10 most expensive countries for medical claims

Posted Date: 08 January 2020
Expensive countries to get sick

Southern Cross Travel Insurance has revealed the ten most expensive countries to travel to, according to medical-related claims made by Australian travellers.

USA, Canada, and Peru take the top three spots for the highest claim costs, with Greece, Indonesia and New Zealand close behind. Thailand, Japan, Cyprus and Spain round out the list, according to data collected by Southern Cross Travel Insurance.*

The largest individual claim was for $187,000, from a customer who fell while hiking at the historic Machu Picchu site. The 65-year-old suffered a fractured femur which required surgery, followed by a lengthy recovery due to complications.

Traveller hiking in the forest

Southern Cross Travel Insurance Chief Executive, Chris White, said while no traveller expects to be the one to get sick overseas and require extensive medical treatment, the reality is that this can happen to anyone, regardless of how fit and healthy they are.

“Medical incidents occurring on holidays are extremely stressful due to the compounding factors of being away from a familiar home environment, not speaking the language, and not knowing the local healthcare system. We know that when we take away the worry of managing hospital arrangements, medical costs and payment uncertainty, it can really help to reduce stress for travellers and their families.”

“Travel claims are rarely isolated to the costs associated with being ill and receiving treatment. Some of the highest claims we receive are for tourists requiring extended accommodation for recovery, or medically-assisted travel back home. The knowledge that these extra costs can be covered by travel insurance is a huge relief to travellers suffering away from home.”

Air ambulance on a helipad

It was important that customers disclosed any pre-existing conditions and if they were unsure, to contact their travel insurer for advice, White said.

In Canada, an Australian fell ill with sepsis and renal failure. The holidaymaker was on a cruise ship and needed to be transferred to hospital, resulting in a claim for $147,000.

In another case, a 45-year-old fell ill in the USA and was hospitalised with dizziness and vertigo. After being diagnosed with an inner ear disorder, the traveller made a claim for $88,000.

The top 10 most expensive countries are:

  1. USA
  2. Canada
  3. Peru
  4. Greece
  5. Indonesia
  6. New Zealand
  7. Thailand
  8. Japan
  9. Cyprus
  10. Spain


The content of this article is general and provided for information purposes only. It is not intended to be medical advice. Southern Cross Travel Insurance (SCTI) doesn’t guarantee or warrant the accuracy, completeness or currency of the articles.

This article may contain hyperlinks to other websites owned or operated by third parties, or references to third party products or services. SCTI isn’t responsible for, and makes no recommendation about, the content or accuracy of any third party website, or for the suitability or performance of any product or service. The inclusion of a link in this article doesn’t imply that SCTI endorses the website or third party product/service.


*Figures are in Australian dollars and calculated for claims placed between 1 October 2018 and 30 September 2019 and may be impacted by the following factors:

  • Data coding – Claims involving multiple benefits may affect the overall total for medical expenses.
  • The top 10 list is calculated according to the places where Australians prefer to travel most.

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TravelCare is issued by Southern Cross Benefits Limited ABN 99 133 401 939, AFS License 331058 trading as Southern Cross Travel Insurance ®. SCTI is a member of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA). AFCA has replaced the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), the Credit and Investments Ombudsman (CIO) and Superannuation Complaints Tribunal (SCT) schemes, so that consumers have access to a single External Dispute Resolution (EDR) scheme. AFCA provides fair and independent financial services complaint resolution that is free to consumers.

As an Australian financial services licensee (AFSL), SCTI is authorised to deal in, and provide, general advice on travel insurance products. As we are unaware of your specific needs, financial objectives, and circumstances, we highly recommend you take time to read the Combined FSG and PDS before buying this product, to ensure that our travel insurance product is right for you.

Our Combined FSG and PDS (including but not limited to the benefits, terms, conditions and exclusions) and premiums quoted are subject to change.

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