How to unravel travel insurance fine print

Travel insurance policy document with paperwork and technology. There is an image of a tourist resort with cocktails and a swimming pool which adds to the peace of mind concept. There is also a mobile phone, map, digital tablet and calculator. Image featured on the brochure can be found in my portfolio 20943516

Booking travel is not quite as simple as it once was, though that shouldn’t dissuade you from getting back out there and exploring the world.

But it’s worth investigating travel insurance to give you added confidence to go on your next trip.

Nowadays more than ever, knowing how to read and understand an insurance policy is an important part of travel preparation. So if you’re confused by all the niggly bits and pieces, check out this article for a quick explainer.

What’s a PDS?

The Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) sets out the terms and conditions of the policy, telling you what you’re covered for, and also what you’re not covered for (including any general exclusions).

Read this one carefully because it’s important that your policy gives you the right level of cover for the type of holiday you’re taking and who’s travelling.

What are general exclusions?

Travel insurance can offer cover for things that are unforeseen and unexpected but it doesn’t cover every situation. Policies usually have general exclusions, which means the policy does not provide cover for certain events, activities or circumstances.

One general exclusion to note is that insurers expect you to be aware of your circumstances. So, if something has happened and has hit the news, like a volcanic eruption, it’s likely your insurer will expect a person in your circumstances to be aware of it.

And that means, if you haven’t already bought your policy, then your insurer probably won’t cover you for any losses that happen as a result of the event – it may fall under the general exclusions. However, in the example of the volcano, if you purchase a policy before the volcano erupted, you could be covered.

Where can I go from Australia?

Before you travel, head to the Australian Government’s Smart Traveller website to double-check official advice and travel alerts.

What about COVID?

Most insurers have adjusted their policies to adapt to a world with COVID-19, however, the benefits are limited, so you have to check what’s covered. It’s important to know that many countries are now mandating that travellers have travel insurance that covers for the medical costs associated with treating COVID-19.

Check your PDS to ensure your policy provides you with appropriate cover, or you may not be able to enter certain countries at all. Always make sure you check the country’s entry requirements.

Where is the PDS?

The insurer wants you to read the PDS so it will be linked to from multiple points across the website. Check links at the bottom of the page or simply search ‘Product Disclosure Statement’ once you’re on the insurers site.

The PDS will likely be emailed to you once you purchased the policy to fully review.

How do I chose the right policy for me?

After checking you’re eligible in the first place and then reviewing the general exclusions, the next key section of the PDS is the table of benefits. Benefits are in sections like: medical, cancellation, additional expenses, luggage, and personal effects.

Examine each section and think about what you’ll do on your trip because this will influence what you’ll include in your extra coverage.

I’ve got a medical condition, does this mean I can’t get travel insurance?

It’s important to declare any pre-existing medical conditions when purchasing to get the right cover. If you have a pre-existing medical condition and don’t declare it, you may not be covered for a claim arising from that condition.

It is important to remember that you likely cannot apply for cover if you have any undiagnosed signs or symptoms, are awaiting a specialist opinion or conditions under investigation.

Travel insurance is a great way to travel with confidence, but no two holidays are the same. If you have questions about what cover is right for you, speak with your provider.

Latest News

  • Products

Mandarin Oriental takes a dive into swimwear with $360 board shorts

If you were inspired by The Inspired Unemployed’s Liam Moore limited-edition pair of Budgy Smugglers but want a bit more coverage, then here’s your chance. The Orlebar Brown brand has introduced an original design of the Bulldog swim short for Mandarin Oriental hotels – yours for a snip at US$242.25 (AU$360). They have been “designed […]

  • Health & Wellness
  • Luxury

Trisara showcases sustainable dining via wellspring program

Phuket-based resort Trisara is transporting guests from resort to farm to table then back again courtesy of a new limited-time program, Wellspring. The package is a collaboration with Tri Vananda, a US$182 million (AU $270 million) wellness community in northern Phuket, conceived by Montara Hospitality Group, the owners of Trisara. In addition to entitling guests […]

  • Aviation

Emirates SkyCargo expands fleet with five Boeing 777 freighters

Emirates SkyCargo announced an investment of US$1 billion (AU$1.484b) to expand its fleet with an order of five new Boeing 777 freighters. The investment follows a strong performance in the first quarter of the 2024/25 financial year. Emirates SkyCargo expects the new freighters to increase its capacity by 30 per cent. The increase enables the […]

  • Events
  • Tour Operators

ITE HCMC 2024 focuses on sustainable tourism for creating a future

The 18th annual International Travel Expo Ho Chi Minh City (ITE HCMC) will take place from 5 to 7 September at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Center. Under the theme “Responsible Travel, Creating Future”, the expo will highlight its dedication to promoting sustainable tourism practices and showcasing innovative tourism products and services to meet rigorous […]

  • Appointments

Seasoned pro Chris Waite goes out on his own in corporate affairs & communications

Seasoned tourism and hospitality industry corporate affairs and communications professional Chris Waite has unveiled his new consultancy. Drawing on his 25 years of experience across Australia, Europe, and Asia, Chris Waite Corporate Affairs & Communications is dedicated to helping businesses build and safeguard their most valuable asset: their reputation. Waite will focus on delivering results through […]

  • News

Travel becomes the leading retirement priority in latest Equip Super research

A staggering 71 per cent of Australians are prioritising spending their retirement savings on travel, according to a recent survey by leading superannuation fund, Equip Super. Health concerns were ranked as second as the most significant priority in retirement with 56 per cent and spending on hobbies and interests takes the third spot at 54 […]