COVID-19 Travel Insurance: What’s Covered and What’s Not

Australians planning to travel internationally after the reopening of borders are now seeking COVID-19 travel insurance. However, it’s crucial to carefully examine the fine print, as there are significant exclusions related to the pandemic. Sydney couple Beth and Larry Lee, who are about to visit their grandchild in the United States, share their concerns about the uncertainty surrounding post-COVID travel.

What Does COVID Travel Insurance Cover?

Beth and Larry managed to secure travel insurance with Southern Cross, which offers coverage for COVID-related issues. The policy cost them $698 for a three-week trip to the United States. The insurance provides financial protection for medical expenses if they contract COVID-19 during their journey. It also covers costs associated with changing travel arrangements due to COVID-19 diagnoses before or after departure.

However, it’s essential to note that if the travel advice to the United States changes to “do not travel,” Southern Cross will not cover COVID-19 expenses. Monitoring travel advisories is crucial, as sudden changes can impact coverage.

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Lockdowns and Border Closures

One significant exclusion from the Lees’ travel insurance is coverage for general COVID-19 lockdowns or border closures. Southern Cross explains that providing this kind of coverage would significantly increase premiums. While the Lees feel somewhat reassured by their COVID-19 coverage, they remain concerned about potential disruptions due to rolling lockdowns or border closures.

The Best COVID Travel Insurance Options

ABC News contacted several major insurers, including Allianz, CoverMore, and NIB, and discovered that most offerings do not extend beyond what Southern Cross provides. Although CoverMore offers some general lockdown coverage for travel to New Zealand, comprehensive coverage for lockdowns and border closures remains scarce.

The Future of Travel Insurance

As the market gradually recovers, insurers anticipate a slight increase in premiums due to the additional COVID-19 coverage. However, the impact on policy prices is yet to be fully understood. Insurance comparison website Compare The Market notes that it will take a few more months to assess the true effects of introducing COVID-19 cover on premiums.

Add-On Travel Insurance and Other Options

In addition to standalone travel insurance policies, some people purchase insurance when booking flights or receive it as a perk when signing up for credit cards. Qantas has resumed selling travel insurance through NIB, providing general COVID-19 coverage. FlightCentre also offers travel insurance through CoverMore, which includes additional protections such as coverage for canceled accommodations and refunds for canceled holiday activities. However, free travel insurance provided by banks often excludes pandemics, including COVID-19.

In conclusion, while COVID-19 travel insurance can provide essential coverage for medical expenses and changes to travel plans, it’s crucial to carefully review policy exclusions. As the travel industry gradually recovers, insurers are adapting their offerings to meet the evolving needs of travelers. Stay informed and choose the best insurance option that suits your specific travel requirements.

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FAQs will be inserted here.


COVID-19 travel insurance offers protection against medical expenses and changes to travel plans due to COVID-19 diagnoses. However, it does not typically cover general lockdowns or border closures. As the travel industry adjusts to new realities, insurers continue to refine their policies to provide better coverage options. Review the fine print and select the travel insurance that meets your specific needs. Stay informed and travel safely!

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