Review: Zoom travel insurance

While many travel insurers have paused new policies, Zoom is once again offering domestic travel insurance.

By Chris Chamberlin, November 20 2020
Zoom travel insurance
Notes
The Good
  • Optional Snow Pack can upgrade your cover
The Bad
  • Broad language makes it possible to deny many overseas travel claims
X-Factor
  • Unlock benefits after six-hour travel delay, with no excess

Introduction

Not to be confused with the video conferencing service of the same name, Zoom travel insurance currently offers policies to Australians exploring their own country: and normally, sells international travel insurance, too.

Of course, sales of Zoom international travel insurance are currently on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, although existing policies remain valid, subject to the policy wording.

Underwritten by Lloyds of London – former the underwriters used by Travel Insurance Direct (TID) – here's how Zoom travel insurance stacks up.

Zoom travel insurance plans

With five different travel insurance plans, Zoom covers both domestic and international flyers, as well as regular jetsetters through its annual multi-trip plan.

Here's a rundown of the five options Zoom customers normally have to choose from.

Comprehensive International Travel Insurance

Also referred to as 'Plan C' in policy documents, Zoom's Comprehensive Travel Plan provides the insurer's widest-ranging coverage on trips across Australia and around the world.

Unlike the other plan types, coverage includes issues such as permanent disability, loss of income, luggage delay expenses, theft of cash, and more.

Standard International Travel Insurance

Zoom's standard international travel insurance plan – given the apt title of 'Plan B' in policy documents – includes many of the elements covered under Comprehensive policies, but not all.

As well, some events have lower coverage limits versus Comprehensive, such as a hospital cash allowance of up to $2,500, versus up to $5,000 with Comprehensive.

Medical Only International Travel Insurance

If you're not in the market for well-rounded cover to insure things like lost luggage, flight delays and rental car excess fees, Zoom's Medical Only travel insurance ('Plan A') offers a baseline of cover at a lower policy price.

Claims for overseas emergency medical expenses are unlimited, with $500 of emergency dental, as well as $2.5 million of personal liability cover for good measure.

Domestic Travel Insurance

Perhaps of broadest appeal under the current climate – and as of October 2020, the only policy type new customers can currently purchase – Zoom's domestic travel insurance covers journeys within Australia.

While medical cover is excluded (being the realm of Medicare and private health insurance), other events are, including rental car excess, lost luggage and more.

Frequent Traveller Travel Insurance

For coverage across an entire year of travel rather than a single trip, Zoom's Frequent Traveller policy largely mirrors the inclusions of the Standard plan.

Policy holders can take an unlimited number of trips during the policy period, although restrictions apply on the maximum length of each journey – and those planning longer sojourns will need to nominate this when purchasing the policy, and pay a higher premium.

What does Zoom travel insurance cover?

As above, exactly what is and isn't covered will depend on where you're travelling to, and which policy you purchase.

The information below is presented as a guide only. Other important conditions, policy limits and exclusions apply, so refer to Zoom's Product Disclosure Statement for the full details.

Zoom medical cover

If the worst happens during your trip, you may be able to claim for covered events up to the following Zoom policy limits.

Medical claims

Comprehensive

Standard and Frequent Traveller

Medical Only (Int'l)

Domestic

Medical expenses overseas, including hospital admission

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

Not applicable

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

$25,000

No cover

No cover

No cover

Accidental death

$25,000

No cover

No cover

$25,000

All plans, except for Domestic, also include "24/7 Emergency Assistance Services".

Zoom delay, cancellation and inconvenience cover

Although claims relating to pandemics and epidemics aren't covered – including for COVID-19 – Zoom may pay out benefits up to the following limits, on eligible claims.

Inconvenience and cancellation

Comprehensive

Standard and Frequent Traveller

Medical Only (Int'l)

Domestic

Travel delay

$200 after 6 hours, plus $200 per additional 24 hours, up to $2,000 total

No cover

No cover

$200 after 6 hours, plus $200 per additional 24 hours, up to $2,000 total

Trip cancelled due to unforeseen events outside your control

 Unlimited

$25,000

No cover

Unlimited

Alternative transport expenses to get to an eligible special event

$5,000

No cover

No cover

$5,000

Hijacking (additional expenses only)

$50,000

$10,000

No cover

$50,000

Loss of income

$10,400

No cover

No cover

No cover

On the one hand, the time count of six hours for travel delays is more generous than offered by some other insurers – where eight or even 12 hours is the starting point – although the absence of this cover on the annual multi-trip (Frequent Traveller) plan is unfortunate.

As well, while actual additional expenses relating to hijacking events may be covered by Zoom, some other insurers provide a daily cash allowance in the event of extended hijacking scenarios, even if no out-of-pocket costs were incurred.

Zoom luggage and property cover

If your luggage takes a detour or holiday of its own, here are Zoom's limits on property claims.

Property

Comprehensive

Standard and Frequent Traveller

Medical Only (Int'l)

Domestic

Loss, theft, accidental damage to luggage and personal effects

$7,500

$7,500

No cover

$7,500

Essential expenses when your luggage is delayed by more than 12 hours overseas

$250 (overseas trips only)

No cover

No cover

No cover

If you are entitled to claim compensation for one of these events from your travel provider (e.g., airline), you're required to do that first – then, if you're still out-of-pocket, you may be able to claim for the remainder.

Zoom liability cover

These types of claims are less common, but if you are faced with a liability claim, you may be insured up to the following limits.

Legal

Comprehensive

Standard and Frequent Traveller

Medical Only (Int'l)

Domestic

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

$5 million

$2.5 million

$2.5 million

$5 million

Rental vehicle insurance excess, if your hire car is damaged or stolen

Optional extra

Optional extra

No cover

$5,000

On the 'car hire' front, claims for insurance excess aren't covered by default on most policies, unless you add this for an extra fee.

Domestic policies, however, come with $5,000 of excess cover as standard, which can also optionally be upgraded to $7,000 at an additional charge.

Do keep in mind, these limits apply to insurance 'excesses' only: that is, an out-of-pocket amount payable under another insurance policy, such as that provided by default from your hire car provider.

Such 'excess' cover normally excludes expenses that aren't covered under another such insurance policy: for example, if there is no other policy to claim on, or your behaviour voided that cover (such as by driving under the influence of alcohol, beyond legal limits).

Zoom insurance for unexpected travel

If your travels are cut short, Zoom may have you covered – both for the cost of returning home, and to get back where you were after an unfortunate event has passed.

Additional travel

Comprehensive

Standard and Frequent Traveller

Medical Only (Int'l)

Domestic

Cutting your trip short, such as if you're too unwell to finish your journey

$50,000

$10,000

No cover

$50,000

Resuming your trip after returning home, within the original period of cover

$3,000

$3,000

No cover

$3,000

The option to resume your journey after returning home may be available as above, provided there is more than 14 days remaining on the policy's period of cover, and the journey is resumed within 30 days of returning to Australia.

Zoom cover for snow sports

As an optional extra, travellers can choose to add Zoom's Snow Pack to their insurance policy for added cover when participating in snow sports and activities on their journey.

This is available on all plans except for Medical Only and Standard. When this pack is purchased, benefit limits are as follows. Note that in this section, the table headings have changed.

Snow sports, via add-on

Comprehensive

Frequent Traveller

Standard, and Medical Only (Int'l)

Domestic

Piste closure

$1,000

$1,000

Pack not available

$1,000

Skiing pre-paid costs, if unable to ski due to illness or injury

$750

$750

Pack not available

$750

Hire costs for ski gear after accidental damage, theft, loss or delay

$1,500

$1,500

Pack not available

$1,500

Loss, theft or accidental damage to ski gear

$1,500

$1,500

Pack not available

$1,500

Avalanche delays arrival or departure from a ski resort by 12+ hours

$750

$750

Pack not available

$750

Pro-rata value cover for a lost or stolen lift pass

$750

$750

Pack not available

$750

By purchasing the Snow Pack add-on, medical coverage is also generally extended to include injuries and accidents when participating in snow sports, which may not be covered without the add-on.

Zoom claim excess

Many types of Zoom travel insurance claims are subject to an excess, although claims for travel delays, luggage expenses, theft of cash, loss of income, permanent disability, accidental death or hospital cash allowance don't have an applicable excess.

Otherwise, the excess is as chosen when purchasing the policy. This is often $200 by default, but can be reduced to $100 at the time of policy purchase in exchange for a higher up-front premium.

Zoom key exclusions

Among the events excluded from cover by Zoom, if you drive a motor vehicle or ride a moped or scooter without a current Australian drivers licence for that vehicle type, or a valid licence in the country you're visiting, there's no cover.

Critically, "this applies even if you are not required by law to hold a licence in the country you are driving or riding in," Zoom's policy documents read.

As well, travel to destinations zoned "Do Not Travel" isn't covered – and of course, every country in the world currently holds a Do Not Travel ranking with Australia's Smartraveller service.

The exclusion for this is quite broad, excluding destinations where "an advice or warning has been issued by the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade or any other government or official body."

This means that if any country in the world has warned against travel to a destination you choose to visit, even if that advice neither comes from the Australian Government nor the government of your destination, Zoom may have grounds to deny your claim.

For international travellers, this clause makes it particularly difficult to confirm your insurance remains valid, without manually checking the travel advice issued from every worldwide government and every 'official body', which is an even broader category.

Zoom coronavirus cover

Zoom's travel insurance policies make it clear there's no cover for any event relating to COVID-19.

Specifically, claims arising from or associated with "an actual or likely epidemic or pandemic", or even "the threat of an epidemic or pandemic" are not covered.

Again, the wording here may allow the insurer to deny a claim purely on the basis that a 'threat' of an epidemic or pandemic exists, even where an epidemic or pandemic has not been declared.

Zoom travel insurance: the verdict

While it's great to see Zoom once again offering travel insurance policies for travel within Australia, the current lack of cover for any international travel is unfortunate.

That's not only due to the blocks on claims relating to 'Do Not Travel' destinations and the base exclusions for epidemics and pandemics, but also due to the broad policy wording that could permit the insurer to deny claims under these clauses.

Competing insurers, such as Covermore, have resumed selling international travel insurance policies and aren't placing an exclusion on 'Do Not Travel' destinations, even if claims directly relating to COVID-19, such as hospital bills and quarantine costs, aren't covered.

Also read: Covermore travel insurance review


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.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

08 Jun 2018

Total posts 96

Chris, that's a great summary. It would appear, at least to this untrained eye, that some of the exclusions and ambiguous wording that you mention here make the policy of dubious benefit. I say this without the benefit of having checked, but surely there must be some countries or 'official bodies' somewhere in the world that advise against travel to pretty much any country you care to pick. Surely common sense would be that if you are not advised against travel by either the Australian Government or the Destination country, then you should be covered? The lack of pandemic cover, even as an option is unfortunate. As a small business owner I can't send myself or my staff overseas unless I know we have adequate cover in place and many countries are likely to need specific 'COVID cover' in place as a condition of entry, at least in the short / medium term. Surely this should be available, at least as an add on extra?


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