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Travel insurance Australia

Traveling to Australia, with its vast landscapes, iconic beaches, and vibrant cities, is a dream for many. However, whether you’re exploring the Outback, surfing in Byron Bay, or visiting the Sydney Opera House, it’s crucial to consider the practicalities of travel insurance. Navigating the world of International Health and Travel Insurance is crucial for anyone planning an extended stay outside their home country. This guide aims to enlighten you on the importance of travel insurance and assist you in making an informed choice tailored to your unique travel needs and profile.

Exploring Different Travel Insurance Types

Working Holiday Travel Insurance

This insurance is essential for those participating in the Working Holiday Visa program, which allows 18 to 35-year-olds (30 in some cases) to travel and work in countries like Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. Given the risks associated with living and working abroad for 1 to 3 years, securing appropriate insurance is often a prerequisite for obtaining the visa.

Only few countries offer this type of visa, among them: Australia, New Zealand and Canada are popular destinations for travellers.

Student Insurance

Embarking on overseas studies is an exciting venture. However, it’s vital to secure student-specific insurance, especially when studying outside the European Union. While local national insurance is a must, additional private insurance ensures comprehensive coverage during your educational journey.

Backpacker travel insurance

For globe-trotters exploring multiple countries, understanding and preparing for varying health systems is key. Backpacker insurance offers peace of mind, covering potential incidents and health issues across different regions.

Travel insurance – short stay overseas

Even brief holiday trips warrant insurance coverage. Short-term travel insurance is a smart choice for trips under 90 days, safeguarding your journey regardless of its duration.

Au Pair insurance

Being an Au Pair in a host family is a great way to immerse yourself in the culture of a new country. Although enjoying some security in staying with a family, you are not protected from an incident. It is always important to be covered for yourself and also for the children you will be responsible for.

Volunteer insurance

Volunteering abroad exposes you to unique risks, from health hazards to security concerns. Opt for insurance that provides comprehensive emergency assistance 24/7, regardless of your destination.

Expatriate insurance

For those considering a more permanent move, expatriate insurance is tailored to your new country of residence. It’s essential whether you’re relocating alone, with family, as an independent professional, or as an employee.

In summary, selecting the right travel insurance is a pivotal part of planning your overseas adventure. It ensures not just your health and safety but also enriches your international experience by providing a safety net, allowing you to fully immerse in your journey with peace of mind.

Travel Insurance Companies

Depending on your type of travel, different Travel Insurance Companies would be able to offer you the cover that is best for you and your needs. It is important to compare all of them and find the right one for you. Check the covers, prices, your needs, the services offered. Among the companies, you will find:


Offers cover for more than 100 countries worldwide*

Go Walkabout

10% OFF with code: ABG10



We receive a fee when you get a quote from those companies using the links. We do not represent those companies. This is not a recommendation to buy travel insurance.

*World Nomads offers cover for more than 100 countries worldwide except those that have specific Government ‘Do Not Travel’ warnings in place, and any sanctioned countries. 

Why should I get travel insurance?

Travel insurance is an essential safeguard, as the unpredictability of life, exemplified by the Covid-19 pandemic, shows that absolute safety is a myth. Here’s why securing international travel insurance is a wise decision:

Navigating National Health Care Systems

While your home country’s health care system might offer excellent coverage, it typically doesn’t extend beyond the European zone. When traveling internationally, additional insurance is necessary to ensure coverage in case of accidents. For travel within Europe, obtaining a European Insurance Card is crucial. Additionally, some countries have Reciprocal Health Care Agreements (RHCA), which might cover some health care costs abroad. It’s important to verify this before your trip.

The Limitations of Credit Card Travel Insurance

Many credit cards provide travel insurance, but this coverage is often limited. Restrictions usually include the trip’s duration (often under 90 days) and the extent of reimbursement. The specific terms and conditions can be restrictive. While Credit Card travel insurance may suffice for short trips, longer journeys demand more comprehensive insurance solutions.

Health risks in Australia

Medical treatment in Australia can be expensive for non-residents. Travel insurance can cover these costs, ensuring that you receive the necessary treatment without facing financial hardship. Since health is paramount, you have to be careful and make sure you are covered in all situations! Here are some of the health risks in Australia:

Climate-related health risks

Because it’s such a large country, Australia has huge climate diversity. Very high temperatures are common, especially in the Outback and northern areas. The most important thing is to protect yourself from the sun. Remember that there is a hole in the ozone layer above Australia, that allows harmful rays to pass through the atmosphere more easily. This hole has recently gotten bigger due to the bush fires that took place in 2020.

Don’t forget to wear sunscreen, drink plenty of water and don’t go outside without a hat and sunglasses. Avoid being in the sun as much as you can during the hottest times of the day (between noon and early afternoon). Beware that the reflection of UV rays by snow, water, metal or concrete increases the risk of sun damage. Remember that Australia has some of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world – more than two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer in their lifetime. So be vigilant.

Prolonged overexposure to heat, dehydration, and excessive stress in hot weather can quickly become a problem during a trip. Common medical conditions experienced by travellers are heat stroke and heat exhaustion. The symptoms of severe sunburn (beyond redness of skin) and heat stroke are quite similar. They include dizziness, fainting, nausea, prolonged headaches, and rapid heartbeat. If you experience one or more of these symptoms, rest in a cool place and drink plenty of water. If the symptoms persist, consult a doctor or call a local emergency number.

Health risks from animals and insects

Beware of mosquitoes! While the risk is low, there have been instances of dengue fever in Queensland. Mosquitoes can also transmit Ross fever or Murrey Valley encephalitis. Protection against mosquito bites is advisable.

In the north of Australia, be vigilant if you’re anywhere near water. It’s best to keep a good distance to water holes and rivers in which Saltwater crocodiles might be staying. Another reason to not go swimming in the ocean in Northern Australia is the lethal Box Jellyfish. As their season runs from October to May, you might see brave people in the water at other times. To be on the safe side, rather swim in the public pools or lagoons.

Finally, there are obviously other animals you should stay far away from! A stray dog or any other animal that bites you can become a hazard if it transmits rabies.

Anticipate the risks and protect yourself!

Although health risks in Australia are relatively low, they do exist. And as everywhere else in the world, health risks are not the only danger. To avoid being stung by high medical costs, make sure to subscribe to a complementary health insurance.

Find out more in our article on Working Holiday Travel Insurance.   

  Travellers Advice

Travel insurance for cancellations or Delays

Unforeseen circumstances, such as natural disasters or personal emergencies, can disrupt your plans. Travel insurance can reimburse you for non-refundable expenses, helping to mitigate the financial impact. If you need to cancel or want to have more flexibility during your trip, you should take out cancellation insurance in order to avoid losing too much money. Moreover, if you are not traveling by yourself, changes of plans are very likely, so it is essential to make sure you will have your back covered!

Luggage insurance

When securing a travel insurance plan, it’s common for the policy to encompass protection for your luggage and personal effects. Misplaced or delayed baggage is a fairly common travel mishap, leading to unwanted disruptions in your journey. Insurance for your baggage provides a safeguard against such unpredictable events, ensuring you are compensated for some or all expenses incurred.

Typically, baggage insurance safeguards your belongings for the duration of your journey, including both your departure and return. Additionally, certain policies may extend coverage to include any mishaps with your possessions during your stay, such as loss, theft, or damage.

It’s crucial to clarify the specifics of coverage in advance, as the criteria for claiming compensation are quite stringent. For instance, most policies will only cover checked baggage, as any hand luggage remains under your personal care and is thus your responsibility.

Early return

When traveling abroad, an unexpected event may force you to return home earlier than planned. Unfortunately, in the event of death or a serious accident of a family member, or a major incident at home, you might have to go back home earlier. If you are covered by a travel insurance, this change of plan can be taken care of at no cost for you.

Repatriation assistance

Traveling usually involve discovery and fun, however, an accident can unfortunately happen at any time. In case of accident or serious illness, the medical team that will treat you may decide to transfer you to another country or to repatriate you. To cover those situations and the costs involved, additional travel insurance is required.

Legal assistance

Any litigation leads to fees. Those fees can get high pretty quickly, so if you do not want to spend too much money, it’s safer to be covered. All travel insurances offer to cover all or part of legal costs, such as lawyer, expert costs etc.

In summary, travel insurance is not just a formality but a necessity for any international journey. It provides peace of mind, ensuring you’re prepared for health risks and unexpected events, allowing you to fully enjoy your travel experience.

Choosing the Right Insurance

Selecting the right travel insurance requires careful consideration of your travel plans, activities, and personal needs. Consider the following when choosing a policy:

Consider Your Activities

The health risks you face will vary with your lifestyle and activities abroad. If you’re planning to engage in extreme sports like skydiving or diving, ensure your insurance covers adventure sports

Backpacking around the world

For globe-trotters, in addition to varying risks in different countries, there’s also the possibility of needing to rearrange your trip. Opt for insurance with comprehensive luggage cover and a cancellation option for flexibility in unforeseen circumstances. Verify that your insurance provides 24/7 emergency assistance and covers medical expenses upfront, regardless of your location.

Family Vacation

Traveling with family means different priorities and needs. Opt for higher coverage as children might have special needs or be more susceptible to health issues. Cancellation costs can be significant for family trips, so consider insurance with a cancellation policy for peace of mind.

Au Pair Travel

As an au pair, you need insurance tailored to this role. Look for policies covering hotel expenses in case of a family change or personal liability if an accident occurs with the child in your care.

Type of visa

When choosing your travel insurance, you will also need to consider the type of visa you will travel with in order to purchase the appropriate insurance cover.

Working Holiday Visa

If you intend to travel with a Working Holiday Visa, you may have to take out mandatory insurance to have your visa approved. Moreover you will probably spend several months in a country, increasing the risk of being sick or have an accident. Some insurance companies are specialised for this kind of travel and will offer you all the guarantees you need for your trip.

Student Visa

If you are traveling with a student visa in Australia, you will have to take out compulsory national health insurance. However, you may also have to take out private insurance to make up the gap in reimbursement. Plus be covered for other risks such as potential early return, personal liability, rental liability etc.

Working Visa

If you intend to live in a foreign country for work you will need insurance that covers your medical expenses or repatriation in case of illness or an accident while working or even in your everyday life. A proper insurance cover will allow you to pack and go with peace of mind for you and your family.

Tourist Visa

If traveling on a tourist visa, depending on the length of your stay, the insurance will also be different. Also, for a stay as a tourist you will certainly want insurance that covers your luggage. Or will refund you in case of cancellation of your stay. If you are going to do sports activities (skydiving, climbing etc), make sure that these are covered by your insurance contract.

Special medical needs

Your personal needs and condition must be taken into account when choosing your travel insurance. Do you have a physical disability or a specific illness or condition that requires a continuing treatment? Then you will need a special health insurance. In this situation, the best option is to contact your national health care system. Discuss with them the potential reciprocal agreement they may have with other countries.

Travel safe and travel with an insurance !

Consider the following when choosing a policy:

  • Coverage Limits: Ensure the policy covers the full cost of potential losses, including healthcare in case of serious medical emergencies.
  • Exclusions: Understand what is not covered. For example, some policies exclude certain adventure sports unless additional coverage is purchased.
  • Duration of Coverage: Make sure the policy covers the entire duration of your trip, with some buffer for unexpected delays.
  • Reputation and Reviews: Choose a reputable insurance provider with positive reviews and responsive customer service.

Travel insurance is an essential part of planning your trip to Australia. It not only protects you from unexpected costs and losses but also ensures that you can seek assistance in emergencies, offering peace of mind as you explore the wonders of the Land Down Under. Whether you’re a backpacker on a months-long journey or a tourist on a brief holiday, there’s a travel insurance option tailored to your needs.

The healthcare system in Australia

Reciprocal agreements

Medicare, the publicly funded health scheme of the country covers all Australians.

Australia has signed agreements with 11 countries. Those cover the cost of medically necessary care when Australians visit certain countries and visitors from these countries visit Australia. Those countries are: United Kingdom, The Republic of  Ireland, New Zealand, Sweden, The Netherlands, Finland, Italy, Belgium, Norway, Slovenia, Malta.

Visitors from these countries are entitled to some subsidised health services for essential medical treatment while visiting Australia.

The length of cover depends on your country of origin. For example, if you are a resident of the United Kingdom, Ireland, Sweden or Norway, you are covered for the entire length of your stay in Australia.
See the list of countries and specific informations on: Reciprocal Health Care Agreement.

Medicare: What is covered?
As a resident of the United Kingdom, Sweden, the Netherlands, Finland, Belgium, Norway, Slovenia, Malta and Italy, you are entitled to the following health or injury treatments while you are in the country:
– Free treatment as an public inpatient or outpatient in a public hospital
– Subsidised medicine under the pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)
– Medicare benefits for out-of-hospital treatment provided by a doctor

Irish visitors are entitled to:
Services as a public patient in a public hospital (including outpatient services) for medically necessary treatments. Medicines available on prescription, which are subsidised under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), at the general rate.

Medicare: What is NOT covered?
Dental examinations and treatment
Physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, eye therapy, chiropractic services, podiatry or psychology
Acupuncture (unless part of a doctor’s consultation)
Glasses and contact lenses
Hearing aids and other appliances
– The cost of prostheses
– Medicine not subsidised
under the PBS
– Treatment arranged before you arrived
– Accommodation and medical treatment as a private patient in a public hospital
– Ambulance services
– Accommodation and medical treatment in a private hospital
– Medical costs for which someone else is responsible (for example a compensation insurer, an employer, a government or government authority)
– Medical services which are not clinically necessary
– Surgery for cosmetic reasons
– Examinations
for life insurance, superannuation etc
– Home nursing

Consultations fees in Australia

Here are a few examples of consultation fees in Australia.

  • Consultation with a general practitioner: Between 90 and 120 AUD (Rates vary by city and medical practice)
  • Medical specialist: between 150 and 250 AUD Note : To get an appointment with a medical specialist, you will need to go through a general practitioner.
  • MRI: Between 200 and 800 AUD *
  • Hospitalisation: More than 1000 AUD per day *

Be well prepared before leaving your home country

A few precautionary measures can really make a difference. Book a check up with your doctor before you travel to Australia and consider getting the vaccines mentioned above.

It is imperative to have your vaccines up-to-date well before your departure (a few weeks before). Depending on the countries you’re going to visit, you may need to get additional vaccines (e.g. hepatitis, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis etc.) and even preventive treatments (e.g. malaria). These vaccines are available at medical centers specialising in international travel.
In some cases, you need to provide proof of vaccination. Remember to take a copy of your vaccination record and your international vaccination certificate with you, as well as a copy of your travel insurance cover.  

Find out what the health risks in your specific destinations are and what you can do to prevent them. It’s best to speak to health professionals in international medical centres directly.

Pack everything you need during your trip to protect you. The minimum requirement is a first aid kit (dressings, disinfectant etc), but also insect repellents and sunscreen. If you are taking prescribed drugs, make sure you have your prescription in writing (and translated if necessary) to justify the possession of these drugs. Keep in mind that your medications may not be available where you are going.

FAQs Travel Insurance

What does travel insurance for Australia typically cover?

Travel insurance for Australia typically covers medical expenses, trip cancellations or interruptions, baggage loss or delay, emergency medical evacuation, and personal liability. Specific coverage may vary between policies, so it’s essential to review the policy details prior subscribing.

Is travel insurance required when traveling to Australia?

Travel insurance is not mandatory for entering Australia, but it’s highly recommended. Having travel insurance can provide financial protection and peace of mind during your trip.

Does travel insurance cover medical emergencies in Australia?

Yes, travel insurance typically covers medical emergencies in Australia, including doctor visits, hospitalization, and emergency medical evacuation if necessary.

Are adventure activities and sports covered by travel insurance?

Many travel insurance policies offer coverage for a range of adventure activities and sports, but coverage can vary between insurers. Check your policy for specific details and any exclusions.

Do I need separate luggage insurance if I already have travel insurance?

Not necessarily. Many travel insurance policies include luggage coverage, but check the terms to ensure it meets your needs.

Updated 13.05.2024

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