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New Zealand, you’re doing travel insurance all wrong

Canstar says,while most New Zealanders recognise the importance of travel insurance, many are not taking steps to ensure they have the correct cover. As a result many are not getting their money’s worth, or worse, have found themselves stuck abroad without the cover they expected.

General Manager Canstar New Zealand, Jose George says there are some simple but critical steps New Zealanders should integrate into their pre-holiday planning to ensure they are making the most of their insurance cover.

“Many New Zealanders make massive assumptions regarding the extent of their insurance cover, which leaves them very exposed if something goes wrong,” says Mr George.

And travel issues are not as uncommon as some may think. Recent Canstar research found 18 percent of respondents had experienced a travel disaster. Of those; 34 percent had missed a flight, 33 percent had lost luggage and 30 percent needed to receive medical treatment while travelling.

“In New Zealand there are no standard requirements for what is included in a travel insurance policy so all policies are different. But so is each holiday.

“When choosing a policy, focus on finding what would be suitable for your specific travel situation. For example, travelling for a musical concert may involve flights, car hire, or use of public transport which could increase chances of delays or travel disruptions. The concert itself may also be subject to cancellation. So you’ll need different cover to if you were say going on a cruise or to a resort.”

Mr George says most providers include a table of benefits which describes what is covered in each policy. Insurers also generally have capped amounts known as ‘Benefit Limits’, and some may also have an excess amount payable toward each benefit. It’s important to know what each of these are before you buy.

To make the most of your insurance it should be purchased at the same time as ticket in order to be covered if anything happens prior to your trip. And when it comes to sharing information, more is more says Canstar. Particularly when it comes to medical conditions. While some with some insurers conditions such as asthma, high blood pressure or epilepsy will have no impact on the cover your travel insurance gives you, your insurer still needs to know about them.

“If in doubt, just ask your insurer.” says Mr George. “An extra 10 to 20 minutes planning could just make all the difference.”

2019 Canstar Five-star Travel Insurance Providers

Outstanding Value - International Travel Insurance: Southern Cross Travel Insurance & New Zealand Travel Insurance

Outstanding Value - Seniors’ Travel Insurance: ANZ Bank NZ & WorldCare NZ

Outstanding Value - South Pacific Cruise Travel Insurance: New Zealand Travel Insurance, WorldCare New Zealand & House of Travel New Zealand

Outstanding Value - Trans-Tasman Travel Insurance: New Zealand Travel Insurance & WorldCare New Zealand

For further information and a full list of travel insurers considered in the 2019 Canstar Travel Insurance Awards, please visit the Canstar website.

Canstar’s travel insurance top five tips

1. Buy your travel insurance when you book your trip. Travel insurance kicks in from the date of purchase, so if you wait until right before you leave you’re not getting the most bang for your buck. Anything from a natural disaster to a personal injury can happen between when you buy your flights and actually get on the plane and if you aren’t covered, you’ll have to shoulder the cost as well as the disappointment of missing out on your holiday.

2. Compare all features, not just price: Price can often reflect the things the policy covers and the maximum payout amounts in the event that you need to make a claim. Online sites like do all the hard work for you letting you look at all your options in one go.

3. Declare any existing medical conditions: Not being completely honest and upfront about any health issues you may have means that insurers can not accurately assess your risk. We say may because even if you have only been referred or tested for a condition, but don’t know for definite, you must still tell your insurer. Choosing not to could invalidate your insurance.

4. Research what isn’t covered: If you’re planning on undertaking activities such as scuba diving and skiing be sure to check they are covered, as some activities may need to be added to standard cover or may have certain stipulations. Some countries will need special attention, and make sure if you’re travelling with expensive items such as sports gear or even your wedding ring double check what the maximum value on the policy is, you may need to list it as a separate item. If you’re not clear ask your insurer whether you’re covered.

As rule make sure you’re covered for:

· Lost luggage

· Emergency medical cover

· Repatriation

· Cancellation before or during travel

· Personal liability cover

5. Don’t assume you’re covered if you go to Australia. Canstar’s research found a couple taking a fourteen-day holiday in Australia will pay an average of $121.90 for travel insurance. Kiwis are entitled to some health and emergency care in Australia, that does not cover an ambulance, aftercare, some medications and possible repatriation costs. You’re also leaving yourself exposed to personal liability, disruption or cancellation charges and lost luggage.

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