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Travel Insurance for the Americas

The Americas are made up of North America, Central America, and South America, comprising most of the land in the Western hemisphere.

This diverse continent is full of adventure at every turn, with a plethora of holiday destinations to visit, new activities to try, abundant wildlife to explore, and people of all shapes and colours to interact with. It’s the destination of choice for many Australians looking to travel overseas, and it’s easy to see why, with so many different countries to choose from between the Americas.

Monument Valley Lightning Storm

But before you pack your bags and get ready to set off on your whirlwind holiday around the Americas, you need to make sure that you have your travel insurance firmly packed and ready for action in case of an emergency. You don’t want to leave home without this important travel companion.

Let’s look at how travel insurance will give you the assurance you need when travelling.

What will travel insurance for the Americas cover me for?

The general benefits listed below will depend on which countries in America you will be travelling to - or through. Some countries carry a “Do not travel” or “ Reconsider your need to travel” advisory by the Australian government. We would suggest you create an account and sign up for travel alerts for any American country you plan on visiting. You can also view safety guidelines by country using the Smartraveller website.

Medical expenses: Even the shortest trip to the doctor in an American country can be heavy on your pockets, so medical cover is an absolute necessity. Travel insurance will cover you for hospital expenses, doctors visits, medical evacuation, emergency dental procedures, and other medical emergencies.

Personal liability: Most insurers will cover you for any third-party damages that you may be liable for when travelling overseas.

Lost or delayed luggage: If your luggage is delayed or lost while you travel, travel insurance will cover you for emergency items that you might need, and cover the cost of replacing your lost luggage, up to a certain amount.

Lost or stolen belongings: There is always a risk of your belonging being lost or stolen when travelling, but travel insurance will put your mind at ease that you are covered if this ever happens.

Lost or stolen travel documents: You will be covered for the cost of replacing any travel documents such as passports or visas if they are lost or stolen during your trip.

24/7 emergency assistance: Some insurers will offer a 24/7 emergency backup to assist you in an emergency wherever you are in America. This is a great benefit to have, so ensure your travel agent can offer you this option.

Rental vehicle excess: Most insurers will offer you cover for rental vehicle excess if you are ever in an accident in a hired car while you travel.

Travel delays: For delays that are outside of your control. Your travel insurance will cover you for any additional expenses incurred while you are delayed.

What won’t travel insurance for the Americas cover me for?

Pre-existing medical conditions: Most insurers will offer cover for a number of pre-existing medical conditions, and will list these in their Product Disclosure Statement (PDS). However, not all medical conditions are automatically covered, if at all, and you will need to discuss your medical condition with your insurer, and possibly buy an extra premium to cover your condition.

High-risk activities: While most insurers will offer cover for some activities while you are travelling, other activities are seen as a high-risk and your insurer might not cover them at all, or they will require you to buy an extra premium for those activities. You will need to discuss any activities you plan on doing while travelling, with your insurer.

Running of the bulls: The Running of the Bulls event takes places in some American countries, where people run in front of a group of bulls for recreational purposes. This is an extremely dangerous event, with the risk of being seriously hurt or killed, and travel insurance will not cover you if you choose to participate in this event.

Negligent or reckless behaviour: Failure to take reasonable care to look after yourself or your belongings, could result in your travel insurance not covering you for any loss or damages. The same goes for reckless behaviour that is carried out while under the influence of drugs or alcohol - you will not be covered.

High-risk areas: Countries or areas that carry a safety warning for terrorism, natural disasters, or health concerns, will not be covered by travel insurance if there is advance warning against travelling to these countries.

What vaccinations are required when travelling to the Americas?

It is important to have the right vaccinations before you travel to any American country. The specific vaccinations that you will require, will depend on the country or area you plan on travelling to - or through - and you will need to discuss these with your General practitioner (GP) before travelling. All vaccines should be taken at least six to eight weeks before you travel to allow the vaccines to start working in your system, to cover you while travelling.

Some common vaccines for travelling include:

- Polio

- Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR)

- Hepatitis A and B

- Yellow Fever

- Influenza

- Dengue fever

- Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis

- Typhoid Fever

- Rabies

- Meningitis

- Chickenpox

Travel tips for travelling to the Americas

Speak the language: If you are travelling to any American country where English is not the first or main language, it is advisable to learn a bit of the local language so that you can effectively communicate with the locals, while at the same time earning their respect.

Embrace the differences: People are different around the world. Cultures, people, animals, the environment, languages - are all unique in every country around the world. The Americas, in particular, are home to a vast range of diverse cultures and people, which is why it is such an incredible place for travelling. It’s important when you travel to a new country to embrace the differences that you find. If people don’t act or react the way that you would, you need to understand that they are different and respect these differences. It will make your travels a whole lot more enjoyable if you can learn to do this.

Don’t rely on technology: Not all American countries are as techno-savvy as Australia, and you shouldn’t expect them to be. Don’t depend on having WiFi readily available or being able to swipe your credit card wherever you are. You should always plan your trip carefully, carry cash with you and know where emergency services are in case you are ever in an emergency with no internet connection to quickly ‘Google’.

Don’t offer bribes: Be cautious of offering any bribes to police officers or officials of any kind. This might not go down well in a country with strict policing laws.

Staying safe: Many countries in America can be unsafe at times. Always take care wherever you are travelling to, being aware of your surroundings. Try to avoid travelling after dark and stay within designated tourist areas, or with a tour guide at all times. Be aware of people watching you, stalking you, or being overly friendly. If you are travelling with children, keep them close to you at all times - don’t trust any stranger with your child.

24-hour Australian Consular Emergency Helpline

Within Australia:

1300 555 135

Outside Australia:

+61 2 6261 3305

SMS:

+61 421 269 080

American nz̄ational emergency number: 911

QBE Travel Insurance

Overseas Claims Number:

+61 3 8523 2777

Claims Email:

travel.claims@qbe.com

Emergency Contact Number:

+61 3 8523 2800

CHI Travel Insurance

Overseas Claims Number:

+61 2 9997 4810

Claims Email:

travelclaims@allianz-assistance.com.au

Emergency Contact Number:

+61 7 3305 7499

SureSave Travel Insurance

Overseas Claims Number:

+61 2 9234 3111

Claims Email:

claims@suresave.com.au

Emergency Contact Number:

+61 2 8256 1513 or +61 2 9234 3113

Aussietravel Insurance Cover

Overseas Claims Number:

+61 2 9979 8888

Claims Email:

travelclaims@allianz-assistance.com.au

Emergency Contact Number:

+61 7 3305 7499

We also offer travel insurance for other destinations.

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