A simples guide

Travel insurance for trips to Australia

Australia – land of the world’s most deadly snakes, spiders and creepy crawlies in general. But to make up for it, there are 10,685 beaches, more than 30,000 km of coast and summer temperatures of about 26°c, so it’s little wonder more than 670,000 of us Brits make the journey to the land down under each year.

So if you’re planning to fly to the opposite side of the world what’s the one thing you must make sure you do (apart from putting the house lights on a timer, half closing the curtains and cancelling the milk and papers); buy travel insurance of course.

What travel insurance for Australia will I need?

It’s worth thinking about your holiday habits for the year. If you’re lucky enough to have been one of the 16% of people who took three or more holidays abroad in 2014, then an annual multi trip policy might be more cost effective than taking out a single trip policy each time you go away.

Also – what sort of activities are you likely to be doing? Holidays are one of those occasions where us Brits tend to ‘go mad’ and try things that we’d usually be far too sensible to contemplate. So whilst jumping off a bridge suspended by nothing more than a giant elastic band or pretending that being strapped to another human being with a parachute seem like an utterly ridiculous things to do in old Blighty; in the dazzling heat of Australia they can seem like pretty good ideas.

australia travel insurance

Travel insurance for Australia?

So if you are embarking on an active holiday make sure you’re insured for it – you will need to specify that you’re thinking of doing extreme sports or you may not be covered should anything happen. There’s nothing funny about travelling home in plaster with a giant medical bill to look pay. It’s worth noting that British nationals are entitled to subsidised medical treatment under the Australian Medicare scheme (similar to the NHS). But you’ll need your own insurance as well, Medicare may not cover everything you need and if you aren’t insured, it could work out very expensive (remember that there still may be charges with this and won’t include essential cover such as repatriation).

Also make sure you’re covered if your luggage stands you up on the baggage carousel. Because while we all love a bit of shopping on our holiday, forking out for your entire holiday wardrobe and toiletry essentials probably isn’t on the itinerary. 

australia travel insurance - sydney

What specialist travel insurance is available?

Specialist travel insurance is available if you’re over 50, going on a backpacker holiday, taking part in winter sports or extreme sports. There are also group policies which may work out cheaper than individual policies, if you have a large family or are travelling with several friends.. If you have a health condition, some policies may offer you cover, but you will need to disclose your conditions, or you won’t be covered should you need to make a claim.

If you’re travelling for a long period of time, it’s also worth checking out what different policies are available – most backpacker policies will cover you if there’s a break in your travelling and you decide to come home for a few weeks.

Is Australia travel insurance expensive?

Most of us love a bargain, but a word of advice – travel insurance shouldn’t necessarily be one of them. Always think about your travel needs first and then weigh up the cost of insurance based on that.

Once you’ve established what you’re likely to be doing, who with and for how long then you can start comparing travel insurance policies that will suit you best. Here’s a quick checklist of areas you might want to consider when comparing policies:

- Medical expenses – what limits are there?
- Baggage – what are you covered for?
- Repatriation – just in case you need help coming back to the UK
- Cancellation – how much are you covered for and under what circumstances?
- Excess – a higher excess could mean a lower premium but your cheap travel insurance to Australia might not be such good value if you can’t afford the excess.

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What else do I need to think about if I’m travelling to Australia?

Well, you might want to brush up on your Australian slang because it could get a bit confusing especially where items of clothing are concerned: bathers are swimming costumes (not people who are swimming), thongs are flip flops (not a style of underwear) and strides are trousers (as opposed to a method of walking).

But there’s one thing that doesn’t have to be confusing and that’s finding your travel insurance because that’s where we come in – we’ll help you to find the right travel insurance deal for you; so all you have to do is remember your sunnies (that’s sunglasses in Australian if you didn’t know). And to make life that little bit easier, we’ve also put together some top travel tips for going Down Under:

Top tips for Down Under

- Currency: is the Australian dollar (written as $, A$ or AU$)

-Language: English (although some words won’t mean what you think they mean)

Visa: British citizens will need a visa but you can apply online for one. An eVisitor visa is free and you can apply direct to Australia’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection. You can also apply for an ETA (Electronic Travel Authority), the main difference from the eVisitor application is that an ETA is obtained from your travel agent or airline and there’s usually a service fee.

Vaccines: check with your doctor at least a month before you go to check if you need any.

Time zones: there are three time zones, Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST), Australian Central Standard Time (ACST) and Australian Western Standard Time (AWST).

Driving: you can drive on holiday in Australia as long as you have a valid UK driving licence, you should ensure your travel insurance policy covers you for driving in Australia.