Compare travel insurance

Get cover for medical expenses, lost or stolen luggage and valuables, cancellation costs and loads more.

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Name Product Medical Cover Cancellation Cover Luggage and Personal Effects Cover Default Excess
Unlimited
$50,000
$5,000
$100
Unlimited
$50,000
$0
$100
No cover
$50,000
$0
$100

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Do you really need travel insurance?

When planning a trip, you hope that everything goes as planned. Unfortunately, though, flights get delayed, luggage becomes lost, people are sick, and hotels get overbooked. Between 2016-2017, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) reported that the New Zealand Government’s consular services had provided support for a total of 2780 of cases, with 186 of those cases being Kiwis that had died overseas.

While no one wants to think about things going wrong, Stuff reports that over 90% of Kiwis obtain travel insurance when they go overseas. When weighing up whether or not you need travel insurance, you might want to consider these factors:

  • ACC does not cover you while you’re abroad. The Reciprocal Health Care Agreement only covers you in Australia and the United Kingdom, so you may still end up paying tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills if something goes wrong.
  • Even a single night in a hospital can be exorbitantly expensive. Will, one of the publishers at finder, offers a real-life example: He broke his ankle while travelling in Peru. Two weeks in hospital, surgery and flights home cost AUD$41,000.
  • Travel insurance can cover you for more than just medical bills. Cancelled flights as well as lost, damaged or stolen luggage and valuables are frustrating and costly. Why risk losing thousands, when you can get peace of mind for as little as the cost of a few drinks?
  • You could end up in serious debt. Hefty hospital bills and repatriation could leave you and your family hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt.
  • Travel insurance is compulsory for some countries. You’re required to have travel insurance to gain entry into some countries, including Cuba, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.
  • The government can’t help with your bills. Even though the New Zealand government offers consular services in foreign countries, it cannot pay for medical treatment.
  • Most brands cover your children or grandchildren under 21 for free. Most brands cover your dependent children for free.
  • Your credit card travel insurance might not be enough. The coverage included with your credit card often has lower cover amounts, higher out-of-pocket excess amounts and excludes certain activities (such as skiing or adventure sports). Domestic travel is also typically not covered.

Source: Consumer Guide in conjunction with SafeTravel

What are the four essential travel insurance features?

Here are four key features to review when comparing policies. Don’t leave home without them.

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Travel Insurance has got your back.

Here are some mishaps you may find yourself involved in and where you find them in your policy. Some types of cover listed here are included in most basic policies, while others are optional. It’s up to you to make sure your policy offers the necessary cover, and for the amount you need.

If you’re sick or injured

If you get food poisoning, have an asthma attack or sprain your ankle, your claim is treated as an Overseas Medical Expense.

If you need a medivac

If you’re seriously injured or fall ill and are too far from the nearest hospital, the Medical Evacuation cover kicks in. If it happens on a cruise or in a ski field, you need to make sure you have the optional Cruise Pack or Snow Sports pack respectively.

If you need to cancel your trip

If you can’t make the trip or need to cut it short because you become sick or a family member dies, you can recover money already spent under the Cancellation Fees and Lost Deposits section.

If an unexpected event messes with your plans

If you have to change your plans because a natural disaster strikes, your home is destroyed or your documents are lost or stolen, Additional Accommodation and Travel Expenses will pay for you to change your plans or return home.

If your important documents are lost or stolen

Your Travel Documents cover helps to replace your passports and travellers cheques if someone steals them from your hotel room or the airline loses them after sending your luggage elsewhere.

If your luggage doesn’t make it

If the airline decides to send your bags in the opposite direction, the Luggage and Personal Effects section pays for replacement supplies until you get them back. It replaces everything if they’re gone for good.

If you have to return home early

If you have to cut your trip short because a family member dies, you can get the funds to head home through the Family Emergency section of your policy.

If you have an accident in your rental car

If your someone keys your rental vehicle or a thief takes off with it, the Rental Vehicle Insurance Excess cover makes sure your out-of-pocket expenses are affordable.

Your credit cards are lost or stolen

Your Credit Card Fraud and Replacement cover help to replace lost or stolen credit cards. If the thief runs up a massive bill, it covers any fraudulent charges that your bank won’t.

Someone sues you

If you injure someone or damage their property, such as knocking over an antique vase on a museum tour, Personal Liability cover helps you pay any money you legally owe.

Accidental death

If the ship you’re sailing on sinks and takes you with it, the Accidental Death part of your policy gives your loved ones a one-time cash payout.

You suffer a total permanent disability

If you go blind or permanently lose the use of your arms while travelling, Permanent Disability cover gives you a one-time cash payout. If the disability keeps you from going back to work, Loss of Income cover provides you with an additional weekly payout.

You go skiing or snowboarding

If you are skiing, snowboarding or participating in any snow sports, you must add a special Winter Sports Pack if you want coverage for many of the situations described above.

Compare travel insurance quotes in 4 steps

Here’s a checklist for comparing and purchasing travel insurance online.

1. Where are you travelling?

  • Are there risks specific to that country you should be aware of and is it covered by your insurer? If there has been a travel warning issued against travelling to the country, you may not be able to apply for cover. The SafeTravel advisory page has details of those countries not recommended for travel.
  • Get cover for every country you are travelling to. You may need to get a worldwide policy if you’re travelling to both Europe and the United States.
  • Regions covered vary among insurers, so make sure to check what countries your insurer covers before purchasing.

2. Do you need extra cover for your trip?

  • Do you need extra cover for winter sports or adventure activities that aren’t automatically covered?
  • Do you need cover for a pre-existing medical condition?
  • Are you taking valuable items with you that exceed the maximum value of a payout?
  • Are you a senior traveller? (Age limits and costs vary among insurers.)
  • Do you plan to pay for flights, accommodation or tours in advance? Consider how much you will need to cover cancellations.
  • Who are you travelling with? Do you need a family policy, with free child cover or one that also covers your spouse?
  • Are you travelling with a large group? (You might be able to get a discount.)
  • Are you not returning home to New Zealand? Most insurers require you to depart from and return to New Zealand to take out cover, although a few insurers provide cover if you plan to stay on elsewhere.

3. How long are you travelling for? Are you a frequent traveller?

  • If you travel often, an annual policy might be more affordable and convenient. Just be aware of the maximum period of travel permitted for individual trips (usually 30-90 days).

4. Know what to look for when choosing a policy:

  • Make sure you check out the range of benefits and the maximum payment for each claim.
    • How much are you be paid if your luggage or valuables are lost, stolen or damaged?
    • When are you covered, if you have to cancel your flight or accommodation?
    • How much will you be reimbursed if you suffer a medical emergency?
  • What excess are you charged when making a claim? Can you remove the excess for a small fee?
  • What aren’t you covered for? There are some countries, sports and activities that are not covered by travel insurance.
  • Are any medical conditions you have covered automatically?
  • Already overseas? Only specific policies cover you if you are already overseas, and there is usually a waiting period of about seven days before cover is activated.
  • How flexible is your policy? Can you amend or extend cover easily enough? Most single-trip policies only provide cover for up to 12 months. If you wish to extend the period of cover, you usually need to contact the insurer, give your reasons for extending the policy and pay an additional premium.

Really? I could have sworn I was covered for that!

The last thing you need is to be left stranded overseas if your claim is rejected. Know exactly what you are covered for and avoid a nasty surprise at claim time.

DrinksHad a few drinks? Jumped on a moped after a few drinks and ended up hitting a ditch in downtown Kuta? Yep, you’re not covered. Insurers do not pay claims that arise if you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

MotorcyleRenting a motorcycle or moped? You’re only covered if you have a valid driver’s licence as required by your home country, ie New Zealand; you have a valid driver’s license as required by the country you’re visiting for the class of moped or motorbike you’re riding, and wear a helmet. Also, the moped’s engine needs to be the capacity specified by the insurer, usually under 50cc.

SkydivingHang-gliding or jumping out of a plane? Not all activities are automatically covered. Each insurer has a list of high-risk pursuits that it excludes from cover, which are specified in the PDS. Find out what these are and if you need to purchase additional cover.

Expensive itemsLost an expensive item? Policies have limits applied to what can be paid for an item, which may not measure up to what it’s worth. Consider getting specified cover to protect expensive items.

Additional PaymentsHad to pay more once you returned home? You’re only covered for expenses incurred while on your trip overseas, not once you return home to New Zealand. For example, Will was surprised to discover his policy did not cover physiotherapist and specialist appointments after he returned to Australia.

Image of tankEnded up in a war zone or a riot? Very few insurers cover claims that are the result of you travelling to a country under a travel advisory issued by MFAT or other warnings issued by the government or mass media. These warnings may include strikes; riots; bad weather; civil unrest; contagious diseases; epidemics; pandemics, or threats of epidemics or pandemics. Claims that arise when you’re in a country under a do-not-travel warning are not covered.

Thief with maskLeft your bag in the back of the taxi? Most insurers do not cover theft if you did not take reasonable care to protect your belongings. Insurers do not cover theft of expensive items that have been left unattended.

PregnancyFinal stages of pregnancy? Typically, insurers exclude cover for complications that arise past the 26th week of pregnancy, although the specifics of cover do vary from one insurer to the next. Some insurers only provide cover for up to 23 weeks while others may cover up to 32 weeks. Always check the policy’s PDS before purchasing.

Claim formWaited too long before contacting your insurer or making a claim? Most insurers require you to notify them of any event leading to a claim within a specific period, some as quickly as 24 hours after the event. Find out what this period is and the maximum time following your journey that you can lodge a claim (usually about 30 days).

Still unclear on a few things? Here are some answers to questions you might have.

1. Purchasing your policy


2. Choosing the right option


3. Adjusting your policy


4. When you will and won’t be covered


5. Making a claim

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Some final points before you buy travel insurance

  • Tell the truth

It’s really not worth leaving out details of an old medical condition or an activity you might be doing to save a few extra dollars. Insurance companies take the time to ensure your claim is genuine and that you were truthful at the time of application.

  • Read the important stuff

You might not read ten different product disclosure statements cover to cover, but at the very least read through the exclusions and cover benefits section, so you know what is and isn’t covered. It’s also worth checking out the claims section, so you know what you need to provide and who to contact in the event of a claim.

  • Know the excess you will be charged

Excess charges can vary significantly between insurers and will generally range between $50 and $250. You are charged an excess for each claim you make under the policy.

  • Want to avoid the excess altogether?

Specific policies may offer an excess buyout, commonly known as an excess eliminator, which gives you the opportunity of paying a flat fee when you purchase the policy, so you no longer have to pay an excess.

  • Know what will be paid for the loss of valuable items

Most policies have a sub-limit for individual items, such as $500 per item. If you are taking out additional cover for expensive items, make sure you know the maximum amount your insurer pays for multiple items in the event of a claim.

  • Keep an eye out for discounts

Competition between insurers for your business means there are some chances to lock down great savings and bonus gifts.

Picture: Getty Images

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