Australian government moves to help citizens leave Israel and Palestine as conflict burns

An Israeli security wall with watch tower.

The Australian government has opened registration for citizens who are yet to leave Israel and Palestine in the wake of the current conflict. 

According to the latest update from Smartraveller, Australian citizens wanting to leave the conflict zones will be able to do so “as soon as possible”. 

The government is contacting those who have registered their travel plans through Smartraveller to arrange assisted flights and other departure options and is encouraging those who want to leave to take the first available option. 

Those who are yet to register with the government’s Smartraveller service, or don’t have plans to depart, must register with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's crisis registration portal.

At the moment, the travel advice from the government for the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Israel is set to ‘Reconsider your need to travel’, while the advice for Gaza and the surrounding border is ‘Do not travel’.

What happens if you’re travelling overseas and war breaks out?

With wars between Russia and Ukraine, and Israel and Palestine front of mind for many, the question of what to do if you’re caught in a country when war breaks out is not only an unsettling thought but a frightening reality for some. 

If you’re travelling, you probably have travel insurance. Surely that’ll cover you, right? Well, not in the way you might think.

Does travel insurance cover you if there’s a war? 

Most travel insurance policies won’t provide any cover for claims resulting from acts of war (or terrorism, for that matter). But that doesn’t mean you’re completely on your own. 

For some background, the majority of travel insurance providers stipulate in their product disclosure statements (PDS) that they don’t cover war or terrorism-related incidents, and won’t provide cover if you’re travelling in a country on Smartraveller’s ‘Do not travel’ list.

Essentially, knowing that a country you’re travelling to is at high risk for war or terror, is a gamble the policy provider isn’t willing to take. And realistically, neither should you. 

But what do you do if war breaks out without warning? 

Travel insurance providers usually have a 24/7 emergency contact number and can help you with contacting the Australian government or locating the nearest embassy for consular assistance.  

But the Australian government is really who you want to contact in these situations. 

The contact number for the Government’s 24-hour consular emergency assistance line is +61 2 6261 3305 from overseas or 1300 555 135 from within Australia. 

According to the government’s Consular Services Charter, they may decide, following a crisis, that extra support for affected Australians is necessary. 

The Australian government can:

  • Liaise with local authorities and government agencies 
  • Work with travel operators, insurance providers, and other governments to help you
  • Deploy expert teams to support you
  • Help you to leave the affected areas 
  • Help you get in contact with friends and family 
  • Advise you of options to leave a dangerous area 
  • Arrange your evacuation (in exceptional circumstances). 

However, it’s important to note that the Australian government doesn’t have much power to step in and solve problems in other countries first-hand. Their power lies only in diplomacy and hinges on the cooperation of overseas authorities. 

That’s why it’s a good idea to prepare well before you travel (even if you’re headed to a destination where war or crisis is unlikely) and stay informed while you’re overseas. 

What precautions can you take when travelling? 

Whether you’re off somewhere generally considered safe or not, it’s always good to have an awareness of what to do if something does go wrong. 

Subscribe to Smartraveller updates 

You can subscribe to receive alerts from Smartraveller for the destinations you’re visiting. This can help keep you informed of emerging situations, like wars, terror threats, natural disasters, civil unrest, and a whole lot more. 

It’s a useful tool to keep on hand if you’re travelling in potentially unstable areas, or if you need up-to-date information on a destination. 

Keep the consular emergency assistance number handy 

If you find yourself in a situation where you need to contact the Australian government for consular assistance (which is useful in a number of situations, not just during a conflict), then you’ll thank yourself that you saved the number in your phone. 

The consular emergency assistance number is: 

  • Overseas: +61 2 6261 3305
  • In Australia: 1300 555 135. 

Purchase a travel insurance policy 

While travel insurance won’t cover you if a war breaks out, or if you’re travelling in an area with ‘Do not travel’ advice levels, it can help you out in a range of other situations. 

For example, if you’re hospitalised due to an injury that wasn’t your fault, some travel insurance policies can cover your medical expenses and any extra costs that might arise from your time spent in the infirmary. 

Plus, there are all the usual inclusions of a comprehensive travel insurance policy, like flight cancellation and stolen luggage cover, which can potentially save you thousands of dollars to replace.

Compare travel insurance with Mozo to see an overview of what each policy covers, and always make sure you read the policy’s PDS to ensure that you’re getting the right coverage for you and your needs. 

Travel insurance comparisons on Mozo - last updated 3 March 2024

Search promoted travel insurance below. Advertiser disclosure Important information on terms, conditions and sub-limits.
  • Mozo Expert Choice Badge
    International Travel Insurance
    covid medical cover
    Yes
    covid cancellation cover
    Yes
    overseas hospital
    Unlimited
    cancellation cover
    $5,000 limit per policy with option to increase limit

    Get protection in a few simple steps with Freely travel insurance all in the palm of your hand. Freely Travel offers 24/7 emergency and medical support, 24/7 customer service. Plus, you can tailor your policy so you only pay for what you need, and adapt your cover in near real time. Add-ons such as car rental excess, snow sports or other activities also available. Receive 10% off your travel insurance policy with promo code: MOZO10. T&Cs apply, go to site for full detail.

    Details
  • Mozo Expert Choice Badge
    Comprehensive
    covid medical cover
    Yes
    covid cancellation cover
    No
    overseas hospital
    Unlimited
    cancellation cover
    Unlimited

    Enjoy unlimited medical cover and 24/7 emergency assistance services when you travel. Get unlimited cover for cancellation fees and prepaid travel expenses. Cover for luggage and travel documents. $5,000,000 personal liability cover.

    Details
  • Mozo Expert Choice Badge
    Comprehensive
    covid medical cover
    Yes
    covid cancellation cover
    Yes
    overseas hospital
    Unlimited
    cancellation cover
    Choose $10,000 to Unlimited

    Backed by the NIB, one of Australia’s largest travel insurance providers, Travel Insurance Saver brings you peace of mind on your travels. Compare three tiers of insurance cover, featuring benefits like 24 hour emergency assistance, emergency medical cover, luggage cover, cancellation cover and more.

    Details
  • Mozo Expert Choice Badge
    International Comprehensive Single
    covid medical cover
    Yes
    covid cancellation cover
    Yes
    overseas hospital
    Unlimited
    cancellation cover
    Choose $2,500 to Unlimited

    Enjoy the security of single trip cover on your next holiday with Southern Cross Travel Insurance. Get 24 hour emergency assistance, cover for cancelling or changing your journey before you leave, protection for lost, stolen or damaged goods as well as cover to replace lost or stolen cash, banks or travel documents. Be in to win 1 of 5 $1,000 cash prizes! T&Cs Apply. Offer ends 30 September 2023.

    Details
  • Mozo Expert Choice Badge
    Top
    covid medical cover
    Yes
    covid cancellation cover
    Yes
    overseas hospital
    Unlimited
    cancellation cover
    Unlimited

    Be covered for international overseas and medical expenses. Emergency medical assistance 24 hours/365 days a year. Cover for cancellation fees and lost deposits. Cover for luggage and personal money. Dependents covered free of charge (conditions apply). Limited COVID cover available. Cancellation cover for COVID claims limited to $3,500.

    Details

^See information about the Mozo Experts Choice Travel Insurance Awards

Mozo provides general product information. We don't consider your personal objectives, financial situation or needs and we aren't recommending any specific product to you. You should make your own decision after reading the PDS or offer documentation, or seeking independent advice.

While we pride ourselves on covering a wide range of products, we don't cover every product in the market. If you decide to apply for a product through our website, you will be dealing directly with the provider of that product and not with Mozo.