We’re all excited to know that Australia will relax its international borders by the end of 2021!
It’s time to think about the more practical aspects of travel. Are there seats on the flights you want? And importantly, will travel insurance cover COVID-19?
Some travel insurers are opening up shop again with a new range of coronavirus-friendly policies.
While these new COVID-19 insurance benefits will definitely be useful for some, we’ve found that not all scenarios are covered. Particularly where border restrictions are concerned.
In this article, we take a look at a few Australian insurers providing COVID-19 cover, so you know exactly what to expect.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this guide is of a general nature only and does not take into account your personal circumstances. Be sure to read the relevant insurance policy disclosure statements (PDS) when deciding if any product is right for you.
Cover-More offers travel insurance underwritten by the Zurich Insurance Group – which also underwrite the Medibank policies, so the coronavirus coverage is largely the same for these providers. The Domestic and International (New Zealand) policies offer some COVID-19 travel benefits.
If your trip is disrupted due to one of the following scenarios, then you may be able to claim on the cancellation/amendment portion of your policy.
In addition, you may be eligible for AUD$150/night in reimbursements if you need to seek alternative accommodation because:
This cover could be good for future trips to New Zealand.
Medical expenses overseas can be costly. If you’re diagnosed with COVID-19 while travelling internationally in New Zealand, your medical costs will be covered. This includes hospital and ambulance fees.
Of course, within Australia, residents will usually have access to healthcare through the public system. There is also limited reciprocal healthcare arrangements with New Zealand.
Cover-More will extend some COVID-19 insurance benefits to other international destinations too. Those travel destinations must not be subject to a ‘Do Not Travel’ warning related to COVID-19 on the Smartraveller website at the time you enter the country.
At the time of writing, all international countries except New Zealand are listed as ‘Do Not Travel’ due to COVID-19 on the Smartraveller website. As a result, this benefit isn’t useful for now.
Unfortunately, both travel insurance policies will not provide cover in the event of the following:
Up until last week, we were also offering Nib travel insurance which was underwritten by XL Insurance Company SE… but they have since withdrawn their products from the market. They ad a slightly different spin on COVID-19 coverage. Essentially, you’ll be given a maximum of AUD$2,500pp towards coronavirus-related travel disruptions, plus access to the overseas medical benefits.
This was available on the nib Australian and International Comprehensive/Multi-Trip plans. The insurer will pay up to AUD$2,500pp (or AUD$5,000 for a family) towards the following costs:
Once again, Nib will not pay any benefits when travelling to a country or region that is subject to a ‘Do Not Travel’ warning issued by a government. This includes interstate travel restrictions as well.
Other exclusions to the Coronavirus Travel Costs benefits include:
Many of the reward credit cards feature some form of travel insurance. But do those still cover COVID-19 related claims? The answer is: it varies, but probably not.
Your first point of call should be to check the PDS that applies to your credit card insurance. For your convenience, we’ve summarised a few major policies here (updated as of 4 Oct 2021):
It’s great to see travel insurance providers pivoting to include coronavirus-related coverage in their policies.
At this stage, however, the benefits are minimal, and you need to check the policy documents to see if the cover is right for you. Credit card insurance T&Cs can be a bit ambiguous, so contact your insurer if you’re uncertain whether cover may apply to you or not.
Notably, no stand-alone policy will cover you for COVID-19 related claims in overseas countries with ‘Do Not Travel’ advisories (essentially all of them except New Zealand). It also won’t cover domestic travel costs as a result of state border closures and quarantine.
You’re mainly insuring against you and/or your travel companions getting sick with COVID-19, plus a few other scenarios that affect individuals, rather than government-mandated closures.
And don’t forget, it’s vital you read the insurance policy documents to see exactly what is and isn’t covered. This is the insurer’s rule book when it comes to claims, so it helps if you’re acquainted with it.
Adapted from Point Hacks article published in October 4, 2021 (Click here for the full article).