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What travel insurance do you need? Five important questions to ask when choosing a policy

Collage of two people asking each other what travel insurance they need.

For every trip, there’s travel insurance – or close to it. But how do you choose the best travel insurance policy for your needs? 

If you’ve read the terms and conditions but still feel confused, here are five simple questions that could point you in the right direction.

(And make sure to avoid these five easy travel insurance mistakes!)

Question 1: Where are you going?

Collage of people looking at a map.

Your choice of destination makes a big difference to the cost – and kind – of travel insurance you’ll need. Ideally, you’d want to find a policy that offers the best value for where you’re going. 

Your options are:

As a bonus follow-up: who’s going with you? Family travel insurance is a category itself, though children under eighteen usually receive automatic coverage under your policy.

You’d also want to consider the risks associated with your destination. Relatively safe countries classified as either Level 1 or Level 2 by Smartraveller receive the most protection, while riskier countries (Level 3 and 4) often don’t get covered at all. Research your destination beforehand to see if your insurance matches your wanderlust.

Question 2: What are you doing?

Collage of a snowboarder.

Different trips have different coverage needs. For example, the travel insurance you use on your stargazing trip to Hawaii might not be adequate for a similar trip to Norway. 

Locations and activities like extreme sports carry different risks, so the best policy will include everything you’re planning to do.

Here are some types of travel policies you may need:

Some travel insurance policies are also customisable, meaning you add optional extras to tailor your coverage. This diversifies your protection, but keep in mind it may also increase your price. Speaking of…

Question 3: How much does it cost?

Collage of a suitcase surrounded by question marks.

Price is a big factor for many when choosing travel insurance, and for good reason. But if your travel budget doesn’t have a ton of wiggle room, we’d argue it’s even more important to look for good value – not necessarily the cheapest price. 

For example, if money will be tight on your trip, can you afford to spring for emergency expenses like medical assistance or stolen luggage? Cheap policies don’t come with as much coverage, so if your policy doesn’t protect you when the worst happens, then it doesn’t matter how cheap it was: it wasn’t worth the money. 

However, there are still ways to get cheap travel insurance. It’s just about balancing price with cover. The most expensive policy might not have the best cover, either!

You could also try seeing if you’re eligible for complimentary travel insurance through your credit card, which can be a major saving.

Question 4: Are you eligible?

Collage of a hand picking up a landline receive while legs disappear into the phone.

Travel insurance providers will usually have specific rules about who’s eligible to receive cover in the first place. They might exclude certain preexisting conditions or cut off medical cover after you reach a certain age. There may also be certain cover activation requirements, like if you’re taking it out through your credit card.

However, this doesn’t mean there isn’t a policy out there for you – you might just have to sort through the pile a bit more. For instance, if you’re making the most of your golden years, check out our guide on senior travel insurance.

Question 5: What ISN’T covered?

Collage of a multi-coloured Warhol-esque passport logos.

Last but not least, check what’s not covered by your policy. Sometimes the exclusions can be more revealing than the benefits. 

You can find this by reading the product disclosure statement (PDS) of your policy and skipping ahead to “exclusions”. Some will vary by circumstances, others will be ironclad. But if something you read doesn’t work for you, then you know it’s time to move on.

Ready, get set – jet set! Compare travel insurance policies below. Head to the best travel insurance hub for more expert tips.

Compare travel insurance policies - last updated 16 April 2024

Search promoted travel insurance below. Advertiser disclosure Important information on terms, conditions and sub-limits.
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    International Travel Insurance
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Evlin DuBose
Evlin DuBose
RG146
Senior Money Writer

Evlin, RG146 Generic Knowledge certified and a UTS Communications graduate, is a leading voice in finance news. As Mozo's go-to writer for RBA and interest rates, her work regularly features in Google's Top Stories and major publications like News.com.au.

^See information about the Mozo Experts Choice Travel Insurance Awards

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