Australian travellers, including cruise passengers, are gambling with their health and could face huge bills because they are cutting back on insurance in order to take the trips of their dreams.

According to a survey from Finder, a staggeringly low 37 per cent of Australians said they would take out an insurance policy if they were to travel overseas – meaning over 60%. are leaving the country without protection.

A stay in a hospital in a country with no reciprocal  health agreement with Australia can costs thousands of dollars a night, while a medivac flight from Fiji would cost $65,000 and from the US $280,000.

Many of those questioned blamed the increased cost of living, with more than one in three Australians saying they are now priced out of international travel.  Those who said they were determined to travel after the long pandemic lockdown said insurance would have to go.

shutterstock 229091782James Martin, travel insurance expert at Finder says: “It’s driven by affordability concerns, in a representative survey, it came out to 7.5 million felt that travelling abroad has become unaffordable.

“People who wouldn’t consider travelling without a travel insurance policy are a minority now, even after the pandemic heightened people’s awareness of the risks of travel.”

Data shows that the average flight between Melbourne and London in 2017 and 2018 was $1412, and that flight would now cost an average of $2677, more than double the price. These extortionate rises are pricing many out of travel, and for many that can still jetset, travel insurance is falling outside of budget. 

Mr Martin says that if you opt for travelling without insurance, the worst case could see you hundreds of thousands out of pocket.

At the sharp end, when you’re talking about repatriation, that can come out to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Especially in places like America, hundreds of thousands of dollars is almost inevitable.”

As the cost of living and inflation place a financial strain, insurance prices are rising with it. Mr Martin says this highlights the importance of comparing across different insurers and picking a plan with coverage and affordability that are suitable for you.

Broadly, insurance prices over the past few years have only been going one way and that’s up. Due to inflation, claims costs are higher for insurers and that price gets passed onto the consumer.

“The most recent stat is that our Finder Travel Insurance awards found the cost difference between the cheapest and most expensive comprehensive international policies is $906. So it really does pay to compare rather than being loyal to one particular brand.”

The message echoed from those in the know is that if insurance can’t fit in your budget, then don’t travel. 

However, if you can afford insurance and are looking to head overseas, here’s who the industry has crowned as the best providers. 


Best Travel Insurance – Comprehensive 

In terms of the best policies offered, after digging into the fine print, Finder puts Southern Cross Travel Insurance as the best. The provider scored particularly high for COVID benefits, cancellation fees and luggage damage cover, while remaining competitive on price. 

Best Travel Insurance – Value 

Fast Cover Travel Insurance came out on top in terms of value, covering you for all the essentials like COVID, travel delays and luggage issues, while coming out as the cheapest of all 28 international insurance policies analysed by Finder.

Best Travel Insurance – Seniors 

Southern Cross came out on top for seniors, scoring high on its age limit cap, as well as keeping an average price yet significant coverage. 

Best Travel Insurance – Domestic

While it’s less common for people to take out domestic travel insurance, most agents and travel experts still consider it essential. InsureAndGo scored best among 23 domestic policies, due to impressive coverage on cancellation, rental car excess and more, as well as being reasonably priced. 

shutterstock 1051950482Choice 

On Choices comparison page, members of the Choice community can recommend insurance providers they’ve used before. 

The most recommended is InsureAndGo’s Gold Plan. InsureAndGo offers an age limit of 100, COVID coverage, significant baggage cover and more

The next most recommended is Travel Insurance Direct’s ‘The Works’ plan, which has an age limit of 74, comprehensive cancellation cover and more.

1Cover’s comprehensive plan is also highly commended, with no age limit, significant medical cover and more.