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Travel Insurance For Brazil
Riding high on 2016’s Olympic Games putting the country and in particular Rio de Janeiro into the spotlight, Brazil is catching on as a tourist destination for Australians. This should come as no surprise, since Brazil is such a big country with almost every climate you can imagine. Plus, there’s the annual travel drawcard of Carnaval!
What to do in Brazil – and how to stay safe doing it
Brazil spans nearly the whole length of South America, from the Amazon Basin in the north to Iguaza Falls in the south, providing tourists with the opportunity to experience a range of landscapes and climates.
• Beaches: Hanging out at Copacabana or Ipanema is an iconic Brazilian beach experience. As well as dangerous riptides, some beaches are hotbeds for petty crime, with tourists frequently targeted. Pay close attention to your belongings, take only what you need, and ensure you have travel insurance that will cover you should you become a victim.
• Exploring the Amazon: With spectacular but remote scenery, trekking in the Amazon rainforests can be an impossible to forget adventure. But there’s a significant risk of becoming lost or injured, so be sure to travel with an experienced guide and make sure your travel insurance will cover any medical and rescue costs.
• Party at Carnaval: The colour, sounds, and energy of Carnaval, held each year in Rio de Janeiro in February or March (it ends 40 days before Easter), is on many travellers’ bucket list. But sadly, tourists are regularly victims of crime at the event, so travel insurance is a highly recommended if you’re travelling to these areas.
• See Christ the Redeemer: It’s one of the world’s most recognised icons, gazing out over the city of Rio de Janeiro. The views are spectacular and it’s incredible to think about how this statue was made. However, yet again, crime targeting tourists is rife, so be prepared for the worst and only take essentials. Travel insurance could assist in replacing any lost or stolen possessions.
Potential problems in Brazil
Some parts of Brazil aren’t safe for tourists1 and it may come as a shock to Aussies to find that there are some serious no-go areas, such as the favelas. If you’re targeted by criminals, it’s recommended to hand over your belongings and avoid escalating the situation. As well as high crime rates in some parts, there’s also the risk of mosquito-borne diseases like dengue fever, malaria and yellow fever, as well as the Zika virus1.
What your travel insurance should cover
Your medical costs
Australia does not have a reciprocal health care agreement with Brazil, so a policy that covers medical costs is absolutely essential. If you’re injured or get ill, you’ll be covered for your medical treatment, as well as for medical repatriation and in-hospital cash. While the hospitals in Brazil’s big cities are fine, you may need to prove you can pay, or that you’re insured before you’re admitted.
If you lose your luggage, or if it’s stolen or damaged, then you’ll be reimbursed. Comprehensive insurance will also cover cash and travel documents. Make sure you never leave your luggage unattended, though, or your insurer is likely to refuse reimbursing you.
Your rental car
Brazil’s roads can be busy, and let’s just say not everyone pays attention to traffic lights! Driving in Brazil is dangerous, so consider if a rental car is the best way for you to get around. The Australian government recommends not driving at all in Rio de Janeiro1. Should you decide to drive in Brazil, make sure you have an International Driving Permit, and it goes without saying that you should make sure you have a comprehensive travel insurance policy.
If you get into an accident with your rental car then you’ll be covered by your insurance. That said, you’ll likely still have to pay the rental company’s excess.
Travel disruption and cancellations
Life happens and sometimes plans need to change. If your travel plans are disrupted while you’re in Brazil, or before you leave, and you need to reschedule or cancel an event or trip, you’ll be reimbursed for any additional costs you incur.
If you fail to declare any pre-existing health conditions and you need treatment while in Brazil, you won’t be insured for it. Also, if you ignore travel advice from the Australian Government and go to an area that’s deemed unsafe and find yourself in trouble, you may find you won’t be insured.
Reckless behaviour, like riding a motorcycle without a helmet, is uncovered, as are any alcohol or drug-related incidents. Have fun, but be sure to keep your partying under control.
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