Is it compulsory

Is Travel Insurance Compulsory?

Travel insurance is compulsory in certain situations. Find out what they are.

While people understand that cover is important, not many know that travel insurance is compulsory:

  • To enter certain countries
  • For stays over 90 days in Schengen Zones
  • For group travel tours including Contiki Tours and G Adventures

Travel insurance is compulsory in these countries

Travel insurance is recommended regardless of which country you travel to yet some travellers still take the risk of travelling without it. But some countries strictly mandate travel insurance with medical as an entry requirement.

CountryTravel insurance requirements
United Arab Emirates (UAE)You need to be able to prove that you have adequate health insurance when applying for your visa, otherwise your application will be rejected. Health care costs in UAE states, such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi, are extremely high. While citizens are covered by the public health care system, you won’t be, which is why you need travel insurance.
CubaTravel insurance is compulsory in Cuba. All insurance policies must meet minimum medical and repatriation requirements. Documents will be checked at immigration. If these minimum requirements are not met, you must buy insurance from local providers before entering the country.
QatarExpats and international visitors must have travel insurance with medical cover when visiting or living in Qatar. By the end of 2015, it will be mandatory for employers of expatriates to pay premiums for their employees.
TurkeyTurkey requires that all visitors under the age of 65 have unlimited cover for inpatient services and a minimum benefit of TRY2000 (Turkish Lira) for outpatient medical care.

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The Schengen Zone and compulsory travel insurance

The Schengen Zone is a region encompassing 26 European countries and states. Bulgaria and Romania are in the process of joining the Schengen Zone.

Travel insurance is required for stays over 90 days

If you want to visit the Schengen Zone for 90 days or more, you need a visa. To receive the visa, Australian travellers must meet the minimum requirements for most member states. These requirements include compulsory travel insurance with the minimum medical cover of €30,000 and cover for repatriation back to Australia.

Can I skip on travel insurance for countries where it's not compulsory?

If you're thinking of avoiding travel insurance for a country where it's not required, think again. A night in hospital in a country such as Singapore or the United States of America (USA) could end up costing you almost $900 and $750 a night respectively. Travelling to these countries without travel insurance is like playing with fire.

Top 6 most expensive destinations to have an emergency

DestinationHospital stay per night
United States of America$751
Hong Kong$722
The Netherlands$671

Other medical expenses you must be aware of

If you plan on traveling to any of the destinations on this list, ensure that you protect yourself with a comprehensive travel insurance package. Other medical emergency expenses that you must be aware of include:

  • Ambulance fees
  • Medication
  • Inpatient and outpatient treatment
  • Doctor consultation fees
  • Food and incidentals
  • Accommodation for travelling companions

Tours that require travel insurance

Tours are an ideal way to travel and explore the world. However, based on the unpredictable nature of various destinations, travel insurance is required for most long-term tours.


Travel insurance requirementsDetails
G AdventuresCompulsoryTravel insurance with medical cover is mandatory, and cancellation cover comes highly recommended for all G Adventure tours.
ContikiCompulsory for some toursWhile travel insurance is only recommended for some destinations, all travellers to Asia and South America are required to have an insurance policy with medical, personal, baggage and cancellation expenses.
Baz BusRecommendedSouth Africa's premier tour operator recommends travellers have medical insurance.
VodkatrainCompulsoryComprehensive medical cover and cover for the loss of personal items is mandatory for travellers on all Vodkatrain tours.
BusaboutCompulsory for some toursTravel insurance is recommended for all Busabout tours. Medical insurance and repatriation is required for trips to Asia and Turkey.
Stray AsiaCompulsoryTravel insurance is compulsory for Stray Asia tours. Stray Asia strongly recommends that each traveller is covered for medical expenses, personal baggage, cancellation, public liability and personal accident.
Bamba ExperienceCompulsoryTravel insurance that covers whitewater rafting and sand buggies is mandatory for Bamba tours.
DragomanCompulsoryMedical travel insurance with repatriation is a requirement to participate in Dragoman tours.
Moose Travel NetworkRecommendedWhile insurance isn't mandatory, the Moose Travel Network strongly recommends travellers purchase cancellation insurance.
Bundu BusRecommendedTravel insurance of unforeseen circumstances is recommended.

Frequently asked questions

Is travel insurance compulsory for the USA?

No, travel insurance is not a compulsory entry requirement. The high cost of health care however, means that travel insurance might as well be compulsory

Is travel insurance compulsory for the United Kingdom (UK)?

No, travel insurance is not a compulsory entry requirement. Travel insurance is however, highly recommended for the due to the many common travel mishaps travellers to the UK find themselves in.

Can I buy travel insurance last minute?

If you're at the airport and about to leave, you can compare and purchase policies online and on your mobile too!

Should I "kill two birds with one stone" and get travel insurance from my credit card?

You should consider the benefits and limitations of credit card travel insurance and assess it with standalone travel insurance to see what fits your circumstances.

Should I use the optional travel insurance offered by my tour company?

If your tour company offers travel insurance make sure you read the policy and assess whether or not the cover is adequate for your travel needs. Compare the policy benefits with standalone policies online for a better understanding of the policies that are out there.

Compare travel insurance and meet entry requirements

Maurice Thach

Maurice is a publisher for Daily research of Australia's insurance offerings allows him to breakthrough the noise of the many policies out there to uncover what can (and can't) be covered. Maurice hopes to make finding the right insurance easier for all.

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