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COVID-19, RATs and PCR tests while overseas

Here's everything you need to know

A young man wearing a black face mask talks to a customer
A young man wearing a black face mask talks to a customer

Travellers may experience Coronavirus before they travel, or while overseas. It may leave many travel plans in tatters, but there may be travel insurance cover if you contract COVID-19 while on your travels.

What you need to know about supporting evidence for Coronavirus related travel insurance claims you may make

Depending on your policy, you may be required to provide documentation to support the circumstances of your claim. The type of documentation you are able to provide may vary and are often assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Information you supply if you contract Coronavirus before you go may include:

  • PCR Test demonstrating that at the time you were due to travel, you had an active case of COVID-19;

  • Proof you were subject to mandatory isolation at the time you were due to travel due to a registered RAT (Rapid Antigen Test) result;

  • Letter from a medical practitioner confirming you are medically unfit to travel due to COVID-19.

Don’t forget to contact your travel service providers as well, as you’ll also need to demonstrate that you have requested to refund or reschedule your arrangements, and what your out-of-pocket costs are.

I’m overseas and a doctor won’t come to my hotel to perform a PCR test – what do I do now?

First of all – if you have travel insurance, contact your emergency assistance provider as they may be able to help.

When it comes to evidence for any claim you may make, the type of evidence required can vary. You should consider:

  • It’s always best to obtain as much information as you can to support any potential claim, including any efforts and records of contacts you’ve made to get medical assistance

  • Depending on the scenario, a Rapid Antigen Test may be sufficient, however, in order to confirm the facts of your claim, your travel insurance provider may look at what is reasonable in the situation and may need additional information.
    You should also adhere to applicable government advice and register the results of any positive Rapid Antigen Test as required.

A man wearing a backpack and holding his phone in the middle of a busy street smiles as he stares up at a sign

How do I prepare myself ahead of travelling for a possible COVID-19 diagnosis whilst overseas?

Planning is the key to being better prepared for travelling while COVID-19 continues to impact travel. Knowing what you’re covered for (if you have travel insurance), what to do and who to contact in the event of a positive COVID-19 diagnosis during your trip will help navigate these potentially new situations for many travellers.
Before you go - plan ahead to make sure you understand what you will need to do if you do receive a positive COVID-19 test during your trip.

Here are a few tips that may assist you: 

Before you go

  • Research the government requirements around a positive COVID-19 test at the destinations you intend to visit: No two countries are alike, and neither are their rules around dealing with COVID-19 cases. Some countries may require hospitalisation if you test positive while travelling to or through them, regardless of whether or not you have symptoms. It’s important that you know if there are any quarantine or testing requirements on both entry and exit from where you’re travelling, as well as the costs.

  • Understand your travel insurance policy and its benefit limits: If you have travel insurance, make sure you know the benefit limits and exclusions and if you’ve purchased the right level of cover for you.

  • Budget for a positive COVID-19 diagnosis: We don’t say this to instil fear, but the chances of contracting COVID-19 may be higher when travelling when you’re out exploring, which could mean some unexpected costs that you’re not prepared or covered for (if you’ve purchase a travel insurance policy). It’s always a good idea to keep some reserves for last minute unexpected costs.

    During the trip

  • Negotiate with your airline or travel provider: If you need to make changes to a flight or your accommodation, even at the last minute, don’t delay in speaking with your airline or provider. If you can’t continue with your planned arrangements due to a positive diagnosis, simply not showing up could mean you forfeit your booking or incur additional fees when you may have been able to move your dates or times at no or minimal cost. If you booked through a travel agent, they may be able to assist you with this, too. 

Contact Emergency Assistance if you need help overseas

If you’ve received a positive COVID-19 diagnosis and you’re already travelling, your travel insurance’s emergency assistance team can help with what to do. They should be able to help navigate what to do if you can’t travel home as planned, or help you access medical attention or hospitalisation if you’re sick. If your diagnosis is at the end of your trip and you are unfit to travel, some travel insurance policies may automatically extend to when you’re able to fly and get home by the first available flight.

What if I get COVID-19 before my trip?

Isolate! And seek appropriate medical attention.
Don’t delay the cancellation of your plans. If you know you need to cancel, contact your providers as soon as possible to maximise the opportunity of refunds from your providers.
If you have travel insurance, you may be able to make a claim for non-refundable travel costs. Read the policy documents to see what’s covered and contact them if you are unsure.

What do I do if I get coronavirus on my trip?

  • If you have travel insurance, contact them for help. For example, nib travel insurance has a 24/7 Emergency Assistance team who can utilise a global network of medical providers, and will connect you with local medical facilities. They can also assist by getting in contact with friends and family where needed.

  • Follow travel and health advice – different countries have different rules. What’s okay in Australia may not be ok in the countries you visit. Always keep receipts for any payments you make and wherever possible, request written reports from providers or local authorities.

Travelling soon? Consider nib Travel Insurance and get a quote, opens in a new tab

To learn more about what’s covered, see nib travel insurance, opens in a new tab. nib health insurance members get a 10% discount off their travel insurance.* 

nib Travel Insurance Distribution Pty Limited, ABN 40 129 262 175, AR 336467 is an authorised representative of nib Travel Services (Australia) Pty Ltd (nib), ABN 81 115 932 173, AFSL 308461 and act as nib's agent and not as your agent. This is general advice only. Before you buy, you should consider your needs, the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS), Financial Services Guide (FSG) and Target Market Determination (TMD), opens in a new tab available from us. This insurance is underwritten by Pacific International Insurance Pty Ltd, ABN 83 169 311 193. 

*The discount applies to the total nib travel insurance premium and is for members that currently hold an Australian health insurance product, an Overseas Student Health Cover product or an Overseas Visitors Health Cover product with nib. Discounts do not apply to the rate of GST and stamp duty or any changes you make to the policy. nib has the discretion to withdraw or amend this discount offer at any time. This discount cannot be used in conjunction with any other promotional offer or discount. 

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