Ambulance cover

Ambulance cover

You can get ambulance cover in a range of ways

Medicare won't cover ambulance fees. If you live outside of Queensland or Tasmania, those fees can add up to hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars. In NSW emergency call out fees start from $382.

You can't predict when accidents or emergencies are going to happen, so you may want to consider taking out ambulance cover.

Get a little more with your ambulance cover

Many extras policies in Australia include emergency ambulance cover, so you can often get a bit more bang for your buck. For example, the extras policies below from the finder.com.au panel include emergency ambulance cover and a limit for your annual dental check-up (plus a few other treatments).

FundAmbulance CoverAdditional inclusionsPolicy nameCost per monthGet Cover
HCF
  • yes
  • $350 General Dental
  • $150 Physio & Naturapathy
Bronze extras$11.67Get Cover
ahm
  • yes
  • $400 General Dental
  • $300 Pysio & Chiro
Back 50 saver$13.05Get Cover
Australian Unity
  • yes
  • $350 General Dental
  • $150 Optical
  • $300 Pysio & Chiro
Basic Extras$21.48More info
health.com.au
  • yes
  • $500 General Dental
  • $150 Physio
Pulse 50$21.65More info
cua
  • yes
  • $700 General Dental
  • $200 Optical
  • $300 Physiotherapy
Classic extras$55.03Get Cover

*Prices based on a single male living in NSW

Compare options with ambulance cover


If you're looking for the very basics select extras only. On the results page, select 'Refine policies' and tick ambulance cover.

AMBULANCE COVER - Finder Survey

Nearly one in three Australians wrongly believe ambulances are free under Medicare
30% – the equivalent of 5.7 million people
– think that ambulance costs are wholly subsidised by the government.
One in ten (8%) have caught public transport because they didn’t want to pay for an ambulance.

How can I get ambulance cover?

Ambulance cover protects you against costs of your transport to the hospital. Depending on the policy you take out, you can get covered for both emergency and non-emergency situations. There are four policy options available; Hospital, Extras, Ambulance only and State Subscription - they can all include ambulance cover.

1. With a hospital policy

Hospital policies cost more than ambulance only cover because they include more options. A hospital policy would typically include a wide range of services and procedures in private and/or public hospitals that may come in handy during an emergency.

2. With a extras policy

Extras policies can help you cover the cost of things outside of hospital treatment, such as visits to the dentist, chiro, and even remedial massage. Most extras plans, also include emergency ambulance cover.

3. Ambulance only

The main benefit of choosing a standalone ambulance only policy is that it can include comprehensive cover for ambulance services Australia-wide and is generally more affordable than a hospital or extras policy.

4. State subscription

Every state has different rules and fees. If you live in Queensland, lucky you because the cost is free. If you live in Tasmania, you're also eligible for free ambulances inside Tasmania. In Victoria, WA, SA, NT there's also an option to join a state subscription.

Is ambulance cover compulsory?

Whether or not you need ambulance cover depends a lot on where you live. Some state governments provide their citizens with cover and others don't.

If you live in either Queensland or Tasmania, your state government has you covered. If you live in any other state, you'll be on the hook for the costs of ambulance transport. Below is a breakdown of how each state treats ambulance cover and the costs associated with travelling in an ambulance for each state.

Did you know?

Department of Veterans Affairs Gold Card holders are covered for state ambulance services in every state by the Department.

State by state comparison of ambulance costs

Nationwide

NationwideEmergency ambulance call out fee starts at
Australian Capital Territory$959
New South Wales$382
Northern Territories$790
Queensland$0
South Australia$976
Tasmania$0
Victoria$1,204
Western Australia$967

Cost of an ambulance in the Australian Capital Territory

ServiceCall out feeCost per km outside the ACT
Emergency ambulance service (treatment and transport)$959$13
Emergency ambulance service (treatment but no transport)$665
Non-emergency ambulance service by an Ambulance Paramedic or an Intensive Care Paramedic$685$13
Non-emergency ambulance service (treatment and transport) by Patient Transport Service resource$247$5.20

Ambulance fees and charges were taken from the official website of each state and territories ambulance service and were accurate when this article was published in March 2018. Please note the costs above may be subject to change.

Things to consider for ambulance cover in ACT

Residents who hold a Pensioner Concession or Health Care1card are entitled to free emergency ambulance services within the ACT. When travelling interstate, these cardholders can only access free emergency ambulance services in those states and territories that participate in reciprocal arrangements with the ACT, so no cover is available if you’re travelling in Queensland, SA or WA.

If you need to contact the ambulance service in ACT:
  • ACT Ambulance Service
  • http://esa.act.gov.au/actas/
  • Phone 000 in an emergency
  • For general enquiries, phone 13 22 81 or email esahaveyoursay@act.gov.au

Cost of an ambulance in New South Wales

ServiceCall Out FeeCost per kmMax charge
Road ambulance emergency$382$3.44$6,258
Road ambulance non-emergency$301$1.86$6,258
Fixed wing emergency$382$3.44$6,258
For helicopter emergency$382$3.44$6,258

Ambulance fees and charges were taken from the official website of each state and territories ambulance service and were accurate when this article was published in March 2018. Please note the costs above may be subject to change.

Ambulance cover in NSW

All health fund hospital cover in NSW automatically includes a levy for ambulance services. Without hospital cover, you may need to purchase ambulance cover (either as a standalone policy or as part of an extras policy) from a private health fund.

NSW Ambulance Cover for seniors

A range of pensioner card and concession card holders are entitled to free ambulance services in NSW, including people who hold a:

  • Health Care Card
  • Pensioner Concession Card
  • Commonwealth Seniors Health Care Card
  • Department of Veterans Affairs Repatriation Health Card, also known as a Gold Card (excluding non-emergency ambulance services)
  • Department of Veterans Affairs Repatriation Health Card, also known as a White Card (only for services relating to a specific condition that is funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs)

Get in contact with an ambulance service in NSW

Cost of an ambulance in the Northern Territory

ServiceCall out fee (including first 10km)Rate per additional km
Life threatening emergency callout$790$5.10
Non-life threatening emergency callout$360$5.10
Non-emergency callout$360$5.10

Ambulance fees and charges were taken from the official website of each state and territories ambulance service and were accurate when this article was published. Please note the costs above may be subject to change.

Ambulance cover NT

If you live in the Northern Territory and want full ambulance coverage, you’ll need to purchase a subscription from St John Ambulance NT. Alternatively, you can purchase a policy that provides ambulance cover from the health fund of your choice.

NT Ambulance Cover for seniors

Holders of a Pensioner Concession Card or a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card are entitled to free ambulance transport services.

Get in contact with an ambulance service in Northern Territory
  • St. John Ambulance Australia Northern Territory
  • http://www.stjohnnt.org.au/
  • Phone 1300 ST JOHN in an emergency
  • Fill out the online form available through the St. John Ambulance website for general enquiries

Cost of an ambulance in Queensland

QLD
The cost of ambulance services for Queensland residents is covered by the state government.

Ambulance fees and charges were taken from the official website of each state and territories ambulance service and were accurate when this article was published. Please note the costs above may be subject to change.

Ambulance cover QLD

If you live in the Sunshine State, the Queensland Government covers the cost of emergency ambulance services not only in Queensland, but also right around the country. In order to be covered under the Community Ambulance Cover scheme, you’ll need to be able to demonstrate that your principal place of residence is in Queensland.

Get in contact with an ambulance service in Queensland

Cost of an ambulance in South Australia

ServiceCall out feeCost per km
Emergency call out$976$5.60
Non-Emergency call out$218$5.60
Treat no Transport (flat rate)$218

Ambulance fees and charges were taken from the official website of each state and territories ambulance service and were accurate when this article was published. Please note the costs above may be subject to change.

SA ambulance cover

South Australian residents can purchase a subscription with the South Australian Ambulance Service. This subscription covers all ambulance attendance within South Australia, including both emergency and non-emergency services.

For a small additional fee you can also purchase interstate ambulance cover, which provides cover for all ambulance attendances Australia-wide.

Alternatively, SA residents may purchase standalone ambulance cover or look for health insurance that includes it.

SA ambulance cover for seniors

There are pension rates available for holders of an SA Pension concession card. The rate starts at $49 for a single pensioner and you need to reder to the SA ambulance terms by contacting them on the details below.

Get in contact with an ambulance service in SA
  • SA Ambulance Service
  • http://www.saambulance.com.au/
  • Phone 000 in an emergency
  • For general enquiries and information about the SA Ambulance Service, phone 1300 13 62 72 or email healthsaasenquiries@sa.gov.au

Cost of an ambulance in Tasmania

TAS
The cost of ambulance fees for Tasmanian residents is covered by the state government.

Ambulance fees and charges were taken from the official website of each state and territories ambulance service and were accurate when this article was published. Please note the costs above may be subject to change.

Ambulance cover TAS

The Tasmanian Government provides cover for the cost of ambulance treatment and transport in the Apple Isle for its residents. However, this cover applies in Tasmania only; Tasmania has informal reciprocal arrangements in place to cover emergency road ambulance transport for its residents when in most other Australian states or territories, but no such arrangement exists with the governments of South Australia or Queensland.

Get in contact with an ambulance service in Tasmania

Cost of an ambulance in Victoria

ServiceCall out fee
Emergency Road - Metropolitan$1,204
Emergency Road - Regional and Rural$1,776
Non Emergency Stretcher - Metropolitan$325
Non Emergency Stretcher - Regional and Rural$549
Treatment without transport$519

Ambulance fees and charges were taken from the official website of each state and territories ambulance service and were accurate when this article was published. Please note the costs above may be subject to change.

Ambulance cover VIC

Victorian residents who want full cover for emergency and non-emergency ambulance services can take out an Ambulance Victoria membership, which provides Australia-wide cover. You also have the option of taking out cover through your private health fund, though many funds will only cover emergency ambulance services.

Vic ambulance cover for seniors

As of July 2014, eligible Centrelink Health Care card or Pensioner Concession Card holders in Victoria are entitled to free clinically necessary ambulance coverage around Australia. This covers the cost of transport to the nearest and most appropriate medical facility.

Get in contact with an ambulance service in Victoria

Cost of an ambulance in Western Australia

ServiceFee
Life threatening$967
Urgent$967
Non-urgent$520
Patient Transfer Vehicle$473

Ambulance fees and charges were taken from the official website of each state and territories ambulance service and were accurate when this article was published. Please note the costs above may be subject to change.

Ambulance cover WA

Western Australian residents who want cover for ambulance services need to purchase an ambulance cover policy. If you live in the Perth metropolitan area, you can contact a private health fund to arrange a sufficient level of ambulance cover for your needs. However, if you live in regional WA you can either contact a private health insurance fund to purchase ambulance cover or pay for a subscription to the St John Ambulance Service.

WA ambulance cover for seniors

WA Full Aged Pensioners are entitled to free ambulance transport whenever it is medically necessary, except if you are being transferred between hospitals and one or both is a private hospital. Residents who are 65 and over but do not receive a Centrelink pension receive a 50% discount off their ambulance account.

WA residents under the age of 65 who receive a Disability, Single Parent or Carers pension or other Centrelink pension may also be entitled to this 50% discount.

Get in contact with an ambulance service in WA

Avoid costly surprises with ambulance cover

If you shudder at how much an unexpected medical emergency could cost, you’re not alone. Nearly 60% of Australians feel the same way according to finder.com.au.

That’s why ambulance cover is so important. finder also found that more than a quarter of Australians believe Medicare covers ambulance fees.

Talk about an unexpected surprise.

You can get ambulance-only cover for as little as $60 a year and it’s readily available on most hospital and extras policies. That makes it one of the simplest and straightforward ways to avoid any costly surprises.

Find out more about ambulance cover in your state or territory

What's included in ambulance insurance?

What's covered by an ambulance policy will depend on whether you want protection for emergency only or comprehensive non-emergency:

Air and road transport in emergency situations. In incidents such as:

  • Major accidents
  • Severe blood loss
  • Sudden onset of pain
  • Broken bones
  • Heart attack

What usually won’t be covered?

  • Non-emergency medical transport or treatment. This may include if you have a non-critical ongoing illness/injury and the ambulance is not required to use lights or sirens when transporting you.
  • Routine treatment for ongoing illnesses and require specialised transport.
  • If you hold a subscription with your state or territory ambulance service.
  • Treatment or transport provided by an ambulance service that is not recognised by your private health fund.

The following cover will typically apply:

  • Emergency road, air and sea transport.
  • On-the-spot ambulance treatment across Australia at any time.
  • Ambulance transport between hospitals when it is medically necessary.
  • Some policies offer Ambulance paramedic attendance whereby you are covered for attendance from a paramedic but do not need to be transported to a hospital.

What usually won’t be covered?

  • If your state government provides ambulance coverage or if already have a subscription with state ambulance provider.
  • Air and road transport services that are not operated by a government or are not recognised by the health fund.
  • Non-emergency ambulance transport that you receive during your policy waiting period.

How much does a health fund cover?

Depending on which health fund you decide to go with, you can expect that they'll cover most if not all of the costs associated with ambulance transport.

Below are the percentage of costs covered by each fund according to the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman (PHIO) State of the Health Funds Report 2017.

The average amount of costs covered by ambulance cover

Open membership funds
FundAmbulance
Australian Unity98.80%
BUPA99.90%
CBHS Corporaten/a
CDH100.00%
CUA Health100.00%
GMHBA88.90%
GU Corporate100.00%
HBF99.90%
HCF100.00%
HCI100.00%
Health.com.au100.00%
Health Partners99.60%
HIF99.10%
Latrobe75.80%
MDHF81.90%
Medibank100.00%
nib100.00%
Onemedifund98.00%
Peoplecare98.70%
Phoenix97.70%
QCHn/a
St.Lukes78.20%
Transport Health100.00%
Westfund99.90%
Restricted membership funds
ACA98.10%
CBHS96.90%
Defence Health100.00%
Doctors' Healthn/a
Emergency Servicesn/a
Navy Health99.30%
Nurses and Midwives100.00%
Police Health99.80%
Reserve Bank100.00%
RT Health Fund100.00%
Teachers Health99.80%
TUH100.00%

Some final questions about ambulance cover you might have

Compare ambulance cover from Aussie health funds

Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

Related Posts

You might like these...

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Privacy & Cookies Policy and Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy.

6 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    LeighJuly 9, 2018

    Hi,just making an enquiry for my in laws. They are aged pensioners in south Australia. They do a lot of caravanning in Aust. Would they b covered Aust wide just on their pension and health care cards. Cheers

    • finder Customer Care
      JoanneJuly 10, 2018Staff

      Hi Leigh,

      Thank you for contacting finder.

      While pension is more on providing financial aid and not health insurance cover, health care cards usually cover free or subsidised treatment by doctors and less fee for services and procedures. To learn more you may visit this page.

      We suggest reviewing the option of having an insurance for their caravan by reviewing this link.

      If you want to explore other options as well such as getting a domestic travel insurance, you may refer to this page.

      Hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Loraine

  2. Default Gravatar
    sandyOctober 25, 2017

    hi i want to take out ambulance only cover

    • Default Gravatar
      MariaOctober 26, 2017

      Hi Sandy,

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      You may check out the policies that include it in a hospital plan or extras plan by entering your preferences and submitting the form above.

      Should you want to check out Ambulance Only policy, you may need to reach out to the insurers directly to see what they can offer you.

      I hope this helps.

      Best,
      Maria

  3. Default Gravatar
    DarylMarch 20, 2017

    I am on an aged pension which entitles me to free ambulance in nsw. How do I go if travelling interstate and incur costs in relation to ambulance services. Would I be covered as a pensioner of nsw or would I need to take out private cover.

    • finder Customer Care
      ZubairMarch 27, 2017Staff

      Hi Daryl,

      Thank you for your question.

      finder.com.au is a comparison and information service and we are not permitted to provide our users with personalised financial advice or product recommendations.

      According to Ambulance Services of New South Wales frequently asked questions, cover for concession card holders is provided for emergency ambulance services for all other States/Territories.

      You should contact Health Ambulance Service of NSW directly for clarification and if you have any further questions.

      All the best,
      Zubair

Ask a question
Go to site