Insurance in Australia
Private healthcare insurance
Private healthcare cover is a popular product in Australia. Many citizens and permanent residents supplement the cover provided under the Australian Government national program (Medicare) with various levels of private insurance, providing additional protection from unforeseen medical expenses.
Enrolment on Medicare is only available to Australian citizens and permanent residents. Restricted Medicare enrolment is also available to citizens from countries with whom Australia has entered into a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement.
Applicants for certain temporary residence visas, including the popular Subclass 457 Temporary (Long Stay) Business Visa and Student Visa categories, are required to provide evidence to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) that they have adequate private health care cover for the duration of their stay in Australia as part of their visa application. Travel insurance does not meet the criteria of adequate cover and applicants are required to take out an approved policy prior to their arrival in Australia.
If you are a resident or an immigrant with permanent resident status and are eligible for Medicare, you can choose private health insurance products from more than 40 registered organisations. The Federal Government also offers a 30% rebate on private health premiums (this is payable in the form of a reduced monthly premium).
Ensuring that you are covered for the unexpected during your journey is standard practice these days, and gives you peace of mind right up until the time you arrive (and sometimes, even after). Most travel insurance products will give you cover while you are travelling to your final destination and some offer the flexibility to continue for a period after you arrive.
Travel insurance policies will vary in what they cover but as a rule, will include such things as repatriation, trip cancellations and interruptions, travel delays and missed connections, lost, stolen or damaged baggage, medical care, emergency evacuation, car rental coverage, flight accident and assistance services.
Optional riders can also be purchased for special concerns that are not covered under the regular plan, such as injuries due to adventure activities, lost sports equipment, risk of identity theft, stolen passports, financial default (if your travel company goes bankrupt before you depart) and more.
Pet insurance is a matter of personal choice, but many pet owners enjoy the security and peace of mind that comes from insuring their animals during the move – and some choose to put in place ongoing insurance. If you are using a pet relocation company, your pet carrier should provide a minimum amount of insurance. In general, insurance will cover loss, theft, injury or death of your animals during the trip, but will not cover illness or natural death during transportation.
If you’re looking for ongoing insurance, pet health insurance will provide ongoing cover for your pets in case of injury or disease. There are many different pet health policies on the market, all with different terms, and some policies will cover pets travelling internationally as well. Make sure you ask whether your pet will be covered for a move overseas or interstate.
Compulsory third party (CTP) insurance is the most important type of car insurance in Australia. It covers death and injury to people if you are involved in an accident. Each state and territory has different rules relating to this type of cover, so you will need to go online and visit your transport authority for further information.
Home and contents insurance
If you have invested or are going to invest in a property in Australia, bear in mind home and contents insurance are usually bundled together as a package, but they are separate entities and you will need to work out what exactly what cover you need for each.
Nearly all home owners in Australia and are required to have home insurance as part of their home loan arrangements. You will need to decide if you want ‘total replacement’ cover or ‘sum-insured’ cover. Total replacement cover includes all the costs to rebuild your home to the standard it was prior to an event. Sum-insured cover is more common and will cover you up to a set amount. When comparing insurers, make sure you read the fine print and ask as many questions as possible.
Tips for choosing the right insurance policy:
- Shop Around. Get quotes from a range of different insurers and compare what they offer. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and don’t sign on the dotted line until you know all the costs involved.
- Check Exclusions. Always ask what is and isn’t covered by your policy.
- Choose Carefully. Write a list of the things you want covered and pick the policy that best meets your needs.
- Work Out How Much Coverage You Need. Make sure that you don’t find yourself underinsured. Always revisit your coverage when you renew your policy.
- Always Be Honest. Tell the truth when you apply – this is known as your ‘duty of disclosure’. If the information you supply is incorrect or misleading, any future claim may be denied.