The Difference Between Travel Insurance and Health Insurance

Despite being two very different products, it isn't a stretch to imagine some people equating health insurance with travel insurance. While they do share some commonalities, the two serve different purposes. It could be an expensive mistake to assume that your private health insurance is enough when traveling both at home and abroad.

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What Does Health Insurance Cover?

You may only have Medicare cover, or possibly have supplemented it with private health insurance, but this only covers you for some medical expenses in Australia. This cover disappears completely if you become ill or need treatment when traveling overseas: none of the costs will be covered by Medicare or private health insurance.

The same is true when traveling on a cruise, even if the route is from one Australian port to another, and the ship never crosses into international waters. For any amount of a potential bill to be covered by Medicare or private health insurance, the doctor aboard the cruise ship must be registered with Medicare, and licensed to practice in Australia. However, this condition doesn’t apply at all if the ship crosses into international waters.

What Does Travel Insurance Cover?

There are a multitude of different travel insurance products, but many cover a variety of claims relating to travel, as well as medical expenses. The top priority for most people is obviously cover for medical expenses, since in many foreign countries it can be prohibitively expensive to receive treatment or be hospitalized.

However, it is possible that the nature of the illness or injury makes it necessary for you to be transported back to Australia to receive proper treatment and care. Often this does not involve a standard flight or fare, and your return ticket will not cover that. On top of covering most of the costs involved with a medical repatriation or evacuation, the right travel insurance will also offer benefits for lost or stolen luggage and personal belongings, delayed or canceled flights and accommodation, and more. is designed to allow a completely stress-free travel experience: if anything does go wrong – not just medically – you won't have to take precious time out of your holiday worrying about unplanned expenses. It is still useful even if you’re only traveling within Australia. Medical expenses may be covered by Medicare and private health insurance, but this doesn't extend to lost luggage, or even loss of income if you are hospitalized for longer than your holiday allows.

How to Take Out Travel Insurance

Buying and comparing travel insurance is a breeze through services like There are varying sets of benefits from each insurer, and levels of cover differ for each benefit. As well as this, it may be that some benefits come with attached conditions, in particular those related to medical expenses if you have a pre-existing medical condition.

If you can first compare multiple quotes for travel insurance, you will be in a much stronger position to find the right cover that offers you the benefits you believe you need, and at an affordable price. Some pre-existing medical conditions could be covered automatically, while others may require an assessment by a medical practitioner, and a slightly higher premium, but this would be clear from the initial quotes.

It is crucial that you declare any pre-existing medical conditions before purchasing a policy, and also to include any high-risk activities you may be undertaking such as scuba diving, skiing, or even mountaineering. Finally, if you will be embarking on a cruise at any point during your trip, remember to check if cruise cover is included.

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: Nov 1, 2018 at 11:11 AM


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