8 surprising things your travel insurance could cover

By Sally Grandy

7 minutes

18 May 2018


Most of us book a holiday and count down the days until we’re on that plane, car, ship or train, heading off to our destination.

Travel insurance can be the last thing on your mind in the lead up to a holiday but should your plans go awry, travel insurance can be worth its weight in gold.

While it’s well known that travel insurance can cover medical treatment, delays and lost or stolen goods, there are a raft of other benefits that you may not know about.

Here is a list of things that your travel insurance may cover you for:

1. Enormous medical bills – we mean huge amounts

As a visitor to a foreign country you’ll need to pay for any treatment costs incurred as a result of poor health or an emergency, and these can be alarmingly expensive.

HBF travel insurance spokesperson John Martelli says medical bills in some countries can be the equivalent of purchasing a house.

“One of our customers had a stroke whilst on a cruise in China. She was taken to the intensive care unit at a Chinese hospital,” Martelli said.

“Because of the seriousness of the situation, she was then transferred to a hospital in Hong Kong. The transfer alone for her and her husband cost $65,000.

 “In total she spent four weeks in hospital before going home to Australia with a medical team accompanying her on her flight.  She paid $350 for travel insurance for the holiday, and the cost of her treatment was $455,869.”

2. Vehicle hire

Car hire is a great way of getting off the tourist track and finding out more about your holiday destination. 

Many people aren’t aware that if you have an accident in a hire car, motorbike or moped then travel insurance may cover the hire vehicle excess for the damage.

Therefore, check your travel insurance policy as you may have all the coverage you need before signing up for extra coverage with the vehicle rental company.

Make sure you have a valid Australian vehicle license before hiring a car or means of transport overseas, as this could be critical if you ever need to make a travel insurance claim.

3. Unexpected events

A travel insurance policy may reimburse your costs if you have to cancel your holiday due to an unexpected event. 

For example, if a relative unexpectedly becomes seriously ill and you want to stay behind to be with them then your travel insurance may reimburse you for your holiday.

4. Bringing a plus-one during your medical evacuation  

A medical evacuation is the timely and efficient movement and care provided by medical personnel in cases of medical emergency.

Whether you’re airlifted from a ski field, or require an ambulance whilst on holiday, you and your holiday companion may be covered under certain policies for a medical evacuation.  

5. Broken bones? Take a comfortable flight home

Injuring yourself on holiday can be a great inconvenience, especially if it leaves you less mobile or reliant on crutches.

Little things help in these situations and when it comes to flying home, travel insurance may help make your trip more comfortable. 

Instead of having just one seat, they may reserve a few seats because you’re incapacitated or transfer you to business class if medically necessary.

“We had a member of HBF insurance who was on a walking holiday in Kuta in Bali. She tripped on a floor tile and broke her shoulder and had to undergo emergency surgery,” Martelli said.

“She was in a lot of pain.  On her flight home, we booked an empty seat next to her so her shoulder wouldn’t be knocked and she had more room.”

6. Terrorist attacks and kidnapping

Terrorism and kidnappings are things we would rather not think about when it comes to planning a holiday, but they are unfortunate realities. 

HBF travel insurance spokesperson Adam Windley says insurance may cover you if your holiday is directly affected by terrorism.

“If, for example, your hotel is bombed and you can’t get your possessions out, you’d normally be covered,” Windley said.

“Likewise, if you’re injured and need medical help as a result of a terrorist event then you are also covered.”

7. Consulate advice

If you need legal help and assistance, your travel insurer may be able to assist by directing you to the most effective support from the Australian consulate or embassy service.

This doesn’t mean you call on their services if you’ve lost your iPad, or the hotel has allocated you a substandard room.

We’re talking more serious consulate issues such as if you are arrested and need details of lawyers and interpreters or your passport has been lost or stolen

8. When your cruise ship sails off without you

Sometimes things don’t go according to plan. If you’re flying to a destination to pick up a cruise or connection, and your flight gets delayed, then insurance may cover reasonable expenses you incur.

Sitting on a delayed flight, watching the clock tick while your ship sails away without you is an empty feeling. 

At least knowing that your travel insurance can have your back in situations like this can help you confront those holiday curveballs.

So now you know what could be covered, sit back, select a policy that will best suit your trip, and let the countdown continue!

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This article is sponsored by HBF Travel Insurance.
HBF Travel Insurance is issued by Insurance Australia Limited ABN 11 000 016 722 (IAL) trading as CGU Insurance.  HBF Health Limited ABN 11 126 884 786 is an authorised representative of IAL. Any advice provided is general only. Always consider the PDS available from hbf.com.au/travel-insurance to see if the product is right for you.