Does travel insurance cover medical evacuation and repatriation?

It’s every traveller’s nightmare: Getting severely sick or injured in a remote or inaccessible location or in a country with poor medical facilities.

For example, falling and seriously injuring yourself on a lofty mountain ledge; or contracting a deadly infectious disease in a Third World country.

Fortunately, all of Budget Direct’s international travel insurance policies cover emergency medical evacuations and repatriations.

If you have a medical or some other crisis, our emergency assistance team can help you 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

What is medical evacuation?

Emergency medical evacuations are required when you have a life-threatening condition and the local medical facility can’t look after you. 

In other words, unless you’re evacuated to a hospital farther away — possibly in another city or country — you could develop serious health complications, or worse.

We can arrange for you to be evacuated in a ground ambulance or an air ambulance — a plane or helicopter — depending on the circumstances.

What is medical repatriation?

Medical repatriation is the return to their home country of a traveller who gets severely sick or injured overseas.

If we decide you’d be better off physically and financially being treated in Australia, we can bring you home under medical supervision.

Options include:

  • upgrading your commercial flight so you can, for example, elevate your legs or lie flat
  • giving you a medical escort
  • putting you on a private jet charter with intensive-care equipment and personnel.  

How it works

If you get seriously sick or injured while travelling overseas: 

  1. Call an ambulance or go to the nearest hospital / medical facility (take your passport with you, if you can).   
  2. Contact Budget Direct emergency assistance as soon as possible (especially if your treatment is likely to cost more than A$500):
  3. We’ll liaise with the treating hospital / medical facility and assess your case. 
  4. If necessary, we’ll medevac you to a more suitable hospital or repatriate you back home to Australia.
  5. Throughout the process, we’ll monitor your condition and — with your permission — keep your family and friends updated.  

What's covered?

Budget Direct’s international travel insurance policies can cover an unlimited amount of overseas medical and hospital expenses, including:

  • emergency medical evacuation from your current location to the nearest suitable hospital
  • ambulance and emergency medical, surgical and hospital costs
  • cost of your return to Australia earlier than planned if this is medically necessary and we authorise it
  • if you cannot return to Australia as you originally planned and if it’s medically necessary and we authorise it, we’ll pay for reasonable travel and accommodation expenses:
    • to allow you to return to Australia, and
    • for someone to stay with you and travel home with you
      or
    • for one relative or friend to travel from Australia to stay with you and travel home with you.
  • emergency assistance, for example the cost of:
    • keeping your family and friends back home updated (with your permission)
    • telephone interpreting and document translation, if you’re hospitalised in a non-English speaking country
    • returning any unsupervised dependent children to Australia
    • sourcing emergency prescription drugs.

What if I die overseas?

It does not bear thinking about, but if you pass away while travelling overseas, we can cover the cost of:

  • returning your body or ashes to Australia (up to $20,000); or
  • a funeral and burial in the country in which you die (up to $10,000).

Medical evacuations from cruises

Large cruise ships generally have an infirmary, at least one doctor on call 24/7, nurses, and a pharmacy. 

However, this medical care is not hospital-grade; depending on the severity of your condition, you may need a higher level of care.

If you’re critically ill, the ship’s medical team may be able to stabilise you until the ship arrives at a port. 

From there, it’s likely you’ll be transferred to a hospital (where our emergency assistance team will assess your case).

If the ship’s medical team cannot stabilise you, it’s likely you’ll be airlifted to hospital.

Going on a cruise in Australia waters?

Going on a cruise within Australian territorial waters and want to be covered for on-board medical expenses and evacuation?

If so, then you must:

  1. Buy one of our four international policies: Comprehensive, Essential, Last Minute, or Annual Multi-Trip cover.
  2. When purchasing your policy, select ‘Australian Waters’ as your destination.

Read more about cruise travel insurance

Find out more

The information on this page is a summary only. For more details about Budget Direct travel insurance, including the terms, conditions, limits and exclusions that apply, please read the Product Disclosure Statement.

How to make a claim

If your trip didn’t go entirely to plan and you need to make a claim, we’re here to help. Make a claim on your travel insurance policy.

Frequently asked questions

Does travel insurance cover medical and hospital expenses overseas?

All four of Budget Direct’s international travel insurance policies – Comprehensive, Essential, Last Minute, and Annual Multi-Trip – include an unlimited amount for overseas medical and hospital expenses, including:

  • ambulance and emergency medical, surgical and hospital costs
  • cost of your return to Australia earlier than planned if this is medically necessary and we authorise it
  • if you cannot return to Australia as you originally planned and if it is medically necessary and we authorise it, we will pay for reasonable travel and accommodation expenses:
    • to allow you to return to Australia, and
    • for someone to stay with you and travel home with you, or
    • for one relative or friend to travel from Australia to stay with you and travel home with you
  • cost of returning your body or ashes to Australia (up to $20,000) or cost of a funeral and burial in the country in which you die (up to $10,000).

This cover excludes any claims arising from pre-existing medical conditions (other than the 27 we cover).

Note that, if you suffer an illness or injury that requires emergency transportation, hospitalisation or repatriation and/or is likely to cost more than A$500 to treat, you (or someone else on your behalf) must call us as soon as possible.

Our Domestic policy does not include cover for medical and hospital expenses, as these expenses are already claimable in Australia from Medicare and/or your private health fund.

Does travel insurance cover illness or injury abroad?

Yes – Budget Direct travel insurance can cover claims resulting from a sudden and serious illness or injury suffered by you, a person you’re booked to travel with, or a close relative or business associate (who is a resident of Australia and in Australia at the time the event occurs).

For example, you can lodge a claim for one or more of the following:

Note that we will not cover any claims related to any pre-existing conditions (excluding the 27 we do cover and which you have told us about).

These include medical conditions for which, during the 90 days before your policy’s start date, you or another person:

  • needed surgery, inpatient treatment or hospital consultations
  • needed any treatment or prescribed medication
  • were on a waiting list for, or needed surgery, inpatient treatment or tests at, any hospital or clinic
  • were diagnosed with a terminal condition (that will cause death)

We can still cover you for claims not related to any of these conditions.

Does travel insurance cover death abroad?

Yes – Budget Direct travel insurance can cover claims resulting from your sudden death or that of a person you’re booked to travel with, or a close relative or business associate (who is a resident of Australia and in Australia at the time they die).

For example, you can lodge a claim for one or more of the following:

  • cost of returning your body or ashes to Australia; or the funeral expenses in the country in which you die (outside Australia)
  • cancellation and amendment fees (except Last Minute policy)
  • cost of cutting your trip short (except Last Minute policy)
  • additional expenses
  • personal accident, if you die within 12 months of injuries sustained on your trip (except Essential and Last Minute policies).

Note that we will not cover any claims related to any pre-existing conditions (excluding the 27 we do cover and which you have told us about).

These include medical conditions for which, during the 90 days before your policy’s start date, you or another person:

  • needed surgery, inpatient treatment or hospital consultations
  • needed any treatment or prescribed medication
  • were on a waiting list for, or needed surgery, inpatient treatment or tests at, any hospital or clinic
  • were diagnosed with a terminal condition (that will cause death).

We can still cover you for claims not related to any of these conditions.

If I get into trouble overseas, will I be able to get help?

Yes – all Budget Direct’s international travel insurance policyholders get 24/7 access to a worldwide network of 75,000+ medical and emergency assistance providers.

These include multilingual medical and travel specialists, air ambulances and hospitals.

Whether you get sick or injured, lose your travel documents or credit cards, or are robbed, assaulted or arrested, we can get you the help you need.

Note that, if you suffer an illness or injury that requires emergency transportation, hospitalisation or repatriation and/or is likely to cost more than A$500 to treat, you (or someone else on your behalf) must call us as soon as possible.

Read more about our overseas medical and emergency assistance service

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