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.
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...
|Medical Travel Shield||Medical Travel Shield Australia is travel insurance designed for patients travelling abroad for either Dental Treatment, Cosmetic Surgery, Elective Surgery or IVF/Fertility Treatment. Cover can also be provided for the patient’s travelling companions if required.||Certain underwriters at Lloyd's|
|Global Protective Solutions||Global Protective Solutions is a specialized insurance policy, developed specifically to meet the needs of travellers having elective surgery abroad.||Custom Assurance Placements, Ltd|
|Global Health Travel||Global Health Travel is a medical tourism facilitator in Australia.||N/A|
|Destiny Medi Travel||Medical tourism agency helping Australians with procedures in Thailand.||N/A|
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 1Cover, American 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.