How to choose the all important Travel Insurance

We have planned and mapped our upcoming trip to Europe, to frolic in the various winter wonderlands. All rugged up, we intend visiting 16 different countries in 44 days. With still 2 months before we depart, when should we book our travel insurance?  A very simple rule of thumb is to organise and pay for your travel insurance once you have finalised your travel plans and while you still have money in the bank.

We have booked and paid for the flights, a couple of hotels and the river cruise. We are now ready to venture out into the world wide web, looking for a true travel insurance bargain.  But do they even exist? During the planning stages we have had many emails from prospective insurers offering discounts and “special deals” so obviously those companies will be in the mix. We also enlisted the services of previous insurers and relied on Google by searching for “best travel insurance”. We stuck to the first page of results otherwise we’d still be looking for insurance as our flight leaves. Why not throw our current health and property insurers into the mix as well?

In Australia there are only a handful of insurance companies. They are masquerading under many different names, so sometimes you may not realise you are dealing with the same organisation, just with a different shop front. I’m sure that’s not unique to Australia, which makes the task a little daunting.

Wow, they want to know everything about you. Where you’re going, how long you’re going to be away, when do you leave, when do you return, how old are you, any dependants, whether you have pre-existing medical conditions, do you need extra cover for valuables, etc. etc. Not really a big deal because by now you should have the answers to those questions. Something to remember when dealing with insurance companies is to be honest with the information you provide and read their product disclosure statements. It with save a lot of trauma later if you are unfortunate and need to make a claim. Don’t ever assume the insurer will pay for everything. Let me know if you find one that covers stupidity.


Okay so now you want to know who’s in the mix. Well we narrowed them down pretty quickly. Firstly basing the selection on the ease of dealing with them. That first initial contact can be a good reflection of things to come. Our final contenders are;

Budget Direct

Compare the Market

Cover More Insurance

Good 2 Go Travel Insurance

HCF Travel Insurance

Insure and Go

One Cover

Southern Cross Travel Insurance

Whist completing the online questionnaires we found some weren’t prepared to cover the countries we are going to, existing medical conditions or include the river cruise. So we were now down to four insurance companies. Next it came down to inclusions, price and reputation. We didn’t need cover for snow equipment hire, water sports equipment or care hire cover so we can exclude them from the list. This is easier than I first thought. Now we’re comparing all the really confusing stuff. Emergency medical expenses, accidental death, permanent disability, cancellation fees, lost deposits, travel delays, lost/delayed luggage, travel documents, theft of cash, personal liability, specified item cover, and more. Base your final decision on what value you need cover for, I wasn’t overly concerned with “specified item cover” as our household contents insurance covered us for those items worldwide.

The base cover varied by between AUD$300.00 and AUD$500.00 and by the time we added pre-existing medical that added another AUD$150.00 to AUD$300.00. Now here’s a little trick you may not be aware of. If you have existing private health insurance check with them firstly to see if they offer a super discount on travel insurance, and secondly see if they will waive the monthly premiums whilst you’re away. Our private health insurance provider offered us a 10% discount and allowed us to suspend our policy whilst we are overseas. That’s a nice chunk of money that can be put back into the holiday fund. Not all private health funds provide this, so check with your provider.


Are you still asking yourself whether you need travel insurance and if it is worth the expense? Only you can answer that question. For me it’s worth the peace of mind knowing someone’s got your back if things go wrong. We have decided to go with Southern Cross Travel Insurance.

Recently many people were stranded in Bali because of an ash cloud created by an active volcano, have a read of this story if you still have doubts. Stranded in Bali, would your travel insurance cover you?

If you enjoyed this post, please leave a comment below and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Let us know any pros or cons you have encountered with travel insurance. We would be interested in your feedback.

Images sourced from Pixabay.

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34 Responses

  1. Ronny says:

    I use World Nomads, but lately I’ve questioning whether I could get a better deal elsewhere … great post!
    Ronny recently posted…Want to save some cash on travel costs? Read on!My Profile

    • Lyn says:

      Perhaps now is time to shop around. We always compare and have found two or three companies always seem to not only have a better price, but offer us exactly the type of cover that suits our needs. Thank you for your comment Ronny.

  2. Great post!!! I know what you mean about the same organisation behind different names.
    I normally use my credit card travel insurance, and when it’s a diving trip I have my specific medical insurance.

    Thank you for linking up with #MondayEscapes
    Packing my Suitcase recently posted…10 snacks the Germans loveMy Profile

    • Lyn says:

      Diving is a whole different cover, there are many who don’t know to check that the insurance covers flights home in a decompression chamber if required, and other companies that just do not cover diving full stop. Thank you for your comment Allane.

  3. Julia Reed says:

    I don’t use it while travelling within my home country, but travel insurance is a must for extensive long trips. Better to have it and be safe.
    Julia Reed recently posted…To Kill a Mockingbird Essay Example: Free and Full TextMy Profile

    • Lyn says:

      If your health insurance and contents insurance provides all the cover you need then it wouldn’t be necessary Julia. But overseas, much better to be safe than sorry. Thank you for comment.

  4. I like the tip about asking your health insurer. Did you consider the travel insurance which comes with many credit cards? I would love to know whether you think there is a downside to just using that.
    Lyn (aka) The Travelling Lindfields recently posted…Floriade and Tulip Top GardensMy Profile

    • Lyn says:

      Lyn we have read that some credit card insurance only covers the card holder and comes with a lot of restrictions. Of course, like any policy read through the fine print and it might just suit your needs. Our health insurer has happily suspended our premiums while we’ll be in Europe, the only ‘catch’, if any, is that you have to remember to advise them when you return as the cover does not automatically recommence. Thanks for your comment Lyn.

  5. eileen g says:

    we have not yet bought travel insurance, but for an extensive trip like this, i can certainly see the value. One bad- weather event or badly timed broken bone and you’re out a lot of money! very helpful!
    eileen g recently posted…Taking a Break From History in WilliamsburgMy Profile

    • Lyn says:

      Eileen there are just so many unplanned things that travel insurance can offer peace of mind for that I wouldn’t attempt going overseas without it. Thank you for your comment.

  6. Lisa Wood says:

    I haven’t had to look at Travel Insurance for overseas, but I always pay a bit extra when booking flights in Australia to cover if I have to cancel.
    I like how you have researched all the different options for your Travel Insurance, and cancelled your existing private health insurance while overseas! Thats a great saving. Europe at Christmas time would be so ideal 🙂
    Lisa Wood recently posted…DraughT Horse Heavy Horse Heritage DayMy Profile

  7. I personally believe travel insurance is a must!!!
    The old adage of “if you can’t afford travel insurance you can’t afford to travel”.
    But comparing policies is like comparing apples to oranges.
    Things to consider are definitely lost luggage. Having worked in the lost luggage department for Qantas for 4 years I know that generally 1 or 2 bags a flight go missing. Recently we travelled to Bali but my husband had an ear infection and couldn’t get on the flight until a few days later (thank you travel insurance). When I backpacked around Europe my girlfriend got appendicitis (thank you travel insurance).
    My message here is you never know what will happen – be prepared.
    Sally@Toddlers on Tour recently posted…Fall Trips or Spring Break IdeasMy Profile

    • Lyn says:

      Well said Sally, totally agree. Thankfully those one or two bags have never been ours, but if we do become that statistic we’ll have our insurance to rely on. We’ve never had to use it, and I am thankful for that, but if we do, we’ll know we are covered.

  8. Fairlie says:

    Because we travel a lot for work, we have a family 12 month business policy with CoverMore, which also includes up to six weeks of leisure travel per year. It works out much more economical than taking out insurance for each individual trip. I did quite an extensive review of 12 month policies a couple of years ago and quickly discovered that you really have to check the fine print carefully with any insurance policy to ensure it actually covers what you want/need. The differences can be subtle, but important when you need it.
    Fairlie recently posted…Week 1 of the #feetonmyhometown Instagram ChallengeMy Profile

    • Lyn says:

      Yes, couldn’t agree more about reading the fine print. Purchasing what you need is so important and a little bit of time researching can save a lot of financial pain. Thank you for your comment Fairlie.

  9. I agree that travel insurance is vital when travelling. We don’t take it out if we are driving within Australia, but as soon as we are going on a holiday where we need to fly we absolutely do get travel insurance. It was interesting to read on your post that some health insurance policies will suspend your membership while you are away. i will have to check that out.
    Happy travels and thank you for the link up.

    • Lyn says:

      Yes Jill, as we wrote, we are travelling to Europe in November and have arranged with our medical insurance to suspend our premiums until we return. Quite a saving many don’t know about, and considering they offer no coverage while we are away.

  10. Anda says:

    Would you believe it if I told you I never buy travel insurance? However, reading your post made think that it may be about time I did buy it. We counted too much on our luck so far…
    Anda recently posted…Alaska by Sea and by Land – KetchikanMy Profile

  11. Shobha says:

    I completely agree with you that travel insurance is a necessity. You hope you don’t need it but if you do, then not having it is a really expensive mistake. We found this out last summer when my son broke his arm in the USA. For years, I’d wondered what the point of us buying travel insurance was. But those medical bills more than made up for the little premiums we’d paid over the years.
    Shobha recently posted…Family Friendly Activities at Rockefeller CenterMy Profile

  12. It is definitely better to be safer. Things happen. I broke a leg skiing and that was unfortunate, and just an interruption but insurance gave peace of mind for sure.
    Paula McInerney recently posted…Our Up Coming Road Trip to the USA and CanadaMy Profile

  13. Em says:

    Wow – you have quite the trip planned! I NEVER purchase travel insurance and I realize that’s probably quite stupid. But… I’ve never tried to do 16 countries in 44 days, either 🙂 You’ve really thought this through!
    Em recently posted…How not to break the bank in CopenhagenMy Profile

  14. Dean says:

    I have been a Travel Agent for a few years now and I am surprised firstly, that some people gamble with travel and no coverage at all, and secondly, that others often leave it to the last minute as you allude to in your article.
    Is it that people often don’t realise that travel insurance covers you from the day you take out a policy and not just during your trip? I recommend insurance as soon as you make your first substantial payment toward your trip. Most of the time this is paying for flights.
    Why take insurance then? Because most flights are non refundable. So what happens if you pay for your flights and the next day have an accident, the doctor says you will not be able to travel, and the airline says a big “bad luck… but no refund for you”. A lot of insurance policies cover this type of occurrence, but do check the pds.
    Dean recently posted…Questioning myself – am I a bad everything?My Profile

  15. Liz says:

    I have always availed of travel insurance, even when just traveling within my home country. I guess it’s more for peace of mind. Hopefully, I will never have to use it, but it’s always good to have it. 🙂
    Liz recently posted…Summer Lovin’ in the Philippines: A Balanced Bucket List for Adventurous CouplesMy Profile

  16. Holy cow! I have never considered all those things when buying a travel insurance. I normally just buy the one that we used to see when I was working as a travel agent and don’t really pay much attention on the coverage. Reading your blog entry makes me think I’ve been a bad traveler all these times.

    Thank you for the heads up! I will pay more attention now on these. :p
    Pinay Flying High recently posted…Doha | Sapore Italiano at Four Seasons Hotel DohaMy Profile

  1. October 11, 2015

    […] linking up with A Hole In My Shoe – European Christmas Discovery – Travel Insurance […]

  2. October 21, 2015

    […] Europe Christmas Discovery – Travel Insurance rule of thumb for when to organise and pay for your travel insurance is as soon as you have finalised your travel plans. Here are our tips to help you. […]

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