Suspension of travel insurance sales (new policies only)

Effective: 18 March 2020

In response to advice from the Australian Government for Australians not to travel overseas, Budget Direct has made the difficult decision to temporarily suspend the sale of domestic and international travel insurance to new customers from 18 March 2020.

We remain committed to continue providing travel insurance to Australians and this is only a temporary pause given the exceptional circumstances. 

The global COVID-19 (‘Coronavirus’) emergency and the ensuing disruption to people’s travel plans, requires us to focus our attention on our existing customers. Existing Budget Direct travel insurance policies remain in effect.

Please refer below for Contact Details and more information on Coronavirus and what this means for your travel insurance policy. 

Contact us

We are currently experiencing high call volumes, so our wait times are longer than usual.

If you need to make a claim under your travel insurance policy, you can save time by lodging it online.

If you are not travelling or are not due to travel in the near future, please consider contacting us at a later date.

We thank you for your patience and understanding in these uncertain times.

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Make a claim online

General Enquiries

1800 444 424 (within Australia)
+61 7 3465 1718 (outside of Australia)
Mon-Fri, 8am-5pm, AEST
Email: travelhelp@budgetdirect.com.au

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Claims and emergency assistance:

1800 444 424 (within Australia)
+61 7 3465 1718 (outside of Australia)
Mon-Fri, 8am-5pm, Australia-wide
Emergency Assistance available 24/7
Email: budgetdirect@claims-travel.com.au

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Update: Coronavirus, All Destinations

Issued: 05 February 2020 (Update: 26 March 2020)

The following update reflects our latest position regarding COVID-19 (‘Coronavirus’) and supersedes any previous updates. As further information becomes available, we may update, change, amend or make additions to the contents of this page.

When we refer to ‘your PDS’, we mean the Travel Insurance Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) you were issued by us when you purchased your policy.

Background Information

On 30 January 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the 2019-nCoV Novel Coronavirus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. On 11 February 2020, the WHO announced a name for the 2019-nCoV Novel Coronavirus: COVID-19 (‘Coronavirus’).

On 27 February 2020, the Prime Minister of Australia announced that the federal government was implementing a national pandemic plan to reduce the spread of the Coronavirus in Australia.

The following timeline outlines the key Coronavirus-related warnings and advices by date and country/region (as at 25 March 2020):

20 January 2020 – Wuhan City, in the Hubei Province of China – Coronavirus identified as an outbreak by Chinese authorities

24 January 2020 – Hubei Province, including Wuhan City – Do Not Travel by DFAT

30 January 2020 – All Destinations (Worldwide) – Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the WHO

1 February 2020 – China – Do Not Travel by DFAT

27 February 2020 – All Domestic Destinations (Australia) – The Prime Minister of Australia announced implementation of a national pandemic plan to reduce the spread of Coronavirus in Australia

11 March 2020 – All Destinations (Worldwide) – COVID-19 classified as a ‘pandemic’ by the WHO

13 March 2020 – All International Destinations (Overseas) - DFAT advised all Australians to reconsider their need for overseas travel until further notice

18 March 2020 – All International Destinations (Overseas) – Do Not Travel by DFAT

What does this mean for your Travel insurance cover?

Any claims arising from or relating to the Coronavirus (e.g. flight delays, cancellation and amendment fees, overseas medical and hospital expenses) will be assessed in accordance with the applicable terms & conditions, limits and exclusions of cover outlined in your PDS, also considering the individual circumstances of each claim.

Refer to your PDS for full details.

Please be aware, the purchase date of your policy, travel departure date, destination(s), as well as relevant public warnings and travel advices, may directly impact your ability to claim under your policy.

We strongly recommend that you contact us before making any changes to your current travel arrangements.

Coronavirus related claims

Any claim, directly or indirectly arising from the Coronavirus, will be assessed in accordance with your PDS.

Sample scenarios:

All International Destinations (Overseas), excluding China
  • If you purchased travel insurance on/before 30 January 2020 and had already departed Australia on/before 18 March 2020, subject to the terms of your PDS, you will be covered for costs relating to overseas medical expenses and/or your return to Australia.
  • If you purchased travel insurance on/before 30 January 2020 and were due to travel overseas soon after 18 March 2020, subject to the terms of your PDS, you will be covered for cancellation and amendment fees.
China, excluding Hubei Province
  • If you purchased travel insurance on/before 1 February 2020 for travel to, in or through China (excluding Hubei Province), subject to the terms of your PDS, you will be covered for:
    • costs relating to overseas medical expenses and/or your return to Australia if you had already departed Australia; or
    • cancellation and amendment fees if you had not yet departed.
  • If you purchased travel insurance after 1 February 2020 you will not be covered for travel to, in or through China.
Hubei Province, China
  • If you purchased travel insurance on/before 24 January 2020 for travel to, in or through the Hubei Province, subject to the terms of your PDS, you will be covered for:
    • costs relating to overseas medical expenses and/or your return to Australia if you have already departed Australia; or
    • cancellation and amendment fees if you had not yet departed.
  • If you purchased travel insurance after 24 January 2020 you will not be covered for travel to, in or through the Hubei Province.

What should you do?

If you are already travelling

Due to the rapid development of this outbreak and widespread media coverage, all travellers are strongly encouraged to exercise a high degree of caution and to monitor media and relevant domestic (federal, state and territory) and international government outlets for updates and travel warnings, including advice from the WHO and the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) website smartraveller.gov.au.

If you are currently travelling and become ill or require urgent assistance from the Budget Direct emergency assistance team, please call:

  • From within Australia: 1800 444 424
  • From overseas: dial the international code, then +61 7 3465 1718

Check if your travel plans may be affected by contacting your travel agent, tour operator or travel provider. If you need to change your travel arrangements, your travel agent, tour operator or travel provider should be able to assist.

If you have not yet departed

If you have not yet departed on your trip, we recommend you first contact your travel agent, tour operator or travel provider to discuss if there is any impact to your current travel arrangements and the options for altering your trip if required. Some travel providers may allow penalty-free options for amendment, cancellation and refunds of existing arrangements, so please contact them first for further details.

Before making any changes to your travel arrangements, you should:

  • Speak to your travel provider to confirm if making changes to your trip will incur additional fees and charges, or if a full or partial refund may be available if you cancel some or all of your journey;
  • Read all travel insurance documents that we have issued to you, including your PDS and certificate of insurance, to confirm what you are covered for; and
  • Contact us before making any changes to your current travel arrangements.

You can try our online chat function (where available) or you can contact us on 1800 444 424 if you have any queries that have not been addressed above.

Previous alerts

Update: Coronavirus, China (Issued: 5 February 2020)

Further to previous advice, the known event of the 2019-nCoV novel coronavirus (‘Coronavirus’) has continued to develop with a number of lives tragically impacted.

On 20 January 2020, when this was deemed a known event affecting Wuhan City, Hubei Province in China, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) advised Australians to reconsider their need to travel to China. The Hubei Province travel advice warning was raised to Level 4 - Do Not Travel on 24 January. 

On 30 January, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the Coronavirus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). As at 31 January, we recognise this as a known global event (worldwide).

On 1 February, DFAT advised that due to the increased risk from the Coronavirus, the travel advice for China was moved to Level 4 - Do Not Travel for Australian travellers. The Australian Government also directed non-essential Australian-based staff and their dependants to return to Australia from posts in mainland China, in response to the Coronavirus outbreak.

With the rapid development of this respiratory disease, all travellers are cautioned to monitor media and government services, including smartraveller.gov.au and the World Health Organisation, for updates on countries and regions of concern.

If you are currently travelling:

If you are currently in China, leave as soon as possible by commercial means. Please note, many airlines have temporarily reduced or stopped flights. 

If you are ill or require urgent assistance from the Budget Direct emergency assistance team, please call:

  • From within Australia: 1800 444 424
  • From overseas: dial the international code, then +61 7 3465 1718  

Check if your travel plans may be affected:

  1. Contact your travel agent, tour operator or transport provider to check if your travel arrangements are affected.
  2. If you need to change your travel arrangements, contact your travel agent, tour operator or transport provider for assistance in the first instance.

Before making any changes please refer to your Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) for the terms, conditions, limits and exclusions that apply, or contact our Travel Claims team on 1800 444 424, if you wish to discuss your plans before making any changes.

If you have not yet departed:

We recommend you contact your travel agent, tour operator or travel provider to discuss if there is any impact to your booked arrangements and the options for altering your trip if required. Some providers are allowing penalty-free options so please contact them for further details.

Before making any changes please refer to your PDS for the terms, conditions, limits and exclusions that apply, or contact our Service Team on 1800 444 424 if you wish to discuss your plans before making any changes.

Depending on the purchase date of your policy, if your pre-booked travel arrangements are cancelled, delayed or rescheduled as a result of the Coronavirus, you may be able to make a claim for cancellation or rescheduling of your trip (whichever is the lesser). Please refer to your PDS for details.

Policy Coverage:

Our Travel insurance policies do not cover any claims:

  • Arising from or relating to an incident and/or event which you were aware of, or could be expected to be aware of, at the time you took out this insurance and which could reasonably be expected to lead to a claim; and
  • Resulting from you travelling in, to or through a country or area included on the list of ‘Do Not Travel’ countries provided by the Australian Government through the smartraveller.gov.au website of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) or those countries subject to an embargo from the UN Security Council or from any other international organisation, to which Australia belongs, including the World Health Organisation.

You may still be covered for ‘Cancellation and Amendment Fees’ (‘Section A’ in your PDS) if you decide to cancel or cut your trip short because a location in your planned itinerary is added or upgraded to the ‘Do Not Travel’ locations after the policy issue/purchase date and before your departure date on the Insurance Certificate. Please note that other exclusions apply which may affect your ability to claim.

Timeline of applicable Coronavirus-related warnings and advice, deemed to be known events, by date and country/region (as at 2 February):

  • 20 January – Wuhan City, in the Hubei Province of China – Coronavirus identified as an outbreak by Chinese authorities
  • 24 January – Hubei Province, including Wuhan City – Do Not Travel by DFAT
  • 30 January – Worldwide – Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the WHO
  • 1 February – China – Do Not Travel by DFAT

What does this mean for your Travel insurance cover?

If you purchased a policy after the dates listed above, we would expect that you would have been aware of the Coronavirus, including any possible associated travel and health related risks.

Claims that arise due to the Coronavirus (e.g. flight delays, cancellations, medical and hospital expenses) will be assessed in accordance with the applicable policy wording, including terms, conditions, limits and exclusions of cover which may apply, depending upon the individual circumstances.

Please refer to your PDS for details or contact our Service Team on 1800 444 424 if you wish to discuss your plans before purchasing a new policy or, for existing customers, making any changes to your travel arrangements.

Hubei Province in China

  • If you purchased a policy on/before 24 January and had already departed Australia and were travelling in or through the Hubei Province on/before 24 January, you may be covered for medical expenses and/or your return to Australia.
  • If you purchased a policy on/before 24 January and were due to travel to the Hubei Province on/after 25 January, you may be covered for cancellation but may not be covered for medical expenses.
  • If you purchased a policy on/after 25 January and were due to travel to the Hubei Province, you may not be covered.

China, excluding Hubei Province

  • If you purchased a policy on/before 1 February and had already departed Australia and were travelling in or through China on/before 1 February, you may be covered for medical expenses and/or your return to Australia.
  • If you purchased a policy on/before 1 February and were due to travel to China on/after 2 February, you may be covered for cancellation but may not be covered for medical expenses.
  • If you purchased a policy on/after 2 February and were due to travel to China, you may not be covered.
Coronavirus, China (Issued: 23 January 2020)

As of mid-December 2019, a new ‘coronavirus’ (2019-nCoV) has been identified, originating from Wuhan, China, causing symptoms including fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties leading to pneumonia. Cases have been identified in neighbouring Asian countries and human-to-human transmission has been confirmed.

Our travel insurance policies do not cover claims for losses caused by an event you were already aware of when you bought the policy.

If you bought a policy after 20 January 2020, we expect you would have been aware of the 2019-nCoV coronavirus and the possibility of issues arising which could affect travel. For these policies, claims that arise due to the 2019-nCoV coronavirus (for example, flight delays or cancellations) will be assessed in accordance with your policy wording, including exclusions or limits on cover which may apply, depending upon the circumstances.