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The Philippines is a collection of tropical islands in Southeast Asia, so no matter where you go, there’s a lot to enjoy. Travel insurance can provide a financial safety net if your adventure in the Philippines doesn’t go to plan.

Do I need travel insurance for the Philippines?

It’s always a good idea to consider buying a travel insurance policy when travelling. Depending on the level of cover, travel insurance could help pay for medical costs, including emergency medical assistance, as well as cancelled trips, lost or stolen belongings and more.

In the 2021-22 consular report, the Philippines recorded the second-highest number of consular assistance cases from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), with 555 cases reported.1 While travel insurance can’t cover everything, it can help provide peace of mind and a financial safety net against financial loss and injury, depending on the level of cover purchased.

When choosing a policy, be sure to read over the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) for the ins and outs of what your travel insurance covers you for.

Asik-Asik Falls in Alamada, North Cotabato, Philippines

What should I include in my travel insurance for the Philippines?

Travel insurance policies can differ, so it pays to check what a policy includes or excludes. For a trip to the Philippines, there are a few features you may want to consider including, such as:

Medical expenses cover

Australia doesn’t have a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement with the Philippines, so medical care can be expensive – especially if you need medical evacuation or repatriation back to Australia.

Accidents can happen anywhere, including in well-known cities like Manila or Cebu. Travel insurance may cover your hospital or treatment costs for minor injuries like a twisted ankle to unexpected medical emergencies. The level of cover will depend on the insurance policy purchased.

Natural disasters

The Philippines also experiences various natural disasters, including volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis and typhoons. If you’re in the Philippines when a natural disaster occurs, it could cause your flight home to be delayed, damage your belongings and pose a serious risk of injury to yourself.

Depending on the level of cover purchased, travel insurance may cover medical expenses relating to natural disasters, but not all policies will cover all related costs. For example, coverage for volcanic eruptions may need to be purchased as an additional add-on.

Keep in mind, your travel insurance will only cover you if you purchased it before the natural disaster occurred. Read your policy’s PDS for the specifics of your natural disaster coverage.

Personal belongings

Due to the risk of theft and crime in the Philippines, such as pickpocketing, scams and bag-snatching, it may be wise to check that your insurance policy covers stolen, lost or damaged belongings – including cash, credit cards and travel documents. However, if you leave your belongings unattended in a public place then any theft claims will not be met.

Trip cancellations and delays

Your travel insurance plan may cover you for disruptions to your trip where you need to re-book or cancel your journey overseas. Trip cancellation and delay cover can also assist you in situations where delayed flights mean you need to purchase emergency accommodation or be reimbursed for activities you can no longer attend.

If you buy comprehensive travel insurance in advance, you can also be covered if an emergency causes you to need to cancel your trip before you’ve even left Australia. The specifics of your policy depend on your insurer and your level of cover and can be found in your cover’s PDS.

Adventure sports add-on

The Philippines are home to some incredible coral reefs. However, snorkelling and scuba diving are not standard inclusions in some travel insurance policies.

If a travel insurance provider doesn’t automatically cover these activities, you may still be able to get cover from them by paying extra for an adventure sports add-on. This is especially important in the Philippines, where many tour operators may not adhere to minimum safety requirements.

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Travel insurance exclusions

Travel insurance exclusions refer to terms and conditions where your provider typically won’t pay a claim for a related event. Check the PDS or policy for what is excluded. Common international travel insurance exclusions to watch out for when planning a Philippines holiday include:

  • Claims related to alcohol and illicit substances. If you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs, your claim will be rejected. It’s also important to note that the Philippines has strict punishments for anyone consuming illegal drugs.2
  • Terrorism, piracy and civil unrest. The Philippines experiences terror attacks, with some regions having a higher risk than others. Furthermore, there’s a danger of maritime piracy and kidnapping in specific parts of the Philippines. While some travel insurance policies provide medical coverage for injuries incurred due to armed conflict, damaged or stolen belongings may not be covered.
  • Activities not covered in your policy. Even with a sports cover add-on, some activities and the medical costs for resulting injuries may not be covered.
  • Leaving your bags unattended. If you leave your belongings and these are stolen due to being unsupervised in a public space, your insurance provider may not cover the costs.
  • Visiting areas with a travel warning. Due to instances of violence and political conflict or natural disasters in the Philippines, areas of the country may receive a travel warning from DFAT. It is important to check travel warnings put into place by the Philippine Government and the Smartraveller website before travel. If you travel to a country with an active “Do Not Travel” warning, your policy is unlikely to provide any cover if you suffer a loss.

Our top tips for travelling to the Philippines

1.      Avoid danger zones

Certain places such as government buildings, public markets and hotels may be targets for terrorist attacks. Smartraveller encourages Australians to exercise caution and avoid areas of unrest, political demonstrations and protests, and areas targeted by pirates (typically in the south).2

It’s also illegal to take part in a political rally in the Philippines if you aren’t Filipino.

2.      Bring insect repellent

As a tropical island nation, the Philippines is home to mosquitoes and insects, as well as insect-borne diseases such as the Zika virus and malaria. Insect repellent can help you avoid annoying bites and potential diseases.

You may also wish to check-in with your GP before travelling to the Philippines to discuss travel vaccines. Your GP can prescribe certain vaccines, which you’ll typically need to receive weeks in advance of your trip.

3.      Take care when swimming

The Philippines experiences strong water currents, such as swells and rips, that have drowned tourists in the past. Be sure to look out for warning flags and information signs when visiting the beach.

If you’re interested in swimming in the ocean:

  • Don’t go out after dark
  • Red flags on the beach mean you shouldn’t attempt swimming in that area
  • Don’t expect lifeguards to be available or present
  • Ask for local advice before getting in the water.2

a young woman snorkelling with whale sharks in the ocean

Stephen Zeller, General Manager

Top Philippines travel tips from our expert, Stephen Zeller

  • If you are interested in cover for COVID-19 (coronavirus) related losses, you will likely need to purchase top tier cover or a comprehensive policy for COVID-19 cover to be included. Look for the COVID-19 icon when you compare products.
  • For cancellation cover before you depart on your trip, you should compare and purchase comprehensive travel insurance as soon as you make a booking and pay any deposits.
  • When you travel, consider what inclusions you want in your policy including medical expenses, cancellation fees, luggage and rental vehicle excess. You may also want additional cover for adventure activities or cruises. Keep all this in mind when shopping for a policy.
  • If you have any pre-existing medical conditions, search for products that allow you to declare these conditions as part of your application to your chosen insurer so they can assess your eligibility. That way, you can ensure you understand what you’re covered for and there are no surprises if you are injured or become ill.
  • Crime is common in many areas so stay alert for potential dangers such as bag snatching and other scams, especially when using public transport or ATMs.

Planning a Philippines adventure? Compare travel insurance with ease

Getting travel insurance for the Philippines or any international destination doesn’t have to be complicated. You can compare travel insurance with us in minutes, and purchase cover that’s appropriate for your travel plans.

So why not see what we have to offer and start comparing today? Simples!


1 Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australian Government. Consular State of Play: 2021-22. Accessed January 2022.

2 Smartraveller, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australian Government. Philippines. Last updated January 2023. Accessed January 2023.

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