What does travel insurance cover?

Embarking on an overseas trip of a lifetime or simply travelling around New Zealand in a rental car or campervan is something most of us aspire to do.

With the disruption to international travel caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the re-opening of borders between New Zealand and Australia plus Rarotonga has been welcomed by many Kiwis as an opportunity to reconnect with friends and family. As more international borders start to re-open, the prospect of taking that long-awaited Pacific cruise or holiday abroad is on the horizon so now’s the time to consider what travel insurance you will need.

Embarking on an overseas trip of a lifetime or simply travelling around New Zealand in a rental car or campervan is something most of us aspire to do.

With the disruption to international travel caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the re-opening of borders between New Zealand and Australia plus Rarotonga has been welcomed by many Kiwis as an opportunity to reconnect with friends and family. As more international borders start to re-open, the prospect of taking that long-awaited Pacific cruise or holiday abroad is on the horizon so now’s the time to consider what travel insurance you will need.

Taking out the right travel insurance will ensure that your well-planned holiday isn’t disrupted by unexpected events including cancelled flights, lost baggage, vehicle damage or a medical emergency.

As many travellers will attest, things can happen that are completely out of your control and can quickly become a financial burden if you don’t have travel insurance cover. The cost of medical care in other countries can be hugely expensive and the disruption to your travel plans if your flights are cancelled and you need to pay extra to re-book can place a serious strain on your budget.

Standard travel insurance

There are many different travel insurance options to consider and finding the right one will depend on where you plan to travel to and what your personal circumstances are. Overseas medical cover and personal liability cover are the most essential coverage items and often standard in many travel insurance policies.

Comprehensive travel insurance

If you are a backpacker travelling light with minimal luggage and on a tight budget, then you may just want to take out a medical only policy. On the other hand, if you are planning a holiday abroad whether on a cruise liner or to Europe for example, and have pre-paid flights and accommodation, then a comprehensive policy is best. This will include additional cover for things like flight and accommodation cancellations and loss or damage to your luggage and personal belongings.

Medical travel insurance

If you have pre-existing health conditions then it’s highly recommended that you take out a comprehensive policy to cover overseas medical costs, as these can be incredibly expensive.

Your local NZbrokers Member can help you match the right medical travel insurance cover with what you need for your own unique circumstances. You’ll need to make sure you are upfront with what these are when you talk to your local broker, as different policies will cover different medical conditions.

For example, certain ailments may automatically be covered if they are included on the insurer’s list of pre-existing medical conditions. However, other more serious health issues may require further assessments. As each insurer will have their own criteria, your NZbrokers Member can be invaluable in explaining your options and ensuring your policy is tailored to your specific needs.

Travel insurance cover for COVID-19

With the COVID-19 pandemic causing major disruption to both domestic and international travel since early 2020, some insurance companies have now opted to include a limited cover for COVID-19 as part of their travel insurance policies. Others have adopted an approach of assessing the impacts of the pandemic on travel insurance on a case-by-case basis.

If you are planning an overseas trip to Australia, or other international destinations once borders start to re-open, it’s important to check with your NZbrokers member what your travel insurance options are.

You may be able to gain cover for travel disruptions caused by COVID-19 including, cover for any medical expenses you incur in the event you or someone you are staying with gets the virus, and financial cover to help you return home. Your NZbrokers member can explain exactly what is covered in your policy wording to ensure you are not caught by surprise in the event that borders are suddenly closed in the country you are travelling in.

Domestic travel insurance

If you are travelling domestically, having a comprehensive travel insurance policy is as important as if you are travelling overseas. Depending on the policy you take out, your cover will ensure you are protected in the event your pre-paid flights are subsequently cancelled, there is loss or damage to your luggage or personal possessions or you need to claim excess on a rental car should you have an accident.

Personal liability insurance

A comprehensive insurance policy will also usually include personal liability cover to protect you in the event a legal claim is made against you during your travels. It provides a set amount of money to cover your legal costs for various incidents including wrongful arrest, bodily injuries or damage to someone else’s property.

When is the best time to buy travel insurance?

Ideally you should arrange your travel insurance at the same time as you book your flights and accommodation, however you are able to buy travel insurance at any stage during planning pre your departure.

It’s important to check with your NZbrokers Member whether exclusions apply, as each insurance policy will differ.

To find out more about arranging travel insurance, talk to your local NZbrokers Member today.