1 in 5 Kiwis take their chances

A recent survey of 3,000 New Zealanders by the Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ) found that 20% of travellers take significant risks when they head off to certain destinations without comprehensive travel insurance.

“What starts off for many Kiwis as the ‘trip of a lifetime’ can quickly become the ‘holiday from hell’ so it’s important that overseas travellers take out travel insurance as part of their preparations,” said Insurance Council Chief Executive Mr Tim Grafton.

“Given the substantial risks and costs it’s vitally important that travellers factor comprehensive travel insurance coverage into their travel plans, the consequences of not being insured can be incredibly serious and expensive,” says Mr Grafton.

Indeed CANSTAR research finds that average travel insurance premiums for many popular destinations are an extremely small fraction of the holiday cost – around the price of an indulgent dinner for two.

Country Average travel insurance
premium for 10 day holiday (couples)
Australia $94.94
China $201.21
Cook Islands $118.01
Fiji $115.98
France $197.69
Thailand $178.13
UK $178.92
USA $237.77
Source: CANSTAR. Average based on products surveyed for 2014 Star Ratings report.

According to the ICNZ, New Zealand’s Embassies offshore received nearly 40,000 consular queries during the year to 30 June 2013, with cases ranging from Kiwis suffering a serious accident or injury offshore, to lost passports or being the victim of a crime.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade Consular Divisional Manager Lyndal Walker recommends travellers make buying travel insurance a pre-departure priority. “Medical evacuation from a Pacific Island can cost more than $100,000 if you have to return to New Zealand urgently for treatment,” says Ms Walker. “While Embassies and High Commissions can provide advice and support, they can’t cover medical and travel costs for New Zealanders who fail to take out travel insurance.”

For those (many) diligent travellers who do take out insurance, it’s also important to read the fine print to be sure of exactly what is – and isn’t covered. Click here to read about five travel insurance mistakes that travellers can make.

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