Kiwis' appetite for travel insurance is almost as keen as their desire to escape overseas for a holiday now borders are open, new survey results show.
An abundance of caution is the main finding from a survey by Southern Cross Travel Insurance, which is reporting policy sales in May are so far up 459 per cent on sales in February.
Policy sales for Fiji travel rose 4529 per cent between February and May, and sales for trips to the US and the UK lifted by 504 per cent and 476 per cent respectively, the insurer said. Every policy sold this year had a level of Covid cover.
The insurer's online survey of 1014 New Zealanders aged 18 and over revealed that for 70 per cent, the main reason for heading away was "to have a complete break from a daily routine to relax, recuperate and re-energise", with 74 per cent more concerned about health and safety than they were before the global health crisis.
It was Southern Cross Travel Insurance's first major survey since Covid hit.
For company chief executive Jo McCauley the most surprising finding was the level of caution among those surveyed - 88 per cent said they would now take a destination's Covid response into account when planning.
"Another surprise, no doubt due to the uncertainty we're now used to under Covid, was 59 per cent of respondents want the certainty of flexible cancellation policies, having been burned by venues or accommodation not being able to deliver at the last minute," she said.
The uncertainty meant travellers were more likely to make up their minds about activities they'd do once they arrived at a destination, rather than booking in advance.
"The one thing which didn't surprise us was how New Zealand travellers are less likely to consider staying at budget motels or hostels - 40 per cent compared to 49 per cent pre-pandemic - and hostels, 11 per cent compared to 20 per cent pre-pandemic. The idea of sharing a space with other travellers is obviously not that appealing," McCauley said.
The survey showed 95 per cent of respondents planned to travel domestically or overseas in the next two years, with 85 per cent believing insurance was a high priority for international travel. Covering the unexpected was a high priority for 51 per cent of intending domestic travellers compared to 37 per cent pre-Covid.
Reconnecting with family and friends was the second most popular reason for heading overseas at 67 per cent. A quest for adventure was cited by 57 per cent of respondents, especially younger travellers, and nearly half of all respondents said they were looking to reward themselves after a hard two years of Covid impacts.
Evidence of safe Covid practices was an important consideration when choosing accommodation for 45 per cent of all those who planned to travel in the next two years.
"It's not just older travellers who've proven more vulnerable to the impact of Covid and who may be more cautious," said McCauley.
"Forty-three per cent of Gen Z [those born after 1997] who plan to travel in the next two years say an accommodation provider's approach to Covid would impact their choice."
Good hygiene and mask-wearing compliance was expected of providers.
Although 85 per cent of respondents planning to travel internationally said insurance was a must-have, 15 per cent of the Gen Z survey segment said while international insurance was a high priority before Covid, it was less important now. Eleven per cent of Gen Z said it wasn't important before and wasn't now.