Medical-only travel insurance is the cheapest type of cover you can get.
It can cover 24/7 emergency assistance, medical expenses (including medication) and evacuation.
It does not cover trip cancellation and delays or lost or stolen luggage.
Compare medical-only travel insurance
Use the Finder travel insurance engine to compare medical-only travel insurance. Pop in your trip details, click on the basic policies and you'll be able to compare medical-only options.
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Who offers medical only travel insurance?
Some medical only policies, are also named "Basic". Different insurers include other benefits or differing amounts which why it pays to compare. Medical cover doesn't always include cover for accidental death or permanent disability.
Medical travel insurance is the most basic form of travel insurance you can buy, meaning it's also typically the cheapest. It's designed to come in handy if you get sick or injured while you're overseas. International travel insurance with medical-only cover usually includes:
24/7 emergency medical assistance
GP visits and medication
Hospital expenses if you need to be admitted for an injury or illness
Emergency evacuation and repatriation back to Australia due to a medical emergency
Emergency dental treatment up to a set benefit limit (depending on the policy)
Funeral costs (if you pass away as a result of your injury or illness)
Many basic travel insurance policies also include personal liability cover. This covers you if you injure another person or damage their belongings.
Medical exclusions you should note
All insurance policies contain exclusions. In the case of medical-only travel insurance, these can include:
Emergency medical assistance
Any expenses you incur that have not been pre-approved by the Assistance Provider
Failing to follow the medical advice of the Assistance Provider
Any medical evacuation or transport of remains from Australia to another country
Any medical or hospital expenses incurred in Australia.
Failing to notify your insurer or their Assistance Provider of your hospitalisation as soon as possible
Failing to heed the advice of the insurer or their Assistance Provider
Any treatment by a chiropractor, physiotherapist or dentist lasting more than two weeks that has not been approved by the insurer or their Assistance Provider
Any medical care that is covered under a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA)
Any damage to dentures, prostheses, bridges or crowns (if applicable)
Cosmetic dentistry or treatment involving precious metals (if applicable)
How much does medical-only travel insurance cost?
Medical-only travel insurance generally costs between $2.40 to just over $5 per day, depending on the travel insurer, your age, the destination and a few other factors. For context, we found a basic policy to cost between $34 and $50 for a 2 week trip to Bali. We got these quotes in August 2023.
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Best travel insurance FAQs
A handful of travel insurers offer medical-only cover. This is the most basic (and cheapest) type of travel insurance you can get. It's designed to cover medical assistance overseas.
Medical-only travel insurance, as the name implies, only covers overseas medical expenses. Comprehensive travel insurance covers costs associated with cancellations, lost luggage, delayed luggage, COVID-related expenses and more.
Most medical-only travel insurance policies cover evacuations due to a medical emergency. For example, if you need to be evacuated or repatriated back to Australia to receive adequate medical care.
Gary Ross Hunter is an editor at Finder, specialising in insurance. He’s been writing about life, travel, home, car, pet and health insurance for over 6 years and regularly appears as an insurance expert in publications including The Sydney Morning Herald, The Guardian and news.com.au. Gary holds a Kaplan Tier 2 General Advice General Insurance certification which meets the requirements of ASIC Regulatory Guide 146 (RG146).
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