It is strongly recommended to get good health insurance when leaving for Australia on a Working Holiday Visa. According to the conditions set by the immigration office it is mandatory to have health insurance that covers you before leaving for Australia. Whether you are on a world trip with a quick stop in Australia or planing on staying a long time on your Working Holiday it is essential to have good health coverage in case of an accident or just for simple care. Here are some tip to help you chose the best Working Holiday Travel Insurance.
Travel Insurance Criteria
Popularity of Insurance
As with many products if a health insurance provider is popular this is very often proof of its quality. Because its reputation is not built solely on advertising trust and reputation are good indicators of quality. By browsing different sites, forums or blogs you will find that some insurance companies are mentions often. It is true that most sites and blogs put forward their insurance partners (i.e. sponsored content) but if you compare a few sites and the keep popping up that is a good indicator for quality. To get an even more ‘honest’ opinion, it is best to ask fellow travellers for advice. Keep in mind that everyone will have different experiences and when someone has a bad experience that will be highlighted. We tend to moan when things are not right, but stay silent when everything is fine;-)
Quality of Service
In addition to the popularity of the insurance provider the services offered are a determining factor is establishing the quality of the insurance. Again, get information and feedback from other backpackers. They will tell you if an insurance company has treated them well, if their reimbursements have been paid and within what time frame. If you are not yet in Australia you can ask on online fora and Facebook groups etc.
- Ease of subscribing;
- Possibility of extending the contract (what if you want to stay longer then a year…?);
- Quality of customer service (do they follow up and answer your questions?)
- Refund schedules (how long do they take to refund your claims?).
Price of Insurance
To the subject we have all been waiting for: the price! Obviously we would all be tempted to take the cheapest possible insurance but it would probably beat the expense of the coverage it offers you, and you could regret it! In contrast getting the most expensive insurance will not necessarily mean you get the best coverage. Again the choice is personal and wil depend on your needs and budget. Hence one should compare the different options before making a choice. In general, we do not recommend taking the most expensive, nor the cheapest. To give you an idea of the price, the majority of insurances range from 450 to 550 EUR per year, taking into account that it is possible to select the number months of cover required if necessary.
If you have started looking at the what different insurance companies offer, you may have noticed that there is a very long list of what the insurance covers. In order not to drown too much in this information, here are the main guarantees on should look for:
- Repatriation assistance;
- Support for medical expenses up to a certain threshold;
- Hospitalisation costs up to a certain threshold;
- Reimbursement of an airline ticket in case of early return;
- Public liability;
- Baggage insurance;
- Accident capital;
- Ambulance costs (you often require a seperate insurance for this in Australia);
- Search/rescue costs.
During your stay you will most certainly be tempted to do some activities. Do make sure your insurance covers said activities beforehand! If you are planning on working, consider that you might require extra insurance for ‘dangerous’ jobs (e.g. construction, fishing, farm work, etc.). Always make sure your insurer covers your planned activities.
Some insurers will only cover costs in the country you are doing your WHV in. Make sure to check which other countries your insurance covers as there is a lot to see close to Australia!
Consider that if you come from certain countries that Australia agreements with you can be covered by Medicare (The UK, Ireland, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Slovenia, Malta, Belgium, Finland and Italy). This means that as long as you maintain your health insurance in your home country you can apply for it when you get to Australia. You will be covered for certain medical expenses. Do note that it does not cover everything. For instance, medical transport costs will not be covered and if you plan on working in Australia you will often find that nothing is covered!
Also consider that it does not cover any travel related damages (such as lost baggage) AND it will not cover you in other countries you visit!
When to take out Insurance
Before anything else you should ask yourself some questions. When are you going to subscribe? For how how long? Will you only stay in your Working Holiday country? What type of activities are you planning? How are the reimbursements made?
Mostly, if not in all cases, it is most sensible to subscribe before your departure. Your insurance will be active as soon as you enter the country. You can choose the date you want it to go in effect when purchasing insurance.
The subscription period is specific to the time you want to spend in the country It can go from 1 to 12 months. You should made sure that – if you think you may want to extend your WHV by a year – your insurance provider allows this!
What does the insurance include?
We will now review the different types of coverage offered by insurance providers, valuable information for understanding what to take into account!
For example, there are the costs for hospitalisation, (medical) transportation or maternity expenses. Some insurances even offer to pay you a daily allowance in case of a long stay.
They also provide coverage for physical consultations, tests and medical examinations.
Some insurers will reimburse you (to some extent) on dental or optical costs.
- Assistance in the event of illness or injury: For example, the conditions for the repatriation of the injured party, the payment of travel expenses for aa relative in the event of hospitalisation and vice versa;
- Travel Assistance: This part deals with the various costs that you might be submitted to during your trip. Such as advance of bail, legal fees or assistance at sea or in the mountains;
- Assistance in case of the event of death: This part is certainly morbid in the literal sense but nevertheless important to consider. For example, in the event of the death of a loved one the insurance can take care of a return trip to allow you to be near your family.
First off all your luggage and your personal belongings. The insurance can pay you in case of delay on the delivery (you might have to buy closes, a new toothbrush, etc.). Or they may pay you a refund in case of theft or partial or total destruction during the trip.
Here we also find the famous personal liability. In short, your insurance will cover you when you are personally liable for personal injury or property damage. For example during a car accident. It is therefore very important to know to what amount your are covered as these amount can get high quickly!
Finally, during your flight (outward or return), the insurance can pay you compensation in case of delay or cancellation.
This part is very important because it lists all the cases where you will not be covered by your insurance. It is therefore extremely important to take the time to read all these conditions. For example, it is in this section that you will find the list of sports that are not covered (generally extreme sports, bungee jumping, free fall, etc.). Also you will find the various medical expenses that are not reimbursed.