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Misconceptions About Travel Insurance Concerns

Media Release: 8 July 2004


An increase in people travelling, particularly across the Tasman, has resulted in a worrying apathy towards travel insurance, said New Zealand's leading retailer.

Retail manager for Flight Centre Jude Evans said a marked increase in numbers of first time travellers and people taking more frequent trips, particularly across the Tasman, has resulted in an increasing misconception about the importance of insurance cover.

“In the past there was a perception that you didn't need insurance for Australia or the UK because there was a reciprocal agreement for medical care. Over the years that reluctance has largely been eradicated as travellers have been educated about the limits of that medical care and the many other reasons for having insurance,” she said.

“Now, with a surge in first time travellers and people travelling more regularly we have noticed that apathy towards insurance creeping back and it is of significant concern.”

Ms Evans said many people do not realise that there are so many other potential costs that insurance covers such as rental car damage, the Flying Doctor in Australia (which costs around $2000), dental damage, loss or theft of belongings, damage to luggage and the many other costs associated with medical care.

“What many people fail to take into account is that not only does any public health system overseas inevitably involve long delays, there are a whole host of associated costs that come into play when you fall ill overseas, such as changing airline tickets, additional hotel accommodation, phone calls home, tour cancellation fees and much more.”

“In addition, if they were covered by insurance they would receive private treatment immediately and in some cases be flown back to New Zealand, in business class if necessary.”

Ms Evans said they have had a number of recent cases that illustrate that the unexpected can occur even when in relatively familiar countries.

One client fell and broke her leg while in Norfolk Island and, as Norfolk Island has only a limited medical clinic, she had to fly home to receive treatment at the cost to her insurer of $23,000.

Another traveller lost his dentures overboard when on a cruise, and another client had to spend 11 days in hospital in the UK when they caught glandular fever.

“Travelling has never been a more unpredictable industry, and yet travel insurance is one of the most effective and cost efficient ways of covering yourself. I can't think of any country in the world where travel insurance isn't a necessity.”


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