Kiwis caught without travel insurance

  • 18/08/2015
Mount Raung erupts (AAP)
Mount Raung erupts (AAP)

Article sponsored by AMP.

Volcanic eruptions in East Java and a scooter accident in Thailand have highlighted the need for travel insurance for Kiwis travelling abroad.

Last month Mount Raung on Java Island blasted ash and debris up to 2,000 metres into the air after rumbling for several weeks. Bali airports were closed for days, stranding some for almost two weeks and forcing many to spend a lot more than planned on extended accommodation, food and cancelled flights. Social media was filled with stories from people trying to get on flights out of the country to return to their families and work.

In Thailand around the same time, New Zealander Paul Lupi, known as PJ, had a scooter accident that left him with a brain injury and in a coma for weeks. Without any travel insurance to cover his medical treatment in Bangkok and a return flight cost estimated at $80,000, PJ's family were forced to turn to fundraising website Givealittle to raise the money to bring PJ home. He's now recovering in a specialist rehabilitation centre in Christchurch.

AMP director of advice and sales Blair Vernon says that depending if and what level of travel insurance people may have, when emergencies happen overseas they may be able to have accommodation, medical treatment, any deposits lost due to change of flights and even daily meal costs covered.

"For a couple staying on an extra week in Bali this could result in several thousand dollars more added to the holiday expenses. Or if you or a family member were injured overseas, the last thing you want to worry about is finding the money to get them the treatment they need and brought back to New Zealand," he said.

"Unexpected instances like this catch out travellers all over the world each day. People overseas on business or holiday could find themselves faced with a medical emergency, needing money to replace lost luggage, or having to make an urgent trip home."

A common assumption is that credit cards have travel insurance included and that's all that's needed, however when it comes time to claim this isn't always the case.

Some credit cards require the entire cost of travel to be booked on the card, meaning if you have paid for part of your journey another way, you won't be covered. Different card providers also cover different lengths of travel, so if your holiday travel period is longer than this, the insurance will be void.

"Last year Kiwis made more than 2.2 million trips overseas for business and pleasure. Next time you're heading overseas it could be worth looking into having travel insurance in place for the unexpected. It might be a natural disaster or it may be a personal emergency that affects you or a close relative. A little time taken beforehand could mean saving thousands later," adds Vernon.

Here are a few tips to make sure you're not still paying for you holiday long after you return.