Review: Travel Insurance Direct (TID) travel insurance

If you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel: but how does Travel Insurance Direct stack up?

By Chris Chamberlin, June 20 2020
Travel Insurance Direct (TID) travel insurance
Notes
The Good
  • A range of plans to cover different needs and budgets
  • Snow sports cover is offered as an optional add-on
The Bad
  • No cover if a terrorist threat or act affects your trip, or for things like airline insolvency
X-Factor
  • You can claim compensation if your hotel is affected by a long utility outage, or even if waiter service is swapped out for buffet dining

Introduction

Travel Insurance Direct is the go-to insurer of many frequent jetsetters, underwritten by AXA and a representative of NIB Travel Services.

Although TID has temporarily paused the sale of new insurance policies while many domestic and international travel restrictions remain in place, the cover TID provides is generally solid, as Executive Traveller reviews. 

Travel Insurance Direct plans

Travel Insurance Direct offers a variety of plans tailored to both high flyers and once-a-year holidaymakers.

The best-fit plan for each traveller could depend on the reason for the trip and which destinations will be visited, the activities undertaken on the journey, and the trip's duration.

Annual Multi Trip

Ideal for regular leisure voyagers as well as business travellers, TID's Annual Multi Trip plan provides cover for an unlimited number of trips spanning an entire year, without having to nominate which countries (or Australian states and territories) the traveller plans to visit, and when.

In fact, this is the only TID plan that covers business travel – the brand's single-trip policies only cover holidays – so if you're travelling for work, you'll either need this plan or suitable cover from another insurer.

The Works

The Works provides a similar level of coverage as the Annual Multi Trip plan, but for a single trip instead.

For this plan, you'll need to nominate where you're travelling to, as well as the dates of your trip. When providing your trip's 'end date', make sure this matches the date you'll be arriving home, not just the date that you board your final flight.

(Many long international flights depart and arrive on different calendar dates, and you wouldn't want your insurance to lapse while you're in the air!)

The Basics

Looking to save a little cash on your policy, but still want to be covered for the basics like lost luggage and overseas medical bills? The Basics may be what you're looking for.

However, being a lower-cost plan, the coverage isn't as wide-ranging, and for some events – such as travel delays – you won't be covered at all.

For events that are covered, in many cases, the claim limits aren't as generous as you'd find on the higher-priced The Works and Annual Multi Trip plans.

Domestic

As the name suggests, TID's Domestic plan covers you for travel within Australia.

There's no medical coverage on this plan – that's where Medicare or a separate private health insurance policy may assist – but there is cover for things like rental vehicle insurance excess, which isn't included with The Basics.

What does Travel Insurance Direct cover?

As hinted above, exactly what's covered depends on the plan purchased – whether that's Domestic, The Basics, The Works or Annual Multi Trip.

Additionally, snow sports can be covered via the snow sports add-on at an additional charge, and some claim and item limits can also be increased via additional payments, such as to cover specific items exceeding the usual policy limits.

While higher claim limits may apply to family (multi-user) policies, here's an outline of what's normally covered via Travel Insurance Direct's policies for one adult traveller. 

Travel Insurance Direct medical cover

If you're injured on your trip or develop an illness, here's what TID can pay out for medical claims, depending on your policy type.

Medical claims

Annual Multi Trip & The Works

The Basics

Domestic

Medical expenses overseas, including hospital admission

Unlimited

$5 million

Not applicable

Additional expenses and medical evacuation

Unlimited

$500,000

$10,000

Out of pocket expenses in overseas hospitals

$6,000

$6,000

Not applicable

Total permanent disability (e.g. loss of sight or limb)

$12,500

$12,500

No cover

Payout following accidental death, or presumed death after 12 months

$25,000

$25,000

$10,000

As always, for further information on claim requirements, limits, rules regarding pre-existing conditions and more, refer to the policy documents or direct your questions to the insurer.

One aspect we'll flag, however, is that if the medical expenses in your claim are likely to be $2,000 (AUD) or more, you'll need to call TID's 24/7 emergency assistance line as soon as practical, to confirm adequate cover and the steps you'll need to take to minimise costs.

For example, if your claim looks to be minor and relatively inexpensive, such as a GP visit overseas or an X-ray where your total costs are expected to be less than $2,000, the claim can be submitted after you return home – but if it may be above that figure, you'll need to call TID ASAP.

Travel Insurance Direct delay, cancellation and inconvenience cover

Nobody likes learning that their flight is delayed – or even cancelled – but if disruptions do occur on your journey, you may be covered for out-of-pocket expenses up to the following policy limits:

Inconvenience and cancellation

Annual Multi Trip & The Works

The Basics

Domestic

Travel delay (min. six hours), capped at $200 per 12-hour period

$2,000

No cover

No cover

Trip cancellation due to unforeseeable events outside your control

Unlimited

$3,000

$10,000

Additional transport expenses to get to an eligible pre-arranged event, or to get back to work on-time

$2,000

No cover

No cover

Unforeseen withdrawal of services at your hotel (max. $50 per day, after continuous 48-hour withdrawal)

$500

No cover

No cover

Expenses for travel delays may include things such as extra meals while awaiting your onward departure, or for additional accommodation costs if you have to spend an extra night somewhere.

TID's highest-level policies also provide cover for "unforeseen withdrawal of services at your accommodation", which could include water and electricity supply, but also a lack of housekeeping services, hotel kitchen closures and so on.

Interestingly, TID confirms that "waiter service at meals" is a service covered by this section, too: so if your hotel unexpectedly reverts its à la carte restaurant to a buffet for 48 hours or more, you may be able to claim compensation from your travel insurance! 

Travel Insurance Direct luggage and property cover

Missing your luggage or had some items stolen on your travels? Here are TID's claim limits for claims relating to personal effects.

Property

Annual Multi Trip & The Works

The Basics

Domestic

Loss, theft or accidental damage to luggage and personal effects

$12,000

$3,000

$4,000

Essential expenses after temporarily delayed or ‘mishandled’ luggage, except when returning home

$250

$250

$250

Limits may apply per item, and cover for "essential expenses" if your luggage doesn't arrive on the carousel is not available if this happens in your home city: only if you're away.

There's usually no cover for items left unattended, such as in a hotel lobby or in an airport lounge – but as with all categories of cover, refer to the policy documents for more detailed information.

Travel Insurance Direct business travel cover

As above, cover for business travel is only offered on the Annual Multi Trip plan.

Business travel

Annual Multi Trip only

The Works & The Basics

Domestic

Replace or repair business equipment lost, stolen or damaged

$5,000

No cover

No cover

Hiring alternative business equipment after the same

$1,000

No cover

No cover

Replacing or recreating business documents after the same

$1,000

No cover

No cover

In terms of coverage, this is one of the only ways that the Annual Multi Trip and The Works plans differ, except for the policy duration. 

Travel Insurance Direct liability cover

Hopefully your business trip or holiday adventure doesn't result in a lawsuit, or a large out-of-pocket expense after crashing a hire car – but if these things happen, you may be covered up to the following limits:

Legal

Annual Multi Trip & The Works

The Basics

Domestic

Personal liability, such as for injuries or property damage you may cause

$2.5 million

$1 million

$1 million

Rental vehicle insurance excess, if you have an accident in a hire car

$4,000

No cover

$4,000

Do note that the coverage for rental vehicles is for the out-of-pocket "excess" that may be payable on a claim raised via a separate insurance policy, such as the default insurance policy applied by a hire car provider.

However, in some countries, there may be no such thing as an "excess" – you'll either have insurance (which does not come from your TID travel insurance policy), or you won't: and in that case, there's no "insurance excess", and thus likely no cover from TID.

Travel Insurance Direct cover for unexpected travel

If you ever need to book additional flights, such as to get home sooner after a medical event or because a close relative has gone into hospital or passed away, this is where you'll be pleased you selected TID's highest-level coverage.

Additional travel

Annual Multi Trip & The Works

The Basics

Domestic

Return airfare if you need to return to Australia following an illness or injury

$6,000

No cover

Not applicable

Resuming your trip after returning to Australia when a close relative died or was hospitalised

$3,000

No cover

Not applicable

As above, claims in this category are only accepted on the Annual Multi Trip and The Works plans, and aren't covered by The Basics or Domestic policies. 

Travel Insurance Direct cover for snow sports

While TID generally covers snow gear in the same way as other luggage – such as if it's damaged or lost in transit – coverage for snow gear while it's being used, and other snow-related claims, are normally only possible when you purchase TID's snow sports add-on at an additional charge. 

Snow sports (when snow sports cover purchased)

Annual Multi Trip & The Works

The Basics

Domestic

Piste closure due to adverse snow conditions

$1,000

$1,000

$1,000

Snow skiing pre-paid costs, if unable to ski for more than 24 hours due to illness or injury

$1,000

$1,000

$1,000

Hire costs for replacement ski equipment after accidental damage, theft, loss or misdirection

$1,500

$1,500

$1,500

Loss, theft or accidental damage to ski equipment that you hire

$2,000

$2,000

$2,000

Be aware that if you don't purchase the snow sports add-on, you may not be eligible for claims in other categories where the claim relates to snow sport activities: such as for medical claims when injured on the slopes.

If you're merely visiting a city where there happens to be snow, it's unlikely you'd need to purchase the snow sports add-on if you're not actively engaging in snow sports (such as by only going for a regular walk in the snow while exploring the city) – but as always, check the policy documents for full information.

Travel Insurance Direct claim excess

When lodging an insurance claim with Travel Insurance Direct, there may be an excess owing on your claim, depending on the options you chose when purchasing your policy.

TID commonly sells policies with either a $200 excess, a $100 excess, or no excess at all. Generally, the higher your excess, the lower your policy price – and vice versa.

For instance, a policy with a $200 excess means that the traveller will be out-of-pocket by $200 in the event of most claims.

Normally, the excess would simply be deducted from the amount payable by the insurer in the event of a successful claim, rather than needing to be paid by the policy holder.

Regardless of the excess chosen, some types of claims – such as for travel delays – are not subject to an excess amount, but of course, travel delays are only covered on the higher-priced policies to begin with.

Travel Insurance Direct key exclusions

TID's full policy documents provide a complete picture of what isn't covered by the company's insurance plans, but there are a number of notable highlights.

For instance, Australia maintains reciprocal healthcare agreements with a number of other countries. If you were eligible to expense your costs against those agreements, or reciprocal healthcare was available but you chose to use a different medical provider, you may not be covered.

Losses that "arise directly or indirectly from an act or threat of terrorism" are generally excluded, as are expenses or losses caused by the "financial collapse of any transport, tour or accommodation provider."

Travel Insurance Direct coronavirus cover

Along with each policy's regular exclusions, TID provides no cover for those who travel to countries assigned a "Do Not Travel" warning by the Australian Government – even for things like lost or delayed luggage.

At the time of writing, every overseas country and region for which the Australian Government currently provides travel advice has been assigned "Do Not Travel", with most Australians also actively banned from leaving the country without an exemption.

Further, TID excludes losses that "arise because you did not follow advice in the mass media of a government or other official body's warning against travel to a particular country or parts of a country ... (or) of a likely or actual epidemic or pandemic."

The same exclusion also applies where that advice relates to "a threat of an epidemic or pandemic that requires the closure of a country's borders, or of an epidemic or pandemic that results in you being quarantined," where you did not take action to minimise any potential claim, such as by delaying travel to affected areas.

For the full list of exclusions on TID’s policies – as well as further important detail about TID’s coverage – be sure to browse TID’s Combined Financial Services Guide and Product Disclosure Statement.

Travel Insurance Direct claim process

If you do need to submit a travel insurance claim with TID, log in to the Travel Insurance Direct website using the credentials you created when buying your policy, then proceed to the claims section and follow the prompts.

Even for a relatively simple claim, you may need to allow an hour or more to answer all of the questions posed during the claims process, and to provide the relevant documents requested by TID.

Before claiming, you can save time by getting all of your relevant receipts ready to upload in a common format (such as PDF or JPG).

You may also be asked for the first and last boarding pass on your trip – such as for departing from your home city and for returning to it – to prove the dates and duration of your overall trip, even if the event you're claiming for happened during the middle of the voyage.

Tips for a speedy Travel Insurance Direct claim

When claims relate to personal travel (for example, a holiday), you may also be asked to provide a copy of your credit card statement or credit card transaction record, showing when and how you purchased your flights and other travel arrangements, as well as the expenses you're claiming for.

Showing that you (or a family member or friend) paid for your flights helps to establish that you weren't travelling on business, on policies that don't cover business travel.

Flights booked using frequent flyer points are generally covered just like a paid ticket. When asked for the credit card transaction record on such bookings, you would provide your record of payment for the taxes, fees and charges on the tickets.

Just note, when expenses are incurred in a foreign currency, TID uses its own internal 'exchange rates' to convert these into Australian dollars for the purposes of an insurance payout.

In our experience, these rates are somewhat padded – similar to converting your cash at an airport's foreign exchange desk – so if you can calculate your expenses in AUD (such as the AUD amount shown on your credit card), you may help to minimise any out-of-pocket costs. 

Travel Insurance Direct: the verdict

All things considered, Travel Insurance Direct does have many exclusions and restrictions on its policies – notably, no cover for terrorism-related events and a requirement to call TID before any major medical expenses are incurred – but these are all clearly outlined in the policy documents.

For the events that TID does cover, its allowances are competitive with other insurers, and in some categories, are on the more generous side: such as being able to claim up to $50/day in compensation if your hotel downgrades your dining options to buffet-only.

The claim process can be a little slow – every time you submit a claim or are asked for follow-up information, TID takes around 10 business days (two working weeks) to respond: so if your claim requires any back-and-forward, you may be waiting a month or more for a payout on an eligible claim.

Of course, you can minimise the delay by answering every question in full during the claim process, and providing all of the documents requested by TID before submitting your claim. 


The above is intended as a general guide only, drawn from information published by the insurer as available at the time of writing. Insurance policies can change over time. Executive Traveller makes no guarantee to the validity of any claim, or that the information published here remains up-to-date.

Conditions, exclusions, limits and policy terms and conditions apply to all travel insurance products, and may differ between policy types, plans and add-ons. Refer to the relevant policy documents for more specific information about the coverage available, and to determine whether a product adequately meets your needs. All questions regarding insurance policies and products must be directed to the insurer, and cannot be answered here or elsewhere by Executive Traveller staff.

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller, and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.


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