Overseas travel is exciting, but things may go wrong, and travellers could find themselves faced with a medical emergency, finding the funds to replace lost luggage, or having to make an urgent trip home.
Travel insurance is cover you purchase for international trips, whether they're for business or holidays. Most travel insurance provides protection for
- cancellation and loss of deposit
- medical treatment costs
- costs for returning home in certain emergencies
- loss of luggage and personal items
- personal liability (except for deliberate acts or use of motor vehicles).
Remember that not all travel policies are created equal – just as the premium of some policies costs more than others, some policies have wider cover than others.
If you have a pre-existing condition, are planning to engage in a sport while on your trip, are a non-resident, are pregnant, or are over the age of 65, it's important to contact a number of insurers before purchasing your insurance. One insurer may have a policy that suits your individual circumstances better than another.
Find out more about travel insurance to cover
- pre-existing conditions
- renting cars
- sports and adventure activities
- staying in an Airbnb.
Buy before you fly
You cannot get travel insurance if you've already left the country. Buy travel insurance when you book and pay for your overseas trip. That way you're not only covered for your trip, but also if you need to cancel the trip before you depart.
Declare your medical conditions
Declare any pre-existing medical conditions and any symptoms that could lead to a medical condition — not only for yourself, but also for close relatives back home.
If you're planning on undertaking any sporting or adventurous activities on your trip, talk to your insurer and read your policy wording to check whether you are covered while undertaking them. In particular, you should check whether you are covered while
- skiing, snowboarding or doing other winter sports
- scuba diving
- bungy jumping
- hang gliding
- water skiing
- motorcycling or using a scooter (in certain countries).
Motor vehicle liability (and damage to hire cars) is rarely covered under travel insurance policies. You must buy comprehensive motor insurance for the rental car from the rental car company in the country in which you are hiring the car.
High value items
Advise your insurer if you are going to take or buy high valued items on your trip. Many travel insurance policies contain sublimits on the value of items you can claim for (including electronics and jewellery).
If you're unsure, ask your insurer what value or coverage limits your policy may have.
Read your policy wording
Your travel insurance policy is a contract and is only as valuable as the cover provided in the benefits and exclusions described in that contract.
Common exclusions from travel insurance policies include
- loss of personal items which are left unattended
- insolvency of a service provider such as an airline
- acts of terrorism.
Travel insurers provide free 24-hour emergency assistance. Keep the details of their emergency assistance provider with you at all times while travelling.
In the event of an emergency, you may need to contact them for medical treatment or advice.
New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade runs a website that has up to date travel advisories for all countries on key issues like security and health.
Before you travel, you must tell your insurer if you intend to travel to any countries that have a "high-risk" travel advisory status.
Visit www.safetravel.govt.nz to check your intended destination and any countries you're stopping in or passing through.
Some circumstances may make travel insurance more difficult to find or mean you need to fulfil additional requirements in order to receive cover.
Most travel insurance providers in New Zealand don't provide liability cover for damage to property you're staying at while travelling. Your the Airbnb host should sufficient insurance cover to allow them to have paying guests stay in their property but it's still important to understand what you're covered for if anything goes wrong and you're held liable.
Not all insurers provide cover for non-residents of New Zealand so you may need to contact a number of insurers before you are able to get cover.
If you're pregnant when you book travel insurance, it's important to talk to your insurer about it before they issue a policy. Most insurers offer cover for the first few months of pregnancy as long as there have not been any complications. The length of time each insurer will provide automatic cover for varies so talk to your insurer to be certain you'll be covered for your trip. An insurer may also require you to have a medical assessment before providing cover.
If you become pregnant after taking out a travel insurance policy, contact your insurer as soon as possible to ensure you'll still be covered for your travel.
Pre-existing conditions are medical conditions you already have or have previously had at the time you're buying your insurance. It may include anything you've sought medical treatment or consulted a doctor for, even if you didn't receive a formal diagnosis.
Pre-existing conditions are excluded from most insurers’ basic packages. Some insurers have automatic cover for certain pre-existing conditions and others may allow you to buy additional cover for pre-existing conditions, although not all insurers will be able to provide this service.
If you have a pre-existing condition, you should check your chosen insurer’s list of covered pre-existing conditions for each policy they offer to see if you can be covered and what exclusions or sublimits may apply. If your condition is not listed, you will need to speak to the insurer to find out if you can get cover. They may require you to get a medical certificate before providing cover.
It's important to remember to declare all pre-existing conditions when taking out travel insurance otherwise you may not be covered under all or part of your policy.
Most travel policies taken out in NZ do not provide liability cover for damage done overseas. This includes damage done to people or property while in control of a rented or borrowed car.
Some policies will provide rental vehicle excess (RVE) insurance but this will only provide cover for the excess on damage to the vehicle that the insured person has to pay — it does not provide any cover for the repairs themselves or any personal liability the insured person has if an accident damages property or injures someone. If a travel policy offers RVE, the cover may only apply to renting cars through a registered care hire company.
If you'll be driving overseas, it's important to get appropriate car insurance and personal liability cover through either a car rental company or through a local insurer (if you are borrowing a friend or relative’s car).
The level and types of cover available for senior citizens varies by insurer and may be affected by the age(s) of the traveller(s). In some instances, you may be required to fill out some forms to give the insurer information about your medical history.
To ensure that you will be covered and to find a policy that best meets your needs, you should contact an insurer directly.
Some insurers have a list of sports and activities they will automatically provide cover for, however there are also a number they won’t cover. If you are unsure whether your intended sport or activity will be covered, you should contact your insurer to check.
If you are planning on doing any sort of sport or adventure activity while you are travelling, make sure to let your insurer know when you take out cover.
Find an insurer
ICNZ is unable to provider personal or professional advice. The list of travel insurance providers below is included for your information. Any queries about the specifics of policies or cover should be directed to the insurer.
Other travel insurance may be available through your bank or credit card provider, as well as by contacting an insurance broker.
|1-Cover Direct Insurance||1cover.co.nz|
0800 000 333
+64 9 886 2453
|AA Travel Insurance||aa.co.nz/travel/travel-insurance||0800 500 444|
|Air New Zealand||insurance.airnewzealand.co.nz||0800 500 248|
|AMI||ami.co.nz/travel-insurance||0800 500 425|
|Amex Travel Insurance||americanexpress.com/nz/content/insurance/travel-insurance/||0800 743 699|
|0800 161 810|
|ANZ||anz.co.nz/travel-insurance/||0800 269 855|
|Carnival||0800 600 125|
|Chubb Travel Insurance||chubbtravelinsurance.co.nz||0800 422 346|
|Cigna||cigna.co.nz/travel-insurance/||0800 900 047|
|Comprehensive Travel Insurance||comprehensive.co.nz||0800 800 048|
|Cover-More||covermore.co.nz||0800 500 225|
|Easy Way Travel Insurance||easyway.co.nz||+64 9 377 4146|
|flightcentre.co.nz/extras/travel-insurance||0800 243 544|
|FMG||fmg.co.nz/what-we-cover/travelinsurance/||0800 366 466|
|Kiwi Holiday Insurance||kiwiholidayinsurance.co.nz||0800 101 007|
|Malaysia Airlines||0800 268 371|
|nib Travel Insurance New Zealand||nibtravel.co.nz||0800 888 642|
|NZ Travel Insurance|
|P&O||0800 550 125|
|State||state.co.nz/travel-insurance||0800 500 325|
|Tower Travel Insurance||tower.co.nz/travel-insurance/cover4travel||0800 379 372|
|Travel Insurance Direct NZ||0800 843 843|
|Trip Cover - car rental excess insurance only||tripcover.co.nz||0800 630 117|
|Virgin||virginaustralia.covermore.co.nz||0800 500 925|
|Westpac||westpac.co.nz/insurance/travel/||0800 550 325|
|Worldcare Travel Insurance||worldcare.co.nz||0800 553 550|
|World Nomads||worldnomads.com||0800 666 237|