Be insured properly for my travels

To say it’s been an eventful few years for Canterbury is of course an understatement, but one thing we’ve all learned is the importance of being adequately insured!

This is especially true when it comes to choosing the right travel insurance policy, and at Discover Travel we have extensive experience of travel insurance and the (significant) claims that can happen. Here’s the key things to consider:

1. Please don’t even think about travelling uninsured! A staggering 20% of Kiwi travellers are still travelling without insurance. Medical expenses overseas can be huge, especially in the USA, (which accounts for over 40% of all claims), Europe and Japan. Over the years some of our clients have seen the benefit of having some very large claims covered for hospital treatment overseas. We’ll tell you some stories. (but no names though!) and claims have exceeded $500,000!

2. Always declare any pre-existing medical conditions at the time you take out your policy – so think long and hard about any medications, surgery, hospitalisation, especially in the last two years, and if you are not sure, declare it anyway! Many conditions can be covered free of charge anyway, or at a small additional premium with a simple medical assessment via telephone.

3. Ensure you have taken out travel insurance at the same time you book your holiday, not just before you depart and that you have sufficient cancellation cover to cover the eventual pre-paid total cost of the trip. A large number of travel insurance claims are for cancellation due to unforeseen events like illness or injury before you travel, and some of your travel arrangements will have hefty cancellation penalties – many of the cheaper Europe and Asian airfares are now 100% non-refundable. Also, financial/work reasons for cancelling/postponing a trip are not covered.

4. Be aware you may not be covered for cancellation to your trip due to illness of a relative living in NZ or Australia aged 85yrs or over. It may seem harsh, but that’s a policy most underwriters now have in place.

5. Check that there is no travel advisory in place for your destination before you take out your insurance. If there is, you won’t be covered for anything related to that specific ‘live’ event – recent examples have included the Mt Agung eruption in Bali, Air NZ’s Dreamliner Engine Issues, the Coronavirus outbreak in China, Bushfires in Australia and the Hong Kong protests.

5. Ensure you have sufficient cover in place for luggage, especially if you are taking expensive single items of luggage like cameras, laptops, smart phones, jewellery, hearing aids or bikes. There will usually be a single item limit you can claim for, but this can be increased by specifying the items in question.

6. ‘Free’ credit card insurance might be OK for the odd trip to Australia (be careful though if you need an ambulance or end up in a private hospital), but if you are planning on using it for travel further afield please ensure you fully understand who you are covered with, exactly what you are covered for, and how to activate the emergency assistance service when required – and no, waving your card around won’t bring the med-evac helicopter over the hill! We can’t easily help you with your claim if you have credit card insurance, and again, we can tell you some stories…!

Discover Travel will guide you through this potential minefield, and recommend a policy suitable for your needs. We’ve provided travel assistance in conjunction with our insurer’s Emergency Travel Assistance many times, and will always be available when called on.

You can read the wording for our travel insurance policies here