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With Families Now Reuniting In New Zealand, It Pays To Prepare For The Unexpected

As borders have opened, Southern Cross Travel Insurance is reminding visitors to the country about the importance of travel insurance during their stay. As well as offering insurance cover for New Zealanders holidaying at home and abroad, Southern Cross can also take care of people arriving in this country, thanks to its Visiting New Zealand policies.

Southern Cross Travel Insurance CEO Jo McCauley says preparing for the unexpected has never been more important than it is right now, as people arrive back on New Zealand’s shores in greater numbers amid the ongoing pandemic.

“Despite the border restrictions over the past two years, Southern Cross still saw a reasonably steady flow of visitors applying for one of our Visiting New Zealand policies, as people either found themselves stranded here or simply decided they’d rather stay and ride out the pandemic,” she said.

“With travel restrictions lifting, we’re expecting those arrival numbers to keep rising, and we’re encouraging people to protect themselves should something go wrong while they’re visiting New Zealand.”

Prior to the pandemic in 2019, Southern Cross received more than 2,100 claims under its Visiting New Zealand policy, with nearly 85 per cent of those claims paid out.

Claims stayed steady despite border restrictions, with more than 2,000 claims lodged in 2020 and more than 1,000 in 2021. Some of the most expensive claims during that time related to unexpected medical treatment. A 30-year-old woman visiting from India made a claim for approximately $100,000 after being admitted to hospital with complicated pancreatitis, while a 59-year-old man from Fiji made a claim for more than $96,000 after requiring coronary artery bypass surgery during his stay in New Zealand.

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McCauley says that while such incidents are already extremely stressful in your home country, this is compounded when someone is far away from home.

“When you’re in an unfamiliar healthcare system, knowing your medical costs are covered by insurance can be a huge relief for travellers and their families during a really difficult time.”

“Some visitors to New Zealand don’t take out travel insurance because they think they will be covered by the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC),” said McCauley.

“While ACC can assist in paying for medical treatment if people injure themselves while in New Zealand, it won’t provide cover for non-accident medical events such as a heart attack or illness.”

Southern Cross’ Visiting New Zealand policy also covers customers for all those other unexpected setbacks travelling in another country can bring, including changes to journey, personal accident, personal liability, rental vehicle excess, and replacement of cash and travel documents.

The insurer has an emergency assistance team which operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, ensuring there is always somebody on hand to help customers, no matter the nature of their claim.

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