Our online guru Eli Orzessek looks at an insurance dilemma for a transtasman trip.

We want to take our young daughter on a trip to Australia, but she has a serious chronic illness. Can you get travel insurance with a case like this? What happens if you don't have insurance and you get sick?

I've asked Harriet Upchurch of Worldcare Insurance to help with this. She says securing cover for pre-existing medical conditions is possible, the conditions would just need to be declared in a medical assessment, either over the phone or online.

In this case, she says if the parents are covered by a Worldcare policy and she fits the definition of a dependent, she would be covered for any unforeseen, unrelated accidents or illnesses under her parents' policy without them paying additional premiums.

I've also done a bit of research and found New Zealand and Australia have a "Reciprocal Health Agreement" which covers New Zealand citizens and permanent residents on a temporary visit (up to two years long) to Australia.


Your daughter would be eligible for cover on this if "in the opinion of the provider of medical treatment, [you] need immediately necessary medical treatment while in Australia".

This means they will get the same treatment as an eligible person, including pharmaceutical benefits and hospital services.

However, New Zealand visitors to Australia are not entitled to publicly funded emergency transport by ambulance, so that's a potential cost to keep in mind.

Check out health.govt.nz

Have any readers been covered by this agreement or dealt with getting travel insurance with a difficult situation? I'm really keen to hear about what happened - it can be difficult translating insurance talk sometimes and real-life experiences are invaluable.

Readers respond:

On bed bugs:

Terry Dobson from Thermal Remediation Experts Inc, in Canada, got in touch to say washing your clothes in a washing machine might not kill bed bugs - "the water sometimes will not reach a killing temperature and you could possibly contaminate your laundry area if they survive". He suggests putting them in the dryer first, as most dryers reach the right temperature to kill the little critters. Wash your clothes afterwards.

On Dreaming of White Christmas: Susanna emailed to say: "As I'm Swedish I feel obliged to comment on the blurb about white Xmas in Europe." To see reindeers in Helsinki, she recommends heading to an outdoor zoo, and they can be also seen at Skansen open air museum in Stockholm.

"For free-roaming reindeers you need to head further north into wilderness areas. Get on those cross-country skis!

"To be safe for a white Christmas, head more north and inland, I'd suggest at least going up to Dalarna in Sweden. Statistically, four out of five Christmases are white there. The towns of Mora, Orsa and Salen have plenty of winter past-times - skiing, skating and an excellent winter zoo in Orsa -bears would be sleeping though."

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