International Travel Insurance

Compare a range of international travel insurance policies from leading insurers with Savvy.

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, updated on September 4th, 2023       

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Taking flight or setting sail for an overseas adventure should be an opportunity for you to relax and take in the sights and sounds of your holiday destination. An international travel insurance policy can help you do just that, as you can have peace of mind that if unexpected circumstances do arise which qualify for coverage under your agreement, you can receive some or all of your money back.

You can compare a range of competitive international travel insurance options from some of Australia's leading providers. Start the process today with a free, no-obligation quote through our simple online service.

How does international travel insurance work?

International travel insurance is a policy taken out with an insurer designed to provide you with coverage for a range of unexpected circumstances which may occur whilst you’re on holiday overseas. In terms of how it works, you’ll be required to pay a premium (or set of premiums, depending on how long you’re covered for) for your policy. In return for doing so, you can make a claim under your policy if an event which qualifies for coverage occurs and leaves you out of pocket, which your insurer can then partly or fully reimburse you for depending on the nature of the event.

There are different types of travel insurance available to those booking an overseas trip. The two main options to think about are:

Comprehensive travel insurance

Taking out a comprehensive policy can provide you with access to a wider range of potential benefits and higher claim limits. As a result of their typically expanded coverage, comprehensive policies are more expensive to take out than basic travel insurance, but you may find the extra dollars worth it if you have to make a claim for lost luggage, for example.

Basic travel insurance

As the name suggests, a basic travel insurance policy is more barebones than its comprehensive counterpart. You won’t have as great a number of claimable events, as they primarily offer medical emergency expense coverage, though personal liability cover can also be offered by some insurers, as well as select personal effects coverage (which may cost an additional premium). Basic policies are the cheapest travel insurance option available to those holidaying abroad.

What does international travel insurance cover?

The coverage international travel insurance provides will differ between insurers, as all providers are different. All coverage will be contingent on meeting your insurer's qualification criteria and abiding by their terms and conditions, which is important to consider. However, in general, the following events can be covered under a comprehensive travel insurance policy:

Medical expenses

This is the most important factor for most Australians jet setting abroad, as being injured in an accident or falling ill overseas can result in a hefty hospital bill which can put a major dampener on your holiday (if not stretch your budget considerably). This can include a variety of different costs, including:

  • Standard medical treatment
  • Emergency treatment, such as in a hospital
  • Ambulance or helicopter transportation to receive treatment
  • Emergency evacuation and repatriation

However, it’s just as important, if not more so, to learn about what your policy doesn’t cover. There may be certain activities which aren’t included in your policy which won’t be covered if your medical requirements stem from them, such as if you fell off a motorcycle and required treatment when you hadn't purchased the optional extra to cover you for motorcycle riding.

It’s also important to note that many insurers won’t, or will charge extra to, cover treatment for certain pre-existing conditions. There will generally be a list of conditions which are automatically covered under your agreement, such as asthma and glaucoma, but those which may be excluded by certain insurers include cancer, diabetes, heart and mental health conditions. 

When comparing your insurance options with Savvy, it’s important to look for one which can provide cover for your condition.

Loss or theft of (or damage to) items

Many travellers may be concerned about misplacing their belongings, having them stolen or damaging them. Under a comprehensive policy, you may be able to access coverage in this area, with items such as luggage, phones, laptops, jewellery and even cash among the most notable common inclusions by insurers. However, this will be subject to the terms and conditions of your agreement and reimbursement will be granted at the discretion of your lender.

Your policy can reimburse you for the value of lost or damaged items up to a set limit if you qualify for coverage, which will differ depending on the item. For instance, smartphone limits may be set at $1,500, while you could receive cover of up to $3,000 for a camera or computer (subject to its value, depreciation and the circumstances surrounding your claim).

In terms of what won’t be covered by your policy, you may not be able to claim for reimbursement if your item or items were lost or stolen whilst unattended or if you were under the influence of alcohol when they disappeared or was damaged.

Cancellation fees

Sometimes things go wrong both prior to and during your holiday and you need to cancel plans, whether they be hotel bookings, flights or other experiences which may not be refundable. There are many situations where an international travel insurance policy can help you out when it comes to covering the cost of cancellations, including the following:

  • You become ill, or a family member falls ill or dies
  • You're unexpectedly made redundant from your work without any knowledge prior
  • A natural disaster occurs, such as a fire, flood or storm

These are all subject to your insurer's terms and conditions. However, not all cancellations will be eligible. If you knew about a potential situation prior to booking your holiday and purchasing your policy and it becomes the reason for your cancellation, such as travelling against government advice. Mistakes from airlines or travel agencies also aren’t covered, nor are cancellations due to a terrorist incident at your destination.

Hire car excess

If you’re renting a car overseas and end up in a scrap, your travel insurance policy can cover part, or all, of the excess you’re charged if you qualify for coverage. This will also be subject to a given limit, so you may be required to pay out of pocket if your benefit falls short of the value of your hire car excess (as well as your own excess as part of your insurance policy).

However, there are several clear situations where you won’t be covered, such as if you were breaking local laws at the time or were using the incorrect type of petrol. Some companies will only include this as an optional extra, so if you’re planning to rent a vehicle while you’re on holiday, it’s worth comparing your options to find one which can cover you.

How should I compare international travel insurance policies?

When it comes to comparing your options for international travel insurance, there are many considerations to take into account to help you lock in the best policy for your needs. The key areas to think about when shopping around for travel insurance are:

  • Cost of premiums: you shouldn’t have to pay more than necessary for the coverage you need. It’s important to look at how much different policies’ premiums are and whether you can save meaningful funds while still being insured in all the areas you’re looking for.
  • Inclusions and exclusions: as mentioned above, different companies have different inclusions and exclusions, so you should always keep these front of mind when comparing insurance policies. It’s always important to read your insurer's PDS before buying so you know what you'll be covered for.
  • Optional extras: some insurers offer certain aspects of their coverage as an extra, meaning you’ll be required to pay more for it to be added to your policy. If you want to be covered for a particular activity, such as skiing or scuba diving, it’s worth looking for those who either cover it automatically or can add it as an extra.
  • Countries covered: not all insurers may be able to provide coverage for the country you’re looking to travel to, so this should, of course, be a key factor when it comes to deciding which is the best international travel insurance policy for you.
  • Excess: you should always ensure that the excess you set for your policy is manageable for you. If you’re wondering what this is, it’s the sum you pay your insurer as part of the cost of your claim. There shouldn’t be any danger of you running out of money or stretching your budget when you make a claim, so you should pick an insurer who allows you to set your excess at an affordable level.

Types of travel insurance

Why compare travel insurance with Savvy?

Top tips for saving money on international travel insurance

Set a higher excess

The higher the excess you set, the less your premiums are likely to cost. This shifts part of the financial risk from the insurer to you, which is rewarded with a cheaper overall deal in most cases. You may have to pay more if you end up making a claim, but you could save money overall if you don't.

Think about the policy you need

It’s important to consider your needs as a traveller. If you’re travelling with your family, it might be worth buying one family insurance policy rather than several individual ones. If you’re looking to travel more than twice this year, you may look to a multi-trip or annual policy instead to potentially save money.

Don’t pay for unnecessary coverage

Opting for a policy which includes a range of covered events which won’t apply to you could mean your money is going down the drain. For example, you could save money by looking at a medical-only policy if you travel light and aren’t planning to partake in any risky activities whilst you’re overseas.

Compare your options with Savvy

Of course, one of the simplest ways to save money is to take the time to consider as many offers as you can. Before your insurer even has a chance to look at your profile, you can consider competitive offers with Savvy from a variety of leading insurers from around Australia.

Common international travel insurance questions answered

Will my international travel insurance cover me for COVID-19-related events?

Now that Australia has opened up following the lengthy closures from the start of the pandemic, there are providers who can cover you for certain events related to COVID-19. Some of these can include:

  • Cancellations from contracting COVID-19 before or during your trip
  • Cancellations from becoming a close contact of someone with COVID-19
  • Additional quarantine costs if you contract COVID-19 overseas


However, other conditions will apply to this, such as not occurring within the 72 hours immediately following your policy purchase, so it's important to check with your insurer to see exactly what you are and aren't covered for.

Can I take out an international travel insurance policy if I’m pregnant?

Coverage for pregnant travellers will be determined by several factors, such as how far along you are and what your doctor's recommendations are, so you should always check with your insurer as to what inclusions, exclusions and limitations apply to your cover. Some insurers can offer protection for certain unforeseen circumstances as far along as 32 weeks for single pregnancies, though others will limit their coverage to 18 to 24 weeks (with such periods being subject to other criteria as required by your lender).

Will the country I choose to travel to affect the cost of my premiums?

Different destinations can come with different costs from travel insurers. This may be for several reasons, but the most notable is in relation to healthcare systems. You’ll likely find that travel insurance for a trip to the United States will be more on the expensive side, which is in large part down to the fact that they don’t offer universal healthcare. In contrast, your trip to Europe may cost less depending on where you go, as some nations offer less complicated healthcare systems and/or have a reciprocal agreement with Australia.

Can I take out international travel insurance if I’m a senior?

Many travel insurers offer specialist policies designed for senior travellers. Not all providers will enforce the same age limits, with some capping their coverage at 65 years old, while others offer policies to travellers all the way up to 100. Coverage will be subject to other qualification requirements set by your insurer, however.

Will I be able to lengthen my travel insurance policy while I’m still overseas?

There may be some providers who allow you to extend your policy under certain circumstances, such as if you’re experiencing delays whilst overseas or if you’re willing to pay extra to do so. However, this won't always be the case, so you’ll have to compare your options and familiarise yourself with the terms of different PDS documents if you wish to have the flexibility to extend your holiday.

Do travel insurance policies cover personal liability?

There are travel insurance policies which can cover you if you’re found to be liable for someone else’s injury or damage to their property. Depending on the insurer you choose and the type of policy you purchase, your total coverage can range from $1 million to $5 million. It's important to familiarise yourself with any exclusions or limitations relating to this coverage with your insurer.

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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.