Travel insurance for South America

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A guide to travel insurance for South America

Last updated March 19, 2024
Written by Tiana Lee-Collins
Reviewed by Adrian Taylor

Do I need travel insurance for South America?

No matter your destination, it’s always a good idea to consider getting travel insurance for your trip. South America is a huge continent brimming with possibilities — which means, there’s also a lot of potential for things to go wrong.

A travel insurance policy may reimburse you for some of the expenses that occur when your trip gets disrupted. That’s why it’s important to choose not just any travel insurance policy, but one that matches your itinerary and personal circumstances to help ensure you have the cover you need.

Expert tips for choosing the right travel insurance for South America

Before purchasing your travel insurance for South America, check out these top tips for choosing a suitable policy from our Executive General Manager of General Insurance, Adrian Taylor.

Adrian Taylor
Executive General Manager – General Insurance

Compare and purchase cover in advance

If your trip gets grounded before your plane even takes off, a comprehensive travel insurance policy may offer cancellation cover for pre-booked tours, accommodation or passes, provided you purchased your cover as soon as you booked and your reason for cancelling wasn’t a foreseen event.

Don’t get caught out by pre-existing medical conditions

Declare any pre-existing medical conditions to your insurer when purchasing a policy, as they will assess whether they can cover your conditions, and if it will cost an additional premium. As not all South American countries may have the same level of health care as found in Australian facilities, this is crucial, especially if you need to be transported to a better medical facility, which can be expensive.

Look for the COVID-19 icon when comparing

When using our travel insurance comparison service, look for the COVID-19 (coronavirus) icon when comparing to identify which policies offer COVID-19 cover. In many cases, this cover will only be available through an insurer’s top tier or comprehensive cover.

What should my travel insurance for South America include?

Some features and benefits are typically included in travel insurance policies for South America, while others can be purchased as an add-on. All this information can be found in your policy’s Product Disclosure Statement (PDS). You can also read the Target Market Determination (TMD) to check your suitability for a policy.

Cover for medical expenses

Cover for theft and damage to belongings

Trip cancellation and delay cover

Adventure cover

Coverage on roads

Natural disaster cover

What’s excluded from travel insurance for South America?

View of Ushaia from the river in Argentina

While many exclusions are policy-specific and vary depending on your insurer, travel insurers may enforce these common exclusions:

  • Injuries sustained while under the influence. Insurers typically won’t cover incidents that occurred while you were influenced by drugs or alcohol.
  • Incidents arising from your disregard for local laws and authorities. If you break the law, disregard road rules or go against the advice of local authorities/travel guides, your insurer won’t be able to help you.
  • Lost luggage or personal belongings due to carelessness. If you didn’t take precautions to keep your belongings safe (i.e. by leaving them unattended), your insurer won’t reimburse you if those items were stolen.
  • Driving incidents where you didn’t have a valid license. You’ll likely need an international driver’s licence in most countries in South America. Not having the proper licence will void any related claims.

For more information on what isn’t included in your travel insurance cover, check out our page on common travel insurance exclusions.

Meet our travel insurance expert, Adrian Taylor

Adrian Taylor
Executive General Manager – General Insurance

As the Executive General Manager of General Insurance, Adrian Taylor believes in educating customers about the importance of travel insurance so that anyone can kick back and make the most of their time away from home. While no one wants a disrupted holiday, a suitable travel insurance policy can provide a financial safety net for yourself, your belongings and your trip in case things go wrong.

1 Global Road Safety Facility. The World Bank & Road Safety in Latin America and The Caribbean. Accessed February 2023.