Three in four Australian overseas travellers experienced an issue with their travel in 2022
4 April 2023 by Laura Sedgwick
Key findings from the research include:
- 74% of Australians who travelled overseas last year reported experiencing an issue with their travel or travel plans.
- 58% of Australians that travelled interstate reported experiencing an issue with their travel or travel plans.
- International issues most commonly experienced were:
- 43% - travel disruption caused by an illness other than COVID-19
- 38% - airline related issues such as lost luggage, flight delays or cancellations
- 36% - COVID-19-related travel disruption
- Domestic issues most commonly experienced were:
- Domestic issues most commonly experienced were:
- 36% - airline related such as lost luggage, flight delays or cancellations
- 24% - travel disruption caused by an illness other than COVID-19
- 22% - COVID-19-related travel disruption
Southern Cross Travel Insurance has today announced the latest instalment of its Future of Travel 2023 research which reveals that Australians’ travel plans were heavily disrupted as we emerged from the pandemic, with three in four (74%) Australians who travelled overseas last year experiencing an issue with their travel or travel plans.
The most common issues experienced during international travel were an illness other than COVID-19 (43%), followed by airline-related issues such as lost luggage, flight delays or cancellations (38%), followed by COVID-19-related travel disruption (36%).
Those who travelled domestically were only marginally better off, with nearly six in ten (58%) Australians who travelled interstate in 2022 reporting an issue with their travel or travel plans. The issues most commonly experienced were airline-related such as lost luggage, flight delays or cancellations (36%), followed by an illness other than COVID-19 (24%), followed by COVID-19-related travel disruption (22%).
Jo McCauley, CEO at Southern Cross Travel Insurance explains how the travel disruption experienced in Australia last year and the rising cost of claims highlight the need for travel insurance to ensure you’re covered for the unexpected.
“We’ve definitely been impacted as a business by the travel disruption experienced across Australia and, with the cost of travel continuing to increase, it’s only going to become more important for travellers to cover themselves for cancelled, delayed or disrupted travel,” says McCauley.
Many Australians made claims through Southern Cross Travel Insurance last year due to travel disruptions, with the average claim cost for domestic travel ($1,584) 24% more expensive than the average claim cost for international travel ($1,281).
“Due to the high costs of domestic flights and accommodation in Australia, we’re not seeing a significant difference in claim costs between domestic and international travel. In fact, the average cost of domestic claims exceeded the average claims cost for international trips in 2022. With the cost to travel not showing any signs of reducing, it’s just not worth taking the risk and travelling without insurance either domestically or internationally.”
In 2022, Southern Cross Travel Insurance paid out more than $1.4 million in COVID claims since December 2021 when Australia’s borders opened and COVID-19 claims made up 20% of all claims received up until the end of 2022.
Travel trends over the past 12 months
Domestic travel was most popular among Australians during 2022 with three in four (75%) Australians having travelled within the state they live in over the past 12 months, with an average of 2.5 trips within this period. Nearly six in ten (58%) Australians have travelled interstate over the last 12 months, with an average of 1.9 interstate trips within this period.
However, only three in ten (28%) Australians have travelled overseas in the last 12 months. On average, these travellers have taken 1.9 overseas trips within this period.
Unsurprisingly, given the disruption that has taken place, Australians’ attitudes towards the importance of taking out travel insurance have continued to shift, following the trend started in 2022 as a result of Covid-19 disruptions.
“With so many Australians needing to make claims last year, it comes as little surprise that increasingly we’re understanding the importance of travel insurance,” says McCauley. “This time last year, consumers were very focused on Covid-19 cover but with all the other challenges we’ve faced since then, Australians are now more likely to choose a provider based on a positive experience that either they or someone they know has had with an insurer.”
SCTI currently receives a 4.7-star rating (out of 5 stars) from more than 2,800 reviews and is the number one rated travel insurer on ProductReview.com.au.
Australian travellers are more likely to say travel insurance is a high priority for international travel compared to domestic travel (76% compared to 49%). Unsurprisingly, those who experienced an issue when travelling interstate last year were more likely to say travel insurance has become an even higher priority than those who didn’t have an issue when travelling (34% compared to 8%). This is also the case for international travel with those who experienced an issue considering insurance an even higher priority now than those who didn’t experience an issue (33% compared to 23%).
When buying travel insurance, Australian travellers have ranked price (27%) as the most important feature of their policy, followed by the ability to choose different levels of cover (22%), previous experience with the insurer (17%) and a level of COVID-19 cover (16%). In particular, the value placed on COVID-19 cover has shifted significantly. In March 2022 six in ten (62%) Australian travellers ranked a level of COVID-19 cover in their top three most important features compared to half (49%) in 2023. The importance of price has also decreased while previous experience with the insurer, customer reviews and ability to purchase through a travel agent or airline has increased.
The research took place in January 2023 and was conducted by YouGov. A nationally representative sample of 1,028 Australians aged 18 years and older took part in the online survey.