Why you need travel insurance for short trips

In the past I’ve been guilty of holding the terribly misguided attitude that travel insurance for short trips within New Zealand, or even for a short holiday to Australia is a pointless expense.

If the worst happened I considered myself ‘self-insured’, believing that I’d be close enough to home to get back cheaply and easily. I really hadn’t thought it through and I am incredibly grateful nothing ever went terribly wrong.

Last November I was standing in the customs queue at Wellington airport when the magnitude 7.8 Kaikoura Earthquake struck, having just got off a flight from Hobart via Melbourne. I hadn’t taken out travel insurance for that trip, and had that earthquake had struck a little earlier that day, my flight would have been unable to land and I’m not sure where I would have been diverted to.

I was fortunate. Cover-More, who underwrite insurance policies for a number of providers including Air New Zealand and Flight Centre, were inundated by claims following that earthquake from people stuck in Kaikoura when access was cut off.

Cover-More’s travel insurance policies include cover for cancellation and loss of deposits, medical treatment costs, costs for returning home in the event of certain emergencies, loss of luggage and personal liability.

I’ve now implemented a personal rule that I will get travel insurance whenever I travel, regardless of the trip length or distance. Here are just a few good reasons why you should take out travel insurance for short trips too.

Why should you take out travel insurance for Domestic Travel?

Most people overlook travel insurance when travelling domestically.

Ticking the box to add travel insurance to a domestic Air New Zealand flight itinerary costs only $10 one way, or $20 return. Well worth the investment when you consider the amount you stand to lose if you can’t travel.

Wellington’s air traffic is the subject of media attention several times each year when flights are unable to land or depart due to fog or extreme weather. On several occasions I’ve been the victim of a cancelled flight myself.

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Even if you manage to get on a flight the following day, you stand to lose the cost of a night’s accommodation at your destination if the flight you’re booked on can’t leave. Having travel insurance can provide cover should you need to cancel your accommodation or any activities you might have pre-paid for if there is a travel disruption and you can’t get to your destination when you had intended to.

Travel insurance will also provide cover for accommodation expenses if your journey is disrupted due to circumstances you can’t control.

Comprehensive domestic travel insurance should also include Rental Vehicle Insurance Excess cover. This means that if you hire a car and it’s stolen or damaged while you have it, or if you are involved in an accident while you’re driving, any excess you’re liable for will be reimbursed.

Why Kiwi’s should take out travel insurance for a trip to Australia

As well as the reasons above, there are a lot of additional arguments in favour of taking out travel insurance as soon as you book a trip overseas. If you think you can’t afford travel insurance, you actually can’t afford to travel.

Overseas holidays can be huge financial investments and not being able to go due to an ash cloud, earthquake or cyclone, or a family member getting sick suddenly are just a few unexpected events to consider.

When travelling to Australia, many Kiwi travellers rely on the Reciprocal Health Agreement (RHA) which New Zealand has with Australia which provides publicly funded services for certain conditions.

However there are many expensive medical costs that are not covered under this agreement. Some examples of these are bills for seeing doctors or specialists, the cost of an ambulance to get you to hospital and costs to be repatriated back home. These amounts can run into the thousands.

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What about if you arrive at your destination but your luggage doesn’t? Or if you lose your passport? These are things you hear about happening all the time and if you’re ever in such a situation you will be thankful you took out cover for the replacement of these items.

When I was looking for a travel insurance provider for my upcoming trip to Europe, Cover-More stood out to me as they have the added benefit of a global network of medical specialists you can call for advice and emergency assistance 24/7.

Fingers crossed will be smooth sailing but I’m thoroughly covered incase it isn’t with a provider who ‘gets’ travellers like me!

This post was written in partnership with Cover-More.

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9 Comments

  1. May 15, 2017 / 9:46 am

    I always get an annual travel insurance policy, but I recently had a similar epiphany to yours when an earthquake hit Japan a week before I visited. Now I always make sure to pick one that covers natural disasters!

    • May 15, 2017 / 2:43 pm

      Oh my gosh Laura that is crazy timing! And such a lesson, did it affect your travel plans at all?

      • May 15, 2017 / 11:56 pm

        Luckily not, the earthquake wasn’t in the areas where I was going – but I was suddenly very aware that if another one hit I might get stuck!

  2. Chantell Collins
    May 15, 2017 / 9:06 am

    I always have insurance to travel internationally but never thought about it to travel domestically in Australia. These are really good points! Especially if the insurance plan will cover airplane delays or cancellations (I know that they don’t always). Thanks for sharing!

    • May 15, 2017 / 2:42 pm

      Thanks Chantell! Definitely something to think about for your next trip in Australia. Cover-More’s policies are worth checking out.

  3. Emma Leteace
    May 14, 2017 / 8:32 pm

    Interesting to see it from a kiwi perspective! I live in the U.K. but still take out travel insurance even for a weekend away in another European country…

    • May 15, 2017 / 2:25 pm

      Thanks Emma! You might never need to claim on your travel insurance but it’s always a good idea to have it incase the unexpected does happen.

  4. Sandy Papas
    May 14, 2017 / 12:44 pm

    good post – a lot of people dont think of insurance when travelling locally and in fact many policies dont cover it ( so dont rely on an annual policy)