An encounter with a bat and a monkey eating sunglasses are among some of the stranger travel insurance claims received in the past year.

Southern Cross Travel Insurance has released a list of unusual claims, with cases involving animals dominating the list.

One customer in Asia claimed for a rabies shot after waking to find a bat in their hotel room.

The winged critter was trapped inside and the customer spent 10 minutes trying to shoo it away with a pillow.


Finding marks on their skin, they suspected they had been bitten and sought treatment for which the claim paid was $379.

Another customer travelling in Asia had his glasses stolen by a monkey at a temple, and watched helplessly as the aggressive primate fended him off and ate the spectacles.

"I had absolutely no idea monkeys could act like that, but I see the funny side of it now," he said.

The customer was reimbursed $359 for the stolen spectacles.

Southern Cross Travel Insurance chief executive Chris White said, "After 35 years of operation you might think we've heard it all, but we're still surprised by some of the claims we receive each year".

A traveller in Asia had his glasses stolen by a monkey at a temple. Photo / Supplied
A traveller in Asia had his glasses stolen by a monkey at a temple. Photo / Supplied

While the vast majority of claims are for common illnesses or lost or damaged personal possessions, the list shows how travellers can end up in all sorts of unexpected situations, he said.

"Although you can never fully predict what may happen overseas, we recommend Kiwi tourists research their destinations to better understand what they may come across in their travels."

Other strange claims included, a customer who was bitten by a rattlesnake in the US, racking up a large medical bill for anti-venom and a long hospital stay worth $272,000.


While on the road in Europe, another customer hit a deer, severely damaging the rental car and claiming $1500 in insurance.

Another unlucky traveller required an electric wheelchair in the Pacific after injuring themselves.

However, that wasn't the end of their woes, when they subsequently fell into the pool of their resort, along with the wheelchair, which was damaged beyond repair.

The customer claimed for personal liability and was granted $500.

While driving in Rarotonga, another customer's baby threw their mobile phone out the window, causing the screen and casing to crack. The claim paid out was $780.

Southern Cross Travel Insurance is New Zealand's largest travel insurer and has been operating in New Zealand since 1982.

In the year to June 30, 2017, it sold more than 300,000 policies and paid more than 40,000 claims.