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What Is Ambulance Insurance Cover and Do I Already Have It?

Many Australians believe that their ambulance costs are covered by Medicare but this is in fact not the case. And when the cost of an emergency ambulance journey is in excess of $1200 in Victoria, for example, you don’t want to be caught out by this nasty surprise.

Just because Medicare doesn’t cover your ambulance fees that doesn’t mean getting covered is expensive or difficult. Make sure you’re aware of the different insurance options available to you and whether your state government contributes to your cover. After that, sorting out your ambulance cover will be easy. Here’s our rundown of everything you need to know.

Understanding Ambulance Cover

Ambulance cover is a simple form of health insurance that ensures you won’t have to pay upfront for your emergency trip to the hospital.

Whilst Medicare does not provide ambulance cover, many health insurance policies do. These policies often have exclusions, limitations and caps, which are important to be aware of. These limitations may be:

Insurance only providing ambulance cover for emergency hospital trips whilst in your home state

Insurance excluding ‘call out fees’, which means you are not covered if an ambulance treats you at the scene without taking you to hospital

There is an ambulance cover to suit every person’s needs. So long as you understand the exclusions within some policies, you can ensure you purchase a policy with the right amount of cover for you.

Am I Already Covered?

Depending on the state you live in, you may be entitled to ambulance cover from the state.


Ambulance fees for Queensland residents are covered by the state government, which means you don’t need to purchase cover. This state cover even extends across Australia, so you never have to worry, even when you’re on holiday in other states.


Ambulance fees are covered by the state government for Tasmanian residents.

New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia, ACT and Northern Territory

Residents of these states or territories may receive some ambulance services free of charge if they hold eligible concession cards, such as Health Care Cards.

If you do not hold these concessions, however, you must purchase ambulance cover yourself.

South Australia

All South Australian residents must purchase their own ambulance cover.

The Different Kinds of Ambulance Cover

Broadly speaking, there are two different kinds of ambulance cover available: emergency only cover and comprehensive non-emergency cover.

The two kinds vary depending on the provider and policy so there is no blanket definition for what they offer. Comprehensive non-emergency cover is a more inclusive policy. However even an insurance policy offering comprehensive cover may set limitations.

Family Ambulance Cover

Family ambulance cover is a great idea for parents looking to insure the entire family in the case of emergencies. In such situations, the very last thing a parent needs to worry about is whether they’re covered for ambulance fees.

Included Within Hospital and Extras Policies

Ambulance cover is often readily available within many hospital and extras health insurance policies. This is an easy and seamless way to ensure you are covered for ambulance services.

Often ambulance cover purchased within a broader policy provides better value for money than standalone cover.

Standalone Ambulance Cover

Purchasing a standalone ambulance insurance policy is likely to provide you with more comprehensive cover. If you want the peace of mind of knowing you are covered no matter the emergency, this may be the way to go.

State Subscription

Although the details vary from state to state, purchasing ambulance cover by joining the state ambulance subscription service is an option in Victoria, WA, SA and NT.

Is Ambulance Cover Worth It?

An ambulance is a non-negotiable requirement in emergencies. So, when the upfront fees can be steeper than $1000 and there’s no way to avoid them, this makes purchasing ambulance cover a wise decision. While you hope to never need the ambulance services, if you do, you’ll be very glad expensive fees are not an added concern.

Sally Writes 29 Nov 2020