While Vanuatu is generally a safe country, the rate of road fatalities in Vanuatu is triple that of Australia.1 That’s to say, the lack of road rules, vehicle safety standards and driving laws in Vanuatu can increase the risk of accidents and injury.
Australia doesn’t have a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement with Vanuatu, meaning any medical costs will come out of your own pocket. Travel insurance can help to cover the costs of unexpected medical bills, not just for accidental injury but also illnesses, emergency medical evacuation and even repatriation, should it be necessary. With 24/7 assistance to help you no matter what time it is, this feature is sure to come in handy on your holiday should something go wrong.
All travel insurance will have some level of medical cover. However, make sure you check the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) provided by your insurer to ensure you have the level of cover you need.
If your luggage or personal belongings are lost or stolen, depending on your policy, your insurer will be able to reimburse you for the losses up to the amount specified on your policy’s PDS. In most cases, an excess will apply to all claims.
Personal belongings can include cameras, wallets, cash, credit cards and jewellery. Most policies will have limits on certain categories of items – another good reason to review the PDS of your chosen insurer.
However, keep in mind that insurers won’t cover you if you leave your luggage or belongings unattended in a public place and they are stolen or damaged.
Having the right type of cover will help ensure you’re protected no matter what activity catches your eye while overseas (provided you abide by your policy’s terms and conditions).
For example, if you’re planning on kayaking, scuba diving, snorkelling and water skiing, among other adventure activities, a standard travel insurance policy may not cover you. To get coverage you’ll need an adventure cover add-on. This add-on can help to cover the cost of any medical bills, damages, evacuations and more that may arise from these activities.
The specific activities included and excluded from your standard travel insurance policy, as well as the adventure add-on, will vary between insurers, so be sure to read the PDS to find a policy that covers your travel plans.
Vanuatu is in the Pacific Ring of Fire, meaning there are frequent earthquakes and several active volcanos. The situation with volcanoes is unpredictable and changes frequently. Volcano eruptions and ash clouds can disrupt your travel plans, which is why it’s a good idea to get covered.
You will not be covered by your travel insurance policy if the volcanic event occurs after purchasing your cover. To get the most value from your travel insurance, we recommend purchasing a policy that covers natural disasters as soon you make a booking or pay any deposits. This way, you’re financially protected against any unexpected volcanic events that occur before your departure or during your trip.
If you’re planning on renting a car to explore the islands of Vanuatu, consider getting rental car excess cover. If you’re involved in an accident or the car gets damaged, you may be liable to pay an excess to contribute towards the repair costs.
A rental car excess can sometimes be thousands of dollars, which is why car excess cover can be handy for situations like this. After all, you don’t want to be forking out money to pay for your excess when you could be spending it at the Port Vila markets or on tours across different tropical islands.
If you choose to explore Vanuatu by cruise, you’ll want to take out cruise cover. This will ensure you’re covered for mishaps and unexpected woes during your onboard travels, including medical bills, cancellation and delay cover, emergency evacuation and more!
Standard travel insurance policies won’t normally cover cruises, so purchasing the cruise cover add-on is recommended so you can stay financially protected against unexpected events while on a cruise.
The airline will usually compensate the passengers if your flights are delayed or cancelled. However, when the airline doesn’t reimburse your ticket (e.g. if the cancellation was due to severe weather), travel insurance may cover the cost. What’s more, your policy may also cover any missed accommodation bookings and deposits for certain activities due to flight interruptions.
You may also have to buy food and stay at the airport overnight if the delays take longer than expected. In cases like this, you’ll likely be left out of pocket – unless you have travel insurance with cancellation and delay cover.
This feature will also cover your trip before you leave. If you’re involved in an accident, a family member falls ill or you lose your job before you depart, you can cancel your trip, and your insurer may compensate you up to a certain amount for your holiday. This is why it’s so important to purchase your travel insurance as soon as you make any bookings in preparation for your trip.
Make sure you read your policy’s PDS to find out exactly what you are and aren’t covered for.
Vanuatu is generally safe; however, the islands are prone to natural disasters and severe weather due to its location in the Pacific Ring of Fire. Avoid cyclone season (November to April) if possible, and check the Smartraveller website regularly for any earthquake or volcano warnings.
While theft and crime are generally low, it’s important to stay alert and aware of your surroundings. You should also speak to your doctor about ensuring your vaccinations are up to date for illnesses such as COVID-19, malaria, dengue fever and more.1
1 Smartraveller. Vanuatu. Last updated September 2022. Accessed October 2022.