Check your travel insurance policy covers Covid-19 cancellations
What to ask your travel insurer if you're heading overseas.
By Rebecca Styles
Investigative Team Leader | Kaiārahi Kapa Mātoro
If you’re planning an overseas trip now the border is open, it pays to check the fine print of your travel insurance policy.
You won’t be covered if you haven’t followed the vaccination and testing requirements for all airlines you’re booked with. Each country you’re planning to visit may have different vaccination and testing rules too.
A spokesperson for the Insurance Council of New Zealand Te Kāhui Inihua o Aotearoa (ICNZ) said it’s the customer’s responsibility to meet any conditions of boarding.
“This has always been the case, for example when needing to turn up with appropriate visas.”
The ICNZ is also warning travellers that insurance policies generally don’t cover government-imposed border closures which may affect whether you can leave or return to New Zealand.
What to ask your travel insurer
Travel insurance should cover risks such as medical events, cancellation and if your luggage has been stolen.
However, policies differ on the level of cover they provide for Covid-19 related events.
ICNZ said travel insurance policies generally won’t cover:
Cancellations because of a government-imposed lockdown.
Costs if the government imposes blanket quarantine.
Travel delays caused by Covid-19.
Border closures due to Covid-19.
Travel to any other country where there is still a ‘do not travel’
alert in place.
Some insurers may offer Covid-19 extensions to policies.
Ask your insurer whether it will cover cancellation costs if you:
Get Covid-19 and can’t travel.
Need to return home if a relative has Covid-19.
Get Covid-19 and must quarantine.
Need to pay for accommodation costs because the person you were
intending to stay with overseas gets Covid-19.
If your leave gets cancelled.
Can’t board due to a positive Covid-19 test at the airport.
Have a close contact with Covid-19 and you can’t travel.
All travel insurance policies have a cooling-off period (which can be anything between 48 hours to 14 days), where you can cancel and get a refund if you haven’t already departed or made a claim. Outside of this period, many insurers won’t offer refunds if you decide the policy isn’t right for you.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs Safe Travel website warns that while some countries have opened their borders to travellers, “any destination could experience a sudden increase in cases of Covid-19”.
This means you’re at greater risk of getting the virus. There is also a chance strict travel restrictions could be suddenly imposed, which means your trip could be for longer than you’d planned.
Your rights when travelling: flights and accommodation
We answer most frequently asked questions related to travel rights.