Can you mix alcohol with travel insurance?

Insurance boss addresses queries on consumption limits

Can you mix alcohol with travel insurance?


By Roxanne Libatique

The majority of Australian travellers, approximately 70%, have expressed uncertainty about the extent to which travel insurance covers incidents associated with drinking alcohol while overseas, according to a study by Compare Travel Insurance.

This ambiguity has come into sharper focus following a year in which several Australians encountered denials on their insurance claims due to incidents linked to alcohol consumption.

Denial of travel insurance claim related to alcohol consumption

The survey’s backdrop includes high-profile cases such as that of Ella Cutler, who faced a denial of her travel insurance claim following an accident in Croatia that resulted in medical and air ambulance expenses surpassing $400,000.

Another example comes from Kylee Enwright, from New South Wales, who suffered head injuries after a fall in Thailand. Her claim was similarly denied due to her intoxication levels; Enwright tragically died a few weeks after her return to Australia.

Why it’s important to familiarise with insurance policy’s fine print

Natalie Ball, director at, highlighted the need for travellers to familiarise themselves with their insurance policy’s fine print, particularly clauses related to alcohol consumption.

“It’s devastating to hear of these accidents happening to Australians overseas. And shocking that our survey results show that so many Australians are unclear as to whether travel insurance covers you when you are intoxicated,” she said. “It’s important for travellers to understand that having a glass of wine with dinner or a Pina Colada by the pool is unlikely to be seen in the same light as consuming seven beers or several cocktails. It is the intoxication levels that may have an impact on your cover.”

Alcohol consumption limits within context of insurance coverage

Addressing queries on alcohol consumption limits within the context of insurance coverage, Ball stated that it hinges on whether alcohol consumption is deemed a contributing factor to the incident.

“The number of drinks you can safely consume is subjective due to factors such as the size of the pour, the percentage of alcohol, and your individual tolerance,” she said. “Insurers usually consider your individual circumstances and whether alcohol is a contributing factor to the event. If alcohol is found to have impaired your judgment, coverage is likely to be impacted. On the other hand, if you were intoxicated, but your blood alcohol levels were not found to contribute to your claim, you would likely be covered.”

Another concerning survey result, published last month, revealed the extent to which financial pressures reshape Australians’ travel priorities.

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