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Travel insurance for repatriation and medical evacuation

With medical evacuation and repatriation insurance under your belt, you’ll be covered to get back to Australia if medical assistance isn’t available locally.

What you need to know

  • Travel insurance with emergency evacuation and repatriation benefits is essential
  • Medical evacuation and repatriation insurance covers the cost of traveling for medical treatment
  • Coverage amounts for medical evacuation can vary, so it iss important to shop around for high coverage amounts

What is repatriation insurance?

Simply, repatriation is returning you home. For travel insurance, it means getting someone home country after they have been injured or killed overseas. Repatriation insurance typically covers:

  • Emergency evacuation or repatriation. This covers you for emergency medical transportation, either to get you to your home country or to the nearest overseas medical facility (eg being airlifted out of the mountains).
  • Emergency reunion. This pays for a loved one to be with you if you're evacuated. It normally pays for them to fly to you and covers their expenses.
  • Repatriation of remains. This services pays for getting your body to your home country if you die overseas.

Do I need repatriation travel insurance?

Yes, you really should get repatriation insurance when you travel. Medical repatriation can be crazy expensive, potentially into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. If you were to die overseas, that cost would be passed onto your family, as well as the effort of getting you home. Not a vibe.

The good news is that repatriation insurance is very easy to get. Adequate repat cover will come with most travel insurance policies with comprehensive medical cover. You can compare travel insurance products with the tool below.

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Travel insurance brands offering repatriation and medical evacuation cover for overseas trips

BrandConditionsApply
Medibank Travel InsuranceIn all cases the cost of evacuation or to bring You back to Australia will only be met if Your claim is approved by Medibank and it was arranged by and deemed necessary by their emergency assistance network.
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ahm life insuranceIn all cases the cost of evacuation or to bring You back to Australia will only be met if Your claim is approved by ahm and it was arranged by and deemed necessary by their emergency assistance network.
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Freely LogoIn all cases the cost of evacuation or to bring You back to Australia will only be met if Your claim is approved by Freely and it was arranged by and deemed necessary by their emergency assistance network.
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insureandgoDepending on your specific needs, EUROP ASSISTANCE (emergency assistance provider for InsureandGo) can coordinate evacuation or repatriation where you are located to a suitable medical facility or back home to Australia, subject to assessment and approval.
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Kogan travel insurance logoIn all cases the cost of evacuation or to bring You back to Australia will only be met if Your claim is approved by Kogan and it was arranged by and deemed necessary by their emergency assistance network.
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WAS LogoWise and Silent will pay travelling costs to repatriate you to Australia where this is medically necessary.
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Travel ProtectTravel Protect will pay travelling costs to repatriate you to Australia where this is medically necessary.
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Tick LogoDepending on your specific needs, EUROP ASSISTANCE (emergency assistance provider for Tick) can coordinate evacuation or repatriation where you are located to a suitable medical facility or back home to Australia, subject to assessment and approval.
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Zoom logoYou're covered for your medical transfer or evacuation if you must be transported to the nearest hospital for emergency medical treatment overseas, or be brought back to Australia with appropriate medical supervision.
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Fast Cover LogoYou're covered for your medical transfer or evacuation if you must be transported to the nearest hospital for emergency medical treatment overseas, or be brought back to Australia with appropriate medical supervision.
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Insure4Less Travel Insurance LogoThe expenses may include, but are not limited to, medical and hospital expenses, ambulance costs, evacuation, repatriation and other transport costs.
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Travel Insuranz Travel Insurance LogoThe expenses may include, but are not limited to, medical and hospital expenses, ambulance costs, evacuation, repatriation and other transport costs.
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World2Cover Logo
Only approved or arranged medical expenses or any evacuation/repatriation or airfares by World2Cover.
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Covermore logoIn all cases the cost of evacuation or to bring You back to Australia will only be met if Your claim is approved by Covermore and it was arranged by and deemed necessary by their emergency assistance network.
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southern cross travel insuranceCover for your actual and reasonable medical expenses if you need medical treatment because of an unexpected event during your journey. If SCTI have confirmed that your medical expenses are covered, and you are deemed medically fit to travel by Southern Cross Emergency Assistance, they wil pay to:
  • Repatriate you to Australia
  • Evacuate you to another country that we choose for further treatment.

If you need medical evacuation, or repatriation to Australia, because of an unexpected event during your journey, they,ll cover:

  • Your medical evacuation costs if we need to move you to another location for necessarymedical treatment
  • Your repatriation costs to bring you back to Australia
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Travel Insurance SaverWe will cover you if you have to interrupt your trip after it has begun because you have suffered an illness or injury while you are on your trip, and based on the reasonable recommendation of a medical practitioner appointed by us, you need to be evacuated or repatriated. We will pay transport and accommodation expenses which we believe are reasonable and necessary to bring you back to your home in Australia, or to another destination of our choice. The decision to evacuate or repatriate you is ours, and we will not pay for any evacuation or repatriation expenses unless you have received our consent. Consider the PDS and TMD from TIS and if the product is right for you.
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Easy Travel InsuranceIn all cases the cost of evacuation or to bring You back to Australia will only be met if Your claim is approved by Easy and it was arranged by and deemed necessary by their emergency assistance network.
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Qantas travel insuranceQantas will pay reasonable and necessary costs for transportation and medical support services incurred in evacuating or repatriating you, using the means that they and your treating medical practitioner agree is the most appropriate based on strict medical necessity and the medical constraints of your condition.
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1Cover Logo
If You are advised that You need medical transfer or evacuation to Australia, You or a member of Your travelling party MUST contact First Assistance as soon as possible and obtain their prior approval for any expenses.More info
American Express logoCover for Repatriation/ Evacuation, cost of overseas emergency medical Treatment, emergency dental Treatment and reasonable extra accommodation costs in the event of a Medical Emergency whilst on Your Overseas Trip (except when You are in Australia)More info
skiinsurance ski travel insurance logoYou're covered for your medical transfer or evacuation if you must be transported to the nearest hospital for emergency medical treatment overseas, or be brought back to Australia with appropriate medical supervision.More info
Picture not describedHoliday Rescue Travel InsuranceIf Holiday Rescue determine that you should be moved to another hospital, or return to Australia (for treatment or because the risk of continuing on your holiday is too high), they’ll pay reasonable costs:
  • For transport
  • For necessary medical assistance and/or non-medical assistance
  • To bring dependants named on your certificate of insurance back to Australia if they’re left unsupervised
More info
Picture not describedIn all cases the cost of evacuation or to bring You back to Australia will only be met if Your claim is approved by Webjet and it was arranged by and deemed necessary by their emergency assistance network.More info
All clear travel insurance logoIf you are taken into hospital or you think that you may have to come home early (be repatriated) or extend your journey because of illness, the emergency assistance company must be told immediately.
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Stella travel insurance logoStella will pay travelling costs to repatriate you to Australia where this is medically necessary.
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australia post travel insuranceIn all cases the cost of evacuation or to bring You back to Australia will only be met if Your claim is approved by Australia Post and it was arranged by and deemed necessary by their emergency assistance network.
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WorldcareYou're covered for your medical transfer or evacuation if you must be transported to the nearest hospital for emergency medical treatment overseas, or be brought back to Australia with appropriate medical supervision.More info

Note: This information was last updated August 2023

What does repatriation travel insurance actually cover?

Repatriation cover is for serious and life-threatening illnesses and injuries, while emergency medical evacuation is for transporting you to the nearest suitable medical facility. Repatriation to your country of origin is reserved for situations where you are suffering from a long-term illness or injury and have been deemed unfit to travel by a doctor. Medical evacuation and repatriation insurance covers the cost of traveling for medical treatment if it is not available locally. Coverage and eligibility requirements for this benefit differ by policy. Here are some of the things repatriation travel insurance will and will not cover:

  • Access to emergency medical treatment
  • Transport to the nearest overseas hospital or back to Australia with appropriate medical supervision
  • A guarantee of payment for emergency hospital expenses
  • Assistance with contacting friends and family back home
  • Assistance with returning unaccompanied dependents to Australia
  • Your return flight to Australia – the insurer will use your return ticket to help recover costs. If you don’t have a return ticket, you will be charged for a one-way economy ticket.
  • Costs you incur by continuing your trip after being declared unfit to travel and refusing to be repatriated
  • Costs associated with an undeclared or unapproved pre-existing medical condition
  • Costs you incur once you arrive back home in Australia

Repatriation from a cruise

Cruising is a type of travel where repatriation cover is particularly important to have. Your cruise ship has only limited medical facilities onboard and the nearest hospital may be many hundreds of kilometres away. This means that if you have a heart attack or fall seriously ill, you will have to be airlifted to the nearest land hospital, and this can be an extremely costly service that isn’t covered by any kind of health insurance.

Having repatriation and medical evacuation cover will give you the peace of mind knowing that if something happens to you at sea, you’ll get the best attention in the fastest time and won’t be faced with a bill for tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars when you get back home.

Frequently asked questions

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