Eli Orzessek is Travel's Digital Content Producer.

Ask Away: Travel insurance with cancer

Our online guru Eli Orzessek answers your travel questions.
If your baby is born during a flight, his or her nationality is complicated. Photo / 123RF
If your baby is born during a flight, his or her nationality is complicated. Photo / 123RF

We are celebrating a significant wedding anniversary this year and we plan to go to Europe. I was diagnosed with cancer in 2014 in my mid-50s. After successful surgery and treatment, I have had confirmation of a clear first year scan. I am very active.

However, I am struggling to get travel insurance. There is a perception that I am unfit to travel. This is despite working and exercising every day. Please can you help with any potential companies? It's proving demoralising.

Anonymous

It's a bit of a tricky issue and sounds like it's been very frustrating for you. Obviously I don't know the finer details of your condition, but there should be some options. Calling the main travel insurances providers in New Zealand, I was told you'd have to fill in a medical-assessment form before they can advise you.

A spokesman for State Insurance told me travellers who have had breast, prostate, kidney, bowel or colon cancer are eligible for cover under some conditions.

You need to have been diagnosed more than six months ago, have not had any chemotherapy or radiotherapy in the past six months, the cancer must not have spread beyond the primary site at any time and your trip must be in less than six months from the application.

Otherwise, most insurance companies can offer you cover for everything excluding claims relating to your pre-existing condition. So if you are confident you won't have any issues, it is possible to get insured for any other unexpected events that might occur. You shouldn't be excluded altogether just because you had cancer.

A travel agent can also assist - if you go to House of Travel for a no-obligation quote, they'll provide you with a number to call for the health desk of their provider. They can then go through all the factors and confirm whether your medical condition can be included.

I hope this has been of some help and you have a great holiday in Europe to celebrate your anniversary.

I've always wondered what happens when a baby is born midway through an international flight. What nationality or citizenship would they be assigned?

Mary Green

Women on the verge of giving birth probably shouldn't be flying, but it does happen. Countries have different laws regarding the citizenship of babies born on their soil. It's either jus soli or jus sanguinis, which is Latin for right of the soil and right of blood, respectively. Most dictate that citizenship depends on the nationality of the parents (jus sanguinis), but the US and some others observe jus soli - automatic citizenship to any infant born on their soil.

But it gets trickier when the birth takes place on an aircraft or ship. The United Nations says a baby born on a flight is a citizen of the country in which the airline is registered - but this doesn't always happen. For example, the US won't recognise a baby born on a US vessel unless the birth took place at a local port or flying in the country's airspace.

A good example of this happened last year when a Taiwanese woman gave birth on her flight to the United States and reportedly kept asking "Are we in America yet?"

She was accused of "birth tourism" - a growing trend for visitors to the states. The woman was quickly deported but her baby was awarded US citizenship and left in state care in Alaska.

Besides citizenship, being born on a flight can have other benefits. Some - very few - mile-high babies have been given free flights for life by their airlines as a result.

Tweet us @NZHTravel or use the hashtag #NZHAskAway

Email your questions to askaway@nzherald.co.nz

- NZ Herald

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