Travel insurance Bali

Bread and butter; shoes and socks; Kath and Kim; Australians and a trip to Bali. It seems to be the natural order of things – Aussies love a pilgrimage to this Indonesian island. 

In 2019, an estimated 1.23 million Australians headed over for the sun, sand, and surf, chasing the tropical climate and island lifestyle. Obviously, that number sharply declined over the last two years. But with news of Bali opening their borders to international travellers at the beginning of February 2022, the island of a thousand temples might be calling your name. 

If that sounds like you, then you’re going to want to read up on everything you need to know about shipping off to paradise, including the ins-and-outs of staying safe, and some useful travel insurance tips.

Staying safe: Bali-belly, vaccinations, and cheeky monkeys

Bali-belly

If you’ve never heard of the infamous Bali-belly, it’s not when you pack on a couple of extra kilos around the waist from eating too much Laklak. Generally speaking, it’s an upset stomach and a potential increase of time spent on the loo. It’s caused by a bacterial infection, often from drinking the local tap water. 

So doing things like brushing your teeth, washing your fruit or veggies, or filling up your water bottle for the day should be done from bottled water you’ve purchased from a vendor. However, it’s not always an avoidable situation. So, as a precaution, packing some anti-diarrhea medication is a safe bet, even if it makes you cringe. 

Vaccinations

When travelling anywhere in the world where diseases are prevalent, getting vaccinated is a must. Hepatitis types A and B are widespread throughout Indonesia, but they’re both preventable with vaccines. While not required, it’s highly recommended that you’re immunised against those. 

Vaccinations against Typhoid, Tetanus, Pertussis and Diphtheria are also highly recommended – as is a vaccination against measles, with recently recorded outbreaks in Bali.

Mosquitos

While mozzies are annoying, they’re also potentially very dangerous. They can transmit dangerous and debilitating diseases like malaria, dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, filariasis and chikungunya. Mosquito repellent (lots of it) is your best defence. During the day, spraying a thick aura of tropical-strength repellent around your body will keep the critters at bay. Consider getting some roll-on repellent too, so you can reapply throughout the day. 

Overnight, plug-in mosquito repellent varieties work well for your room, but you'll want to back this up with an extra spray before bed. It’s not always possible to avoid the odd mozzie-bite, so if you end up sick you’ll thank yourself for getting a travel insurance policy that covers hospitalisation expenses.

Animals (including cheeky monkeys)

Bali is home to plenty of stray dogs, so being aware of the risk of rabies is important. Animal bites (and even scratches) need to be taken seriously and treated immediately. If you’re not near enough to a hospital, try the local GP, which are usually located near pharmacies. 

In certain parts of Bali there are monkey colonies. In those areas, monkeys pretty much rule. While cute, you’ve got to have your wits about you. They’re known to do everything from steal people's food, to pickpocket, bag snatch, and can even get quite aggressive. 

If bitten or scratched by a monkey, you'll need to be treated as soon as possible, as they can carry diseases. And you’ll want travel insurance that covers personal belongings, especially if you’re planning on visiting Bali’s Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary.

Must-knows about Bali adventures and travel insurance

Bali roads

The constant hustle and bustle of Bali traffic can be shocking if you've never seen or experienced it before. Simply put, it’s organised chaos. Most tourists end up hiring a scooter to zoom around the island with, but it carries its risks. While you might not need to provide a licence to the rental agency, your travel insurance provider won't cover you if you have an accident while riding unlicensed. 

Water sports

Many Aussies are natural water babies, and Bali beaches are often a bucket-list destination for those looking to surf the world class year-round swell. From Kuta to Uluwatu, Bali has a break for everyone. But keep in mind that many travel insurance providers won’t cover water sports unless you purchase an optional add-on, like an adventure pack. This simply comes down to the heightened risk of injury that extreme sports carry.

Thankfully, many travel insurance policies do offer extra adventure or sports cover (although you will likely need to pay extra for this coverage). So, if you are planning on surfing, scuba diving or committing to any other high-risk activities while you're in Bali, pay for the extra cost and get peace of mind knowing you'll be covered.

Drinking overseas

It’s no secret a lot of Australians like a party. Drinking is fine in moderation, but excessive drinking can get hazardous. Considering Bali roads, chaotic enough as they are, crossing a road while inebriated adds an extra level of risk which could prove downright dangerous. Plus, if you get into an accident while under the influence of alcohol you likely won’t be covered by insurance (same goes for drugs use).

Also, always know where your drink is. Spiking is a very real risk around popular tourist destinations, like Kuta. Another concern around alcohol follows a recent spate of deaths after the consumption of drinks with non-conventional alcohol. Always drink from reputable bars. It pays to go to bars where you may pay a little more for your alcoholic beverages, as they have a reputation to uphold and wouldn't sell you knock-off booze.

Alternative transport

Hiring a driver for the day or catching cabs from place to place is extremely affordable and a fraction of what we pay in Australia. The best part about it, the drivers are local, which means they know the narrow arteries and potholes like the back of their hand.

Do I need a visa to travel to Bali?

Australians are no longer exempt from visa-free travel to Indonesia. You can purchase a visa on arrival, which will cost about IDR500,000 (approx. $48.65), and can be paid with cash or card (although Smartraveller says to be prepared to pay in cash). 

To apply for a visa on arrival you'll need:

  • A passport with at least 6 months validity
  • A return flight booking to Australia or an onward flight booking to another country

However, Mozo recommends you register all international trips with the Australian government’s Smartraveller service before you head off. Here you can get in contact with Australian officials if you run into some legal trouble or have an enquiry. Another organisation to keep handy is the Australian consulate in Bali.

Can I get Covid-19 travel insurance for Bali?

If you’re travelling overseas, your international travel insurance might not cover you for any COVID-19 related claims, depending if your destination is considered high-risk by the Australian government’s Smartraveller warnings. So, before you go booking your holidays, make sure you check the travel advice warnings for your destination.

At the time of writing, the travel advice for Indonesia is to exercise a high degree of caution. This means that it may still be safe enough to travel there, however travelling to Indonesia still carries COVID-19 related risks.

To enter Indonesia you won't have to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test or provide proof of COVID-19 medical insurance. However, you will have to show that you've had at least 2 doses of a Covid vaccine (excluding children under 18).

Bali travel insurance tips

Read the fine-print

Something which we like to stress is to always read the product disclosure statement (PDS) for your travel insurance policy. It's easy to get the general gist of the travel insurance you're purchasing, but if you don't read the small print, you might miss out on crucial exemptions and inclusions.

Know your excess fees

Did you know your excess fee will vary, according to the policy you purchase? An excess is the amount policyholders will need to pay the insurance company before any claims are paid out, so this could cut into your holiday budget if it’s a sizable amount. Generally, the less expensive the cover, the cheaper your insurance. But this also means the excess will likely be higher than others should you need to make a claim. Finding a balance between the two which suits your budget is key.

Declare pre-existing medical conditions

If you have a pre-existing medical condition when you take out travel insurance, you’ll need to disclose the details of this as part of your policy. If you don't, your insurance company may reject claims for medical expenses if you need to go to the hospital or require other treatment relevant to your condition. 

Report incidents ASAP

Report theft or medical emergencies as soon as possible to your insurance provider – and in the case of a crime, also alert the relevant local authorities at the time of the incident. Remember to ask for an official report from police or medical professionals when relevant, as you will need this to make an insurance claim (hold onto any receipts, too).

If you’re looking to travel beyond the sparkling shores of Bali, head to our international travel insurance hub for more info about venturing overseas right now.

Compare travel insurance policies - last updated 18 August 2022

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