Olympics 2016: Guide to Rio games and travel insurance
Are you heading to the Brazil Summer Olympics 2016? Guide for getting the right travel insurance
If you’re planning to visit Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Summer Olympics, you’re bound to have a good time, providing you take some common sense precautions. Rio can be as dangerous for the unwary as it is beautiful and this guide looks at what you can expect, both good and bad, in Brazil’s famous Carnival city.
Apart from sunscreen and a passion to party, one item that should be on your agenda is travel insurance. This will protect you from the normal hazards faced by every overseas traveller, including medical emergency, trip cancellations and loss or theft of luggage. It will also give you peace of mind knowing that if Rio were to reveal a more unsavoury side during your visit, you will be fully protected for any losses you might incur.
Under the comprehensive policy, 1cover will reimburse your travel & accommodation expenses (including prepaid tickets for tours & sporting events) due to circumstances beyond your control such as sickness and injury.
AMEX will pay or reimburse you for the reasonable additional costs of using alternative public transport to arrive at your destination on time, up to the maximum amount specified in the summary of benefits table if your journey is delayed due to an unforeseeable circumstance that is outside your control, which would result in you being unable to arrive in time to attend a pre-paid commercial sporting event, or you are unable to get to a pre-paid tour. AMEX will also cover or reimburse you the non-refundable unused portion of all travel costs prepaid in advance of the event, including withheld deposits and cancellation charges to the limits of your policy, if your travel plans change or are cancelled for unforeseeable reasons.
What you are covered for Budget Direct will pay your reasonable additional travel expenses to reach a sporting event or other prepaid arrangement if your scheduled transport is cancelled, delayed, shortened or diverted during your scheduled journey and that means you would not arrive on time. The cost of excursions, tours and activities (Olympics 2016) which you have paid for and which you cannot recover from any sources.
If your journey is delayed due to an unforeseeable circumstance outside Your control, which means you won't make it in time to attend a pre-paid commercial sporting event, Cover-More will pay or reimburse You for the reasonable additional cost of using alternative public transport to arrive at your destination on time. Cover-More would consider Rio Olympics 2016 tickets as part of your prepaid travel expenses, therefore, you would be able to submit your claim for consideration similar to either flights or accommodation under "Section 3: Amendment or Cancellation Costs".
Unfortunately, the cost of the tickets would not be covered under Fast Cover policies. However, Fast Cover comprehensive policies would cover you for missed connections and travel delays, so depending on the reason why you missed your flight, you may be able to claim for the expenses associated with getting to your destination as you had planned.
iTrek will pay your reasonable additional travel expenses to reach a sporting event or prepaid travel/tour arrangements on time if your scheduled transport is cancelled, delayed, shortened or diverted and that means you would not arrive on time.
Short answer is yes, but if it's a circumstance within the airlines control you actually have to seek compensation from them. If you are in a taxi crash on the way to the airport or flight is cancelled due to weather or natural disaster – travel insurance looks after you for that stuff – and yes the event tickets can be included in your claim.
Ski-Insurance.com.au will pay your cancellation fees and lost deposits for travel and accommodation arrangements that you have paid in advance and cannot recover in any other way if your journey is cancelled or shortened at any time through circumstances neither expected nor intended by you and outside your control. You'll be reimbursed your travel & accommodation expenses that have been prepaid (including prepaid tickets for tours & sporting events) due to circumstances beyond your control.
TID policy provides cover under ‘Special Events’ (refer to Section 9, page 14 of the PDS) if your trip is interrupted by any unforeseeable event outside of your control and you are unable to arrive at your destination by the time originally scheduled for the purpose of attending a pre-arranged wedding, funeral, conference or sporting event that cannot be delayed as a consequence of your late arrival. TID will reimburse you for the reasonable additional cost of using alternative public transport of the same fare class as originally chosen to arrive at the destination on time. In regards to the costs for the Rio Olympics 2016 tickets this is not a specified insured event. However, you are welcome to submit a claim for consideration as all claims are assessed on a case-by-case basis and on the merits of the information provided.
Under section A for cancellation and additional expenses, it is listed on what are the events that will be covered under Section A, where the sole purpose of your trip is to attend the ticketed sporting event, then there will be provision to cover subject to terms and conditions, Travel Insurance Saver will cover you if your trip is interrupted by an event that is not anticipated, is unexpected, and outside of your control.
You are covered if your trip is interrupted by any fortuitous cause outside your control and you are unable to arrive at your destination using your pre-booked travel arrangements in time to attend a sporting event that cannot be delayed as a consequence of your late arrival. Travel Insuranz will reimburse you for the reasonable additional cost of using alternative public transport to arrive at the destination on time.
The Virgin Money Comprehensive Travel Insurance policy provides you with unlimited unforeseen cancellation cover starting from the day you purchase your policy. This protects any deposits for flights, accommodation and tours. The cancellation must be due to an unforeseen event, something outside of your control that was not intended by you. Your reasonable additional travel expenses to reach a sporting event on time if your scheduled transport is cancelled, delayed, shortened or diverted is also covered under alternative travel expenses.
The Comprehensive policy will provide you with unlimited unforeseen cancellation coverage starting from the day you purchase your policy. This will protect any deposits for flights, accommodation and tours. The cancellation must be due to an unforeseen event, something outside of your control that was not intended by you. WorldCare Travel Insurance will pay your reasonable additional travel expenses to reach a sporting event or prepaid travel/tour arrangements on time if your scheduled transport is cancelled, delayed, shortened or diverted and that means you would not arrive on time.
If your trip is delayed due to an unforeseeable circumstance that result in you being unable to attend a pre-paid commercial sporting event, YouGo will pay or reimburse you for the reasonable additional cost of using alternative public transport to arrive at Your destination on time.
Under section A for cancellation and additional expenses in the Easy Travel Insurance PDS, if the purpose of your trip is to attend a ticketed sporting event (e.g the Rio Olympics 2016), Easy Travel Insurance will cover you if your trip is interrupted by an event that is not anticipated, is unexpected, and outside of your control subject to terms and conditions.
Dangers facing those travelling to the Olympics in Brazil
While Brazil is a beautiful country and its people largely friendly and welcoming, it is still a dangerous place in comparison to Australia. If you are travelling to Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Olympics, dangers to avoid include:
Violent crime. Drug and gang related crime is rampant in cities such as Rio and tourists are targeted during major events such as Carnival and the Olympics. You should observe all the normal precautions when visiting the city, including not going out alone at night, avoiding the shanty towns and not making yourself an obvious target.
Petty crime. Thieves, muggers and pickpockets are commonplace in Rio and you should employ all the normal security measures including having more than one stash for your cash, carrying your bag against your body, only using ATMs in banks and shopping malls and not leaving drinks unattended in bars.
Political unrest. There has been major public unrest following recent revelations of government corruption in Brazil and you should avoid all large public gatherings or protests, as they can easily turn violent.
Health concerns. The water can be contaminated and should be boiled before drinking. There is also the threat of HIV/AIDS and mosquito borne viruses such as Zika virus, malaria and yellow fever, so you should obtain vaccines before travelling where possible, practise safe sex and avoid areas where mosquitoes are problematic.
Venues and locations
Events during the 2016 Olympics in Rio will take place at eighteen existing venues, nine new venues and seven temporary venues and each event will be held in one of four geographical locations around the city including Barra, Copacabana, Deodoro and Maracanã.
The official Olympic stadium will be Jornalista Mário Filho Stadium, which has the largest seating capacity of 74,738 people and will host the football finals and the official Olympics Opening and Closing ceremonies. Five other venues outside of Rio will host football events in the cities of Brasília, Belo Horizonte, Manaus, Salvador and São Paulo.
The downtown area of Rio is undergoing large scale revitalisation ahead of the Olympics, with five square kilometres of waterfront district being redeveloped to showcase the city. It includes 70 kilometres of new roads, 650 kilometres of footpaths, 17 kilometres of bike paths and 15,000 new trees.
The construction of Rio’s Olympic venues has been plagued by controversy and delays over recent months, with concerns being expressed that the work would not be completed on time. But the Rio Olympics Committee has declared that, as of December 2015, all venues are ready, apart from the Rio Olympic Velodrome and the Youth Arena, both of which are close to completion.
Public transport in Rio
Due to traffic congestion, the best way to get around Rio, particularly during the Olympics, is by public transport. This consists of;
The BRT Transcarioca. A rapid transit bus system connecting downtown Rio with the airports and the outlying suburb of Barra da Tijuca. Routes are 28 kilometres long, with two lines: Express and Parador and two terminals: Alvorada and Penha.
The VLT. A new French designed light-rail system connecting the port region with the city’s financial sector and powered through the tracks, without the need for overhead cables.
The metro. A rapid transit underground rail network covering 41 kilometres of Rio and serving 35 stations. There is a metro stop right next to the Olympic stadium.
Domestic bus service. An extensive network of buses linking Brazil’s major cities and all of Rio de Janeiro. Fares are cheap, but conditions are basic and travel distances can be long (not recommended for sightseeing).
Taxis. These are relatively cheap and plentiful compared with Australia and can be hailed in the street. To avoid being robbed however, ensure it is a licensed cab before getting in and never share your ride with others.
Medical standards in Brazil
In Brazil’s large cities, including Brasilia, Sao Paulo, Campinas, Rio de Janeiro and Curitiba, the standard of private medical facilities in on par with Australian hospitals. Outside these major centres, however, facilities are quite limited.
If you require treatment at a private medical facility in a major city, be warned that treatment is very expensive and that you may be required to make a cash payment before you can receive any medical services.
With this in mind, it’s vital that you invest in an adequate level of travel insurance cover before you hop on a plane to Brazil. Having cover in place will give you the peace of mind you need to enjoy this ultimate sporting spectacle.
What do I do in an emergency?
If you’re involved in an emergency in Brazil, the nature of the emergency will have a bearing on who you should call:
If it’s a medical emergency
Contact the relevant local emergency contacts.
Contact your travel insurer’s 24/7 emergency assistance line. Your insurer will give you the advice and assistance you need to find medical treatment (if required), and can also liaise with your hospital to ensure that your claim is paid. Some hospitals will require confirmation that you have an adequate level of travel insurance cover in place before you will be admitted.
Get consular assistance if neccessary
Emergency contacts in Brazil
In an emergency:
fire department (193)
public ambulance (192)
Rio de Janeiro operates a special police unit to help tourists:
If you’d like to make a general travel insurance claim
Notify your insurer as soon as possible. You will usually need to submit a claim form within a certain time frame, for example within 30 days of completing your journey, and also provide other documentation (police reports, receipts etc) to support your claim.
What are the entry requirements for Brazil during the Olympics?
Tourists with Australian passports arriving in Brazil between 1 June and 18 September 2016 are able to stay in the country for up to 90 days without acquiring a tourist visa. Your passport will need to be valid for the entire period of your stay.
If you’re travelling in Brazil outside of the dates outlined above, you will need to apply for a tourist visa. You can find the relevant visa information on the Embassy of Brazil website.
Apply for cover today
Rio de Janeiro is famous for the colour and spectacle of Carnival and the 2016 Olympics will no doubt bring a similar excitement and party atmosphere to this iconic city. But it pays to remember that there is also a dark side to Rio and visitors should take normal precautions and not allow the dazzle to blind them from the dangers.
Richard is the Insurance Editor at finder, and has been wrangling insurance Product Disclosure Statements for the last 4 years. When he’s not helping Aussies make sense of the fine print, he can be found testing the quality of Aperol Spritzes in his new found home of New York. Richard studied Journalism at Macquarie University and The Missouri School of Journalism, and has a Tier 1 certification in General Advice for Life Insurance. He has also been published in CSO Australia and Dynamic Business.
Knowing what you are covered for in a travel insurance policy is only half the story. Knowing when cover is not provided is equally important, and this guide shows why a thorough reading of your policy prior to purchase is highly recommended.
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