Ambulance Cover Health Insurance

Looking for affordable cover for ambulance costs? Get emergency only or comprehensive private ambulance insurance quotes and apply

Most insurance providers will offer some sort of protection for Ambulance transport but what is actually covered can vary considerably between insurers. Cover can be available under hospital, extras or as a standalone policy and may include protection for emergency only or all ambulance use.

Whether you are entitled to ambulance cover will depend on what state you live in and the concessions you are entitled to. This article will explore who is entitled to ambulance cover without private health insurance and discuss what is provided from cover from private health insurers.

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Am I already covered by Medicare for ambulance use?

Many Australians believe that just like so many other medical expenses, the cost of ambulance transport will be automatically covered by Medicare. Unfortunately, this is simply not the case. However, certain people and the residents of some states will receive cover for the cost of ambulance services and not need to take out ambulance cover from a private health fund. See the list below to see what options are available in your state or territory.

  • All states and territories. Department of Veterans Affairs Gold Card holders receive cover for ambulance services right across Australia.
  • ACT. Health Care Concession Card and Pensioner Concession Card holders receive free ambulance services. Anyone else who wants cover will need to take it out through a private health fund.
  • NSW. In NSW, Health Care Concession Card, Pensioner Concession Card, and Commonwealth Seniors Health Card holders are all entitled to free ambulance services. Those who are not eligible for one of these cards can consider taking out cover through a private health fund.
  • Northern Territory. Northern Territory residents who are also Pensioner Concession Card and Commonwealth Seniors Health Card holders are entitled to receive free ambulance services. If you don’t qualify for one of these cards, you can purchase an insurance subscription through the territory ambulance service or take out cover through the private health insurer of your choice.
  • Queensland. All ambulance costs for Queensland residents are covered by the Queensland state government.
  • South Australia. Residents of South Australia have the option of purchasing ambulance cover from their private health fund or taking out a subscription with the state ambulance service.
  • Tasmania. Tasmanian residents can enjoy ambulance cover provided by their state government.
  • Victoria. Victorian residents who hold a Pensioner Concession Card or Healthcare Card can receive free ambulance services. Those who are not eligible for these cards can either take out cover through a private health fund or purchase a subscription from the state ambulance service.
  • Western Australia. Aged Pensioner concession card holders can take advantage of free ambulance services in Western Australia, but everyone else will need to either take out cover through a private health fund or purchase a subscription from the state ambulance service.

It’s also important to check with your health fund, concession card provider or state ambulance service to find out what cover applies when you travel interstate.

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State by state ambulance coverage in Australia

If you don’t have any form of ambulance cover in place, you can find yourself facing a hefty bill if you receive ambulance transport. If air ambulance transport is involved, you could even be looking at costs of around $5,000 — which could be very difficult to meet at the best of times, let alone when you’re recovering after some sort of health scare.

Given the different approach that each state and territory takes to ambulance services, the ambulance costs you’ll have to pay if you don’t have cover in place can vary quite substantially. Check the table below for more information about the costs that apply to you.

StateService and cost
  • Emergency ambulance service (treatment and transport): $918 (+$12/km for every km travelled outside the ACT)
  • Emergency ambulance service (treatment but no transport): $637
  • Non-emergency ambulance service by an Ambulance Paramedic or an Intensive Care Paramedic: $656 (+$12/km for every km travelled outside the ACT)
  • Non-emergency ambulance service (treatment and transport) by Patient Transport Service resource: $237 (+$5/km for every km travelled outside the ACT)
NSWFor road ambulance emergency

  • Call-out fee: $364
  • Variable rate: $3.29/km
  • Maximum charge: $5,971

For road ambulance non-emergency

  • Call-out fee: $287
  • Variable rate: $1.77/km
  • Maximum charge: $5,971

For fixed wing aircraft

  • Call-out fee: $364
  • Variable rate: $3.29/km
  • Maximum charge: $5,971

For helicopter

  • Call-out fee: $364
  • Variable rate: $3.29/km
  • Maximum charge: $5,971
Northern TerritoryCovered for emergency ambulance services only: $600-$800
QueenslandThe cost of ambulance services for Queensland residents is covered by the state government.
South Australia
  • Emergency call out: $934
  • Non-Emergency call out: $208
  • Treat no Transport (flat rate): $205
  • Plus Kilometre charges: $5.40/km
TasmaniaThe cost of ambulance fees for Tasmanian residents is covered by the state government.
  • Emergency attendance fees (no transport): $507
  • Emergency road transport fees (metropolitan) $1,174
  • Emergency road transport fees (regional and rural): $1,732
  • Non emergency road transport (metropolitan): $317 for stretcher or $104 for clinic car
  • Non emergency road transport (rural and regional): $536 for stretcher and N/A for clinic car
  • Fixed wing air transport: Variable charge $2,082 and Fixed charge $2,816
  • Rotary air transport: Variable charge $10,475 and Fixed charge $23,842
Western AustraliaMetro

  • Life threatening: $932
  • Urgent: $932
  • Non urgent: $500
  • Patient Transfer Vehicle: $458

Fees vary for country ambulance services

Please note the costs above may be subject to change.

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What am I covered for with Ambulance Insurance?

While cover does differ between private health funds, most funds will typically offer two types of ambulance cover: comprehensive cover and emergency ambulance cover.

Emergency only cover is the cheaper of the two options and it provides cover for:

  • Air and road transport in emergency situations. Unlimited cover is typically provided for incidents such as;
    • Major accidents
    • Severe blood loss
    • Sudden onset of pain
    • Broken bones
    • Heart attack and more

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. An example of this may be sever ongoing mobility.
  • 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.

Under a comprehensive ambulance cover policy, the following cover will apply:

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

What usually don’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 insurer
  • Non-emergency ambulance transport that you receive during your policy waiting period.
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Essential questions to ask about your ambulance cover

  • Will I be covered if I travel interstate? Some policies only cover ambulance costs incurred in your state of residence.
  • Does the policy cover emergency-only ambulance services? Some policies limit their cover to emergency ambulance services only, while others cover non-emergency transport and treatment as well. Check to see what sort of situation your insurer defines as an emergency.
  • Is the call-out fee covered? The call-out fee refers to when you need ambulance treatment but do not require transportation, so check whether your health fund covers this.
  • What is the waiting period? How long will you have to wait after taking out a policy before your ambulance cover begins?
  • Is there a co-payment required? Check with your health fund to find out whether you will need to make any co-payments to contribute towards the ambulance fee.
  • Are all types of ambulance transport covered?For example:
  • Will air transport be covered?
  • What about road and sea transport?
  • Will ambulance transport provided by state ambulance services and other private providers be covered?
State by State Ambulance Service Details


  • ACT Ambulance Service
  • Phone 000 in an emergency
  • For general enquiries, phone 13 22 81 or email


Northern Territory

  • St. John Ambulance Australia Northern Territory
  • Phone 1300 ST JOHN in an emergency
  • Fill out the online form available through the St. John Ambulance website for general enquiries



  • SA Ambulance Service
  • Phone 000 in an emergency
  • For general enquiries and information about the SA Ambulance Service, phone 1300 13 62 72 or email




Not covered for ambulance transport or looking to switch from current policy?

Whether you already have private hospital insurance in place or are looking to switch policies, it’s crucial to ensure you have the level of ambulance cover in place suitable to your situation. An insurance consultant can help you review your current policy or see what other options are available to ensure you have adequate cover at the right price.

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