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Travel Insurance for the Dominican Republic

Get the right travel insurance for your trip to the Caribbean getaway of the Dominican Republic.

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The Dominican Republic is the Caribbean's most popular tourist destination, attracting more than 6 million visitors in 2019. Visitors flock each year to take in the country's natural beauty and vibrant culture.

There's a lot to love about the Dominican Republic, and having the right travel insurance can make sure you get the most out of it. This guide will help you find suitable cover for your trip.

Get travel insurance for your trip to the Dominican Republic

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Do I really need travel insurance?

In addition to dealing with a foreign medical system, there are plenty of other general travel risks you may contend with while travelling in the Dominican Republic. A comprehensive travel insurance policy will provide protection for most unfortunate mishaps including:

  • Lost or stolen luggage
  • Thieves making off with your cash
  • Delayed flights
  • Rental car crashes
  • Unforeseen circumstances that force you to cancel your trip

What are some travel risks specific to the Dominican Republic?

Try to find a travel insurance policy that covers the main hazards you may encounter in the Dominican Republic.

  • Hurricane season and weather events. Hurricane season is from June to November but you should remain aware of potential hazards all year round. Make sure you have a clear understanding of how your travel insurance covers natural disasters.
  • Crime. Crime rates in the Dominican Republic are higher than in Australia and visitors should exercise appropriate caution. Theft, in particular, can be an issue, so try to leave your valuables at home if possible and consider extra travel insurance cover for what you take with you.
  • Disease. Take the right travel insurance precautions to protect yourself from illness in the Dominican Republic. Zika, dengue fever and other mosquito-borne illnesses are at their peak from May to November, while rabies through wild dogs, mongooses and other animals are a potential threat all year.
  • Road travel. Road rules in the Dominican Republic are routinely ignored by local drivers while aggressive driving, poorly maintained and lit roads, crime and shared passage of farm equipment, animals and bicycles also contribute to the risk. Consider travel insurance with rental car excess and personal liability cover if you intend to drive.
  • Swimming hazards. The oceans of the Dominican Republic are inviting, but just like in Australia, they’re more dangerous for those unfamiliar with local conditions. Avoid watersport rental companies that don’t provide the necessary gear or instruction and find a travel insurance policy that covers your planned water activities.

What activities should you consider including in your travel insurance policy as extras?

Depending on what you plan to do in the Dominican Republic, you may need to consider paying an extra premium to fully cover your trip.

  • Hiking: the Dominican Republic is home to Pico Duarte, the tallest peak in the Caribbean. Soaring at well over 3,000 metres, hikers attempting one of its trails might need to purchase travel insurance for trekking as many providers won't cover for incidents above 2,000 metres.
  • Expensive items: It's hard not to want to capture all of the country's sights and activities but you'll want to consider travel insurance to protect your high-value items such as cameras, laptops and smartphones.
  • Adventure sports: Get a thrill from kiteboarding, 4x4ing and the popular 27 waterfalls adventure on the North Coast but make sure you know whether your travel insurance policy covers them.
  • Scuba diving and snorkelling: Bordered by both the Atlantic and Caribbean, there's no wonder why the island is surrounded by abundant marine life and colourful coral reef. Many providers will cover scuba diving up to a depth of 30 metres as standard but there are likely conditions to consider.
  • Surfing: The north coast of Cabarete is a local favourite with swell to suit both beginners and surf-hardened pros alike. Read the fine print of your policy to make sure you're covered for medevac to the nearest hospital should you need it and loss or damage to your board during transit.

What happens if I have a medical emergency in the Dominican Republic?

To access health care in the Dominican Republic you will usually need to pay up-front for treatments. Finding GPs and specialists can also be difficult and may involve additional travel and expenses. This means that in the event of a medical emergency you should plan on either paying out of pocket and then claiming costs later or having a travel insurance policy that pays for medical emergencies up-front.

It is a good idea to familiarise yourself with the three different types of hospitals in the Dominican Republic:

  • Public hospitals can be found in most reasonably sized towns and medical care is free for eligible residents. Be aware that"extras" like stitches, x-rays, bedding, food and similar are expected to be provided by the patient and it is likely that the majority of staff will not speak English.
  • Combined public and private hospitals with advanced facilities and equipment can be found in both Santo Domingo and Santiago. Health care is not free and costs typically run into thousands of dollars for broken bones, surgery and similarly intensive procedures. These hospitals accept payments via travel insurance and will generally be able to provide any required procedure.
  • Local clinics can be found in almost all towns. These are smaller than the above hospitals, and the quality of treatment may vary. Tourist areas often boast high-quality clinics with English-speaking staff, but the local clinics in more isolated locations will typically charge slightly more than public hospitals.

Who do I contact if something goes wrong?

  • Contact the consulatefor help with passports and travel documentation, legal difficulties while travelling or if you don’t know where else to turn. Your nearest Australian embassy is in Mexico and can be reached on on +52 55 1101 2200.
  • Contact your travel insurance provider in the event of a medical emergency as soon as you are safely able to if you need to make a claim. Ensure your provider has a 24-hour claims contact number and keep this handy along with your travel insurance information.

Entry requirements for the Dominican Republic

To enter the Dominican Republic as an Australian you do not need a visa. Instead, you will need a tourist card, obtainable at the airport on arrival. It costs USD$10 for a 30-day entry card which can be renewed a single time, at the same cost, for an additional 30 days.

What won't I be covered for?

Depending on what you plan on doing, standard travel insurance policies may not offer complete cover for you in the Dominican Republic. Watch out for exclusions around:

  • Activities. Certain high-risk holiday activities will often not be covered by your default travel insurance policy, but will be covered by others. Be on the lookout for activities that are specifically excluded, or simply not covered, by certain policies.
  • Failure to obey signs and warnings. Natural hazards are not always signposted, but when they are you are required to obey any signs and warnings. Failure to do so typically means you are not covered for resulting loss or misadventure.
  • Improperly secured possessions. If you have not taken all reasonable steps to secure your belongings then you cannot usually claim losses for theft or damage. Reasonable steps include utilising hotel safes, keeping valuables out of sight, not leaving belongings unattended and locking your rooms and vehicles.
  • Scuba diving. The unique risks associated with scuba diving mean many travel insurance policies will specifically exclude it. If you plan on taking advantage of the Dominican Republic’s renown as a world-class diving spot, then it is advisable to make sure you have the right travel insurance cover.

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