New Aus-NZ travel bubble insurance risk

The average cost of a single comprehensive travel insurance policy for a 14-day trip across the ditch was $113 — almost $30 less than the charge pre-COVID, according to an analysis by Canstar provided exclusively to News Corp Australia.The comparison website compared quotes obtained in June 2019 to those in April this year from 13 insurers that offer some protection against COVID-related disruptions for those holidaying in the Land of the Long White Cloud.Brands that offered New Zealand cover at the time of the analysis were ahm, Cover-More, Easy Travel Insurance, Flight Centre, Medibank, nib, NRMA, Qantas, SGIC, SGIO, Travellers Choice, Virgin Australia and Webjet. While these brands did offer some COVID-related cover for those making use of the Australia-New Zealand travel bubble and spend some time in our trans-Tasman neighbour, there were still exclusions to watch out for.NED-3595-New rules for NZ flightsSGIO, SGIC and NRMA only cover some overseas medical costs if you fall ill or are hospitalised due to COVID-19. Travellers will only be able to claim cancellation costs if they took out the “Cancel for any reason” optional extra, according to the analysis.NIB and Qantas warn they will not cover losses caused by broadly-imposed quarantine orders, and will not honour claims made by travellers who weren’t observing appropriate government, health department and World Health Organisation measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, such as social distancing or local restrictions.Easy Travel Insurance, ahm, Cover-More, Flight Centre, Medibank, Travellers Choice, Virgin Australia and Webjet say they do not cover claims relating to border closures and associated mandatory quarantine/self-isolation requirements.Canstar’s financial services executive Steve Mickenbecker speculated it could be the result of insurers introducing tougher restrictions.NED-3746-NZ Travel insurance“Policy prices may have come down as insurers that previously covered epidemics and pandemics may have in some cases introduced new restrictions on that cover,” he said.“An example of reduced cover for an epidemic or pandemic is that medical costs are covered but cancellation and other associated costs are not.“Some policies can be tougher than others. None provide cover if you do not observe appropriate government travel restrictions, but there are policies that also require adherence to World Health Organisation preventive guidelines, like social distancing and maintaining good hygiene.”NED-3596 QFT System ExplainedMr Mickenbecker said a range of claims travellers could previously have made under epidemic or pandemic conditions may have been removed from policies, thus reducing the risk to insurers and their payout forecasts.He believed that as international border restrictions were eased or more travel bubbles were formed, travel insurance policy structures would change and higher premiums would emerge.An Insurance Council of Australia spokesperson said travellers should always compare travel insurance products, and check inclusions, exclusions, as well as cover limits and excesses.They should also check how policies match “their personal circumstances and needs and their individual travel arrangements”, before deciding on which to buy.“Travel insurers are continually reviewing their products to meet the changing needs of domestic and international travel,” the spokesperson said.“COVID-related cover has been incorporated into a number of domestic and international travel insurance products.”

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