Can I purchase Covid travel insurance for Australian international flights?


With the return of international travel starting in December 2021 and throughout 2022, travel insurance will be more critical than ever – but where are you in regards to COVID-19?

What if you catch the coronavirus during your trip, or if you have to isolate yourself unexpectedly, potentially for two weeks away from home and at your expense?

Some insurers and even some airlines now offer COVID coverage – but what is included can vary widely between policies and providers.

Which Airlines Offer COVID Travel Insurance?

Many airlines now offer some degree of cost protection from COVID-19, including Qantas, Emirates, Cathay Pacific and more.

With some, like Emirates, Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines, this coverage is free with your ticket – although of these three, only Emirates offers coverage without an “end date”, as Cathay and JAL currently list their offers as expiring in December. 2021. / January 2022.

Etihad, after extending its COVID policy for one year, also covers eligible passengers until March 31, 2022.

Qantas offers COVID insurance as a paid item, as part of a much larger travel insurance plan.

The airline says its policy covers Australians traveling abroad if they catch COVID, which includes related medical costs (usually unlimited), as well as the costs of unexpected quarantine abroad if necessary after a positive test. (up to $ 2,500).

Read more: Qantas Now Offers Covid-19 Travel Insurance For International Flights

Australian travel insurance with COVID-19 coverage

The big question: what happens if you test positive for COVID-19 abroad?

The answer really depends on where you are in the world. and the requirements of the country you are visiting – but if a hospital stay is added to your itinerary, this is usually where travel insurance supports you.

Allianz, for example, offers medical and hospital cover abroad on its latest contracts “if, during your period of cover, you are positively diagnosed as suffering from a disease recognized as epidemic or pandemic, such as COVID-19 ”.

But that comes with a catch.

If the location you have traveled to is marked as ‘reconsider your need to travel’ or ‘do not travel’ by Smartaveller – which currently applies to all countries in the world other than New Zealand – coverage does not apply. not apply.

Other insurers, like Covermore, are not as restrictive with new policies.

Covermore only excludes destinations zoned at the highest level of ‘do not travel’ and insures a wider range of scenarios like the cost of changing plans if a family member catches COVID, or if you test positive before your trip and that you can’t fly. .

Takeaway meals: Every insurer is different – and besides, different policies can cover different things, and coverage can change over time – so before you rely on travel insurance, be sure to read the fine print and be aware of the restrictions, exclusions and limitations that may apply.

After COVID, travel insurance may be mandatory

As international travel returns, some countries may make insurance an entry requirement: especially when it comes to COVID-19.

Under the recently launched “vaccinated travel route” between Singapore and Germany, for example, travelers can only fly if they have COVID coverage.

Singapore requires these visitors to have insurance of at least S $ 30,000 to cover hospital costs and medical expenses related to COVID while in Singapore.

In this case, the insurance policy does not need to be taken out in Singapore: it is only valid in Singapore.

It shows how things might work for Australia-Singapore travel once those borders are reopened.

Read more: How an Australia-Singapore ‘vaccinated travel route’ might work

COVID-19 Health Insurance Coverage Abroad

Many Australians don’t realize that health insurance isn’t just your home safety net – it can also help cover medical bills when you’ve traveled abroad.

While not a true replacement for commercial travel insurance, Australia maintains “reciprocal health care agreements” with 11 other countries – and if you need medical care or medication overseas, those costs can be drastically reduced, or even “wholesale re-invoiced”. to Australia.

This applies to popular destinations such as New Zealand and UK, as well as Belgium, Finland, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Republic of Ireland, Slovenia and in Sweden.

The Services Australia website describes exactly what is covered in each country and what you need to do.

But, there is a golden rule: you must bring your health insurance card with you when you travel.

While it’s now possible to load a digital Medicare card onto your phone through the Express Plus Medicare app for Android and iOS – and it’s a great backup to have – swipe the plastic card into your passport wallet before going abroad could save your life.

In fact, even if you have travel insurance, many insurers will not pay the expenses that you might have claimed through this health insurance plan, giving you even more reason to travel with your insurance card – sickness.

Read also : Add a Covid-19 vaccination card on Android or iPhone

Chris Chamberlin is Executive Traveler Associate Editor and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles does not start with just one step, but also with a strong latte, a ticket to the theater, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.

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