Travel insurance saved Auckland couple Donna and Peter McConnell $53,000 when they had to cancel their “trip of a lifetime” cruise in November due to Peter’s illness.
Southern Cross Travel Insurance says trip cancellations or changes led to more than 2,300 claims in the 2017 financial year. The average claim paid for cancelled or rearranged travel was $1,332.
The McConnells were about to go on a two-and-a-half month Pacific and South American cruise when Peter suffered a stroke two months before they were due to leave.
The couple have been on two shorter cruises together previously and Donna says they always get travel insurance as soon as they book the tickets.
“You can never be too prepared because you never know when things will go awry. Once you have travel insurance, it’s one less thing to think about, so the sooner you get it, the better,” Donna says.
Donna has had to resign from her job to look after Peter and says life would have been much more difficult if they didn’t get travel insurance. “Getting reimbursement has made a big difference in the long term and given us more financial security,” she says.
Southern Cross Travel Insurance Chief Executive Chris White says although many Kiwis are healthy when they plan trips, the unexpected can and does happen before leaving the country.
“You never know what unforeseen event might disrupt your plans. Whether it’s a natural disaster at your destination or a serious illness, it pays to be prepared,” he says.
White says a timely example of travel insurance in action is customers whose trips to Bali have been interrupted because of Mt Agung erupting. Customers who had taken out insurance before September 22 were able to claim back the cost of their travel if they had to cancel or make changes.
“We recommend that people get travel insurance at the same time they start making payments for travel. They are covered for unexpected events from the date they purchase their insurance and it doesn’t impact the premium they pay,” he says.
“Travel insurance may sometimes be an afterthought but it’s wise to make it a top priority.”