The Napier Mail - - MOTORING -

I wouldn’t go over­seas with­out travel in­surance.

It’s not that I’m a ner­vous trav­eller, and I’m cer­tainly not wor­ried about lost bags or travel de­lays.

It’s the re­ally, re­ally big stuff that mat­ters to me: which is med­i­cal and evac­u­a­tion home by air am­bu­lance.

The largest travel in­surer in the coun­try, South­ern Cross Travel In­surance just re­leased a hor­ror list of claims rang­ing from $206,000-$561,000 paid out to get very sick peo­ple back to New Zealand on spe­cial air am­bu­lances af­ter ter­ri­ble ac­ci­dents and ill­nesses over­seas.

The chances of any of the hor­ror sto­ries be­hind those claims (heart at­tack, se­ri­ous ill­ness, cliff fall, etc) hap­pen­ing to you while on your trip are small, but these are costs that or­di­nary peo­ple can­not cope with eas­ily.

I have travel in­surance on the brain as I have just fin­ished click­ing my way through an on­line ap­pli­ca­tion for travel

Do not buy travel in­surance on price alone

Com­pare poli­cies

Un­der­stand what is, and what is not, cov­ered.


There was never a ques­tion of go­ing with­out it, as young reck­less Rob did a quar­ter of a cen­tury ago to South Amer­ica.

I con­sider travel in­surance to be an or­di­nary, and nec­es­sary, cost to fac­tor into travel bud­get­ing.

I didn’t choose my pol­icy on price alone. I’m not in­ter­ested in sav­ing $10 or $20, if it means buy­ing a bar­gain-base­ment pol­icy with lim­ited cover.

When shop­ping for a pol­icy, you’re look­ing to un­der­stand what each pol­icy cov­ers you for, and what it does not.

I tend to fo­cus on cov­er­age for the re­ally big stuff, the med­i­cal and evac­u­a­tion.

It’s hard not to read poli­cies with an eye on the mo­ment.

For ex­am­ple, Bri­tain’s been rocked by a string of ter­ror­ist at­tacks, so I was at­ten­tive to whether claims caused by ter­ror­ism were ex­cluded from poli­cies.

The one I bought ex­cludes ter­ror­ism-re­lated claims for per­sonal ex­penses, and travel dis­rup­tion, but not med­i­cal and evac­u­a­tion.

I also had in mind that poor stu­dent sent home in a coma to die af­ter be­ing de­tained by North Korea.

The pol­icy I chose doesn’t cover events caused by gov­ern­ment ac­tions like de­tain­ment. None do.

Not all risks ex­cluded by travel in­surance poli­cies are so easy to un­der­stand. Of these ’’pre­ex­ist­ing’’ med­i­cal con­di­tions are the big­gest area of con­cern.

Un­less you ask for pre-ex­ist­ing con­di­tions to be cov­ered, any claim aris­ing from them is ex­cluded. Think about that.

Imag­ine the South­ern Cross Travel In­surance pol­i­cy­holder who had a heart prob­lems in the US had not asked the in­surer to cover the risk.

He’d have had been a bill of $235,000 to pay him­self.

Most travel in­surance is now bought on­line.

It’s ter­ri­bly easy to go for the cheap­est pol­icy, click through the process with­out read­ing the pol­icy doc­u­ment, or re­al­is­ing you need to ask for pre-ex­ist­ing con­di­tions to be cov­ered.

You need to keep your wits about you when buy­ing travel in­surance, just as you need to take care and be sen­si­ble when hol­i­day­ing over­seas.


Hol­i­day check­list: Pass­port, togs, sun­screen, and travel in­surance.

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