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Claiming travel insurance before your trip

A trip away doesn’t always go according to plan and you may need to make a travel insurance claim even before you leave.

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  • Finance
  • Read Time: 5 mins

As upsetting as it may be, your travel can be cancelled at any time for a variety of reasons. About 30-40% of travel insurance claims reported in 2023 were made before departure^.

If you have travel insurance, this may reimburse the cost of travel plans if you need to cancel for a covered reason.

To receive reimbursement, you may need to file a claim and submit supporting documentation that validates your claim eligibility. Read on to find out more about claiming travel insurance prior to travel.

If you need to cancel your trip

You may find you need to cancel your travel due to reasons outside your control. If this is the case, you may be able to cancel your flight and be reimbursed if you have an eligible reason. However, this reason would need to be detailed in your travel insurance policy.

Medical: In the case of trip cancellation claims related to medical issues, it may be necessary to provide medical support from a doctor. If you need to cancel your trip before departure due to injury or illness, it’s advisable to consult a doctor and obtain documentation that confirms your inability to travel. This requirement may apply even if you have a pre-existing condition, have obtained the pre-existing medical condition waiver, and are familiar with managing your condition. Ultimately, the key is to provide the necessary documentation to substantiate your claim to the insurance company. If in doubt, ask your insurer what evidence they need.

Family emergency: An unexpected and severe illness impacting a close family member or business partner may possibly be included in your travel insurance. Check your product disclosure statement (PDS) to see if it’s covered and if there are any conditions and limitations.

Job loss: Experiencing redundancy prior to your planned travel can possibly be claimed under your travel insurance, however its best to check with your insurance provider or PDS.

Cancelled annual leave: If you are a full-time essential worker, such as a police officer or firefighter, having your annual leave revoked due to a crisis requiring your presence, this may be covered under your insurance. Again, check with your provider or in the PDS.

If Smartraveller raises its advice level to ‘Reconsider your need to travel’ or ‘Do not travel’, your travel insurer may be able to cover cancellation costs.

Related reading: Smartraveller

Your trip has been cancelled

On the rare occasion, travel may be cancelled by your travel providers and you may be able to claim travel insurance.  

Natural disasters: Unpredictable and devastating, natural disasters can often leave regions destroyed, damaged, or even inaccessible. If your destination has been impacted by a natural disaster, flights may be refunded or credited by your airline but if you’ve paid direct for accommodation or events that have been cancelled or destroyed, refunds may be difficult or even impossible to obtain. If this is the case, check with your insurance provider if you are eligible to make a claim.  

Cancellation of a course: A seminar or course you were intending on travelling to may be called off for whatever reason. Once again, contact your provider to see if you are eligible to make a claim. 

How to claim before a trip 

To initiate a trip cancellation claim on your travel insurance policy, it’s recommended that you contact your insurance provider using their preferred methods. This will usually be outlined in your policy documentation.

They will guide you through the process and provide you with specific instructions on how to submit your claim. Depending on the reason for your claim, they will also inform you about the necessary documentation required to support your case. 

For more reading: Smartraveller 

Members save 10% on Travel Insurance*

National Seniors members receive a 10% discount on travel insurance policies*.

With some cruise cover automatically included, as well as cover for some coronavirus-related events, for when things don’t go to plan.

^Based on National Seniors Travel Insurance claims data reported in 2023.  

National Seniors Australia Ltd, ABN 89 050 523 003, AR 282736 is an authorised representative of nib Travel Services (Australia) Pty Ltd (nib), ABN 81 115 932 173, AFSL 308461 and act as nib's agent and not as your agent. This is general advice only. Before you buy, you should consider your needs, the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS), Financial Services Guide (FSG) and Target Market Determination available from us. This insurance is underwritten by Pacific International Insurance Pty Ltd, ABN 83 169 311 193 *The discount applies to the total National Seniors travel insurance premium and is for National Seniors Australia members only. Discounts do not apply to the rate of GST and stamp duty or any changes you make to the policy. nib has the discretion to withdraw or amend this discount offer at any time. This discount cannot be used in conjunction with any other promotional offer or discount.  

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