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Travel Insurance To Jamaica

You may be reminded of the 1993 adventure comedy, “Cool Runnings” when you think of Jamaica - or maybe it’s Usain Bolt, the lightning bolt runner from Jamaica. You could possibly refer to Bob Marley, the famous Reggae singer, as the epitome of the Jamaican people. Whatever it is, there is certainly no lack of world-famous people or actions that have come out of Jamaica, giving us a sense of what Jamaica and its people are like.

But this island country in the Caribbean has so much more to offer than what it’s famous for - it’s an incredible tropical holiday destination. With sandy white beaches, and crystal clear waters - to world-class cuisine, and a night out on the town - this vibrant island is buzzing with possibility.

Jamaica Beach Restaurant

If you choose to visit Jamaica for your next holiday destination, please take note of the Smartraveller website warning of the need to “Exercise a high degree of caution” in certain areas around Jamaica. You can sign up for travel alerts and updates for Jamaica through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), to keep up-to-date with what is happening in the country. Taking out a comprehensive travel insurance for you trip, is always strongly advised.

What will I be covered for by travel insurance in Jamaica?

Cancelled or delayed flights: Travel insurance will cover most costs involved, if your flight is delayed or cancelled for any reason. This would include the cover of emergency items required, if delayed. In the event of a cancelled or delayed flight, due to extreme weather conditions - your insurer may not cover you, if prior warning against travel to Jamaica was advised.

Lost or stolen belongings, luggage, and travel documents: Your insurer will cover most of the costs involved, if your luggage, belongings, or travel documents are lost or stolen. This would include emergency items, or accomodation required, if necessary.

Medical bills and emergencies: Your travel insurance provider will cover most medical bills associated with ill health, visits to a General Practitioner, or hospitalisation, while in Jamaica. You may be required to pay upfront, or provide proof of insurance for medical costs in Jamaica. Speak to your insurer about the claims process, and how you can receive the maximum health cover while in Jamaica - medical facilities are not cheap, and are not of the highest standard. You may need to be medically evacuated to a nearby country for proper medical care - check if you are covered by your insurer, for any kind of medical evacuations.

Ensure you take the necessary precautionary measures to stay healthy while in Jamaica. Speak to your GP at least eight weeks before you leave, about what vaccines are necessary, and to check your general health. Some vaccines to consider:

  • Dengue fever

  • Zika virus

  • Chikungunya virus

  • Hepatitis

  • Leptospirosis

  • Tuberculosis

Road travel costs: If you are renting a vehicle for travelling in Jamaica, you need to be aware of the road laws and conditions. Drivers in Jamaica can be reckless at times, especially at night. Roads are not always well-maintained, and can become slippery and undriveable in certain areas. Always obey the local traffic laws, and wear a seatbelt at all times. Your travel insurance should cover most of the excess, if you are involved in an accident on the road. You can drive in Jamaica with a valid Australian drivers license, together with an International Driving Permit (IDP).

What will I not be covered for by travel insurance in Jamaica?

Natural disasters: Jamaica is an island in the Caribbean with a tropical marine climate, meaning it generally experiences warm, tropical weather all-year round. However, being an island, it can be subject to extreme weather conditions such as tsunamis, hurricanes, severe storms, and geological disasters like earthquakes. Hurricanes are especially severe between June and November, when landslides, flooding, and mudslides can affect the area, and services. If there is advance warning against any extreme weather conditions in Jamaica, your travel insurance might not cover you for any loss, damage, medical emergencies, or delayed flights. You should check what you are covered for before your trip, or consider postponing it.

Motorcycles/quad bikes/scooters: Your travel insurance might not cover you for the use of motorcycles or similar vehicles, if you are involved in an accident. Check what you are covered for, and consider adding this as additional cover to your insurance.

Negligent/reckless behaviour: Your belongings might not be covered if you leave them unattended, in an unlocked vehicle or hotel room, or on a beach without someone watching them. Likewise, if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and behave recklessly, or negligently, you might not be covered for any loss, damage, or physical harm that you experience.

Pre-existing medical conditions: Your travel insurance might not cover some pre-existing medical conditions, which you are currently receiving treatment for. Ask them about which conditions they cover, and if you will need to take extra cover for pre-existing conditions.

What activities might require extra travel insurance in Jamaica?

Cruise travel insurance: With Jamaica being an island destination, it naturally offers a variety of cruises in and around the country - a popular pastime with travelers. Standard travel insurance does not generally cover cruises, with some insurers not offering this at all. You might be able to add this as extra cover to your insurance - speak to your insurer about this option, or compare cruise travel insurance with us.

Adventure activities: Scuba diving, hiking, paragliding, swimming with dolphins, bobsledding, or river tubing, are some of the activities that might be considered high-risk. Some insurers don’t automatically cover these kinds of activities, while others do - you should check with your insurer about what they cover, and take out the relevant extra cover if need be.

Travel tips when traveling to Jamaica

Entry into the country: You won’t need a visa to travel to Jamaica for holiday purposes, if your stay is for less than 60-days.

How to pay: You can acquire the Jamaican dollar (JAD), for purchasing in Jamaica, or make use of international credit card facilities in most tourist places around Jamaica. ATMs are not as common, so you would need to get cash from a commercial bank or exchange bureau.

Remain vigilant: Violent crimes are common in certain areas around Jamaica. These are generally gang-related, and can be extremely dangerous at times, with threats of sexual assault, robbery, crossfire between gangs, pickpocketing, and murder. Remain vigilant at all times - don’t accept lifts from strangers, or use unofficial public transport. Avoid walking alone, traveling at night, or visiting secluded beaches - travel light, leaving unnecessary expensive items in your locked hotel room, and keep all money and bank cards out of sight.

Avoid public demonstrations: Civil unrest and public demonstrations can turn violent, with firearms often present. Avoid these areas where possible - listen to authorities, and get to safety as soon as you can, should a violent protest break out.

Use reputable tour operators: Safety equipment is not always up to standard in Jamaica - avoid using unregistered tour guides or operators. Don’t be afraid to ask for the correct safety gear, and always check that the operator has a license for activities such as scuba diving.

Learn the lingo: Jamaicans are known for their slang, and casual way of speaking - where catch phrases like, “Ya mon”, “Small up yuhself”, and “Big man ting”, are all perfectly acceptable additions to a conversation.

Driving in Jamaica: Use your horn often - it’s perfectly acceptable, and often needed with the terrible drivers on the road. Watch out for potholes, they are huge and extremely common. Look out for stray animals like cows, goats, or donkeys - they like to wander onto the roads without any warning.

Don’t carry drugs: As much as Jamaicans are known for lighting up a fat one - this is against the law, and the carrying of marijuana could put you in jail. Police often raid cars for drugs and marijuana, so don’t be caught out.

24-hour Australian Consular Emergency Helpline

Within Australia:

1300 555 135

Outside Australia:

+61 2 6261 3305

SMS:

+61 421 269 080

Australian Consulate, Kingston

80-82 Second Street, Port Bustamante

Kingston 13, Jamaica.

Telephone: (1 876) 361 1332

Email: marjory.kennedy@jashipco.com

Emergency phone numbers

Police: Dial 119

Fire services: Dial 119

Ambulance: Dial 119

*Always get a police report when reporting a crime.

Australian High Commission, Port of Spain

18 Herbert Street, St Clair

Port of Spain

TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO

Telephone: (1 868) 822 5450

Fax: (1 868) 822 5490

Website: trinidadandtobago.highcommission.gov.au

Email: ahc.portofspain@dfat.gov.au

We also offer insurance for other destinations such as Las Vegas

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