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Check For Holes In Travel Insurance Warns Retailer

Check For Holes In Travel Insurance Warns Retailer

Unwitting travellers are being caught out by travel insurance automatically issued with credit cards, prompting New Zealand’s largest travel retailer to urge those going overseas to check the fine print before they leave.

Flight Centre retail leader Jude Evans said the company was seeing an increasing number of distressed clients caught out when their "free" travel insurance 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, particularly gold 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 confusion about what they do and do not cover. Credit card based travel insurance is often far less comprehensive than policies you 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.

Flight Centre consultant Jude Pohlman said two of her clients had very different experiences when their tour to China fell apart, with one client receiving a full refund from their insurance provider, while the other received nothing from their gold card insurance.

The gold card people declined the claim as it didn’t fit with their strict criteria, which were much more restrictive, and my elderly clients are now more than $6,000 out of pocket,

Ms Pohlman said.

Ms Evans also said more people were dismissing the need for insurance on short trips to Australia or the Pacific, but this could also work out to be an extremely costly decision.

Some people now treat going across the Tasman or to the Islands almost like a domestic trip, but the costs if you get sick or injured can be huge, especially if you need longer term care.

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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