Does Your Insurance Cover Vaccinations?

Purchasing travel insurance before traveling to any local or foreign destination brings many advantages, but the most beneficial part – specifically for cruises and foreign trips – is medical cover. Depending on the location the costs of medical treatment can vary considerably, but in the US, France, and Hong Kong, even basic medical treatment could easily amount to more than 1,000 AUD. But if the treatment required goes beyond this the costs quickly soar, regardless of which country you're in, and how low the cost of basic medical care might be there.

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However, what is often not known is that if the treatment is for a preventable disease, and the insured didn't follow any advised precautionary measures, most travel insurance policies will not cover the costs.

What Precautionary Measures Should Travelers Take?

The Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade provides the most current advice for travelers wanting to follow standard precautionary measures about safety, security, and health. It is easy for those that live in a developed country to be unaware of the prevalence of diseases that aren't usually found in their country.

Growing up you may have had the routine vaccinations for measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough (pertussis), hepatitis B, polio, and pneumococcal, but there are still many diseases you wouldn’t have been immunized against.

A couple of months before you are due to leave on your next overseas business trip or holiday, you should visit your doctor to make sure all of the above vaccines are up to date, as well as getting the latest flu vaccine.

The influenza virus evolves at a rapid pace, so the new vaccine against the flu is produced twice a year. If you haven't had a flu vaccine in the last 12 months, you should ask for the latest version. This applies even if the country you are going to is not in the middle of 'flu season'.

When asking your GP about the need for routine booster shots, you should make sure you tell them details of your travel plans, mentioning all the destinations you may visit, and traveling through. They will be able to discuss the advised precautionary measures you should take and which additional vaccines you may need.

This may include vaccinations for cholera, Japanese encephalitis, meningococcal meningitis, rabies, and typhoid, along with advice on additional precautionary measures you should follow, mosquito nets or quinine tablets for example.

What Other Health Risks Should Travelers be Aware of?

It is important that you are conscious that some diseases have no vaccine, including some that can be transmitted through contaminated food and water, and by insects. Your doctor will be aware if any are prevalent in the areas you will be traveling through, and can offer additional precautionary measures, which may include some form of prophylaxis. Although vaccines and prophylaxis cannot guarantee that you won’t contract a preventable disease, they will reduce your risk. If you do contract one such disease but have proof that you took the necessary precautions, there shouldn’t be any issue in getting any medical treatment claims settled through your travel insurance.

Travel insurance comparison is easy through, but you should also examine each insurer’s Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) to be certain of the cover offered, and how to meet their requirements.

When Should Travelers get Vaccinated?

The reason you should see your GP at least two months before you travel is because some vaccines take a long time to become effective or may require more than one treatment. Travelers should also check with a country’s embassy or consulate to see if they require proof that visitors have been vaccinated against certain diseases.

The doctor or travel clinic that performs the vaccination will be able to issue a certificate for any of the procedures. As well as helping prove to your insurer that you took the necessary precautions, it could also prevent you from being denied entry into a country.

About have been helping Australians buy travel insurance online since 1999. Their goal is to help you find the best policy for your needs and offer it at a discount price. has been designed to offer you the easiest way to compare and purchase your travel insurance, choosing from the major Australian brands such as; Suresave, QBE, CHI and Aussietravelcover travel insurance.

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Last updated: Feb 1, 2020 at 8:11 PM


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