If there was an award for South America’s most diverse and seductive country, it would have to go to Brazil. For travelers, the enduring favourites are there – Rio, Sao Paulo, Copacabana Beach, the Iguaçu Falls, the Amazon river and rainforest. Oh, and did I mention coffee? You certainly don’t need the Olympics to be on in order to go to Brazil!
But whatever the reason you visit Brazil, don’t forget to pack your Portuguese dictionary and, most importantly, your Brazil travel insurance.
Brazil is one of 12 South American countries, so here are a few quick Brazilian facts:
|Land area: 8,358,140 sq km|
|Official language(s): Portuguese|
|Population: 202.8 million (2014)|
|Currency: Real (BRL)|
Travel insurance for Brazil
Accidents, illness, or theft are always on the cards anywhere you go. Travel insurance is vital as it can help cover the cost of replacing any stolen items, or any emergency medical treatment you find yourself needing.
When you’re away from home, in a non-English speaking country, stress can escalate quickly in the event of something going wrong. It’s essential to have the backup support of a good travel insurance policy you can rely on, if needed.
The main reasons you might need travel insurance in Brazil include the following:
Cancellation costs for flights, accommodation and tours. Many things could disrupt your Brazil travel plans – an unexpected illness before you leave, or a family member becoming sick and needing you to stay home. Even your employer cancelling your application for annual leave can be a reason why you might need to cancel your Brazil holiday unexpectedly. Travel insurance for Brazil can help reimburse you for any out of pocket expenses as a result of cancellation, such as cancellation fees.
Overseas emergency medical expenses. An accident or illness while you’re in Brazil could send you hurrying to a local doctor or even the public hospital. Travel insurance for Brazil can cover emergency overseas medical costs, as well as medical repatriation to Australia (a quick flight home) if needed.
The standard of private medical facilities in large cities such as Brasilia, Sao Paulo, Campinas, Rio de Janeiro and Curitiba is comparable to Australia – but outside of major cities, facilities can be very limited. As with many places in the world, treatment at private clinics and hospitals is very expensive. Doctors and hospitals may expect cash payment prior to providing medical services, including for emergency treatment.
Case Study: Kate
Former travel agent, Kate suffered an unknown illness during a holiday in Brazil and Peru. A few days into the holiday, Kate knew something wasn’t quite right. She couldn’t see out of her left eye. Kate’s parents contacted her travel insurer on her behalf, and the insurer quickly arranged for Kate – who had left Brazil and had arrived in Peru – to visit a local hospital.
The insurance company covered her for the big things, like her early flight back to Australia to seek medical treatment at home. They also covered her for the small things, like phone calls to and from home, additional accommodation, meals and taxis to and from the hospital.
On her return to Australia, Kate was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. However, this has not prevented her travelling again, nor taking out travel insurance.
Cover for theft or lost luggage and personal items. Unfortunately, theft is reported to be rife in Brazil. However, travellers to any destination also run the risk of having luggage go astray, and travel insurance can help cover the cost of replacing lost items or luggage.
Travel delay/changed travel plans. Natural disasters can derail the best-laid travel plans. Luckily, Brazil is not usually prone to these but, should the worst happen, travel insurance can cover you for any last-minute and unavoidable changes in your travel plans.
Extreme sports. With spectacular mountains hugging the 8,000km of coastline to the south of Brazil, it’s no wonder water and mountain sports reign supreme. The country offers a feast of adventure sports for the adrenalin junkies. But before you decide to climb Sugar Loaf mountain or scuba dive through underwater caves in Fernando de Noronha, check that your Brazil travel insurance covers you for any adventure sports you plan on trying. Things such as snorkelling are generally covered under a standard policy, but more extreme activities such as scuba diving often are not. Check that you have the cover you need before you go.
Our Canstar database shows that people who compare travel insurance on our website often search for cover to:
|Ride a motorcycle, scooter, or jet ski (17%)|
|Do snow sports and skiing (16.5%)|
|Do water sports (16%)|
| Go rock climbing (7%)
What does Brazil Travel Insurance cost?
Travel insurance is a necessary item, particularly if you are travelling out of the country. Having said that, it’s not actually that expensive when you compare it to your flights, accommodation, tours, etc. To give you an idea of what you will be up for, we’ve crunched the numbers on policies from 73 providers to calculate the minimum, maximum and average travel insurance premiums you’ll pay for a 10 or 21-day jaunt to Brazil.
All premiums below are based on the premium data collected for Canstar’s 2016 Travel Insurance Star Ratings. Premiums have been rounded to the nearest dollar.
For singles – 10 day premiums and 21 day premiums:
|10 day||21 day|
For couples – 10 day premiums and 21 day premiums:
|10 day||21 day|
For families – 10 day premiums and 21 day premiums:
|10 day||21 day|
For senior singles – 10 day premiums and 21 day premiums:
|10 day||21 day|
For senior couples – 10 day premiums and 21 day premiums:
|10 day||21 day|
What does Brazil travel insurance cover?
Cheapest is not always best and in the case of travel insurance it’s really important to buy the cover that suits your particular situation. With a typical policy, you will want, at a minimum:
|Medical or dental emergency – hospital admission, emergency care and medical evacuation.|
|Repatriation – if tragedy strikes while you are away, repatriation covers the cost of flying your body and belongings back home to Australia. Some travel funds also include a separate sum for funeral expenses.|
|Lost or stolen luggage, passport or other items – replacing luggage and travel documents is the most common claim for travel insurance.|
|Cancelling your trip unexpectedly – due to illness, accident, holiday leave being revoked, or a natural disaster at home or at your intended destination.|
|Legal liability – if you break a local law and need a lawyer/interpreter.|
Canstar’s research shows you get what you pay for. We’ve found that while 5-star, 4-star, and even 3-star rated policies tend to cover most things, a police with a 1-star or 2-star rating will have various exclusions, even sometimes excluding basic coverage for accidental death.
The bottom line is to compare travel insurance and check the fine print carefully to make sure you’re covered for the things that matter to you. A policy that falls short will hit you where it hurts most if you have to make a claim.
Risks in Brazil
Brazil is a dangerous place compared to Australia and so there are a few personal safety issues for Brazilian-bound travelers to be aware of.
According to the government?s Smart Traveller advice, the country has high levels of serious and violent crime, particularly in major cities. Brazil has a significant incidence of muggings, armed robbery and kidnapping, so travelling there alone is not recommended.
Demonstrations are also not uncommon in Brazil, and can often turn violent.
As you would know from media coverage, Brazil is experiencing ongoing transmission of the mosquito-borne Zika virus, so travellers are urged to protect themselves by taking measures to prevent mosquito bites.
Getting help in Brazil
If the matter relates to criminal issues, contact the local police. The national police emergency number is 190, the fire department is 193, and the public ambulance is 192. Be aware the operators may not speak English.
In Rio de Janeiro, there is a dedicated police unit for tourists at Av. Afranio de Melo Franco, 169 – Leblon; Tel: (21) 2332 2924, (21) 2332 2511 and (21) 2332 5112.
If you need to contact the Australian embassy in Brazil these contact details are correct at the time of writing:
Australian Embassy Brasilia
SES QD 801
Conjunto K, Lote 07
BSB, DF 70200-010
Telephone: +55 (61) 3226 3111
Facsimile: +55 (61) 3226 1112
During the Olympics, the Australian Embassy is operating a temporary office in Rio de Janeiro (open until 18 September 2016) to provide consular and passport assistance to Australians. This office is located at:
Condominio do Edificio Centro Empresarial Mourisco
Praia de Botafogo, 501
Botafogo, Rio de Janeiro – RJ 22250-040 BRAZIL
Telephone: +55 (21) 2586 6264
In Sao Paulo, you can obtain assistance from:
Australian Consulate-General, Sao Paulo
Edifico Trianon Corporate – Cerqueira Cesar
Alamenda Santos 700
9th Floor, Unit 92
Sao Paulo, 01418 100, BRAZIL
Telephone: +55 (11) 3171 2851
Facsimile: +55 (11) 3171 2889
See the embassy website www.brazil.embassy.gov.au for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.
If you are unable to contact the Embassy or Consulates in Brazil in a consular emergency, you can contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre in Canberra on, +61 (2) 6261 3305 (from within Brazil) or 1300 555 135 (from within Australia).
Risks aside, Brazil is a beautiful and vibrant place to visit, with a rich history and scenery that ranges from historical monuments and bustling city centres to dense jungles and deserted beaches. It could well be a trip of a lifetime – just keep yourself protected along the way.