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Travel Insurance Policies Not All The Same

Travel Insurance Policies Not All The Same, Warns Retailer

Travellers should check the fine print in their travel insurance before they even book their travel, warns New Zealand’s largest travel retailer.

Flight Centre retail leader Jude Evans said the company has seen an increasing number of distressed clients caught out when their ‘free’ travel insurance, such as that offered with some credit cards, didn’t cover everything they expected it to.

Ms Evans said that the higher numbers of people travelling and an increase in those relying on credit card insurance has contributed to the higher incidence of such cases.

“We are not saying this type of insurance should not be offered, it’s just that there is a misperception about what they do and do not cover. Many of the offers of ‘free’ travel insurance are not as comprehensive as those that you have to purchase, and people need to be fully aware of the differences,” she said.

Ms Evans said it was important for people to consider their insurance options at the time of booking, to avoid losing deposits or in some cases the full amount paid.

“A number of airlines and tour operators charge cancellation fees, sometimes up to 100 per cent. In some situations travel insurance policies will cover these, but there are some policies that don’t, so it is important that people are aware of exactly what their policies do cover.”

Queensgate Flight Centre consultant Philip Clark said one of his clients was left stranded in Peru when a credit card company refused to cover his altitude sickness at the beginning of a round the world trip.

“The gold card people declined his claim as they said he didn’t need to return to New Zealand with altitude sickness, despite having this recommendation in writing by two doctors. Twelve months later the claim is pending at the insurance ombudsman, but my client has already lost $4500,” Mr Clark said.

Ms Evans said specific clauses to look for when checking the fine print include age limits and age restrictions, coverage of pre-existing medical conditions, provision for repatriation in the case of bereavement, and how restricted luggage and personal effects cover may be.

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