** I’ve put a star next to some information as every Travel Insurance company is different. Some cover you for this or that whereas others will only pay you back a certain amount depending on what type of insurance you bought.
If you’ve booked travel, book Travel Insurance!!
I always hear about people booking their flights and all their accommodation but will sort out their travel insurance “later on”
The thing with travel insurance is that it protects you as soon as you’ve booked it – meaning if you break your leg or suddenly get really sick and you’re not allowed to fly then your travel insurance will cover you* and then hopefully you can fly at a later date and not have to pay those outrageous airline fees.
Even if you don’t need to make a claim when you get back, at least you’re not worrying about medical bills or anything while you’re exploring South East Asia or the City of Rome. My Dad is currently in Thailand and is quite sick at the moment so that’s what made me think of writing this type of blog. He was talking to my mother yesterday – worrying about not being able to catch his flights back to New Zealand at the end of the week in case he was too sick but wasn’t sure if Insurance would cover him. (Turns out they will if he provides a medical certificate stating he can’t fly)
When Can Travel Insurance Cover Me?:
Apart from situations like that of my Dads, Travel Insurance companies can cover you if the airline looses your bags. They can provide or refund you with money* if you have to go out and buy new clothes or toiletries as well as any medication that may be in your bags that you need in an emergency. If your bags are completely lost, you’ll have to report it before you leave the airport. Usually your Travel Provider will try and get you to seek compensation with the Airline first before going to them as they are the ones that lost your bags!
Side Note: I would never put medicine I desperately needed in my checked-in bags purely because of this happening.
If you have a medical emergency in another country, travel insurance can cover you if you need to go to the hospital or end up needing to go to the doctors for antibiotics etc.
I can’t stress enough that if you’re ever travelling to the USA, Take out Travel Insurance!!
Health care costs so much in America as they spend more than any other country on things like drugs and equipment. Doctors earn more in the U.S so that’s why lots of suppliers charge more for medical equipment than they do anywhere else. Americans also receive more medical care than other countries. If someone needs their gall bladder removed or heart surgery than they’re much more likely to get it done in the states so when foreigners come over and suddenly need surgery it costs an absolute fortune!
When you’re in a developing country like Vietnam, Cambodia or Samoa, many hospitals will admit you without asking if you have coverage or any type of insurance. Once you’re all fixed up and ready to go, they won’t let you leave until you pay up. This is where your Insurance Provider comes in and acts as an advocate so you’re not over-charged and can get all the payment sorted.
If your passport or wallet are stolen (Which is one of the most annoying-est things to happen!) you can claim for the replacement costs to get you back on the road. If it happens, you have to make a report to the police first and then when you go to make a claim, you’ll need to send your receipts for passport processing fees, the additional travel expenses, accommodation expenses and copies of all documentation to prove that it did happen.
If you need to cancel your trip due to illness, you may be able to be partly refunded (or fully refunded if you’re lucky) for your flights or ‘change of date’ fees. If you’ve already booked accommodation, it’s best to let them know ASAP as some let you cancel within 48 hours for no charge.
Natural Disasters do happen from time to time too, so Travel Insurance may cover you if you need to suddenly come home or actually can’t come home because planes aren’t flying. Obviously you can’t suddenly get Travel Insurance once the natural disaster has happened…
With everything going on in the world at the moment, Terrorist incidents are occurring more and more often. If something has happened in the city where you were planning on visiting and you want to cancel your trip your Travel Insurance Provider may cover you for flight changes and accommodation if it’s a major threat.
It must be noted however that many policies only cover you for your trip if an act of terrorism occurs in the specific country you’re traveling to or from. If your destinations isn’t really near where anything is happening you may not be covered.
Travel Insurance Advice:
I’d recommend only taking out Travel Insurance if you were going on an actual TRIP.
By this, I mean:
- If you’re travelling for a long period of time
- You’re staying in hotels for a long period
- You’re going to a place you’d never been to before far away from home
- You have luggage with you that has some spendy stuff in it
- Your destination isn’t know to be particularly safe (In terms of stuff getting stolen and the roads are mayhem)
- If you have a complex itinerary and may miss connecting flights or tours if something were to happen
- And your whole trip maybe costs more than $3,000.
If you’re travelling from Auckland to Wellington in New Zealand on a $39 Grabaseat Flight than I wouldn’t even bother. Most likely the airline will put you on another flight free of charge if your flight gets cancelled and they should be able to cover your luggage costs if your bag gets lost*
Check before you buy if you already have Insurance. Some credit cards you have include travel insurance already but always check that the cover is sufficient for your needs. The ‘free’ insurance they provide can sometimes be very basic and not cover everything.
Also, if you already have Home Owners Insurance or Contents Insurance you may be able to get a discount through the Insurance Provider you already have for some Travel Insurance. (Did I say Insurance enough in that sentence?)
Compare before you buy!
If you’re booking your holiday through a travel agent, they’ll most likely try and sell you travel insurance as well. The only thing is, it nearly always costs more than what you could buy yourself online or through the provider directly.
If it’s easier and takes the hassle out of everything than sure – go ahead. Just make sure you go over all the fine print before hand.
Speaking of Fine Print, make sure you know your excess and what is and isn’t covered. This is the biggest complaint I hear from people and read online. They bring a Tablet with them on holiday which costs $500 and when it gets stolen they end up having to pay a $400 excess and then their provider only ends up giving them $200 towards a new one because that’s how much they claim it’s “worth” now.
Also, if you’ve gotten something stolen overseas, make sure you get a police report that says it’s been stolen and where from! I read about a couple that went overseas and someone’s laptop got stolen but the police wrote down ‘they left it’ somewhere so they weren’t covered because the Insurance Provider said it was their fault.
Some Providers won’t cover you for sports like Bungy-Jumping, Skiing or Snowboarding so this would be a good thing to discuss with your insurer beforehand.
If you’re going to South East Asia, you’re usually not covered if you ride a scooter. Way too many accidents happen with people falling off scooters and majorly grazing their legs because they decided to wear a skirt and flip flops. I think most Insurance Companies have written in their policy that you won’t be covered for riding Scooters or Motorbikes anymore.
Keep EVERY SINGLE PIECE OF PAPER you need to claim back. That means receipts from the hospital/doctors visit. Receipts from medication you had to get. Hotels you had to stay at because your flight was cancelled etc…
How Much Should I Spend?:
I found that the cost of Travel Insurance really makes a difference depending on where you’re going and how long you’re going for.
When I got insurance for my Round-The-World Trip, as soon as I selected online I was going to The States than the price went up majorly!
If you’re looking at Travel Insurance from New Zealand, there’s a website called Travel Insurance Compare where you put in your destination, how long you’re going for and also what type of trip it is (Single, multi sector, cruise etc.) and it shows you quotes from a few different Insurance Providers.
The only thing I found with this website however, is that it doesn’t quote all NZ Insurance Providers, only a select few. So it’s best to do more research online.
I found Southern Cross to be quite useful. The have 24 hour worldwide emergency assistance and their website is really easy to use. Just put in where you’re going and how old you are to get a quick quote. If you book online, it’s much cheaper than calling them up too.
I made a claim with them and it was really easy to do. Just e-mailed them and sent in my receipts.
I’ve read Travel Insurance Direct is really good too.
They pay Unlimited Overseas Medical Expenses and Unlimited Cancellation Costs and Additional Expenses from what it says on their website. I might look into using them next time I go on holiday 🙂
I’ve only made a claim once and that was recently on my trip through the UK and Europe. I was with Southern Cross at the time and paid about $360 for a 3 month cover which included the USA, UK, Europe, Middle East & Asia.
When I was on a Tour on my travels, I was sick pretty much half the time with bad Bronchitis so ended up having to go to the doctors in the UK and spent about 100 Pounds all up on the doctors and antibiotics. (That’s about NZD $215)
When I was in Croatia I also jammed my thumb in a door on the Party Cruise I was doing (Whilst drunk I’ll admit) and went to hospital just for them to bandage it up for $3,000 Kuna (NZD $660)
Crazy I know! They didn’t even give me painkillers, but they did do X-rays etc which I really didn’t need. The things you do when you’re intoxicated and you think your thumb is going to fall off…
When I got home, I had a $100 excess (Which I figured out was PER claim) so had to pay $200 excess and then they paid me back around $600 dollars or whatever the exchange rate was at the time.
I know some New Zealanders get Insurance when they travel to Australia (Which is great to have for some things) but I remember I went to Melbourne for a week and ended up going to the hospital Accident & Emergency and didn’t end up having to pay anything.
I was originally worried about payment but the Receptionist there told me that I wouldn’t have to pay anything because Like New Zealand, Australia has both public and private health care systems. So Australian taxpayers fund the public health system just like we fund ours over here and as a New Zealander in Australia we’re allowed free emergency hospital care but any doctor visits etc… you’ll have to pay for. Unless you have a Medicare Card which you can get if you move to Australia.