Kiwis warned to get travel cover

A traveller in a wheelchair at an airport.
Travel insurance

Southern Cross Travel Insurance has warned New Zealanders that heading off on an overseas trip without appropriate travel insurance in place is false economy – and that should they be caught out on holiday without the cover they need, they should not expect a crowdfunding campaign to solve all their problems.

Chris White, Chief Executive of SCTI, is of the opinion that the increasing popularity of crowdfunding websites has altered travellers’ perception, giving them the false impression that they can rely on the generosity of others as a substitute for travel insurance.

“Travel insurance is accessible and affordable when you consider the cost of going overseas,” he said, “so there’s no excuse to travel uninsured. While it’s awful to hear of Kiwis having an accident or falling ill overseas, it’s frustrating to see crowdfunding pages set up afterwards when it was obvious that travel insurance could have covered the cost.”

SCTI research has found a curious dichotomy: while a large percentage of New Zealenders (61 per cent) believe it is unacceptable for an uninsured traveller to seek out public funding to cover an accident or medical emergency sustained overseas, one in six Kiwis still travels with no insurance.

“As the saying goes,” White added, “‘if you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel’.”

In the hopes of encouraging New Zealenders and others to remember travel insurance when they go off on holiday, SCTI has released details of the most expensive claims that it dealt with last year. These include surgery for a brain tumour, requiring an air ambulance transfer and a business-class return flight home (costing an estimated NZ$261,000); hospitalisation for cardiac arrest (costing approximately $204,500); helicopter transportation to hospital for treatment for abscesses, and a return flight home in business class (costing around $136,000); and surgery for appendicitis for a pre-teen (costing around $116,000).