Why you should always buy travel insurance for domestic travel

Travel insurance could mean the difference between a great getaway and the holiday from hell. Source: Getty

If you’re like most people, you probably think that travel insurance is less important when travelling around Australia, but the unexpected can still happen, which is why it’s still important to protect yourself.

Put simply, travel insurance for domestic travel covers you for cancellation costs, damaged, lost or stolen luggage, personal liability as well as a number of other problems that could go wrong when heading off interstate, Rod Attrill, the resident money expert at comparethemarket.com.au, explains.

“It may be easy to overlook at times but domestic travel insurance for holidays within Australia is a key component of your trip that you should consider,” he says.

“When we’re in unfamiliar places, we tend to increase our susceptibility to risks such as lost items, thefts and even car crashes. It’s when we’re enjoying our holidays the most that our guard comes down and we overlook issues that could leave us severely out-of-pocket.”

So, with the help of Attrill, here’s everything you need to know about purchasing travel insurance for your holiday-at-home:

What does domestic travel insurance cover?

In general, Attrill says your domestic travel insurance policy should include cover for your baggage, flight cancellations and rental car excess. Meanwhile, lost or damaged belongings, theft and any personal items you might need if your journey is delayed for an extended period are also covered by domestic travel insurance.

Read more: Cruise travel insurance: Everything you need to know before you buy

“Retirement can be a great time to go on that great Australian road trip, and seniors under 99 years of age can still be covered by travel insurance,” he explains.

“While there may be reduced limits for Australians over 70, senior travellers can still have the peace of mind knowing some expenses such as delayed flights, lost luggage and cancellations may be covered.”

Here’s a further break down:

Lost, damaged or stolen belongings

No one wants to lose their luggage or personal belongings while on holiday but if it does happen to you, take some comfort knowing travel insurance can ease the financial burden of having to replace any lost, damaged or stolen items. However, your policy may not cover all unattended items that are lost or damaged, Attrill warns, adding: “So always check your Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) to know exactly what you’re covered for.”

Cancellation fees

Depending on the policy you take out, your travel insurance policy could also potentially reimburse you for cancellation fees or lost deposits, Attrill says.

“For example, if you book concert tickets in another city, but your flight is cancelled and you can’t attend, your travel insurance policy could pay out a lump sum of cash to make up for the loss,” he explains.

Car excesses 

Hiring out a rental car for your trip might seem like a fun idea, but if the vehicle is involved in an accident, damaged, or stolen, and you haven’t taken out travel insurance, you’re in for a hefty bill. Luckily, travel insurance can help you out.

“Travel insurance can pay for car rental excess, which means you have one less thing to worry about during an already stressful time,” Attrill adds.

What’s not covered?

In general, travel insurance for domestic travel may not cover medical related issues, however for Australian citizens or permanent residents you can use your Medicare card or private health insurance.

Meanwhile, alternative transport expenses, travel documents or transaction cards, unlicensed operation of vehicles, scuba diving without a licensed instructor and injuries from activities not covered by your policy won’t be covered.

Read more: Most important things to consider when buying travel insurance

Do I need travel insurance for domestic cruising?

Even if the cruise is just in Australian waters, Attrill says it’s still important you take out travel insurance.

“Even if the cruise liner stays only in Australian waters, and doesn’t head to any international ports, Medicare entitlements are not provided on board,” he explains.

Many travellers would assume that they can rely on their private health cover or Medicare in case of a medical emergency while on holiday. But while that may be the case when you’re on dry land, it’s not true when you’re on the water.

Neither Medicare nor private heath insurers will cover the costs if you’re taken ill when taking a cruise between Aussie ports, or even if you’re still in an Australian port but onboard the ship.

Do you purchase travel insurance for domestic cover?

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