Travel Insurance Excess FAQs
- What is travel insurance excess?
- Do I have to pay the excess when I buy a policy?
- How much is an excess normally?
- Why would I pay an additional amount to remove the excess?
- How does the excess affect the price of my policy?
- How does the excess affect my claim?
- Do I have to pay the excess more than once if I make multiple claims?
- Can I increase the excess to make my policy cheaper?
Here at Fast Cover, we’ve definitely heard these questions before from travellers, and we’re sure to hear them again!
Many newer travellers, including backpackers going on their first trip usually haven’t heard of ‘Excess’ before, and if you’re a more seasoned traveller and aren’t sure of what an ‘Excess’ is — not to worry! That’s what this page is for.
It’s important to understand excess, because reducing your travel insurance excess can reduce your costs if you need to make a travel insurance claim.
What is the definition of travel insurance excess?
Travel insurance excess (also sometimes called a deductible) is the amount you may need to pay towards a claim that you make on your travel insurance policy. So you don’t have to pay the excess when you first purchase your policy – only if you have to make a claim.
Anything above that excess, up to the limit defined in the Product Disclosure Statement, can be covered by the insurer for a valid claim. The amount of your excess will be deducted from the claim pay out, so the excess is the amount of the costs that you’re responsible for.
A traveller on an overseas holiday is injured in an accident and receives a medical bill of $1,000.
If the traveller has a travel insurance policy with unlimited emergency medical and hospital expenses cover and a $200 standard excess, the traveller would receive up to $800 back once their claim was processed.
Why should I reduce my travel insurance excess?
If you have to make a claim, reducing your travel insurance excess may end up saving you some money.
For example, if you pay a small additional fee now to remove your $200 standard excess on your Fast Cover travel insurance policy and end up in a medical emergency overseas, you won’t have to pay the first $200 of that claim.
A medical excess may be payable for travelers over 79 years of age, so check the Product Disclosure Statement for more information.
Also keep in mind that you won’t get anything back for a claim which is lower than your excess amount. Lower the excess, and lower your risk of having to pay more if you have to make one or more claims!
10 situations to reduce your travel insurance standard excess
- Cost of medication if you get sick
- A doctor’s consultation fee
- Your tablet is stolen
- Your return home is delayed due to a natural disaster
- Accidental damage to reading glasses or sunglasses
- Your Fitbit is stolen
- Your watch is stolen
- A special bracelet, necklace or ring is stolen
- Your handbag is stolen
- Your travel bag full of clothes is lost in transit
How much will my travel insurance excess be normally?
With a Fast Cover travel insurance policy, the standard level of travel insurance excess is generally $200. That means if you purchase a Comprehensive, Standard Saver, Basics, Snow Sports Plus or Multi-Trip Frequent Traveller Saver policy, you automatically have a $200 excess unless you choose to reduce it.
Fast Cover travel insurance provides cover to Australian travellers up to the age of 89.
Travellers over the age of 79 automatically have a higher level of medical excess due to the higher likelihood of medical emergencies occurring. For example, travellers 80 to 89 will automatically have a $2,000 excess. However, claims not arising from, related to or associated with an injury or sickness are not subject to the $2,000 excess and the standard excess applies.
Medical excess payable for Fast Cover travel insurance policies*
Excess for all claims arising from, related to or associated with an injury or sickness
Can excess for claims arising from, related to or associated with an injury or sickness be reduced by paying an additional premium?
0 – 79
Yes, to $100 or $0
80 – 89
Travel insurance excess generally varies according to four factors:
- The policy you’ve chosen
- The company you buy from
- How long your holiday is for
- Your age
The automatic level of excess can vary between travel insurers, so check the travel insurer’s Product Disclosure Statement or website to find out the excess level before you choose an insurer.
How do I reduce travel insurance excess and what will it cost?
Reducing your excess is simple! It’s often an option offered when you’re purchasing your travel insurance. You will need to pay an additional amount to do so which may vary depending on the length of your trip.
In some cases, you may not be able to reduce the level of excess. If this isn’t an option, and you’re not happy with the excess, try comparing a few different policies to see if it really is the best travel insurance option for you.
When do I pay my excess if I claim?
If you do have an excess, how you pay the excess may differ depending on the situation.
Often, it’s simply the case that the amount of excess will be deducted from any claim that’s being paid. In other cases, the travel insurer may pay the full amount of a claim, such as a large hospital bill, and require you to pay the excess upfront.
If I make multiple claims, does that mean I’ll pay multiple excess charges?
Often, an excess will apply to each claimable incident.
So if you make multiple travel insurance claims due to different emergencies while travelling overseas, the excess will apply to each of these claims.
On their holiday, a traveller had to be treated in hospital for a stomach bug which resulted in a hospital bill of a few hundred dollars. The traveller made an online claim and was reimbursed for the total amount of the hospital fees minus the excess they kept on their policy, which was $200.
Later on during the same holiday, the traveller’s bag is stolen along with their laptop, passport, wallet and camera inside it.
Because this is a separate incident to the stay in hospital, the traveller has to make another claim which is also subject to a separate $200 excess.
Can I increase my excess?
With some travel insurers, you can increase your excess. This will allow you to reduce the cost of your travel insurance policy premium.
If you increase the excess, you’ll be taking on the risk of having to pay more should you have to make a claim for something that’s covered by your insurance; for example:
- Becoming sick and needing to see a doctor or go to hospital
- Breaking or fracturing a bone, being involved in a serious accident, and requiring medical care in hospital and an ambulance to take you there
- Having your iPhone, camera, or other belongings lost, stolen or damaged
- Making an unexpected early return home after a relative becomes sick or injured
- Or another claimable incident to which an excess applies.
The trick is to make sure you don’t increase your excess to the point where, if you had to pay that amount to cover a travel insurance claim, you’d be in some financial trouble.
Can I change my excess after I have purchased my travel insurance?
You can reduce your excess after you’ve purchased your policy, provided you have not yet departed for your holiday.
The reduced excess would come into effect at the time of the upgrade and only apply to claimable events that have not yet occurred. The original excess amount payable would apply for any claimable event that occurred prior to the excess reduction upgrade.
In most cases, you can’t increase your excess and get a refund for the additional amount you had paid for the excess reduction after you’ve purchased your policy, unless it’s within the 14 day cooling off period and you have not yet departed for your trip.
Finding the right travel insurance policy and level of excess for you
It's a good idea to compare a few travel insurance policies before you purchase one by looking through the insurer’s Product Disclosure Statement.
This will also be the place to find information about travel insurance excess, and may include the amount that will be applied to your policy and how you might reduce or increase it.
*For more information and terms and conditions, refer to the Fast Cover Product Disclosure Statement.