Travel Inspiration

Travel Insurance Explained: The Freely Guide to Travel Insurance Jargon

Photo by Tiago Rosado

Travel insurance is chock-full of head-scratching jargon – and we should know, having been in the biz for quite a while now! Though we strongly advise that everyone who purchases a Freely policy first reads over the fine print in our PDS (that’s Product Disclosure Statement, for those playing at home), our lawyers did draft it, meaning it’s not the most titillating of reads.

As part of our mission to demystify travel insurance – so that our Freelies know and understand exactly how they have coverage when they’re on the road with us – we’ve thrown together this handy guide that explains some of the clunky terminology and legalese.

What is a PDS anyway?

PDS stands for Product Disclosure Statement. It’s a document that a financial service provider (such as Freely) must provide you with when you are recommended a financial service (such as travel insurance). For us, the “product” is our travel insurance policy: the agreement to provide you with coverage for certain risks, accidents or emergencies that may impact your travel plans. Our PDS includes information about how that product works. To be specific, it contains an explanation of the key benefits, conditions and exclusions of the policy, as well as our complaints-handling procedure – among other things.


What’s the go with excess?

If you make a claim on your travel insurance policy – for example, you want to recover the cost of replacing a passport you had stolen out from under your very nose – Freely will take a small deduction from the amount that gets paid out to you (e.g. $100 for a claim made on an overseas trip). This is what’s called the excess.

Photo by: Anete Lūsiņa

What are “Boosts”?

Boosts are add-ons: extra amounts of coverage you can add to your policy on the days you need them. For instance, you might be going to New Zealand for two weeks in winter, but you only plan on skiing for two of those 14 days. Rather than paying for insurance with ski cover for your whole trip – as you do with more traditional types of travel insurance – Freely lets you toggle that cover on and off on the days you’ll actually be skiing. Note that our system works in near real-time – and you need to pay the extra premium before 00.00 (midnight) Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST) in order to be entitled to the additional cover that day.

Photo by Maarten Duineveld

What is an Existing Medical Condition and does mine count?

An Existing Medical Condition means a disease, illness, medical, physical or dental condition that you may have when your policy is issued. 

A medical condition is considered existing if:

- Either you’ve required an emergency department visit, hospitalisation or day surgery procedure within the last 12 months for the condition; or 

- It requires prescription medication from a qualified medical practitioner, regular review or check-ups, ongoing medication for treatment or risk factor control or consultation with a specialist; or

- It has been medically documented involving the brain, circulatory system, heart, kidneys, liver, respiratory system or cancer; required surgery involving the abdomen, back, joints or spine that required at least an overnight stay in hospital; or 

- It is chronic or ongoing (whether chronic or otherwise) and medically documented; or under investigation, pending diagnosis or pending test results.

As a general rule, our Freely policy does not provide cover for Existing Medical Conditions, but there are certain conditions you may have or experience that are included in our policy. These include acne, ADHD, allergies, anxiety, asthma, autism, Bell’s Palsy, bunions, carpal tunnel syndrome, cataracts, glaucoma, Coeliac Disease, congenital blindness, congenital deafness, depression, ear grommets, epilepsy, gastric reflux, goitre, Graves’ Disease, gout, hiatus hernia, hip replacement, knee replacement, shoulder replacement, hip resurfacing, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, learning difficulties, migraine, peptic ulcer, gastric ulcer, plantar fasciitis, Raynaud’s disease, skin cancer, trigger finger, urinary incontinence, underactive thyroid and overactive thyroid. 

Conditions do apply to our inclusion of these though, so your best bet is to jump on a chat with us in the app before purchasing a policy to get the full lowdown.

What is meant by an exclusion?

An exclusion is something that we don’t cover for, such as a routine medical check or anything that happens when you are drunk or otherwise intoxicated. All exclusions are made super clear in our policy wordings (including a definition of what constitutes drunkenness – yep, we’re yhat precise!), which you can read here.

Photo by Steven Wilcox

Who is classed as a relative?

‘Relative’ is a broad term that covers your spouse, de facto, parent, parent-in-law, stepparent, guardian, grandparent; child, foster child, grandchild, brother, brother-in-law, half-brother, stepbrother, sister, sister-in-law, half-sister, stepsister, daughter, daughter-in-law, stepdaughter, son, son-in-law, stepson; fiancé, fiancée, uncle, aunt, niece or nephew.

Photo by Humphrey Muleba


We, us and our refers to us – Freely, the friendly travel insurance and safety app that you keep in your pocket.

What is classed as a gadget?

Gadgets are portable electronics: think smart phones, smart watches, laptops, tablet computers, cameras, video cameras, go pros, drones and the like. If you’d like to increase the value limit on any of your gadgets to more than $750 per item in the Luggage Boost, we also offer a Gadget Boost. Alternatively, you can increase the limit of a specific gadget with our Specified Item Boost.

Photo by Alicia Steels

Gemma is a writer, editor and bush enthusiast living in lutruwita/Tasmania.