Overseas and in trouble? Call mum

By Gemma Hartley

If uninsured Kiwis are injured at a US or Canadian ski resort, getting home can be expensive. Photo / Paul Zizka Photography
If uninsured Kiwis are injured at a US or Canadian ski resort, getting home can be expensive. Photo / Paul Zizka Photography

Kiwis under 25 are three times more likely to call their mothers first when they get into a travel emergency overseas, according to an independent study.

Fifty-two per cent said that in the event of a holiday emergency their first phone call would be to mum, followed by the police (17 per cent), insurance provider (11 per cent) and then dad (6 per cent).

Out of the 1000 travellers, aged 18 to over 65 who took part in the survey, 1 per cent said that they would contact their in-laws if something went wrong.

In 2014, $111,983,976 in claims were reported by the Insurance Council New Zealand for personal accidents and travel.

Women are 50 per cent more likely to take out travel insurance than men, however 40 per cent of under 25s admitted they did not believe they needed insurance when travelling overseas.

Richard Warburton, chief operations officer for 1Cover Travel Insurance said, "With more and more New Zealanders taking overseas trips, it is encouraging that a large part of the general travelling Kiwi population [72 per cent] intend to take out travel insurance for an overseas trip.

"However it is still alarming that males and in particular the under 25s are less than inclined to ensure they are covered.

"As a travel insurance industry ... we need to keep continuing to educate people to the dangers and costs of getting into trouble overseas by providing resources to help them make informed decisions about the risks they face."

1Cover Travel Insurance discovered almost 30 per cent of Kiwis aged 25 to 34 admitted to having previously travelled overseas without insurance, compared to 76 per cent of 35-44-year-olds who don't leave the country without it. And experts are warning of the danger of leaving the country without adequate cover. Popular US and Canadian ski resorts are seeing an increasing number of Kiwi visitors. The seriously injured sometimes cannot come home on an ordinary commercial flight and chartering an air ambulance with multiple medical staff is expensive.

However, it is still alarming that males and in particular the under 25s are less than inclined to ensure they are covered.

A broken leg in the US can set a traveller back around $75,000 in medical and emergency fees and if uninsured,many hospitals will demand up front payment or proof of funds before beginning any treatment.

Mr Warburton said Kiwis visiting Australia or the UK, who believe they are covered by the Reciprocal Health Agreement, still need travel insurance.

"The RHA does not cover additional costs for certain emergency treatments, ambulances, airlifting, repatriation to NZ and transport, plus any out of pocket expenses."

The most common travel insurance claim is overseas medical and hospital expenses, followed by luggage and personal effects, travel expenses then cancellation of flights. Around 40 per cent of 18-30-year-olds main claims are for baggage and personal effects, often stolen iPhones left in bags at the beach or in bars.

The costs of travel insurance isn't high, but neither is it super-cheap, especially as people get older.

A 25-year-old heading to Australia for five days can pay in the region of $58, though prices vary. A 71-year-old can pay $66, and an 81 year-old $83. Cover for a two week trip would cost them $55, $95 and $126 respectively. One month would cost $85, $131 and $174. That's between $2.75 and $5.60 a day for the month's cover, depending on age.

Travel tips

• Purchase insurance before you leave home as it's unlikely you'll get insurance if you have already left.

• Get the right kind of insurance for you.

• Declare any pre-existing medical conditions.

• Some credit cards often don't have travel insurance - make sure yours has the cover you need.

• Check that you have cancellation cover.

- NZ Herald

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