Medical Travel Insurance

Injured Traveller

Find travel insurance for overseas medical emergencies or if you have a pre-existing condition

Getting seriously ill or injured overseas can be an expensive ordeal. The cost of receiving emergency transportation to local facilities or back home or to receive treatment can quickly run into the tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars. Did you know the daily cost to stay in hospital in the United States is as much as $750? And that's before you even receive any treatment...

Medical travel insurance provides cover for:

  • Emergency medical and hospital expenses including hospital stay, surgery, dental treatment and nursing
  • 24 hour emergency assistance including ambulance fees, medical evacuations and hospital guarantees

If you have a pre-existing medical condition, it is still possible to take out travel insurance but there may be some exclusions applied for certain conditions. Read on to learn more about how medical travel insurance works and how you can get cover for your condition.

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What exactly does medical travel insurance cover?

Travel insurance can provide cover for a whole range of medical expenses that you may face while overseas including:

  • Visits to a local doctor or other certified medical practitioner approved by the provider
  • Emergency evacuation to the closest medical facility. This may be transport by air or road.
  • Admission and treatment in a medical facility
  • Prescribed medication for serious illness or injury suffered while travelling
  • Prescribed physiotherapy for injuries suffered while travelling
  • Additional out of pocket expenses if you are admitted to a hospital
  • Repatriation back home to Australia
  • Additional expenses for your travel partner or relative to stay with your while you are admitted to a hospital overseas

Dengue fever in downtown Bali

Warung
In late 2013, finder.com.au user Jess Eve suffered from Dengue Fever on a 4 week trip in Indonesia. This is her story of the illness and subsequent travel insurance claim.
During my stay in Bali, I hopped around to various surfing destinations: Uluwatu, Canggu and Sumbawa. I was stayed in budget accommodation and ate at the local warungs. Somewhere around Kuta, I believe I was bitten by a mosquito before a flight to the nearby island of Sumbawa. I do not remember being bitten.

Four days late on the island of Sumbawa, I woke up with a fever, headache (behind my eyes), and muscle and joint pain. It was unlike anything I'd experienced before. Within hours I had broken out in a red rash.

To relieve the pain I drank water and took paracetamol and Ibuprofen (I was later informed that Ibuprofen should be avoided as it can aggravate bleeding).

I called home and was given told to get on a flight back to Kuta and check into the hospital. Which I did. Once in hospital my blood test came back as positive for Dengue fever.

My medical travel insurance representative got in touch with the Bali International Medical Centre and the overall support from both parties was amazing. I had an Australian nurse I could contact at any time and the insurance company arranged to have mum fly over if needed.

I was surprised how many other Australian tourists were in the hospital for Dengue Fever during my stay. My platelet count was extremely low and there was a high danger of internal bleeding so I remained in hospital for five days.

After 14 days, the hospital gave me the all clear to fly and I travelled home.

I need medical treatment overseas, what do I do?

  1. Have you spoken with a medical adviser? If you are sick or injured, don't leave anything, and seek medical assistance immediately.
  2. Have you called your travel insurer? This should be your first point of contact after the relevant local authorities if you have suffered a medical event. Not only will they be able to put you in touch with local medical providers, this will also ensure you don't have to pay out-of-pocket.
  3. Have you called your family and friends? Make sure you keep your family and friends appraised of your situation. They may be able to deal with your doctors or the insurer should you be unable to.
  4. Have you contacted your consular services? In some cases you may want to get in touch with the consular services if you have exhausted other avenues of assistance.

How do I make a medical claim?

If you receive medical treatment when overseas and wish to file a claim, while claim processes can vary from one insurer to the next, the basics remains the same. When filing your medical travel insurance claim, you'll need to provide the following:

  • A medical certificate that states your receiving treatment for a given illness or injury
  • Receipts proving you’ve paid for treatment

Contacting your insurance provider upon hospitalisation is a good idea, as it can then communicate with the medical facility and authorise payment.

In case of hospitalisation, contacting your insurance provider can be necessary if you wish to claim for expenses towards airfare or evacuation. It’s important to note that your medical travel insurance might not cover medical and hospital costs that you incur in Australia.

Find travel insurance policies with cover for medical related losses

It is critical that anyone considering taking out travel insurance takes the time to actually read through the product disclosure statement so that they are aware of any particular exclusions that may be relevant to their situation. This is especially important when it comes to pre-existing medical conditions as the terms can vary quite significantly between different providers on how they will cover certain conditions. If you are ever unsure whether a condition you have or have previously had will be covered under the policy, it is always best to contact your insurer to clarify prior to purchasing your cover.

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Picture: Mats Hagwall, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (image cropped)

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25 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    GregFebruary 29, 2016

    I had a lung transplant and a heart bypass 3 years ago following that surgery I developed die tees and require insulin daily all my conditions are stable I’m going on a cruise on the 6/3/2016 here in Brisbane for 7 days is there any travel insurance that will cover me?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      RichardMarch 1, 2016Staff

      hi Greg,

      Thanks for your question. finder.com.au is a financial comparison service and we are not permitted to make product recommendation or give financial advice. However, two insurers who are InsureandGo and CoverMore. InsureandGo claim to consider all conditions so they may be able to provide you with cover. CoverMore will assess medical conditions prior to travel issuing travel insurance.

      I hope this was helpful,
      Richard

  2. Default Gravatar
    ShirleyFebruary 20, 2016

    I have booked a trip to Hawaii and now I can’t find an insurance company to cover my medical condition as I have had a pulmonary embolisms back in 2013 and no longer on blood thinners, but have a condition that makes me prone to blood clotting. I think the main problem with my PE history is that America has a very expensive medical system should I need it. I thought I would have found a company and I would have expected to pay a higher premium but no such luck.

  3. Default Gravatar
    mNovember 4, 2015

    Do you insure people who take blood thinners

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      RichardNovember 4, 2015Staff

      Hi Garland,

      Thanks for your question. finder.com.au is a comparison service and not an insurer. It will depend on your condition. InsureandGo claim to consider all conditions. CoverMore may also be able to as they will assess medical conditions prior to travel issuing travel insurance, so long as you’re not travelling against the advice of a medical practitioner. However, finding cover if you’re taking blood thinners is incredibly difficult.

      I hope this was helpful,
      Richard

  4. Default Gravatar
    JanSeptember 9, 2015

    I have paid for upcoming travel insurance overseas for myself, but may look at cancelling it very soon to obtain a refund. Have just discovered it will not cover me should I have to cancel or return home due to the illness or death of my elderly parents who are both over 86years of age. My mother has no pre existing medical conditions, yet my father does. My father has had a heart condition since the age of 52. My insurance will not cover this situation 1. due to their age 2. my father has a pre-existing medical condition. So are there any travel insurance companies that will cover me?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MauriceSeptember 9, 2015Staff

      Hi Jan,

      Thanks for your question. Please note that finder.com.au is a comparison service, and is not in a position to recommend a specific travel insurance policy for you.

      It is always best to check with the policy provider regarding cover for cancellations in the event of a relatives illness/death, before you purchase a policy. Travel insurance providers will unfortunately exclude such cover if a relative is over a set age in their policy (usually 81 for most insurers).

      As for pre-existing heart conditions, insurers will need to assess it on a case by case basis, therefore it is necessary to contact an insurer directly.

      I hope this helps,

      Maurice

  5. Default Gravatar
    KimJune 3, 2015

    We are from Australia and are travelling to the USA. Does anyone know of a Travel Insurance cover which would cover my 66yr old husband who 2 months ago had Ablation surgery for Atrial Fibrillation and takes blood thinner Xarelto 20mg 2x daily.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      RichardJune 3, 2015Staff

      Hi Kim,

      Thanks for your question. finder.com.au is a comparison service and not an insurer, and we are not permitted to provide personalised advice. Whether or not you can take out cover will depend on your illness. Unfortunately, travel insurance treat medical conditions on a case by case basis if they are not already excluded. However, InsureandGo claim to consider all conditions. CoverMore may also be able to help as they assess medical conditions prior to travel issuing travel insurance.

      These are just two providers from our panel that may be able to help and there may be other insures out there who are suitable to your needs.

      I hope this was helpful,
      Richard

    • Default Gravatar
      KimJune 3, 2015

      Thank you Richard, I will give them both a try.

  6. Default Gravatar
    SophieMay 12, 2015

    Hi,
    I’m planning to go travelling from July 2015 for about 6-12 months (unsure how long exactly) to Europe mostly, but some potential for travel elsewhere.
    I was diagnosed this week with a pulmonary embolism and am now on blood thinners, and I am really worried about how I will get travel insurance? is this still possible to get insurance that covers this situation?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      RichardMay 12, 2015Staff

      Hi Sophie,

      Thanks for your question. I am not aware of any providers that do cover people with pulmonary embolism and most policies exclude cover for claims arising from people who are taking blood thinners. However, InsureandGo claim to consider all conditions. CoverMore may also be able to as they will assess medical conditions prior to travel issuing travel insurance, so long as you’re not travelling against the advice of a medical practitioner.

      I hope this was helpful,
      Richard

  7. Default Gravatar
    NeilMarch 18, 2015

    My wife and I with our daughters aged 6 and 8 will be traveling to bali from Melbourne for 2 weeks at the start of November. My wife was diagnosed with breast cancer July 2014 and had had surgery, chemo and radiation which ends end of March, she has temporary tissue expanders in chest and won’t have reconstruction till after we come back from bali. My question is which providers are best suited for this type of condition, does it add much to cost of insurance for this type of condition, and any information we need to supply in addition when we apply for travel insurance

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      RichardMarch 19, 2015Staff

      Hi Neil,

      Thanks for your question. Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer. Cover for these kinds of conditions are assessed on a case-by-case basis. InsureandGo claim to consider all medical conditions, so that might be a good place to start.

      I hope this was helpful,
      Richard

  8. Default Gravatar
    LeighMarch 15, 2015

    I am traveling overseas and need insurance that will cover me should I have to cancel or return home due to the illness or death of elderly parents. Yes they do have pre existing illnesses and are aged 84 and 86 years of age.
    I have no pre-existing medical condition and do not take medications

    thank you

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      RichardMarch 17, 2015Staff

      Hi Leigh,

      Thanks for your question. Many policies provide cover for cancellation due to the death of a family member. Unfortunately, finder.com.au is a comparison service and we are not permitted to provide product recommendations. Your best bet would be to narrow down the list of prospective travel insurers and then review the relevance PDS for each product.

      If you would like to compare quotes from travel insurers from our panel, please enter your travel details in the form at the top of the page. Once you have found policies that suit your needs and budget, you can check the PDS by clicking on the link next to the product description.

      I hope this was helpful,
      Richard

  9. Default Gravatar
    TrevorFebruary 9, 2015

    I have obtained travel insurance for a world wide journey of 6 weeks excluding cover for my pre-existing Mitral Valve Prolapse & Arrhythmia. Is it possible to obtain medical only insurance for the pre-existing medical conditions of this nature or must I take out another comprehensive travel insurance policy including the pre-existing medical conditions?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      RichardFebruary 10, 2015Staff

      Hi Trevor,

      Thanks for your question. Normally, it’s best to see if the travel insurance company will cover your pre-existing condition. Sometimes they will have you submit to a medical test to make sure that the condition is under control and allow you to purchase extra cover for the pre-existing condition at an additional premium. You may be able to take out a separate policy now, whether that be additional medical cover from your current provider or a separate medical policy.

      I hope this was helpful,
      Richard

  10. Default Gravatar
    JasonOctober 27, 2014

    have incisional hernias…is this covered same as hiatus hernia?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      RichardOctober 28, 2014Staff

      Hi Jason,

      Thanks for your question. Incisional and hiatus hernias are different types of hernia and may be treated differently by insurers. It is always best to check with your insurer as there is no blanket rule for what is and isn’t covered.

      I hope this was helpful,
      Richard

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