Picture a beach with soft sand and swaying trees. Waves are crashing, you can just hear some bustling crowds across the ridge behind you, but your attention is focused elsewhere. Take a sip from your Pina Colada, or an ice cold Bintang beer. Lie back into that beach chair, and kick back. You haven’t even gone to the markets yet, or had your afternoon massage – it’s going to be a beautiful day.
Welcome to Bali.
If you’re making the trip, and you want to maintain optimal relaxation and peace of mind during your stay, you may be considering travel insurance during your stay. We break down why insurance is a smart move for any Bali holidayer, the kinds of troubles Aussies have gotten into while holidaying in this beautiful part of the world, and how to make the best of your vacation.
Insurance basics for Aussies going to Bali
In 2004/05, roughly 346,400 Aussies made the trip to Indonesia. In 2014/15, that number jumped to 1,118,700.3
And in 2013/14, there were 124 hospitalisations, 155 welfare cases, and 87 deaths.4
It fast becomes clear why it’s a good idea to get travel insurance. On any holiday, things can go wrong, and – as the above statistics prove – they frequently do.
No big deal, you just need to get covered before you leave: simples! Here’s some features common to travel insurance policies that are especially important for anyone travelling to Bali.
Getting covered for medical expenses
Many people ask if they’ll get sick in Bali. Here are the key things you need to know before leaving.
- Having your drink spiked is a very real danger.
- There are several diseases and illnesses you can easily avoid.
- Getting vaccinated may help you can claim on your insurance.
We’ll explain all three points. The first one is simple enough: drink spiking is common in Bali, and is easy enough to avoid. Drink from areas you’re familiar with (e.g. your hotel), be mindful of that drink as soon as you order it (don’t let it out of your sight), and don’t overindulge whilst in areas where security is slight.
Now, let’s look at some of the illnesses common to Bali. Dengue fever and Malaria have no vaccines, so you’ll need to be careful not to be bitten by mosquitoes while travelling (you can pick up medication to inoculate yourself against Maleria though). You should get vaccinations at least eight weeks before you leave to ensure (a) they take effect and (b) you aren’t excluded from insurance claims in the event you get sick.
Ask your GP, but you may need shots for the following:
- Pertussis (whooping cough);
- Hepatitis A and B; and
Another particularly deadly condition you can contract through animal bites and scratches is rabies, and it’s particularly prevalent in Bali. SmartTraveller elaborates:
“…Between January 2010 and June 2013, bites or scratches from monkeys in Bali comprised approximately 47 per cent of all cases where Australians were potentially exposed to rabies while overseas.”
Upon returning to Australia, they were treated with rabies immunoglobulin, but it’s a terrible risk to take just to get close to a cute little monkey!
If you require this kind of treatment, it’s good to know that your insurance policy may pay for the emergency transport back home. To avoid this situation altogether though, avoid direct contact with animals as a general rule, and be especially hesitant to feed them.
As a first measure, see a GP before you leave and inform them of your travel plans.
Coverage on the roads
One thing Bali has in spades is motorbikes and mopeds, but should you drive one? The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 38,279 people died on Indonesian roads in 2013. Of those deaths, 36% occurred on riders using motorised 2 or 3 wheeled vehicles.7 There’s no denying that these roads can be perilous if you don’t know what you’re doing.
However, you may be a veteran rider, and are able to navigate safely across the island nation. In that case, happy travels! We would only suggest you look closely at your policy, as it may stipulate that you hold a current Australian license and/or an international drivers license in order to be able to claim (and, you may not be able to hire the vehicle without one). You may even need to take out motorcycle/scooter coverage as an optional extra.
Be sure to read up on the rules and etiquette of Bali roads.
Theft and loss of belongings
Bali is well known for its petty theft, which means you need to keep a close eye on your belongings at all times. It also means you’ll want a travel insurance policy that covers loss of luggage, cash theft, and more. Be wary that if you’ve left your belongings unattended, you may not be able to claim on your policy, as you didn’t take steps to appropriately protect your stuff, in the eyes of your insurer at least.
Is Bali safe?
If you’re not mindful of your surroundings then you may be taken advantage of. Simply put, stay sharp and you’ll be fine.
Terrorism continues to be a deterrent for many global citizens from visiting countries they’d normally be excited to travel to. Travelling to Bali doesn’t have to be anything short of a safe, fun experience for all Australians. We can only say that you should monitor the SmartTraveller.gov.au website for travel advisory warnings before travelling to any foreign region, including Bali. As far as the extent of this coverage is concerned, you will need to check your policy to see if you’re covered for claims if you knowingly venture into areas where there’s an active travel warning in place1. Check with your insurer before departing for more information.
Finally, always exercise caution in areas with little or no security (e.g. no guards, sign in areas, etc.), and avoid protests and demonstrations wherever possible.
What do I do if I have an accident/incident?
In an emergency, do exactly what you would in Australia: pick up the phone. Call emergency services (the switchboard can be reached on 112),2 and organise whatever services are required. When you next have the opportunity, call up your insurer and explain what’s happened (ideally within 24 hours). Make sure you keep all documentation about the incident.
You can also call Australian consular assistance 24 hours a day on 0011 62 02 6261 3305.
Bali travel tips
- Peak season for Bali is between June and September, so plan and book ahead so that you don’t miss out on anything you really want to do.
- Consider protecting your belongings by utilising a hotel room safe, and keeping important documents hidden at all times.
- Water sports (e.g. snorkelling, scuba diving, jet skiing) can be great fun when you’re on vacation, but may be excluded on your insurance policy. You may be able to include it as an extra, or by taking out more comprehensive cover – consider all your options before you leave.
- Choose a good airline that doesn’t have a reputation for cancelled/delayed flights.
As of the 24th of March 2016, “The Indonesian Government has introduced visa-free short visits (30 days) for Australians.” This could be a great idea for any holidayers looking to kick back for a few weeks and forget about the homestead, and makes for one less thing to worry about when planning your trip.
So, what are you waiting for? Take the leap and enjoy your holiday.
And if you’re considering a holiday elsewhere, check out our guide to travel cover for other countries.
- Global Status Report on Road Safety, World Health Organisation (2015)
N.B. Please refer to or speak with you insurer about limits, sub limits, restrictions, limitations and additional cover options.