How to compare travel insurance

When it comes to something as important as travel insurance, you should be confident that you’re protected by the level of cover you need. But not all travel insurance is made equal, and finding a policy to suit you can sometimes be a minefield of confusing jargon and lengthy T&Cs.

This guide to comparing travel insurance will outline the key things to look for in a policy, dive into how our insurance stacks up, and give you some tips on how to find the right cover for you.


What is travel insurance?

Travel insurance is a contract between you and an insurance provider. The travel insurance company agrees to compensate you for the cost of unexpected events (e.g. if your luggage is lost overseas). To receive this cover, you must adhere to the terms and conditions of your policy (e.g. not leaving your luggage unattended).

Travel insurers provide cover for many types of unexpected events, like medical emergencies, natural disasters and lost luggage. The amount of compensation they agree to provide is usually different for each of these types of events, and is often called a ‘benefit limit’.


Why buy travel insurance?

From slips and trips to lost luggage, there’s a lot that can go wrong when travelling overseas. These unexpected events can end up costing you lots of money, especially if your destination is overseas and has expensive medical care or you’re forced to extend your holiday before you can safely return home.

For example, some of our highest claims have come from unlucky travellers who have required emergency medical care, with many of these medical bills reaching over $100,000. In fact, our highest claim of 2017 totalled $549,000!

Travel insurance can give you the peace of mind that you’re protected if the unexpected happens.

reasons to buy travel insurance


Things covered by travel insurance

Different travel insurance policies offer different benefits. For example, our International Comprehensive travel insurance policy can cover you for things like:

  • Medical and evacuation
  • Cancelling or changing your journey before you leave
  • Lost or stolen items
  • Bank cards, passport and travel documents
  • Personal accident
  • Personal liability
  • Rental vehicle excess
  • Cash allowance while in hospital
  • Emergency dental treatment
  • Overseas funeral expenses
  • Changes to your journey once you have left

things covered by travel insurance


How to compare travel insurance benefits

When you’re comparing travel insurance policies, it’s important to compare the benefit limits, sub-limits, excess and terms outlined in each benefit type. You can find this information in the insurer's policy document or product disclosure statement. This will help you to learn:

  • How much you’re covered for under that benefit category, like medical care.
  • If there’s a fee (known as an ‘excess’) involved should you need to make a claim.
  • If any exclusions apply to that cover.
  • If any sub-limits apply to that cover.

What isn’t covered by travel insurance?

When comparing travel insurance policies, it’s important to take note of any exclusions to your cover. Travel insurers usually outline a list of general exclusions in their policy documents.

For example, amongst other exclusions, you won’t be covered under our International Comprehensive travel insurance policy if you’re:

  • Breaking the law
  • Under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Gambling
  • Hitchhiking

travel insurance exclusions


Travel insurance for activities

Whether you’re an adventure traveller or on holiday with the kids, you’ll want to be confident that your insurance includes cover for all the activities you plan to enjoy. Some insurers may cover popular activities automatically, and others might give you the option to add extra cover for an additional premium.


Comparing different types of travel insurers

During your research, you may come across different types of organisations that sell travel insurance. Let’s look at some of the most common types of travel insurance providers and some things to consider for each.

different types of travel insurers

1. Direct travel insurance

Direct travel insurers, like us, provide travel insurance directly to customers without any middlemen. That means you don’t have to pay extra for a travel agent or broker’s fee, which may save you money.

2. Credit card travel insurance

Some credit cards may offer ‘complimentary’ travel insurance. However, it’s always important to check the benefits, cover limits and exclusions, so you have a full understanding of what you are and aren’t covered for.

You may be required to activate your travel insurance before you travel to ensure you’re covered. There may also be other rules that you have to follow to ensure you are covered, such as booking all your travel on that credit card.

3. Through travel agents

Travel agents may also offer to organise your travel insurance by dealing with an insurer themselves. This could cost you more, as some agents charge a fee for their service.

As insurance through a travel agent is usually purchased on the spot, alongside your travel plans, it removes the option to shop around for the most appropriate and competitive insurance for your needs.

4. Through airlines

Some airlines offer a travel insurance product, which you can add to your flight booking. As with any provider, pay special attention to the benefits they offer, their record of customer service and whether they provide 24/7 emergency assistance.


How to choose a travel insurer

When comparing travel insurance, as well as looking at cover benefits, it’s also good to look at whether they have been recognised by any industry awards and whether they have positive customer reviews. These things may give you a better picture of the level of service you can expect.

When comparing travel insurers, ask yourself if they:

  • Have great customer reviews: we’re proud to have achieved an award-winning rating of 4.7/5* on
  • Have won industry awards: we’ve won several industry awards through the years.
  • Underwrite their own policies: we underwrite our own insurance, so we’re not reselling another company’s product.
  • Have 24/7 emergency assistance our 24/7 emergency assistance means we're just a phone call away if you need us.

If you’d like any more information on which SCTI policy is the right choice for your next adventure overseas, contact us at


*Data correct as of 29 November 2018


Choosing the right travel insurance for your holiday can be a frustrating challenge. Confusing policies, hidden costs and lengthy exclusions can mean you end up paying more than you need to. At Southern Cross Travel Insurance, we want to take the mystery out of finding the right cover for your holiday. We’re here to help you to protect yourself with a comprehensive and affordable policy for your next adventure.


How can I save money on my insurance?

Travel insurance can seem like an annoying extra expense, especially when you consider the cost of flights, accommodation and activities overseas. However, compared to the price of emergency medical care, lost luggage, delayed flights and damaged valuables, it’s easy to see why protecting yourself with comprehensive travel insurance is the smart financial choice. There are some simple ways you can save money on your travel insurance. 


Don’t always choose the lowest price cover

You may be tempted to select dirt-cheap travel insurance, however before you commit to buy, it always pays to research the policy carefully. 

Saving a few dollars on a budget policy may seem like a good option now, but when the unexpected happens overseas and you find you’re not covered, it can end up costing you lots in the long run.

Reading customer reviews is a great place to start when researching the quality of a travel insurance provider.


Understand your travel insurance

There’s nothing more annoying than having an insurance claim rejected because you accidentally violated your policy’s rules. For example, you may not be covered if your electronics are damaged in checked luggage, or if your bags are stolen while left out of your sight.

One of the most common mistakes travellers make with travel insurance is failing to understand their cover. Always read your policy carefully so you can be confident that you stay insured overseas. 


Find travel insurance discounts and promotions

When you sign up to the Southern Cross Travel Insurance email newsletter, you become the first to hear about travel insurance discounts and promotions, and also get access to safety tips, travel advice and destination updates.


How do I choose the right policy?

There are several things to consider when choosing the best policy for your holiday, which will also impact the price of your insurance:

1. Your destination

Your destination can affect the price of your policy, based on its distance from Australia, the cost of medical care in the country and its risk rating. Insurers may not be able to provide cover for some destinations (like those with a ‘Reconsider your need to travel' or 'Do not travel’ rating on 

2. The length of your trip

The duration of your holiday can also impact the price of your insurance. Our International Comprehensive policy covers you for trips of up to 12 months, including multiple destinations.  

3. The benefits you need

The benefits you require will also determine the cost of your travel insurance. For example, if you’re travelling with high value items, you should carefully consider whether you’d like to specify these and pay an additional premium for the extra cover you receive. You may also want to pay to increase your cover, for example to increase your benefit limit for ‘Cancelling or changing your journey before you leave’, add cover for skiing and snowboarding or mopeds and motorbikes, or cover your pre-existing medical conditions.

It’s important that you understand the general exclusions of your policy before you buy. For example, under our International Comprehensive policy you won’t be covered if you’re under the influence of alcohol or non-prescribed drugs, if you break local laws or if you’re hitchhiking.

You can see a full list of the activities we cover and general policy exclusions in our policy wording.

4. How often you travel

If you’re planning on taking several trips a year, our Annual Multi-Trip policy might be a more cost (and time) effective choice than shopping around for travel insurance every time you travel. Once purchased, you’re covered for an unlimited number of return journeys overseas, over a period of 12 months commencing on your start date of insurance. You can choose to have journeys covered up to a maximum of 30, 60 or 90-day in length.


Get a quote for cheap travel insurance

To see why our award-winning travel insurance is the best value for your next holiday, get a quick quote today.


What you need to know

This page includes some information about our products but, as with all insurance policies, terms and conditions apply. For our terms and conditions (including information about exclusions, excesses and sub limits) we recommend you read the relevant Financial Services Guide (FSG), Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and Target Market Determination (TMD) to ensure our travel insurance products are right for you.  

You can find the relevant documents here: International Comprehensive, Annual Multi-trip, International Medical Only, Working Overseas, Domestic.

Need some help?

If you would like to get in touch, we’re here to help. Please feel free to email us at any time, or speak to one of our friendly insurance experts on 1800 196 484. Our office hours are Monday – Friday, 10am – 4pm (AEST).