Travel Alert: Cover excluded for COVID-19 except AUS/NZ with optional COVID-19 Pack or selected countries with "Do Not Travel" advice.

15 things not usually covered by IEC Travel Insurance

Knowing what’s covered by your IEC Insurance policy is important, but so is knowing what your IEC working holiday insurance for Canada may not be able to provide cover for.

15 things not usually covered by IEC Travel Insurance
Guy faq with microscope

What won’t my IEC Canada working holiday insurance cover?

When you’re looking for an International Experience Canada (IEC) insurance policy for your working holiday in Canada, it’s usual practice to check out the benefits that the travel insurance policy can provide you so you can find the best policy for you, and whether it satisfies the IEC visa requirements.  

What you should also make yourself familiar with, are the situations where your IEC travel insurance won’t be able to provide you with cover.

While it would be nice if IEC travel insurance covered any type of situation that you find yourself in while you travel and work in Canada, the simple fact is that the cost for that type of all-encompassing insurance policy would be astronomical! Like all insurance policies, your working holiday travel insurance can only cover you for certain unexpected events.

In general, during your working holiday, you should act responsibly and take care to keep yourself safe and avoid the need to make a claim.


What are the 15 situations that are generally not covered by travel insurance for your IEC working holiday?

1. Breaking the law

Just because you’re on holidays, it doesn’t mean the rules don’t apply. Laws are there for a reason, and if you don’t follow them and behave in a way that gets you into trouble with the police or government, you won’t be covered if a claim arises from it.


If you become injured while breaking the law, you will generally not have your hospital and medical expenses covered by travel insurance. This includes riding a motorcycle without the required helmet or licence, or not obeying the road rules.

2. You’re Intoxicated or have taken illicit drugs

It’s not illegal to have a drink while in Canada, but if you’ve drunk alcohol excessively, your travel insurance will be void. That means if you’re under the influence of alcohol and you stumble and hurt yourself, you won’t have cover for medical expenses. Take illicit drugs and have an accident as a result? Your IEC travel insurance won’t cover you.

3. Your pre-existing medical condition is not covered by your policy

If you have a pre-existing medical condition, you should check to see if the medical condition is covered under your IEC insurance. If it’s not covered and you experience a complication from your pre-existing medical condition, you won’t be able to claim for any out-of-pocket expenses you incur as a result. And we’re not just talking about medical expenses; your trip cancellation or disruption expenses are included here too.

4. If you knew that a family member was going to be hospitalised or die

If a family member is seriously sick or passes away, and you were aware of the likelihood of this happening at the time that you buy your policy, you may not be reimbursed for the costs you've incurred to cancel your trip, or for the costs that you incur to return home to be with them.

Guy snow skiing
5. You participate in an activity that is not covered by your policy

Ensure you understand the IEC insurance that you have taken out for your working holiday, and that you have cover for the activities you plan to do in Canada. If it’s not covered under the policy that you’ve chosen, or if you forget to pay the additional premium to be covered for an activity, you won’t be able to claim for the expenses that arise from it.


If you go skiing and skiing or snowboarding is not covered by your travel insurance policy, you’ll be responsible for paying your medical and hospital expenses if you’re injured in a ski accident.

6. Something you already knew about or has already happened

In insurance terms, we call this a “Known Event”. Your IEC Canada insurance provides cover for unexpected and unforeseen situations, and not for events that have already occurred or you’re aware that it may happen at the time that you bought your policy.


Some situations where you wouldn’t be covered because at the time that you bought your policy:

  • You applied for your dream job in Australia, and if you get the job, you’ll cancel your IEC trip. Your cancellation costs would not be something you’d be able to claim for.
  • A family member is seriously sick, and you know there is the likelihood that they may pass away during your trip. Returning home won’t void your IEC insurance, but you wouldn’t be able to claim for the travel costs.
  • A blizzard has already hit the area of Canada you plan to travel to which likely means you won't be able to travel to that area, and you then book a tour to that area. You would not be able to claim for your travel plans that are subsequently disrupted when the tour is cancelled or delayed.
7. You get a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI)

Travel insurance generally excludes cover for medical expenses related to Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI's) or diseases.

8. Regular medical check-ups

We know you may be away from home for up to 2 years, however, regular medical or dental check-ups or filling regular prescriptions are not considered medical emergencies or something “unexpected”. Travel insurance provides cover for unanticipated events for which you were not aware of at the time you purchased your policy.

If you will require regular medication, bring enough of what you’ll need for your working holiday before you leave, consider having any check-ups or routine medical appointments before you go and budget for any costs. If you qualify and register for Canada's universal health-care system, some costs for check-ups or medication may be covered.


Check-ups and buying medication you normally take at home such as ventolin, and prescriptions for contraception are not considered unexpected situations.

9. You ignore official warnings

If the Australian Government or other official body release a warning on smartraveller that certain areas are no longer safe to travel to, and you choose to travel there anyway, your travel insurance may be void.

So don’t put yourself in danger: if you’re planning on doing some travelling outside Canada, check smartraveller to see if it’s safe to do so.

Travel advisories can also affect the cover on your policy and should also be checked before you buy your policy, and before and during your trip.

10. You make a mistake in your travel planning

If you make an error in your travel plans or simply change your mind about travelling, it’s not something you’d be able to claim for.


  • Applying for the wrong type of visa
  • Not satisfying all the IEC visa requirements which results in you being denied entry into Canada
  • Your passport has expired or will expire during your trip and you’re denied exit from Australia or entry into Canada
  • You’ve booked the wrong flight, or you missed your flight because you slept in
Thief passport
11. You do not look after your belongings

If something of yours is stolen or you lose it because you’ve left it lying around unattended, your insurer is unlikely to reimburse you.


If you leave your bag with your wallet and passport inside it on the beach while you go for a swim, this will be considered leaving your belongings ‘unattended’ or ‘unsupervised’. So, make sure you always keep your belongings with you at all times or keep them in a secure location like your locked hotel room or safe.

12.  Someone else makes a mistake with your travel bookings

If your travel agent, family member or friend makes your travel bookings for you, you should double check what they’ve booked for you.

Someone else booking the wrong destination or getting the dates wrong is not something that your IEC travel insurance would be able to cover.

In the case of your travel agent making a mistake with your booking, you should seek compensation from them. If it’s a family member or friend, you may have to have an awkward conversation with them.

13. Your expenses are far more than what your policy provides cover for

Different policies provide different levels of cover, and there may be caps on how much you can actually claim for each benefit. You won’t be able to submit a claim for more than what you’re covered for.

Some policies may provide unlimited cancellation cover, it may be capped at $25 000, or there may not be cancellation cover at all. Having cancellation cover capped at a certain amount (or having no cancellation cover) may prove expensive if you’re not able to travel due to an unexpected illness and the amount that you’ve paid for your trip is higher than your policy limit.

You should also check if there are any caps for your luggage and personal belongings, especially if you’re bringing valuable items like cameras, laptops, iPhones or jewellery. Some policies provide an option for you to pay an additional premium to increase the cover for items like cameras and phones, however this option may not be available for other items like jewellery.


If your engagement ring is worth $10 000, but the cover for any jewellery item is capped at $750, the most you could claim for the ring would be $750 if it was lost or stolen.

14. General Exclusions

General Exclusions are situations in which your IEC travel insurance will not be able to cover, regardless of what type of policy you’ve bought, and when you purchased it. These will be listed in your IEC travel insurance Product Disclosure Statement (PDS).

Many travellers were caught by surprise when COVID-19 affected travel, as they weren’t aware that pandemics and epidemics were a General Exclusion in their policy. When you make your claim, the Claims team will reference the PDS that was current and applied to your policy at the time you purchased it. Travel insurance companies don’t, and are not legally allowed to make a change to your PDS and bind you to the new updated one. So, whatever applied when you bought your policy is what your claim will be assessed against.

When looking for the best travel insurance for your IEC working holiday, you should read the relevant PDS to understand what you can have cover for.

15. Disappointing holidays

Perhaps the weather wasn't what you expected, your job in Canada wasn’t what you thought it would be, or your accommodation didn’t live up to the pictures online. Whatever the reason you’re unhappy with how your working holiday has shaped up, your travel insurance generally won’t compensate you because you didn’t enjoy your time there.

The situations which you would not have cover for may differ between travel insurers. You should compare IEC travel insurance by reading the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) before you buy your policy to make sure that you know what your IEC insurance policy offers, so that you can find the best travel insurance policy for your working holiday in Canada.

FAQ guy with mircoscope

What is not covered by Travel Insurance FAQs

To the extent permissible by law, we will not pay under any circumstances if: 

1. You do not act in a responsible way to protect yourself and your property. 

2. You do not do everything you can reasonably do to reduce your loss as much as possible. 

3. Your claim arises from consequential loss of any kind, including but not limited to financial loss, loss of enjoyment, or the devaluation or depreciation of currency. 

4. Your claim arises from you being aware at the time of purchasing the policy of something that would give rise to you making a claim under this policy. 

5. Your claim arises from a loss which is recoverable by compensation under any workers compensation or transport accident laws or by any government sponsored fund, plan, or medical benefit scheme, or any other similar type legislation required to be effected by or under a law. 

6. Your claim arises from errors or omissions in any booking arrangements, failure to obtain relevant visa, passport or travel documents, or being rejected access to a country on arrival for any reason. 

7. Your claim arises from you acting unlawfully or breaking any government prohibition, laws or regulation including visa requirements. 

8. Your claim arises from a government authority detaining anyone, or confiscating or destroying anything. 

9. Your claim arises from any government prohibition, regulation or intervention. 

10. Your claim arises from: a. you participating in motocross, off road, jumping, racing or competition of any sort even if you have purchased the Adventure Pack or Motorcycle Pack; b. the use of a two-wheeled or three-wheeled motor vehicle unless you as the driver or a passenger are wearing a crash helmet (this is irrespective of the law in the country you are in). 

11. Your claim arises from you being in control of a motor vehicle without a current Australian driver’s licence. 

12. Your claim arises from you being: 

a. in control of a motorcycle, moped or scooter: 

i. without a current Australian motorcycle licence valid for the same class of bike (motorcycle) 

ii. without a current Australian driver’s licence (moped or scooter) 

iii. without a licence valid for the country that you are riding in 

b. a passenger on a motorcycle, moped or scooter that is in the control of a person: 

i. without a current licence valid for the same class of bike (motorcycle) 

ii. without a current driver’s licence (mopeds or scooters) 

iii. without a licence valid for the country that you are riding in 

13. Your claim arises from you being in control of a recreational all-terrain vehicle (including but not limited to quad-bikes, trikes and buggies) or are a passenger on a recreational allterrain vehicle unless you: 

a. are under the direct supervision of a properly licensed recreational organisation, and; 

b. are obeying all relevant safety codes; and 

c. are wearing protective gloves and a motorcycle rider’s helmet 

14. Your claim arises from or is related to or is associated with: 

a. an actual or likely epidemic or pandemic; or 

b. the threat of an epidemic or pandemic. Refer to and for further information on epidemics and pandemics. 

15. Your claim arises from you not following advice in the mass media or any government or other official body’s warning: 

a. of a strike, riot, bad weather, civil protest or contagious disease (including an epidemic or pandemic); or 

b. against travel to a particular country or parts of a country or against remaining in a particular country or parts of a country; or 

c. where a travel advisory risk rating of ‘Do Not Travel’ (or equivalent if this term is replaced) was issued by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade before the start date of your trip ; and

d. you did not reasonably take appropriate action to avoid or minimise any potential claim under your policy (including delay of travel to the country or part of the country referred to in the warning). Refer to and for further information.

16. Your claim arises from any act of war, whether war is declared or not, or from any rebellion, revolution, insurrection or taking of power by the military. 

17. Your claim arises from a nuclear reaction or contamination from nuclear weapons or radioactivity. 

18. Your claim arises from a biological and/or chemical materials, substances, compounds or the like used directly or indirectly for the purpose to harm or to destroy human life and/or create public fear. 

19. Your claim arises from any search and rescue costs charged to you by a government, regulated authority or private organisation connected with finding and rescuing an individual. 

20. Your claim arises from or is related to or is associated with any Pre-existing Medical Condition, except as described under the heading Covered Pre-existing Medical Conditions on pages 30 to 33 of the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) or to the extent specifically contemplated under Benefit 5 – Trip Cancellation Expenses, Benefit 6 – Trip Disruption Expenses, or Benefit 7 – Trip Resumption Expenses. 

21. Your claim arises from you taking a blood-thinning prescription medication, including but not limited to Warfarin (also known under the brand names Coumadin, Jantoven, Marevan, and Waran). 

22. Your claim arises from or is in respect of travel booked or undertaken against the advice of any medical practitioner. 

23. Your claim arises from or is associated with pregnancy, childbirth or related complications except as specified under Pregnancy on page 33 of the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS)

24. Your claim arises from or involves a hospital where you are being treated for addiction to drugs or alcohol, or are using it as a nursing, convalescent or rehabilitation place. 

25. Your claim arises from or involves the cost of medication in use at the time the trip began or the cost for maintaining a course of treatment you were on prior to the trip. 

26. Your claim arises from: 

a. your, your spouse or partner, close relative or your travelling companion’s suicide or attempted suicide; or 

b. your, your spouse or partner, close relative or your travelling companion injuring yourself or themself deliberately or putting yourself in danger (unless you are trying to save a human life). 

27. Your claim arises from a sexually transmitted disease. 

28. Your claim arises directly or indirectly from you, your partner, or your travelling companion using alcohol or drugs (unless the drugs have been prescribed by your medical practitioner). 

29. You receive private hospital or medical treatment where we have advised you that there is: 

a. Public funded services or care available to you at your destination; or 

b. A treatment at a public hospital is available under a Reciprocal Health Agreement between the Government of Australia and the government at your destination. 

30. We determine that you should return to Australia for treatment and you do not agree to do so. Under this circumstance we will pay you the amount that we determine would cover your overseas medical expenses and/or related costs had you agreed to our recommendation. You will then be responsible for any ongoing or additional costs relating to or arising out of the event you have claimed for. 

31. Your claim arises from any medical procedures in relation to AICD/ICD insertion during overseas trip. We will exercise our right to organise a repatriation to Australia for this procedure to be completed if you, your travelling companion or a close relative (as listed on your Certificate of Insurance) requires this procedure due to sudden and acute onset which occurs for the first time during your period of insurance and it is not directly or indirectly related to a Pre-existing Medical Condition. 

32. Your claim arises from or is any way related to the death, terminal diagnosis or hospitalisation of any person aged 85 years and over at the time of the claimable event (other than the insured), regardless of the country in which they live. 

  • 33. Your claim arises from or relates to any event or occurrence where providing such cover would result in us contravening the Health Insurance Act 1973 (Cth), the Private Health Insurance Act 2007 (Cth) or the National Health Act 1953 (Cth) (as amended or superseded). 

34. Your claim arises from you racing or participating in any race or timed activity (other than on foot). 

35. Your claim arises from you participating in any snow sports unless you have purchased the Snow Sport Plus Policy if travelling internationally or the Domestic Plus Policy if travelling within Australia. 36.

Your claim arises from you participating in any sports or recreational activities not listed in the ‘Covered Sports and Leisure Activities’ list (page 11 of the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS)), except as provided under the Adventure Pack (page 17 of the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS)) if you have purchased the Adventure Pack option. 

37. Your claim arises from you participating in professional sport in a professional capacity of any kind. 

38. Your claim arises from you participating in downhill mountain biking even if you have purchased the Adventure Pack or Bike Pack. 

39. Your claim arises from an event where a Travel Alert for that event was issued by us prior to the issue of your Certificate of Insurance. Events include (but is not limited to): strike, riot, hijack, civil protest, severe weather, natural disaster or contagious disease. 

40. Your claim arises from any person, company or organisation (including but not limited to any airline, or other carriers, accommodation provider, car rental agency, travel agency including online travel agencies, online travel and leisure retailer, tour or cruise ship operator, travel wholesaler, booking agent or other providers of facilities or travel or tourism-related services), refusing, failing or not having ability to provide services, facilities or accommodation, due to their own financial collapse or the financial collapse of any other person, company or organisation providing facilities or travel or tourism-related services.

For more information, refer to our Product Disclosure Statement (PDS).

No, you are not covered if you make a claim which resulted from you being under the influence or addicted to intoxicating liquor or drugs, unless the drug was prescribed to you by a doctor.

This is a GENERAL EXCLUSION in the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS).

Travel insurance is designed to cover you for unexpected events. Generally speaking, anything that has already happened (e.g. an already erupting Bali volcano causes flights to be cancelled) or is likely to happen (e.g. going to hospital for a pre-existing condition not listed on the policy), would not be covered and are things you cannot claim.

For more information, refer to our Product Disclosure Statement (PDS).

To properly understand the policy's significant features, benefits and risks you need to carefully read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) for more detail:

  • 'Before you buy this policy there are 11 things you must know' - this contains important information on who can purchase the policy, age limits and the choice of policies and cover types available to you;
  • The benefit limits provided under each policy in the 'Benefit Summary' table, when we will pay a claim under each Benefit section applicable to the cover you choose and any endorsements under the 'Optional Cover' section (remember, certain words have special meanings - see the 'Words with Special Meanings' section in the PDS);
  • 'Important Matters' - this contains important information on Your Certificate of Insurance, the period of insurance and extensions of cover, your Duty of Disclosure (including how the Duty applies to you and what happens if you breach the Duty), cooling off period, Financial Claims Scheme and the dispute resolution process;
  • When we will not pay a claim under each Benefit section applicable to the cover you choose and the General Exclusions that apply to all Benefits (this restricts the cover and benefits); and
  • 'What You need to do when making a Claim' - this details what to need to do when making a claim and sets out certain obligations that you and we have. If you do not meet them we may refuse to pay a claim.
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