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Australia travel insurance

More than 664,000 Brits visit Australia every year and for many, it's a once in a lifetime experience. But whether you're dreaming of surfing on the Gold Coast, trekking through the Bush or partying in Sydney, it's vital you have travel insurance in place.

Why travel insurance is important

No one wants to think about things that could go wrong while you're away on holiday. However, if things do take a turn for the worse, it's essential to make sure you are protected.

It could be that you become ill while on holiday, or your bags are lost or stolen.  And what if your holiday were to be cancelled, would it simply be a case of money down the drain?

These are just some of the eventualities that travel insurance can protect against and which help to give you peace of mind so you can enjoy your holiday. However there are a variety of different types of insurance, all offering different levels of cover... so you'll need to decide which one to go for.

What does insurance for Australia cover?

All insurance policies are different and what you will be offered is down to the provider. Some will offer as standard what others will only offer as a bolt on, therefore it's essential to work out exactly what you need and compare policies. MoneySupermarket's travel insurance channel will allow you to see a number of policies and compare like for like.

Remember that cheapest isn't always best and going for the most basic policy could leave you vulnerable and without the level of cover that you need. Make sure you check the limit for things such as medical expenses, cancellation cover and baggage cover.

If there are any extras you think you may need - such as end supplier failure to protect you if your holiday company were to go bust - make sure you inform your insurance company. If you are planning on doing activities such as jet- skiing, check whether you will be covered. It may be that you need to add it on as you may be viewed as in a higher risk bracket.  It will mean your premium goes up, but isn't it better paying a few extra pounds now then thousands later down the line?

What policy types are available?

The type of policy you choose will affect the price, so it's worth being aware of the different options available.

A single trip policy is worth purchasing if you are planning on taking just one or two holidays in the year, but any more than this and it would be more economical to go for an annual multi-trip policy. This covers you for a number of trips during the year, making it the ideal choice if you are a frequent traveller or someone who likes to take advantage of last minute getaways.

family policy can save you time and money and also can be a lot more convenient then having to organise separate policies for each member of the family.

The reciprocal health care agreement

It's important to be aware when travelling to Australia that an agreement exists between Australia and the UK which entitles you to limited subsidised health services if you were to fall ill on holiday.

However, this is no reason to attempt to avoid buying travel insurance for your trip to Australia as there are a number of exclusions from the agreement. This includes pre-existing conditions, treatment that doesn't need prompt attention and medical evacuations to the UK - all of which can cost around £100,000. That's why it's essential you make sure you have a comprehensive policy in place.

Make sure you contact your doctor before you travel to see if any vaccinations are necessary. The Foreign and Commonwealth office states that Murray Valley encephalitis (MVE), Ross River fever (RRF) and Barmah Forest virus (BFV) occur periodically in some parts of Australia, and while a vaccination isn't available, preventative measures can be taken. It is therefore advisable as an extra precaution to look into this before your trip.

Extended trips to Australia

Australia is a popular gap year destination, as well as a hotspot for those going on around the world trips. It' important to make sure you get the right level of cover for these extended trips.

Bear in mind, that while an annual multi-trip policy covers you for a year, it will impose a cap on the number of days you can stay in each country which is usually between 30 and 60 days. Be sure to check this before you set off and speak to your insurer if you are planning on staying longer to see if your policy can be extended. It's likely you'll have to pay a few pounds more, but it will be worth it.

If you are a gap year traveller, it may be worth considering a specialist gap year or backpacker insurance policy which would cover you for your extended trip. A number of insurers will offer this with the policy often running for a year of even more. However, if you return to the UK, even for a short period, and go back out to Australia, it is likely to become invalid. Check the small print.

Compare Australia travel insurance