How to compare travel insurance

When it comes to something as important as travel insurance, you should be confident that you’re protected by the level of cover you need. But not all travel insurance is made equal, and finding a policy to suit you can sometimes be a minefield of confusing jargon and lengthy T&Cs.

This guide to comparing travel insurance will outline the key things to look for in a policy, dive into how our insurance stacks up, and give you some tips on how to find the right cover for you.


What is travel insurance?

Travel insurance is a contract between you and an insurance provider. The travel insurance company agrees to compensate you for the cost of unexpected events (e.g. if your luggage is lost overseas). To receive this cover, you must adhere to the terms and conditions of your policy (e.g. not leaving your luggage unattended).

Travel insurers provide cover for many types of unexpected events, like medical emergencies, natural disasters and lost luggage. The amount of compensation they agree to provide is usually different for each of these types of events, and is called a ‘cover limit’.


Why buy travel insurance?

From slips and trips to stolen passports, there’s a lot that can go wrong when travelling overseas. These unexpected events can end up costing you lots of money, especially if your destination has expensive medical care or you’re forced to extend your holiday before you can safely return home.

For example, some of our highest claims have come from unlucky travellers who have required emergency medical care, with many of these medical bills reaching over $100,000. In fact, our highest claim of 2017 totalled $682,000!

Travel insurance can give you the peace of mind that you’re protected if the unexpected happens.

reasons to buy travel insurance


Things covered by travel insurance

Our award-winning TravelCare policy can cover you for things like:

  • Medical and evacuation
  • Cancelling or changing your journey before you leave
  • Lost or stolen items
  • Bank cards, passport and travel documents
  • Personal accident
  • Personal liability
  • Rental vehicle excess
  • Cash allowance while in hospital
  • Emergency dental treatment
  • Overseas funeral expenses
  • Changes to your journey once you have left

things covered by travel insurance


How to compare travel insurance benefits

When you’re comparing travel insurance policies, it’s important to compare the cover limits, sub-limits, excess and terms outlined in each benefit type. You can find this information in a document called a ‘Product Disclosure Statement’. This will help you to learn:

  • How much you’re covered for under that benefit category, like medical care.
  • If there’s a fee (known as an ‘excess’) involved should you need to make a claim.
  • If any exclusions apply to that cover, like whether you’re covered for skiing accidents.
  • If any sub-limits apply to that cover, like whether there’s a limit to the amount of dental care you can receive.

Let’s look into some of the benefits of our TravelCare policy in more detail to give you a good idea of how our comprehensive insurance compares to others on the market.


Medical and evacuation cover

Medical and evacuation cover is one of the key benefits to look at when comparing travel insurance policies, because your health and wellbeing is a high priority when travelling. Whether it’s a minor illness or something more severe, it’s important that you’re protected with comprehensive medical cover in case the unexpected happens overseas.

Our TravelCare policy includes unlimited medical and evacuation cover for unexpected events that occur on your journey (terms and conditions, including exclusions, excesses and sub limits apply).

medical and evacuation cover


Lost or stolen items

You should look at the amount of cover your policy provides if your personal belongings are lost, stolen or damaged overseas. It can be upsetting and expensive to lose items like electronics, which is why you might choose a policy that provides protection for your valuable items.

Our TravelCare policy includes cover for baggage and personal items, up to:

  • $25,000 per journey for Individual cover
  • $50,000 per journey for Family cover

You also have the option to specify high value items (worth more than $1,500) when you’re buying your policy. You’ll need to pay an additional premium for this, but depreciation won’t be applied to these items if you need to make a claim.

cover for lost or stolen items


Passports and travel documents

A lost or stolen passport can turn a relaxing holiday into a bureaucratic disaster, which is why you might choose a travel insurance policy that includes adequate cover for your travel documents.

Our TravelCare policy includes cover for your bank cards, travel documents and passports, up to:

  • $1,000 per journey for Individual cover
  • $2,000 per journey for Family cover

cover for passports and travel documents


Travel interruption

Interruptions to your travel plans (like cancelled or delayed flights) can be frustrating and costly, especially if you’re forced to extend your trip. Your travel insurance may be able to provide cover for extra expenses caused by a travel interruption, such as accommodation and food costs.

If an unexpected event means you need to cancel or change your journey before you leave, our TravelCare policy includes cover up to:

  • $2,500 per journey for Individual cover
  • $5,000 per journey for Family cover

We also give you the option of increasing this amount when you’re getting a quote for TravelCare.

If an unexpected event means you need to make a change to your journey whilst you’re overseas, our TravelCare policy includes cover up to:

  • $50,000 per journey for Individual cover and
  • $100,000 per journey for Family cover

travel insurance cover for travel interruption


Rental vehicle excess

Renting a car can be a great way to explore overseas, but accidents happen so it pays to be protected.

Our TravelCare policy includes rental vehicle excess cover, up to $5,000 per journey. This means we can pay the excess to a rental vehicle company if:

  • The vehicle is stolen or damaged due to an unexpected event; and
  • The excess you paid the rental company isn’t refundable

rental vehicle excess cover


What isn’t covered by travel insurance?

When comparing travel insurance policies, it’s important to take note of any exclusions to your cover. Travel insurers usually outline a list of general exclusions in their Product Disclosure Statement.

For example, amongst other exclusions, you won’t be covered under our TravelCare policy if you’re:

  • Breaking the law
  • Under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Gambling
  • Hitchhiking

travel insurance exclusions


Travel insurance for activities

Whether you’re an adventure traveller or on holiday with the kids, you’ll want to be confident that your insurance includes cover for all the activities you plan to enjoy. Some insurers may cover popular activities automatically, and others might give you the option to add extra cover for an additional premium.

Our TravelCare policy includes cover for most popular activities, provided you book them through a licensed operator, like snorkelling, surfing, skateboarding, white water rafting, horse riding and even bungee jumping.


travel insurance for activities


Activities we cover for an additional premium

We give you the option to add skiing and snowboarding cover, and moped and motorbike cover to your travel insurance policy for an extra premium.

additional activities for cover


Comparing types of travel insurance

At SCTI, we offer four different types of travel insurance:

  1. TravelCare
  2. Working Overseas
  3. International Student
  4. Visiting New Zealand


TravelCare is our comprehensive travel insurance for overseas holidays.



Working Overseas

Our Working Overseas policy can provide New Zealand residents with comprehensive cover while they work abroad.



International Student

If you’re visiting New Zealand to study, our International Student policy may be a good choice for you.



Visiting New Zealand

If you’re visiting New Zealand for travel purposes, our Visiting New Zealand policy could be a great option.



Comparing different types of travel insurers

During your research, you may come across different types of organisations that sell travel insurance. Let’s look at some of the most common types of travel insurance providers and some things to consider for each.

different types of travel insurers

1. Direct travel insurance

Direct travel insurers, like us, provide travel insurance directly to customers without any middlemen. That means you don’t have to pay extra for a travel agent or broker’s fee, which may save you money.

2. Credit card travel insurance

Some credit cards may offer ‘complimentary’ travel insurance. However, it’s always important to check the benefits, cover limits and exclusions, so you have a full understanding of what you are and aren’t covered for.

You may be required to activate your travel insurance before you travel to ensure you’re covered. There may also be other rules that you have to follow to ensure you are covered, such as booking all your travel on that credit card.

3. Through travel agents

Travel agents may also offer to organise your travel insurance by dealing with an insurer themselves. This could cost you more, as some agents charge a fee for their service.

As insurance through a travel agent is usually purchased on the spot, alongside your travel plans, it removes the option to shop around for the most appropriate and competitive insurance for your needs.

4. Through airlines

Some airlines offer a travel insurance product, which you can add to your flight booking. As with any provider, pay special attention to the benefits they offer, their record of customer service and whether they provide 24/7 emergency assistance.


How to choose a travel insurer

When comparing travel insurance, as well as looking at cover benefits, it’s also good to look at whether they have been recognised by any industry awards and whether they have positive customer reviews. These things may give you a better picture of the level of service you can expect. When comparing travel insurers, ask yourself if they:

  • Have great customer reviews: we’re proud to have achieved a rating of 4.6/5* on
  • Have won industry awards: we've won several industry awards through the years.
  • Underwrite their own policies: we underwrite our own insurance, so we’re not reselling another company’s product.
  • Have 24/7 emergency assistance: our 24/7 emergency assistance means we're just a phone call away if you need us.

If you’d like any more information on which SCTI policy is the right choice for your next adventure overseas, contact us at

*Data correct as of 29 November 2018