Do I need travel insurance to visit Australia?
In some ways, citizens of New Zealand and Australia enjoy the benefits of both countries as if they are citizens of both. We can come and go to Australia as we please, and work and live there without work visas or permits. And in many ways, the same applies to healthcare.
New Zealand and Australia share a reciprocal healthcare agreement that covers both:
- Medically necessary care as a public patient, including public hospital inpatient and outpatient services
- Some prescription medicines
However, this isn’t a replacement for travel insurance. While you might be able to access free treatment should you need to go to A&E, it won’t cover a wide range of other medical expenses – such as private specialists, some prescription costs, or emergency transport, like an airlift back in NZ. Nor will it cover any additional accommodation, rescheduling of flights, lost luggage, personal liability or other issues that can arise when travelling abroad.
So while travel insurance is not required, and you can access some health care benefits in Australia without it, it’s always recommended you take out a travel insurance policy when travelling overseas.
Is there a separate travel insurance policy for visiting Australia?
Most travel insurance providers don’t have a separate OZ insurance policy. Instead, you typically choose from a selection of standard policies plus add-ons. However, while travel insurance policies remain fairly standardised, prices vary country by country.
Travel Insurance for Australia: what options are there?
Each provider has its own policies. Some might offer a single policy with many add-ons and customisation options, while others might opt for several policy options, such as: medical only, basic cover, comprehensive, and frequent flyer.
Below we’ve listed some common travel insurance inclusions, to help you decide which ones are most relevant or of concern to you:
- Medical expenses (especially those not covered by the reciprocal healthcare agreement)
- Cover before you depart
- Emergency dental treatment
- Cancellation fees and lost deposits
- Additional accommodation and travel expenses due to illness or injury
- Damaged or lost baggage
- Personal liability should you injure or damage someone else or their property
- Emergency companion cover (cover for you if your travel partner gets ill or injured)
- Personal items if they are stolen or damaged
- Rental car excess should you have an accident
- Funeral costs
Other inclusions you may require, which are typically required as an additional add-on (for an additional expense)
- Ski/snowboard cover
- Sports cover (eg. if you’re going mountain biking)
- Cruise ship cover
It’s also important to note that different policies will offer different levels of cover. Would you need $2000 to replace your luggage, or $5000?
It’s also worth noting that certain policies may allow you to adjust the level of cover for each inclusion.
Many travel insurance policies now include Covid cover, but it’s often an extra add-on. So check if it comes included, or whether you need to pay extra.
Importantly, many policies require you to get your insurance cover at least 21 days before departure to be eligible for Covid cover.
Such policies provide cover for the policyholder, or their immediate travelling companions, being unable to travel in the event of contracting Covid. But, they don’t cover travellers for any government-imposed restrictions that impact their ability to leave or return.
So if you find borders are suddenly closed, or changes are made to self-isolation requirements, don’t expect any payouts from your insurer.
Ultimately, you need to read carefully over the terms, and ask any necessary questions, to avoid confusion about what your policy covers.
About the author of this page
This report was written by Canstar Content Producer, Andrew Broadley. Andrew is an experienced writer with a wide range of industry experience. Starting out, he cut his teeth working as a writer for print and online magazines, and he has worked in both journalism and editorial roles. His content has covered lifestyle and culture, marketing and, more recently, finance for Canstar.