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From the lush beauty of the Amazonian Basin to the urban sprawl of Sao Paulo, Brazil is a land of contrast.

While Brazil begs to be experienced, there is a need for caution. Parts of the country aren’t always safe for travellers, and you should remain aware of potential risks and the current political climate before departure. This isn’t to discourage anyone from heading to Brazil – on the contrary, we encourage you to explore this country and others throughout South America!

But your family, money, health and belongings need to be protected while you’re away. Here’s how travel insurance can help you do that in such a lively country.

Do I need travel insurance for Brazil?

We believe travel insurance is always a good idea regardless where you travel. Brazil can be safe if you exercise the right level of caution, although tourist areas tend to experience the highest crime rates, as do the shanty towns or ‘favelas.’ With a travel insurance plan, you can improve your peace of mind to better enjoy relaxing at Copacabana beach or your visit to the awe-inspiring statue Christ the Redeemer.

Smartraveller lists some great ways you can stay out of trouble, including paying close attention to your surroundings at all times, being wary of how you move from place to place (e.g., avoid unlicensed taxis) and being careful with your belongings.1

Travel insurance can provide you with cover if things go wrong! Here’s how:

Healthcare

If the event of a medical emergency, you may be able to claim back the costs of emergency transport, medical treatment and hospital stays. Luckily, private hospitals in major cities in Brazil are adequate, although treatment is contingent on being able to pay or prove you’re insured.

By having a travel insurance plan in place for the worst, you can enjoy the best Brazil has to offer. Go trekking through the Amazon Rainforest or dance your way through Rio Carnival, knowing that if you’re injured or ill, your trip insurance will cover your medical expenses (subject to the conditions of your policy).

Driving

Many roads in Brazil are poorly maintained and frequented by trucks, and motorists sometimes choose to disregard traffic lights in large cities.¹ If your rental car is damaged or stolen and you have a comprehensive travel insurance policy, you may receive compensation from your insurer if you owe the rental company an excess.

Smartraveller’s travel advice warns you to be aware of potential carjacking and theft and to never resist, as many criminals are armed and dangerous.1 If you’re taking a taxi, only use one you have prepaid for or that is part of the official taxi rank.

Cancellations

Suppose unforeseen circumstances lead to delays or cancellations; a comprehensive travel insurance policy can help cover you for costs you incur while waiting to get your trip back on track. This is an important feature to look for in your travel insurance policy’s Product Disclosure Statement (PDS).

Theft

Being prepared for potential theft by identifying the best travel insurance for your adventure can save you hundreds of dollars if the worst were to happen. If your luggage and money is stolen or lost, you may be able to recoup their value up to varying limits depending on your policy and your insurer by claiming on your travel insurance.

Night view of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Brazil travel insurance: Exclusions and what to look out for

Of course, like any product, travel insurance can’t protect you against everything that goes wrong.

It’s important you thoroughly read and understand the PDS of any policy you’re considering for purchase, as limits, inclusions and exclusions can differ between insurers and types of cover.

Here are a few common exclusions you might see in your travel insurance policy for Brazil:

  • Pre-existing medical conditions. Although some insurers may offer cover for pre-existing conditions through optional extras, you shouldn’t assume you’re covered for it as standard. Make sure you declare any conditions when taking out a policy.
  • Illegal activities. If you act illegally, recklessly or dangerously, your insurer may reject a claim resulting from that incident.
  • Travelling against government advice. If your destination has a current travel warning from Smartraveller, your insurer may not cover your trip there. That said, if a warning is raised after you embark on your journey, you might be insured for this event. It’s best to check with your insurer on how they handle these scenarios before purchasing your policy.
  • Intoxication. Your insurer may reject your claim if it results from an incident where you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Unattended luggage. If your luggage was stolen while unattended (e.g., you left it in your car while you ducked into a shop), your insurer may not cover your claim for these items.
  • Extreme sports. Your policy may not cover participation in extreme, winter or other adventure sports. However, some insurers do offer cover for these activities as an optional extra.
  • Failure to get vaccinated. If you fail to get the proper vaccines before leaving Australia and fall sick as a result, your insurer may reject your claim.

What can my travel insurance policy for Brazil include?

Medical treatment and hospitalisation overseas can be costly. As such, it’s a good idea to take out a travel insurance policy that offers medical cover. This type of cover is helpful, as some countries’ health systems may refuse to treat you unless you provide a guarantee of payment or insurance details.

Remember to disclose any pre-existing medical conditions with your insurer before taking out your policy. Otherwise, your insurer may reject any claims relating to these conditions.

You might want to consider a comprehensive insurance policy that covers you for 24/7 emergency assistance, medical evacuation and repatriation in the event of a severe or fatal incident.

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Top travel tips for Brazil

1. Explore the Amazon

Home to tens of thousands of plant types, thousands of fish species and hundreds of reptile species, the Amazon is one of the most remarkable places on Earth. Another famous natural wonder is the Iguazu Falls on the border of Brazil and Argentina. Remember to be conscious of your environmental impact and try to explore with a proper tour guide when possible.

2. Check visa requirements

You must have a visa to enter Brazil, and you’ll need to arrange it before you leave on your trip as you can’t get one once you’ve arrived in the country.¹ If you’re entering Brazil for tourism, business or just transiting, you may be eligible for an electronic visa; otherwise, you’ll need to apply for a visa through the Brazilian embassy or consulate located in the capital city, Brasília.

3. Attend the Carnival Festival

Once a year, a festival galvanises the entire city of Rio de Janeiro, uniting them in the pursuit of a single purpose: to party. The Carnival Festival is an annual event full of life, colour and culture.

4. Get vaccinated before you go

According to Smartraveller, there are outbreaks of disease in Brazil.¹ These diseases include:

  • Yellow fever
  • Zika virus
  • Malaria
  • Measles

Other diseases prevalent in Brazil include HIV/AIDS, cholera, typhoid, hepatitis, rabies and dengue fever.

Vaccinations are available for several of these diseases, and Smartraveller recommends you get vaccinated before your trip to Brazil. You may need to provide a yellow fever vaccination certificate upon entry into the country.

11 things you need to know before arriving in Brazil

  1. The official language of Brazil is Portuguese.
  2. The largest airports in Brazil are in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Depending on your stopovers, travel time is roughly 18-22 hours from Sydney.
  3. One of the best times to explore Brazil is during the ‘less busy’ off-season from May to September.
  4. Located in the southern hemisphere, Brazil experiences the same seasonal changes as Australia.
  5. During holiday season in Brazil, prices skyrocket and availability decreases. Brazilians love the Easter and Christmas / New Year periods and Carnival (usually held between late February and early March).
  6. The currency in Brazil is the Brazilian Real. ATMs are widely available, and if you wish to exchange currency, look for a ‘Cambio’ sign – it means change. The best exchange rates are usually away from the airports.
  7. If paying with your card, keep your card in sight as credit skimming is quite prevalent in Brazil. Choose tap-and-go or payWave if possible.
  8. Locals wear their national colours (green and yellow) only on special occasions, so if you want to blend in, perhaps avoid wearing these colours together for day-to-day activities.
  9. Temperatures in Brazil can rise above 40 degrees Celsius. If travelling in the warmer months (October to April), be sun smart. Also, use mosquito repellent to ward off illnesses a bite may cause.
  10. The Brazilian landscape is broad and diverse, so use a tourist guide in remote places.
  11. While Brazilian residents are covered for free healthcare, tourists are not. As such, it’s important you take out travel insurance that covers medical costs.

Stephen Zeller, General Manager

Top travel insurance tips for Brazil from Stephen Zeller, General Manager of General Insurance

  • Think about the things you need insurance for while travelling through Brazil. Medical expenses, cancellation fees and luggage may come to mind, but also remember to cover any rental vehicle excesses or adventure activities you might get up to while in South America. You should look for these things when considering a policy to ensure that it suits your holiday needs.
  • You might have the option to choose a higher excess to reduce your premium. Just keep in mind that you’ll have to pay whatever amount you choose if you need to make a claim, so always choose a manageable excess amount.
  • You should always declare any pre-existing medical conditions when taking out travel insurance. This way, you’ll know whether you have the cover you need and won’t be surprised come claim time if you’re injured or become ill while travelling.
  • Photocopy all your important documents (e.g. passport, ID cards, itineraries) and leave them with someone at home in case you lose them overseas.
  • If you planning more than one trip throughout the year, you might want to consider purchasing annual cover instead. That way all your trips for a full year can be covered by one policy.

Compare travel insurance for Brazil

Looking for travel insurance for your trip to Brazil? Why not start here and now with our free travel insurance comparison service!

It’s an easy process; enter a few details, compare options and see if you can find an option that maximises your cover based on your budget and travel requirements. Simples!

Any lover of travel won’t be satisfied with just one trip, though! No need to stop here, you can explore cover for trips to a number of different countries.

Source

1 Australian Government: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade – Brazil. Published on Smartraveller.gov.au. Accessed May 2022.

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