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Imagine having a refreshing tropical beverage while admiring the coral reefs in Vanuatu’s turquoise waters. With soft white sand cushioning your every step as you soak up the sun on this tranquil island, it’s the ideal getaway from city life.

However, for the ultimate relaxation experience, we recommend getting travel insurance for peace of mind. In this article, we go through everything you may need to know about getting travel insurance for Vanuatu, including:

  • Why you may want to consider travel insurance
  • What to look for when you get travel insurance for Vanuatu
  • Things your insurer may not cover
  • Handy travel tips

Do I need travel insurance for Vanuatu?

While a perfect holiday is what we all want when we book our flights, things don’t always go as planned. Perhaps you accidentally scrape your leg on coral and develop a severe infection or twist your ankle while walking along the boardwalk of Port Vila.

Getting medical attention in a foreign country can be difficult and expensive, which is why travel insurance for Vanuatu is a great way to protect yourself from the unexpected. Not only that, but the other benefits that come with travel insurance can financially protect you against cancellations, theft and more.

Clear water on a lava beach in tropical Tanna, Vanuatu

What should my travel insurance for Vanuatu include?

Cover for medical expenses and 24/7 assistance

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.

Cover for theft and loss of belongings

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.

Adventure cover

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.

Volcano and ash cloud cover

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.

Rental car excess cover

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.

Cruise cover

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.

Cancellation and delay cover

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.

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Travel insurance for Vanuatu: Exclusions to watch out for

There are several ways you can void your travel insurance or situations where your insurer may not compensate you. Though this will largely depend on your specific policy, there are some common exclusions across the board that insurers may not cover, including:

  • Incidents that occur before you purchase a policy. For example, if you purchase your cover after a volcanic eruption, you may not be covered for any disruptions relating to this incident.
  • Lost luggage or personal belongings due to carelessness. If you didn’t take the proper precautions to keep your belongings safe (e.g. you left them unattended), your insurer is unlikely to cover your claim.
  • Injuries sustained while under the influence. Drug and alcohol-related incidents generally aren’t covered by travel insurance.
  • Disregard for local laws and authorities. Incidents that occurred because you disregarded local laws and the advice of authorities aren’t usually covered.
  • Claims regarding pre-existing conditions. Insurers generally won’t cover certain pre-existing conditions unless you declared them when you purchased your policy and your insurer agreed to cover them.

To find out more, check out our page on common travel insurance exclusions.

Is Vanuatu safe?

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

Stunning Mele Maat Cascades in Port Vila, Efate Island, Vanuatu, South Pacific

Top travel tips for Vanuatu

1. Go diving at Vanuatu’s beaches

Shipwrecked yachts, ferries, cargo ships and, most famous of all, the wreck of SS President Coolidge all await you in Vanuatu’s turquoise waters. This experience offers a unique viewpoint of the country’s underwater world compared to the coral reefs in the deeper seas.

You can snorkel, scuba dive or even free dive at the Vanuatu beaches, depending on your skill and comfort level. However, if you plan on doing these activities, make sure you get adventure cover!

2. Island hop

Vanuatu is made up of more than 80 islands. Efate, Espiritu Santo and Tanna Island are some of the most popular, offering distinct landscapes with magnificent volcanos, breathtaking beaches, cascading waterfalls and the famous blue holes (freshwater pools). Or you could check out ancient rituals and an astonishing culture at Pentecost Island. You’re pretty much guaranteed to have an amazing time wherever you decide to go.

3. Visit live volcanoes

On Tanna Island lies an active volcano bubbling away. You won’t want to miss out on this phenomenal nature show!

The best time to visit volcanoes is when it’s dark. Visit Mount Yasar after sunset for the best photos! But stay aware that you may need to purchase a travel insurance add-on to be covered for volcanic eruptions.

4. No need to pre-apply for visas

Australians travelling to Vanuatu as a tourist can apply for a 120-day tourist visa once arriving at the airport instead of applying in advance.

Keep in mind you will also need to show documentation of your accommodation booking, or a letter of support from your friends or family if you plan on staying in private accommodation. You will also need a return ticket to Australia to be eligible for the tourist visa.

Adrian Taylor, Executive General Manager

Top travel insurance tips for Vanuatu from our expert, Adrian Taylor

  • Many insurers now provide cover for COVID-19 related losses; however, COVID-19 cover will likely only be included in their top tier or their comprehensive travel insurance policy. Look for the COVID-19 icon when you compare products.
  • We recommend you purchase a comprehensive travel insurance policy as soon as you pay any deposits or make a booking for your holiday. This ensures you’re covered for cancellations if an unexpected event requires you to cancel your trip.
  • Consider any necessary cover you need for potential medical expenses, cancellation fees, luggage and rental vehicle excess. Depending on your travel plans, you may want additional cover for cruises or adventure activities. 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. That way, you can discuss with your insurer whether you’ll have the cover you need and, if possible, choose a policy that’ll take care of you if you are injured or become ill overseas.
  • Do not leave your possessions unsupervised in a public place as bag snatching, pickpocketing and theft from cars is not uncommon in Vanuatu, especially around busy holiday periods and national holidays. The risk is always higher in isolated areas, if you’re alone and at night.

Compare travel insurance for Vanuatu

If you’re looking to get travel insurance for Vanuatu, use our travel insurance comparison service to compare quotes in minutes! Compare prices, features and inclusions to search for great-value policies that suit your travel plans.

Alternatively, if you’re curious about some of the other islands in the Pacific seas, check out our pages on Fiji and New Caledonia.


1 Smartraveller. Vanuatu. Last updated September 2022. Accessed October 2022.

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