Travel insurance and coronavirus
When buying travel insurance, check whether the policy provides cancellation cover that includes coronavirus risks, including if you fall ill or need to isolate before you travel. You should also have cover in case you fall ill (including with Covid) while you are away. Read the policy documents and check levels of cover with the insurer if you are not sure what protection is provided.
Sun, sea, surf, wildlife and wild adventures await in Australia. But, while you’re excitedly planning a trip-of-a-lifetime Down Under, don’t forget to take out travel insurance.
Not only will this protect you financially should things go wrong while you’re away, but it could also pay out if you have to cancel unexpectedly in the run-up to your trip.
Here we detail why travel insurance for Australia is so essential, what types of policies are available, and what to look out for in all travel insurance policies.
Why do I need travel insurance for Australia?
No one likes to imagine things going wrong on holiday. But, should you be unlucky and have an accident or your bag stolen while in Australia, a comprehensive policy will give you peace of mind that the financial side of an issue is covered by your travel insurance.
Australia has a reciprocal healthcare agreement in place with the UK, meaning that you’ll be able to get some healthcare, such as treatment at public hospitals, for free – so long as you’re a British citizen with a UK or EEA passport (or a document giving you permission to reside in the UK) and have proof of your home address.
However, this doesn’t mean you can skimp on travel insurance. You’ll still be responsible for the cost of other elements of healthcare, such as ambulance travel, prescribed medicines, dental treatment, and treatment at most doctors’ surgeries.
Emergency repatriation is not covered by the agreement, either. This is when a sick person is brought back to the UK under medical supervision to continue their treatment here.
Some policies will also pay the cost of repatriating the body of someone who dies while abroad.
Plus, travel insurance for Australia would cover you for numerous other situations such as a cancellation or curtailment of your trip, personal liability, and more.
What should travel insurance for Australia cover?
When looking for Australia travel insurance, a comprehensive policy should include the following as a minimum:
Personal liability cover of £1 million.
If you’ve put your Australia trip together yourself rather than booking an ATOL-protected package holiday, you may want to look for ‘end supplier failure’ cover too which could pay out if one of your travel companies went bust.
‘Scheduled airline failure’ is a similar option which covers you should an airline you booked with cease trading – but look carefully at any exclusions such as certain airlines not being covered.
Annual policy or single-trip insurance?
Single-trip travel insurance policies do what they say on the tin – cover you for one trip only. If your Australia adventure is the only holiday you have planned for the year ahead, then a single-trip policy will be the best option for you.
However, if you are planning on going away twice or more in the upcoming year (to any destinations, not just Oz), it’s worth looking into annual multi-trip travel insurance. This could cover you for your Australia holiday plus any other trips within the next 12 months and could work out cheaper than taking out a number of single-trip policies – so compare your options.
Do you need a specialist policy?
If you’re setting off for an extended adventure in Australia of a month or more, backpacker or gap year travel insurance may be more suited to you as standard policies, generally, only cover a set number of nights away.
Backpacker travel insurance will often cover you for a wider range of activities than standard policies too – however, always check what is covered by your individual policy.
For example, some policies might not cover you if you work while you’re on your trip, or they might exclude jobs involving hard physical labour or working at heights.
Who are you travelling with?
If you are going to Australia with your family or as a group, it may be worth looking into a policy to cover everyone you are travelling with together. This may save you money and time when compared to buying everyone’s policy separately.
Travel insurance policy types on the market include individual, family, group, couples and single-parent. However, always look out for exclusions with these policies, such as age limits, or terms and conditions saying that couples, as an example, must live together. And remember to declare everyone on the policy’s pre-existing medical conditions, if there are any.
Which category of worldwide insurance do you need?
There are usually two categories of worldwide travel insurance – those that include travel to the USA, Canada and the Caribbean and those that don’t. While travel to Australia will be covered by the former, if you are taking out an annual policy, think about where else you’re visiting over the next year and take out the appropriate cover for you.
What to look out for when comparing Australia travel insurance policies?
To ensure your policy is adequate for your travelling needs and you don’t have any nasty surprises should you need to make a claim, always pay attention to:
exclusions – if you’re taking part in any activities while away, check you’ll be covered as some, including scuba diving or bungee jumping, may be excluded. And check if there are any restrictions on the activities too, such as only diving to a certain depth. Insurers may also refuse to pay out if you’ve not taken reasonable care of your possessions on holiday, or were under the influence of alcohol or non-prescription drugs at the time of an incident.
Be honest when answering medial questions
When you take out a new policy, you’ll be asked a number of questions about your current health and medical history. Be honest and declare any pre-existing conditions even if this pushes the price of a policy up. The risk if you don’t tell the truth is that a claim could be turned down.
If you’re struggling to find cover due to a medical condition, there are a number of policies tailored to those in such circumstances.
When should I buy my travel insurance for Australia?
As with all travel insurance, the best time to buy a policy to cover a trip to Australia is as soon as you’ve booked your holiday. This is because comprehensive travel insurance policies don’t just cover you for your holiday itself, they will also cover you should you need to cancel a trip due to unexpected circumstances in the run up to your adventure.
How much will travel insurance for Australia cost?
The price you are quoted for Australia travel insurance will be determined by a number of factors including your age, whether you’d like the policy to cover travel to other destinations too, how long you’ll be away for, what you plan to do while you’re away, and any medical conditions you may have.
Agreeing to a higher excess amount may reduce the price of policies but, if remember that this will mean more money is deducted from your pay-out in the event of a claim, so it could turn out to be a false economy.
How do I keep the cost of my Australia travel insurance down?
Opting for the cheapest policy you find may leave you without the cover you need. Instead you should compare a number of policies side-by-side to find the best one for you at a competitive price.
A good way to do this is to use a travel insurance price-comparison service which will allow you to enter your details once and see a number of options from different companies.
Please note: At the moment, entry to Australia is closed, except for Australian citizens and permanent residents or those with an exemption. Keep an eye on the latest travel advice on the FCDO’s website https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/australia