Bats, babies and wheelchairs: some of 2018's unusual travel insurance claims

Monday , 10 December 2018 by Campbell Gibson

An encounter with a bat and a monkey eating sunglasses are among some of the stranger claims Southern Cross Travel Insurance has received in the past year.

The specialist travel insurer has released a list of unusual claims, with cases involving animals dominating the list.

One customer in Asia claimed for a rabies shot after waking to find a bat in their hotel room. The winged critter was trapped inside and the customer spent 10 minutes trying to shoo it away with a pillow. Finding marks on their skin, they suspected they had been bitten and sought treatment for which the claim paid was $379.

 Another customer travelling in Asia had his glasses stolen by a monkey at a temple, and watched helplessly as the aggressive primate fended him off and ate the spectacles.

“I had absolutely no idea monkeys could act like that, but I see the funny side of it now,” he says.

The customer was reimbursed $359 for the stolen spectacles.

Southern Cross Travel Insurance Chief Executive Chris White says, “After 35 years of operation you might think we’ve heard it all, but we’re still surprised by some of the claims we receive each year.”

While the vast majority of claims are for common illnesses or lost or damaged personal possessions, the list shows how travellers can end up in all sorts of unexpected situations, he says.

“Although you can never fully predict what may happen overseas, we recommend Kiwi tourists research their destinations to better understand what they may come across in their travels.”

Other strange claims of 2018 to Southern Cross Travel Insurance include:

While on the road in Europe, a customer hit a deer, severely damaging the rental car. Claim paid: $1,500.

A customer required an electric wheelchair in the Pacific after injuring themselves. They subsequently fell into the pool of their resort, along with the wheelchair, which was damaged beyond repair. The customer claimed for personal liability. Claim paid: $500.

While driving in Rarotonga, a customer’s baby threw their mobile phone out the window, causing the screen and casing to crack. Claim paid: $780.