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Travel insurance and elective surgery overseas

20 January, 2020 By Natalie Smith

Does travel insurance cover for elective surgery overseas?

Are you going overseas to get your eyes lasered, your teeth whitened or for breast augmentation, if so, make sure you’re covered before you go under the knife!

Travelling overseas for cosmetic surgery is more popular than ever, and you can easily see why with competitive prices and the rising quality of healthcare abroad.

Singapore, India and Thailand, in particular are increasingly popular destinations for medical tourism with huge numbers of Australians travelling overseas for procedures each year.

But...does standard travel insurance actually cover you for elective surgery overseas?

In short, no. Travel Insurance exists to cover the unforeseen, not situations you already know about with heightened risk.

Cosmetic surgery overseas is considered risky and therefore it’s rare for standard travel insurers to cover elective treatment.

Good news!

There are a few companies that specialise in travel insurance or services relating to Australians travelling overseas for medical treatment. Check out the below table for more info...

Standard travel insurance & elective surgery

If the purpose of your trip is specifically for cosmetic surgery, many insurers will not only exclude you for medical cover, but will also exclude you for all other travel insurance benefits too. That means you wouldn't be covered for theft, cancellation, rental car excess and more.

However, our research found that 1CoverAmerican Express, Budget Direct, Covermore, InsureandGo and Travel Insurance Direct will still allow you to buy a policy. You'll be covered for other travel insurance benefits (such as travel delays or personal liability), but will not be covered for anything relating to the surgery, or any complications that arise from the surgery.

So, for example, you wouldn’t be covered if you’ve had the surgery and are too sick to return home on your scheduled flight. Because the flight cancellation is due to reasons relating to the surgery then your flight would not be covered.

Is travelling overseas for medical treatment worth it?

Although certain cosmetic procedures abroad may be cheaper than in Australia, you should consider the costs of flights, accommodation and any possible medical complications into the full cost of your treatment too.

After taking into account all the costs involved you may find that the difference in price is negligible. It's important to think long and hard before jetting overseas to go under the knife.

Disclaimer: The information in this guide should be taken as general advice only and the full policy details should be reviewed to see if the policies are right for your own circumstances.

Contributor Natalie Smith

Natalie Smith

Having travelled to over 40 countries, studied tourism management and worked as a flight attendant for over three years, Natalie knows more than a thing or two about travel! She’s an adventure-lover, whose favourite trips have been trekking Machu Picchu and volunteering in an animal shelter in the Amazon. Qualified in Tier 2 General Insurance General Advice and specialising in travel insurance for the last five years, she in passionate about helping travellers get the most out of their holiday.

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