Are you a non-resident living in Australia and wanting to travel overseas? Don't fret – you can still get travel insurance.
If you’re not a permanent Australian resident, it can be a little more difficult to take out cover with some insurers. Most insurers require you to be a resident to qualify for cover. But there is some good news - there are some Aussie insurers who provide travel insurance for those who are just visiting Australia.
However, you will need to satisfy the following criteria:
- You will need to have lived in Australia for a minimum of 3 months, or
- Have a valid Medicare or private health insurance in place to be eligible for cover, or
- Be on a working visa
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If you're a non-resident, the following may help you out
Who is qualified for a non-resident travel insurance policy?
The exact eligibility requirements for a travel insurance for non Australian residents policy differs depending on the insurance provider. However, most travel insurance for non Australian residents are designed to offer cover for non-residents who are planning on travelling to or around Australia. It’s possible to take out cover if you have travelled to Australia on one of a number of visas, including:
- 457 Temporary Business long stay. The 457 visa encourages people from abroad with specific skills to live and work in Australia.
- 405 or 410 Retirement or Investor Retirement. These specialist visas requires you to make a significant long-term financial investment in Australia.
- 411 Exchange. This visa is closed to new applications.
- 416 Special program. This temporary visa provides cover for those who are here on programs such as cultural enrichment, school language assistance programs, etc.
- 417 Working Holiday. The 417 visa is designed to suit the needs of young people who want to work and travel in Australia.
- 422 Medical Practitioner. This visa is closed to new applications.
- Most insurers will require you to spend the majority of your trip within Australia
- Most insurers will require you to have private health insurance cover in place or be a member of Medicare.
- Most insurers will not provide cover for pre-existing medical conditions which may be covered for other applicants by paying an additional premium
- You may purchase cover after arriving in Australia though there is generally a waiting period of 48 hours applied
- Applicants generally have to be under 80 years of age to qualify for cover
Who is eligible to get Medicare cover while living in Australia temporarily?
You are eligible to take out Medicare if you are travelling from a country that is part of the reciprocal healthcare agreement with Australia. The following countries are part of the agreement:
The United Kingdom
The Republic of Ireland
What benefits of non-resident travel insurance can I take advantage of?
Though the exact benefits and level of cover offered differ between insurance providers, most travel insurance for non Australian residents typically offer the following benefits:
Emergency medical expenses. This benefit provides cover for the cost of any emergency medical or dental expenses you may incur while travelling. This includes ambulance transportation, hospital costs and even emergency evacuation expenses.
Cancellation fees and lost deposits. Sometimes unforeseen events and circumstances can force you to cancel your trip or cut it short. Your policy will reimburse you for the cost of any cancellation fees or deposits that cannot be recovered.
Luggage delay. If lose your luggage or it is misplaced by a travel provider, you’ll receive a benefit to buy emergency clothing and toiletries.
Travel delay. If your pre-paid travel arrangements are delayed for more than a certain time period due to circumstances outside your control, you’ll be covered for the cost of additional accommodation and meals expenses.
Luggage and personal effects. If your luggage or personal belongings are lost, stolen or damaged, you’ll be able to take out cover for the cost of their repair or replacement.
Rental vehicle excess. If your rental car is crashed, stolen or damaged, your insurance policy will cover the cost of the excess charged by the rental company.
Personal liability. If you are found to be legally liable for causing bodily injury or property damage to a third party during your trip, your policy will provide the cover you need.
Travel documents. If your important travel documents are lost or stolen, you’ll be covered for the cost of their replacement.
Are there any restrictions on these benefits?
These benefits are offered to non-residents who are:
- Inbound travellers to Australia. Inbound travel insurance generally covers non-residents for their travel until they land in Australia.
- Travelling around Australia. Non-residents can get travel insurance that covers their journeys in Australia. However, depending on their visa they may not be eligible for medical cover if they are already covered by medicare.
- Living in Australia and wanting to travel internationally. Most non-resident travel insurance policies provide cover for overseas travel. However, you need to check the conditions around the type of non-residents that can be covered (e.g. visa type or Medicare requirements). Additionally, many policies do not provide cover if you plan on returning to your country of residence.
Although exact requirements differ between insurers, you may be requested to provide the following items and documents in order for your claim to be accepted:
- A copy of your passport
- Documents that prove your status as an Australian resident
- Your birth certificate
- A copy of a valid Medicare card, private health fund membership or overseas student travel insurance cover
- Any other documents that prove your Australian citizenship or residency
If you fail to provide the information the insurer requests, your claim may not be paid or you may not receive the assistance you request.
If you’re a non-resident temporarily living in Australia, you may wonder if it’s possible to take out travel insurance from an insurer in your home country rather than taking out non-resident travel insurance from an Australian provider. The vast majority of travel insurers require you to be living in the country from which you are purchasing insurance.
If you’re purchasing cover from a UK insurer, you'll typically to do so while you’re living in the UK and before you leave for Australia.
Once you arrive in Australia
Once you arrive in Australia, it can be very difficult to obtain cover from an insurer in your home country. That’s why non-resident travel insurance is usually the most suitable and simplest option for most people.
Non-resident travel insurance from Australia is much easier
You may be able to purchase cover from your home country while overseas, but the policies available and the ease with which you can get cover varies greatly depending on which part of the world you come from. Check with a range of insurance providers to find out more about the policies available.
Australian Travel Insurance
English citizen Tommy is spending a couple of years in Australia on a working visa. After living in Australia for six months, Tommy is about to depart on a two-week holiday to the United States. However, when he looks for cover from the UK travel insurer he’s used in the past, Tommy realises that they won’t offer him any cover because his trip will start and end in Australia.
Fully aware just how expensive just one night in an American hospital can be if you don’t have any insurance, Tommy decides to compare non-resident travel insurance policies from Australian insurance providers. After shopping around, Tommy finds an affordable policy that covers overseas medical expenses, lost and stolen luggage, trip cancellation and interruption, travel delay and more. He heads away on his holiday with complete confidence that he’ll have financial protection if something goes wrong during his trip.
Whether or not your non-resident travel insurance covers you for trips back to your home country depends on your insurer. For example, 1Cover does not cover your return trip to your country of residence, while DUInsure does cover one-way travel to your country of residence from Australia.
Check the product disclosure statement (PDS) to find out whether or not your policy provides any cover.
Things to consider when choosing a non-resident policy
When you’re looking for travel insurance, the first thing you must consider is the type and level of cover you need. In order to do this, take the time to think about your trip and ask yourself:
- What are the eligibility requirements of the policy?
- Do I have any pre-existing conditions that will be excluded?
- Where am I going?
- How long will I be travelling and what are the conditions for spending most of my time within Australia?
- What will I be doing? Do I need extra cover for cruise trips or winter sports cover?
- Am I taking any expensive items with me?
How to compare non-resident travel insurance
- First of all, do your research on the insurance companies that offer the type of cover you need.
- Check online product review websites or seek personal advice from friends and family members.
- Look for an insurer with a trusted and reliable reputation, and remember to factor the underwriter of the policy into your calculations.
- Once you’ve found a few suitable insurers it’s time to dig a little deeper. It may be a boring and time consuming task, but reading product disclosure statements is something you should do.
- Look at the features, benefits, limits and exclusions of competing policies, seeing how each one stacks up to your list of requirements.
- Compare multiple quotes for a number of policies. This can be handled quickly and easily online, allowing you to get an accurate idea of just how much you will be charged for cover.
- Remember the cheapest policy is not necessarily the right policy for you — you need to familiarise yourself with the actual cover offered to determine a policy’s true value.