Travel insurance costs: What traps to look out for

Leading up to the Easter break Canstar releases annual Travel Insurance Star Ratings report, assessing 53 travel insurance policies from 31 providers.

With record numbers of Kiwis heading overseas, Canstar urges travellers not to forget about insuring themselves while they’re away. It’s a very small cost in the overall scheme of things – but could end up saving unlucky travellers a fortune!

Consider these top 2015 claims, courtesy of Southern Cross Travel Insurance (SCTI):

  • $537,000 after the insured suffered encephalitis in Kenya, requiring an air ambulance back home;
  • $315,000 – the insured had a fatal car accident in Greece;
  • $273,000  – an international student suffered a brain abscess, requiring surgery and an extended hospital stay;
  • $273,000 – the insured suffered heart failure in China and required evacuation to Thailand then repatriation home;
  • $227,000 – the insured needed an air ambulance back to New Zealand for specialist treatment after falling in Indonesia and suffering a cerebral haemorrhage.

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Kiwis took 145,700 overseas trips in January this year alone. And the average cost of travel insurance for popular destinations is tiny. Ten days in Thailand, for example, will set a typical traveller back by just $140. Fiji is less than $92 on average, and travellers to Australia are looking at less than $50.

Travel Insurance: What does it cost?

Let’s get more specific. Here at Canstar we rate travel insurance for three different types of traveller: singles, couples, and families with dependents. The table below shows how much you can expect to pay depending on who is travelling, how old they are, and where they’re going.

Who? Where? Min Premium Max Premium Average Premium
30-yo Single Australia $30 $99 $50
China $86 $227 $139
Thailand $86 $204 $129
France $91 $265 $149
UK $77 $210 $136
Cook Island $45 $173 $92
Fiji $45 $173 $92
USA $104 $281 $183
50-yo Couple Australia $57 $199 $99
China $164 $462 $275
Thailand $164 $428 $258
France $173 $509 $295
UK $164 $420 $268
Cook Island $85 $347 $192
Fiji $85 $347 $188
USA $207 $580 $368
Family of 4:

45-yo adults and

15-yo and 11-yo


Australia $69 $246 $123
China $173 $462 $283
Thailand $173 $428 $265
France $182 $509 $304
UK $182 $472 $281
Cook Island $90 $347 $197
Fiji $90 $347 $192
USA $207 $563 $370
Source: Based on products assessed for 2016 star ratings

Just four insurance providers out of the 31 insurers assessed for Canstar’s star ratings charge the same premium for ages 18 to 59.

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Watch the travel insurance traps

As with any financial product travellers should be sure to read the small print of their policy.

Not all travel insurance policies are the same and no policy will cover a traveller for every single thing that might go wrong while they are away. It’s very important they read the policy conditions of your chosen  policy so that you know what you can and can’t do while you’re away.

As an example, injuries caused by reckless behaviour, including the use of alcohol or drugs, may not be covered. Also loss of your belongings if you leave them unattended.

Another common exclusion is hazardous pursuits. Activities such as motorcycling, skiing, scuba diving, bungee-jumping and hang-gliding may be excluded from the standard policy, but these can often be added for an additional premium.

Don’t assume that just because a rental company is happy to rent you a motorcycle, for example, that your travel insurance policy is going to cover you if you have an accident!

Which insurance providers offer Outstanding Value?

Travel insurance is a highly-competitive area and Canstar is pleased to congratulate the following insurers on achieving the 2016 Outstanding Value Travel Insurance awards.

International Travel Insurance

Trans-Tasman Travel Insurance

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