Travel in­sur­ance is cru­cial

Central Leader - - NEWS -

South­ern Cross, the health and travel in­surer, is a vast or­gan­i­sa­tion.

So to keep the min­ions in var­i­ous parts of it feel­ing con­nected, a ‘‘dash­board’’ is sent round each quar­ter so said min­ions can see what their col­leagues are up to.

The lat­est one lists the top three claims in the first three months of this year.

The first is a claim for the $167,000 costs of air am­bu­lanc­ing a New Zealan­der hit by a car in Mex­ico, re­sult­ing in mul­ti­ple frac­tures, to Los Angeles and treat­ing him there.

The sec­ond was a claim for $91,000 for a per­son who fainted af­ter a long bi­cy­cle ride in France and suf­fered frac­tured ribs and a dam­aged kid­ney.

The third was for $76,500 for hos­pi­tal­i­sa­tion for ap­pen­dici­tis in the United States.

The amaz­ing thing is that only two of those would have made last year’s top 10 claims from the gi­ant travel in­surer. Those claims were (in or­der): $245,000 (aor­tic aneurysm while trav­el­ling in the US)

$234,000 (he­li­coptered to a larger hospi­tal in Europe with bleed­ing and wa­ter on the brain)

$196,000 (ad­mit­ted to hospi­tal in Europe with ab­dom­i­nal sep­sis and bowel ob­struc­tion)

$187,000 (in­ves­ti­ga­tion in Europe for brain mal­func­tion called cere­bel­lar ataxia)

$180,000 (re­s­pi­ra­tory fail­ure sec­ondary on board a cruise ship, brought back to New Zealand by air am­bu­lance)

$140,000 (hos­pi­talised in Asia and di­ag­nosed with Guil­lainBarre Syn­drome and as­pi­ra­tion pneu­mo­nia)

$135,000 (suf­fered a fa­tal stroke while trav­el­ling in the US)

$121,000 (fell while in the US and frac­tured their spine, caused by cancer and re­quired ra­dio­ther­apy)

$120,000 (suf­fered a bowel ob­struc­tion while on-board a cruise ship, ad­mit­ted to hospi­tal in Asia for surgery)

$90,000 (ad­mit­ted to hospi­tal on a South Pa­cific is­land fol­low­ing a seizure af­ter re­nal fail­ure, brought back to New Zealand by air am­bu­lance).

These are huge num­bers and the first rule of man­ag­ing risk is if you can in­sure yourself against the risk of hav­ing to pay a re­ally large sum of money, you do it.

That’s why we have car in­sur­ance (rear-end­ing a Fer­rari), and house in­sur­ance (a big fire de­stroy­ing it), and health in­sur­ance (your knee needs re­plac­ing).

All this adds up to some sim­ple morals.

If you travel, you need travel in­sur­ance.

If you travel with kids, you triple need it.

If you are young and you are trav­el­ling alone, you need it.

The al­ter­na­tive should the worst hap­pen can range from not be­ing able to get treat­ment, to you or your loved ones in New Zealand hav­ing to im­pov­er­ish them­selves by find­ing tens, if not hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars to bail you out.

Travel in­sur­ance is a pain be­cause it lifts the cost of travel, but like in­sur­ance on loans, there’s a strong ar­gu­ment that it should be viewed as a nec­es­sary cost.

Now travel in­sur­ance is not like a Mo­nop­oly Get-out-of-jail-free card. Poli­cies gen­er­ally have so many ex­clu­sions, that you should in­vest a good cou­ple of hours be­fore you buy read­ing the pol­icy.

For ex­am­ple, in­sur­ers won’t pay for events caused by cer­tain reck­less ac­tions, such as ac­cept­ing an in­vi­ta­tion to tour a Brazil­ian Favella from a shifty-look­ing man who ap­proached you in the street.

But when the worst hap­pens over­seas, and that usu­ally means some­thing med­i­cal, you need im­me­di­ate ac­cess to money and ad­vice, and hav­ing a big in­surer there to pro­vide both is nec­es­sary.

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