Travel Insurance Won't Keep Us Safe

About two months ago my family decided to holiday in Greece and Turkey. We took out travel insurance on the same day we bought tickets.

Then the gunfire incident at Istanbul Airport occurred, just four days before we were due to fly there. The government advice (on was to “reconsider travel” to Turkey so we immediately looked at changing our flights and plans. And then I read the fine print of the insurance policy… I hoped I misinterpreted so I called them, but no:

a) the insurance wouldn’t cover us if we went to a place that the Australian Govt advises against going (ie, Turkey), but

b) the insurance wouldn’t cover a change of flights if the reason for the change is related to terrorism.

So what were we supposed to do? We ended up forking out an extra thousand dollars to have our flights changed so we would no longer travel in Turkey, only Greece. But at the time, smartraveller advised that staying inside the airport at Istanbul was fine, so we still flew via Istanbul, just didn’t ever have to clear customs there.

We are now in Greece and our flight home, from Athens via Istanbul to Sydney, is in about a week. And I just got the travel advice that there’s possibly been a coup in Turkey and all flights cancelled. And that it isn’t safe.

Apart from being very very worried about what to do, I just can’t believe that my insurance company won’t help! What do people do if they’re overseas, their flight route home isn’t safe, and they can’t afford to pay for new tickets? Isn’t this what insurance is for? It just doesn’t make sense to me that they will cover the cost of a lost bike or pay for new flights to help someone get to a wedding on time, but they won’t help if there’s a danger to our lives.


I think that insurance company needs to renamed and shamed as the policy appears designed to never pay up.



best thing to do as a first point of call is contact the travel insurance company directly with any questions you have. Sometimes the T&Cs can be confusing and best to get written clarification on your situation firstly.

If you think their response is unacceptable or seems to be in contrary (in their favour) to the T&Cs, there is also ability to approach the Financial Ombudsman Service.


Thanks, phbriggs2000, have written to them to confirm both past and future changes and associated cover. Will keep in mind the ombudsman option. To my mind their policy is contradictory, though on a positive note, I don’t think the policy excludes attempted coups…!

Sorry to here of your travel woes K, and yes even though I still buy insurance I do so with eyes wide open that I only “might” get a positive ’ reply from travel insurers. I think P’s advice is logical but is far to passive… insurance is about mitigating its potential losses so they have a WILL to deny deny deny., talking needs to slip into yelling at times.

My latest was buying flights and accommodation for my family getaway. Two weeks prior to departure my father-in-law at 84 collapses and spends the balance of his time in intensive care. No worries I am covered for sickness etc , BUT NO, small print had a clause if your family member was over 80 (travelling or not) they will not be the cause of a claim - NO REFUND, What evil mind can add to the distress of a family when the elderly are the cause of claim refusal, just because they are. They have no souls.

Good finish to this story… 18months later after the funeral vibes had settled I booked another trip using Qantas again, while doing so the blurted out this story while waiting online - to get it off my chest - big surprise Qantas lady said that is unacceptable and proceeded to refund the whole event on the basis - “it was wrong”. Angels do exist.


Several years ago the airline I was travelling with lost my case.
They gave me several hundred dollars compensation, however when I tried to get the rest back from my insurance company, it was a different story!
After having to fill out their paperwork which was amazing in its detail(eg Where did you purchase this item) I was knocked back on the majority of the claim.
I then contacted the ombudsman and eventually the insurance company had to pay me the total amount I had claimed. It was a long process, however well worth it to stick it up the insurance company!!!
P.S My case was never found.

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Whilst this may seem unreasonable, it has been the case for many years that not all events are covered by travel (or indeed any other type of) insurance. It behoves us all to actually read the fine print and ask question before we buy the insurance.

Depending on what you actually bought, the airline/tour company may well have refunded your money on the basis of the travel advice from the Government.

Call us stupid or naïve, but it never occurred to us to read the fine print. We went with a company (Allianz, BTW) we’d used previously, who had supported us (with no argument) when my husband came down with gastro just as we were about to fly home. That was my first experience ever of claiming insurance and it was a good one. My inexperience was such that I kinda assumed they were all much of a muchness.

Now that I know they aren’t all the same, I still feel that the Allianz policy is contradictory. How can they say they won’t cover me if I travel somewhere against government advice but refuse to assist me to change my travel plans if the advice from the government comes up after I’ve purchased my policy? I shall put in a claim anyway and see. I do have it in writing from then that they won’t pay on our circumstances, but that I may still attempt claim…

@karen_seager, we did approach the airline via our travel agent. We were indeed offered both a full refund or a flight redirection. To get a refund and rebook with a different airline (more expensive), with associated new hotel booking etc in a different transit city would have cost an extra grand. To have flights redirected was free… except for the airport taxes, which amounted a grand. Or we could have cancelled.

Glad there was a happy ending with the elderly person / Qantas story.

Reading all the print and acting accordingly is important.


You know it’s travel season when a story comes out about a tourist who wasn’t covered by their travel insurance because they rode a moped without a motorcycle license. It’s a very common travel insurance exclusion.

Most insurers use the Australian standard definition of a motorcycle, if it’s above 50cc, it’s a motorcycle and you need a motorcycle license to be covered. It’s highly unlikely you’ll find a moped below 50cc. I asked a rental company in Lombok once and they gave me strange look and asked why would I want a moped below 50cc.

There’s a few insurers that will cover you to ride a moped up to 125cc without a motorcycle license. This size will cover most scooters you can hire, so if you’re looking to hire a moped, keep an eye out for these insurers. They’re listed on our travel insurance review under ‘Activities’ (click compare all products).

Although the lad in this story wouldn’t be covered anyway, because he wasn’t wearing a helmet. Make sure you get a helmet off the rental agency. No helmet, no cover.


I think I read on the smart traveller website a few years back by far the the most dangerous thing (by accident statistics) an australian travelling overseas can do is ride a moped/motorcycle/scooter in a developing country.