Travel insurance is a cover for medical expenses or loss of belongings etc whilst travelling overseas or within your own country. If something happens to you on a trip and you don't have insurance it could end up costing you and your family thousands of dollars. The cost of things like overseas medical treatment or medical transportation back to Australia can easily exceed $100,000.
The following are some important facts about how travel insurance policies work:
Pre existing health conditions – different insurers have different levels of cover for any pre-existing medical conditions you may have. The product disclosure statement (PDS) of each provider will specify what they do and don't cover.
Conditions of places you are travelling to – many insurers exclude certain countries from coverage altogether. These are usually high-conflict areas, however some insurers may also restrict coverage of countries based on the ongoing travel advice by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The insurer's PDS will include details of what type of countries/regions may be excluded. A list of countries with official Australian government travel warnings can be found on Smart Traveller.
Reporting stolen goods – some insurers will have a window within which you have to report something stolen in order to lodge a claim. Official documents such as police reports are often required by the insurer -- the PDS will have details.