Aside from all these wonderful, modern attractions – Israel is still very much a conflicted country, with on occasions high levels of civil unrest throughout the country. The Smartraveller website rates travelling to Israel with a “High degree of caution” – making travel insurance an absolute necessity.
Will travel insurance cover me in Israel?
Your travel insurance should cover you in many instances, some of which include:
Car rental excess: Some forms of public transport are not advised in Israel, because of the high security threats involved. If you need to travel by car, it would be advisable to rather travel by local taxi, which is safer, or to make use of a rental vehicle. If you are involved in an accident in this rental vehicle, comprehensive travel insurance should cover the excess.
Flight delays or cancellations: Travel insurance will cover most costs involved in a cancelled or delayed flight – including emergency essentials if your flight is delayed.
Medical expenses and hospitalisation: Any day-to-day medical expenses, or hospitalisation that might be required on your trip, should be covered by travel insurance. Be sure to chat to your insurer beforehand, to find out if there are any medical expenses that they won’t cover while you are in Israel.
Theft or loss of luggage/valuables/travel docs: You will be covered for the loss or theft of most of your belongings and travel documentation – if you have declared these items in your insurance policy. Take the necessary care to not leave your luggage or belongings unattended at any time during your trip – you might not be covered in this instance.
Seniors travel insurance: Depending on who you insure with, as a senior traveling to Israel, you should be covered for most benefits while overseas. You may be required to pay a higher premium, and produce a medical certificate from your General Practitioner – declaring you fit enough for travel. Be aware of what is covered, by reading carefully through your Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) – if there is something you need to query, this should be done before you leave for Israel. You might be traveling for a religious pilgrimage, with a group of other seniors – in which case, it could be worth your while exploring the option of group travel insurance, to reduce insurance costs. We have made it easy for you to compare seniors travel insurance quotes.
What can I expect not to be covered by travel insurance in Israel?
Adventure activities: Israel has an abundance of fun and interesting activities, to help make your trip an adventurous one. From scuba diving in The Red Sea, or floating in the Dead Sea – to skiing on the Hermon Mountain, or camel riding in the Negev Desert. Each of these activities, and more, are what make Israel an incredibly diverse country to visit – but safety is always a concern. General safety standards are not always as high as they should be with tour operators in Israel. Safety equipment is not always up to scratch, or properly implemented – you should always ask about safety measures, and insist on proper safety equipment. Your insurance may not cover you for certain high-risk activities – so before you start packing your skiing gear, chat to your insurer about what you plan on doing, and if you are covered – if not, you may need to look at adding these as extras to your travel insurance.
Unattended belongings: Being on holiday does not exempt you from taking responsibility for your belongings. In fact, you should be even more vigilant in a foreign country as a tourist – where criminals are looking for an easy target. You may not be covered for lost or stolen belongings, if you are found to have negligently left them unattended, or in an unlocked car, or hotel room.
Car rental: With the given dangers that exist in some parts of Israel, or near the borders – your car rental may not cover you while driving in these areas. You can talk to your insurance provider about additional cover for areas such as Bethlehem, Jericho, or Ramallah – if these are not covered.
Terrorist threats or natural disasters: With Israel carrying a “High degree of caution” warning for travel – the chances of civil unrest, terrorist attacks, or natural disasters, is extremely high. Israel is in close proximity to terrorist groups in surrounding areas – making it an easy target for terrorism. Terrorist attacks generally occur when there is political unrest locally and internationally – they could happen at any time, anywhere in Israel. Likewise, natural disasters are a concern in Israel, with Israel located in an active earthquake zone. Flash floods occur around the Judean Hills and Negev desert during the winter months – and bushfires and dust storms occur in the warmer months. If you are subject to a terrorist attack, or severe weather conditions – your travel insurance might not cover you – you need to check this with your insurer beforehand.
Motorcycle insurance: Travel insurance does not always cover the use of a motorcycle in a foreign country. You should check with your insurer if you are covered in Israel – you will only be allowed to ride a motorcycle in Israel, with a valid Australian motorcycle license, and wearing a helmet at all times.
Pre-existing medical conditions: Most insurers will not automatically cover you for some pre-existing medical conditions while travelling. Check with your insurer when booking your travel insurance, for what conditions, if any, they cover – and if you will need to take out further travel insurance, at an additional cost.
How to stay safe when travelling in Israel
Avoid conflict: Stay clear of any public demonstrations, political rallies, or large group gatherings – where a threat or terrorism could be a possibility.
Monitor the news: Keep abreast of what is happening in the news in Israel and surrounding areas – you can sign up for travel alerts and updates for Israel through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).
Respect the local culture: Before you travel to Israel, read up about the local cultures and religions, to prevent offending locals. Public affection is often cause for offence and dressing modestly is advised. Driving at certain times, and in certain areas can be prohibited, and photographing locals could be taken the wrong way if you do not ask permission first. If you travel to Israel during the Holy month of Ramadan (May to June), take extra care not to offend local religious and cultural rules and customs, ie we recommend that you do not eat, or discretely eat in front of people if fasting. The best trips are often where you take an interest in the locals and their cultural beliefs and embrace.
Familiarise yourself with emergency procedures: Wherever you stay in Israel, make sure you are aware of the emergency procedures involved should there be a raid, terrorist attack, or natural disaster. Keep security contact details on hand, at all times.
Listen to authorities: Always listen to what the local authorities are advising – remain calm, and get to safe areas as soon as possible – should you be in danger.
Stay away from popular areas: Terrorists like to target popular tourist destinations, religious sites, and crowded spaces – avoid these areas if possible. Some common areas of concern include: checkpoints, clubs, restaurants, bars, cafes, restaurants, hotels, schools, places of worship, shopping malls, movie theatres, and historical sites.
Avoid public transport: Where possible, stay clear of public transport systems, where threats of attack are prominent.
Travel tips for visiting Israel
Israeli currency: Israeli’s use the Shekel (ILS) as their currency. You will be able to find an ATM quite easily around Israel for drawing cash, and all major credit cards are accepted around Israel – the US dollar is also accepted in some areas in Israel.
High costs: Israel is surprisingly quite an expensive country to visit – you will need to watch your pennies wisely if you are on a budget.
Hungry for hummus: If you’re a hummus fan, you are going to love Israel. The Israelis offer a bowl of hummus as a side dish to almost everything – happy dipping!
Sharing food: Israelis love to share food, so if you are not a sharer, you best get used to it. It’s generally the norm to order a variety of dishes at a restaurant and share them around.
Bargain away: It’s the norm to bargain for your goods at any market in Israel. Don’t be shy to ask for a lower price – you are most likely to get it.
Learn some popular phrases: While English is broadly spoken in Israel, it would be wise to learn some popular Hebrew phrases, to assist you on your daily travels. Try saying “Bo-ker tov” (Good morning), or ma shlom-kha? (How are you?) ¹.
Poor time management: Israelis are not a punctual society – if you have made plans with a local, you can expect them to be late on most occasions.
Smoking is popular: One thing about Israelis, is that they love to smoke. It’s normal to be surrounded by a cloud of smoke in any public setting, so if smoking is your thing – you’ll fit right in.
|24-hour Australian Consular Emergency Helpline
1300 555 135
+61 2 6261 3305
+61 421 269 080
|Australian Embassy, Tel Aviv
Discount Bank Tower
23 Yehuda Halevi Street (corner Herzl Street)
Tel Aviv 65136 ISRAEL
Telephone: (972 3) 693 5000
Facsimile: (972 3) 693 5002
|Emergency phone numbers
Fire: Dial 102
Medical emergencies: Dial 101
Criminal issues: Dial 100 for the police. Tourist police: (+972 3) 516 5382.
|Australian Representative Office, Ramallah
48 Othman Ben Affan Street
El Bireh Ramallah WEST BANK
Telephone: (972 2) 242 5301
Facsimile: (972 2) 242 8290
¹”100 Basic Hebrew Phrases”, Teach me Hebrew, accessed on 3 September, 2018. https://www.teachmehebrew.com/100-basic-hebrew-phrases.html
We also offer insurance for other destinations such as Jamaica