Beware: Insurance won’t cover NZ trips in event of outbreak
Travellers rushing to book in New Zealand holidays have been warned that most travel insurance providers will not cover cancellations relating to COVID-19 border closures.
With a travel bubble set to begin on April 19, the Insurance Council of Australia said hopeful travellers should closely read their insurance policies with a spokeswoman saying only a limited number of travel insurers were offering domestic and international travel insurance.
Cover-More, which has distribution partners including Flight Centre and Air New Zealand, said it wasn't viable for providers to offer affordable cover for cancellations resulting from border closures and lockdowns.
The insurance provider updated its travel insurance benefits in December to cover a range of other COVID-19-related benefits.
Policyholders heading to New Zealand with Cover-More can be reimbursed cancellation costs if they are diagnosed shortly before their trip or ordered to quarantine as a close contact.
The provider also covers costs relating to overseas accommodation shutdowns for to deep-cleaning, travellers being unable to stay with relatives due to COVID-19 diagnosis, essential workers who have leave revoked, and people cancelling their trip if a relative or business partner is in a life-threatening condition due to COVID-19.
A QANTAS spokeswoman said its insurance policies also didn't cover losses arising from government intervention including travel bans and border closures, and she wasn't aware of any competitors who did.
Under Qantas International Comprehensive Travel Insurance, Australian travellers to New Zealand are covered for medical and quarantine expenses if they catch COVID-19.
The benefit for medical expenses is unlimited and the benefit for quarantine and COVID-related expenses is $2,500 per adult.
Travellers who take out Overseas Medical coverage with RACQ may also be covered for overseas medical expenses and associated expenses if they contract COVID-19 on their trip.
If the traveller is then deemed unfit to travel, RACQ may provide limited cover relating to rescheduling the trip.
Finder travel expert Angus Kidman said if travellers weren't sure how COVID-19 restrictions and last-minute lockdowns were treated in a cancellation policy, they should clarify with the provider over email so they had something in writing.
"Most current travel insurance policies exclude coronavirus-related claims such as flight cancellations," he said.
" Your best bet right now is to look out for flexible booking options."
The Insurance Council of Australia spokeswoman said travel insurance was still important for the cover it had always offered including loss of luggage, international medical expenses, cancellations due to circumstances other than COVID-19. and adventure cover for Australians heading to ski in New Zealand.
She said travellers should read their policy Product Disclosure Statement carefully in relation to their individual situation.
Originally published as Beware: Insurance won't cover NZ trips in event of outbreak