Domestic travel insurance and why you need it

Travel Insurance, you should never leave home without it.  Given the events of the last few weeks, you could be forgiven if you feel like stepping out the door is a bit dangerous.  Even staying indoors has it’s challenges.  Most people understand the need for travel insurance when you travel overseas.

Well, except the UK couple who worked seven days a week for their trip and didn’t have travel insurance when they got angry about mother nature upsetting their plans in Kaikoura.

I have to question who travels half way around the world with their kids and doesn’t have travel insurance?  You know they’re going to end up at the doctor at some point, either tripping over something or catching a local bug they haven’t been exposed to before. 

What people don’t always appreciate is traveling nationally, they should also be looking at having travel insurance too.

Not so much about the loss of luggage and damage or theft of personal items, your contents cover at home will often cover most of these situations though you need to check specifics in your policy document.  It is more about the disruption of travel. 

Evacuation, additional accommodation, travel costs and plain old availability/loss of deposits issues.  Medical treatment etc. isn’t so much the challenge either, you’re in your home country, just in a different place.

With the events in Kaikoura and Wellington; loss of deposits, evacuation costs and further accommodation and travel costs would be likely claims.  Being stuck in an area that has been significantly damaged and cut off from the rest of the world can get expensive quickly.

Yes, emergency services have mobilised to assist, but that took a few days, and it’s likely most events you need to claim for won’t be as extreme as we have seen in Kaikoura and Wellington.  However, this event has shown just how quickly areas of our beautiful country can be cut off from the rest of the world.

Gisborne on the East Coast is a good example.  Flooding and slips in the winter often restrict road travel in the region.  I’ve had several flights into Gisborne disrupted because of either local or Auckland weather conditions, restricting the flights of smaller aircraft. 

The big ones don’t get grounded nearly as often.  Road travel into and out of the East Coast region including Napier and Hastings often have their challenges in the winter.

The point is we’re dealing with the unexpected.  I was on the Gold Coast recently, yes at Dream World the day before four visitors were killed on the ride.  While tragic and clearly not something you consider when you go to a theme park if you read the ticket conditions of entry it says, "The Company takes all reasonable steps to provide you with a safe and enjoyable park.

However 'The Company' will not be liable for any person in respect of any loss of or damage to the personal property of, or the loss of life or personal injury to, any person, whether that loss, damage or personal injury is caused by any person's negligence (including the negligence of The Company) or otherwise". 

This exclusion of liability does not apply to liability which cannot by law be contracted out of, for example, because of the Trade Practices Act.

My point in raising this; the people involved in this tragedy were locals, yes there was a Kiwi involved, but they all lived in Australia.  They weren’t international tourists, and they probably wouldn’t have thought too hard about travel insurance for a trip up to the theme parks.  It’s just a drive/flight up the road.

If you are traveling for business, like I used to with 130 flights per year, or you’re taking a well-earned break somewhere else in the country, consider your risks and put some good travel insurance in place to ensure you’re not disrupted or inconvenienced more than you need to be when things don’t go to plan.

Extra costs can be significant; they don’t have to come out of your own pocket.  With a well-advised travel plan, either for the trip or if you travel regularly away from home, annual plans, you can minimise the unexpected costs.

At Willowgrove Consulting we consult specialists in their respective areas to ensure our clients get the right answers for their risk management and financial services needs.  Our people understand and can cover most situations. However, when specialist advice is needed we engage the subject matter expert to ensure we don’t have surprises with you having surprises.

Jon-Paul (J-P) Hale is Director of Willowgrove Consulting Limited with 15 years of financial services experience and five years operating and advising. PAA (Professional Adviser Association) Finalist for Insurance Adviser of the Year 2016 and PAA New Insurance Adviser of the Year 2015.  Email him for more information or phone him on 09 215 8998 and secure your peace of mind today.


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