One in five Kiwis risk it all overseas

Wednesday , 21 September 2016 by Alistair Gray

New research conducted by Southern Cross Travel Insurance (SCTI) has revealed that one in five Kiwis travel without insurance.

SCTI CEO Craig Morrison says that many won’t appreciate the risk they’re exposing themselves to.

“Kiwis head overseas looking for adventure and excitement, but the adage that anything that can go wrong will go wrong remains true – you could lose your luggage, get robbed, find yourself in the middle of a natural disaster, or get injured or sick,” says Morrison.

When the worst-case scenario happens, bills can get into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

To help prevent an overseas trip turning into a costly nightmare, SCTI have put together four tips that’ll give you peace of mind when travelling.

1. Get travel insurance

Don’t assume everything will go to plan. There are plenty of unfortunate incidents that can happen when travelling, even to the healthiest and most risk averse among us.

The cost of travel insurance is really just a tiny fraction of the costs that can result after an incident overseas.

Of particular concern is the high cost of medical treatment overseas, which should be enough of an incentive to take out travel insurance. In fact, the top three claims SCTI has paid so far this year were all for medical emergencies.

  • $1.3m – complex cardio case requiring air ambulances to Singapore and Australia.
  • $561,000 – life-threatening virus requiring an air ambulance to New Zealand from Africa.
  • $374,000 – intestinal problem requiring surgery overseas and a flight upgrade for the return to New Zealand.

Non-medical emergencies, such as losing your luggage, flight delays or theft, can also put a damper on your trip and a dent in your bank account.

2. Buy insurance the same day you buy your flight

Would-be travellers should always book their travel insurance the moment they pay non-refundable deposits towards flights, accommodation or tours.

“It doesn’t cost any extra to buy travel insurance in advance, and if something unexpected happens before your holiday starts that you would be covered for under your policy, which prevents you from travelling – such as an illness, injury or a natural disaster – you’re covered,” says Morrison. “It’s a no-brainer.”

3. Check what activities you’re covered for

If you’re heading away on a surfing holiday, skiing in the alps, rock climbing or just want to ride a scooter around a tropical island – read your policy. You might be surprised to learn what you are and aren’t covered for.

Budget policies might be appealing for the money-conscious, but can cause an expensive headache later on. If you do plan on doing something out of the ordinary, don’t assume you’re covered. Get in touch with your insurer to check.

4. Think before you drink

A lot of travellers aren’t aware that they’re not covered for claims arising from the influence of alcohol.

“No one expects you to not drink on holiday,” says Morrison. “But there’s a difference between having a few beers in the sun and having far too many and winding up in a dangerous situation, or doing something reckless that causes yourself injury.”