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Travel Insurance: what you should know

Travel Insurance: what you should know

14 July 2014

Many Kiwis consider travel insurance a luxury good and don’t take out a policy when going on holiday. However, if disaster strikes and you don’t have the proper coverage, you may be liable for damages that you cannot afford or did not foresee.

What to look for

Travel insurance is an important form of financial and health protection when travelling. Many people think that travel insurance only covers personal belongings, but an important component of travel insurance is medical treatment and medical repatriation cover.

• If you are travelling around New Zealand check that your contents and car insurance covers your needs. There may be exclusions if you are not careful enough with your contents, like leaving expensive equipment unattended, or driving on dangerous roads.

• Get travel insurance as early as possible, then you can make the most use of its protections. Usually it will protect you if you have to cancel the trip because of an accident or emergency. But it is important to check the terms and conditions carefully.

• Shop around for the deal that suits you the best, this may not necessarily be the insurance offered by your travel agent. Also check to see whether your existing bank account or other insurance policies already include free travel insurance.

• Make sure that you disclose any pre-existing medical conditions or symptoms as many Insurers will not automatically cover these, unless they are disclosed and accepted by the Insurer. Also some insurance policies contain exclusions for claims relating to pre-existing conditions of close family members.

• If you are unsure about any health conditions or symptoms you are aware of, which require treatment, contact the insurance company’s qualified medical assessor before you complete the travel insurance application.

• Check the wording of your travel insurance carefully so that you fully understand what it does and doesn’t cover. Many insurance companies have general exclusions in their policies which apply to certain types of activity, usually high-risk and potentially dangerous. Also travel insurance policies can exclude certain types of loss such as where valuables are left unattended or not stored securely.

• If you are unclear about the wording, seek advice, either from your travel agent, Insurer or insurance broker.
Making a claim
• Always take your policy details with you when you travel.

• Complete a claim form as soon as possible and give a clear account of the events that caused your loss.
• Keep all receipts and records when travelling and provide all the required documentation in support of your claim to prevent delays in the assessment of the claim.

• If you do not agree with the outcome of the claim, the Insurance and Savings Ombudsman (ISO) can help you mediate with the insurance company if it is a member of the ISO.
Need more information?
• Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade: www.safetravel.govt.nz
• Insurance and Savings Ombudsman: www.iombudsman.org.nz 0800 888 202

//ENDS

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