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How to maximise your chance of a travel insurance payout

How to maximise your chance of a travel insurance payout

No one travel insurance policy is like another, so it pays to look closely at the fine print.


When you’re researching travel insurance it's important not to focus on the price alone. What's important is getting cover that’s right for you. So if something does go wrong, you’ve got the reassurance that your policy covers you (and your belongings).

Know what’s excluded: That way you’ll avoid a nasty surprise when you come to make a claim. A Product Disclosure Statement is a crucial piece of reading and can help you decide whether a travel insurance policy is right for you or not.

Don’t assume you’re covered for every activity either – check first. And if you’re off on a winter holiday but not covered to hurtle down a mountain on a snowboard for example, you may be able to get an add-on insurance package from your insurer. If not, then choose a policy where you are covered.

Get covered from the start: To make the most of the benefits of having travel insurance, take it out as soon as you know your travel dates – when you’re leaving and returning to Australia. Some credit cards include travel insurance, but make sure you meet the eligibility conditions before you go away in order to be covered.

Discover more about international travel insurance included with eligible CommBank credit cards.

Be upfront about your health: You must tell the insurer of any pre-existing medical issues. Not doing so may leave you counting the cost if something goes wrong and your pre-existing medical condition is excluded from cover.

Act on travel warnings: You do yourself no favours by purposefully putting yourself in harm’s way. Getting travel insurance retrospectively after a travel warning won’t wash either. Don’t ignore a travel warning – it could invalidate your travel insurance.

Register with smartraveller to get up-to-date travel advice from around the world. Doing this also means it’s easier for the Australian government to contact you and your family in an emergency.

Take note of the ‘little things’

Insurers do make payouts, they’re not trying to catch anyone out (insurers are governed by the General Insurance Code of Practice). But you’ve got a responsibility to read the fine print. 

Some things to look out for: 

  • Trekking: Many insurers limit the height you can trek up to
  • Diving: Many insurers limit the depth you can dive to
  • Surface water sports including fishing: Many insurers state a limit on the number of nautical miles you can be from a land mass
  • Riding a motorcycle, scooter or moped: Many insurers require you to hold a certain type of licence and limit the engine capacity of any vehicle you may ride on as a driver or passenger
  • Cruises: Many insurers ask you to purchase an add-on package which covers you for specific cruise related items like evacuation from a ship, loss or damage to formal clothes, excursion cancellations, confinement to your cabin due to illness
  • Competitive sports: These tend to be excluded
  • Being under the influence: This is likely to invalidate your policy
  • Valuables: Your belongings are often covered - up to a certain limit – but being careless with them may cause problems if you need to make a claim. If you don’t need it, don’t take it
  • Pregnancy: Past complications and your due date are important - most insurance policies offer cover up to 23 – 26 weeks
  • Stopovers: Many insurers state a limit on the number of hours you’re covered during a stopover – generally 48 hours

Exclusions vary from insurer to insurer though, the information above is only a general guide. 

If you’re unclear about anything give the insurance provider a call before you purchase a policy. 

Most insurance policies include a cooling-off period but why go through the hassle of cancelling when you can get it right first time?

If something happens

It’s crucial to get in touch with your insurer straight away – especially for medical emergencies.

There are a few things you can do to make it easier for you and your travel insurer before you submit a claim.

1. Keep receipts of items you take with you (or evidence of ownership) so if they’re lost or stolen you know how much to claim. And keep receipts for the things you’ve had to buy as a result of an unexpected event 

2. Make copies of key documents including your travel insurance certificate, car rental vehicle certificate, passport and driver’s licence. It’s worth taking photos of important belongings too

3. Don’t admit fault or liability for an accident or event, or promise to pay any money without checking with your insurer first

4. Get a police report ASAP to confirm any items that have been lost or stolen. It’s extremely difficult to get a police report for an incident that happened overseas after you return to Australia. Also check whether you need to report the loss or theft to anyone else e.g. the theft of a credit card to your bank.

Check your policy or call your insurer to avoid inadvertently invalidating your claim before you’ve even submitted it. 

And give them your current contact details – it’s important you’re available to assist your insurer if they need to get in touch with you.

Making a claim

Knowing how to make a claim should be part of your research process. If you ever need to make a claim you want it to be straightforward and stress-free.

Times vary but give your insurer around 10-15 business days to consider your claim. Although some claims, especially medical emergencies, can be assessed on the spot. 

If you have international travel insurance included with your CommBank Gold, Platinum or Diamond credit card, or have purchased CBA Travel Insurance, you can make a claim either:

  • Online directly with the insurer, Allianz Global Assistance
  • By calling +617 3377 3988 (from overseas – reverse charges) or 1800 837 177 (in Australia) at any time

It helps everyone involved if you’ve got everything you need to hand including your insurance policy number (it’s usually on your travel insurance certificate).

It’s also worth being aware that the Australian Government provides 24/7 consular assistance. Call +612 62613305 (from overseas) or 1300 555 135 (in Australia) if you need their help.

When you book a holiday, consider getting travel insurance at the same time. This could save you money especially if you have to cancel your holiday for an unexpected reason.

CommBank emergency details

  • Lock, Block, Limit your CommBank credit card, Lock, Block your CommBank debit card or lock your Travel Money Card for added security
  • Cancel and order replacement CommBank cards in NetBank or the CommBank app
  • Call us 24/7 on +61 2 9999 3283 to report lost or stolen CommBank cards
  • Call Allianz Global Assistance 24/7 on +61 7 3305 7499 if you’ve got travel insurance included with your credit card or a separate CBA Travel Insurance policy and want to make a claim.

This article is intended to provide general information of an educational nature only. It does not have regard to the financial situation or needs of any reader and must not be relied upon as financial product advice. If you activate an international travel insurance policy included with an eligible credit card, purchase a CBA Travel Insurance Policy or where a claim event on other insurances occurs prior to 1 October 2018, the insurance is issued and managed by AWP Australia Pty Limited ABN 52 097 227 177 AFSL No. 245631 (trading as Allianz Global Assistance) on behalf of the insurer Allianz Australia Insurance Limited ABN 15 000 122 850 AFSL No. 234708 for Commonwealth Bank of Australia. If you activate an international travel insurance policy included with an eligible credit card, purchase a CBA Travel Insurance Policy or where a claim event on other insurances occurs on or after 1 October 2018, the insurance is provided by Zurich Australian Insurance Limited, ABN 13 000 296 640, AFS Licence Number 232507 through its agent Cover-More Insurance Services Pty Ltd ABN 95 003 114 145, AFSL 241713 (Cover-More) for Commonwealth Bank of Australia. You need to activate your international travel insurance included with eligible credit cards before each trip in order to have comprehensive level of cover. If you don’t activate, you’ll receive personal liability cover and overseas emergency medical assistance and overseas emergency medical and hospital expenses cover only. Restrictions, exclusions (including for pre-existing medical conditions and persons aged 80 years or over (for international travel insurance policy included with an eligible credit card) or persons aged 74 years or over (for CBA Travel Insurance)), limits and excesses may apply to all insurances. Before making a decision, refer to the relevant Product Disclosure Statement for more information. We (CBA) do not provide any advice on this insurance based on any consideration of your objectives, financial situation or needs. If you purchase a policy, we (CBA) receive a commission which is a percentage of your premium.