that some lower level policies may exclude items such as laptops, cameras and mobile phones, and if you’re travelling with these you may need to upgrade the policy to cover. The same goes for expensive sports items such as skis, or musical instruments.

What Am I Doing On My Holiday?

If you want to take part in activities such as skiing, cycling, kayaking or bungee jumping you may need to look at taking out a higher level of insurance cover, as most providers consider these to be high risk.

What About Pre-Existing Medical Conditions?

Pre-existing medical conditions can influence your travel insurance policy and any claims. If you have any pre-existing or ongoing medical problems, you need to find a provider who is more flexible about what conditions they will cover, rather than a provider which automatically excludes various illnesses, or which charges excessive amounts to cover them.

Other important things to consider:

  • Trip cancellations: if you have to cancel your trip unexpectedly, some policies will offer reimbursement for some or all of your losses.
  • Excess: almost all policies will have an excess, so note these costs before you buy - the lower the excess, usually the higher the policy payment.
  • Claims: make sure you understand how an insurer’s claims process works before you buy. Most will require you to submit claims within a certain timeframe once your trip is over, or your policy has ended, and you’ll usually need to present original documents including receipts, police reports or medical certificates.
  • Exclusions: ensure you are aware of ALL exclusions in your travel insurance policy relating to areas such as medical, health conditions, cancellations, baggage, valuables and activities etc. All exclusions will be listed in your Product Disclosure Statement (aka the PDS) 
  • PDS: always read this before you buy, and/or contact the insurer to understand your options and make any clarifications.


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Ben Hall