The Things You Need to Know Before Buying Travel Insurance (So Ask These Questions!)
Having proper travel insurance is mandatory for some countries, like doing a working holiday visa for New Zealand. Alternatively, it provides peace of mind if simply visiting a country.
For many travellers, this will be the first time having to deal with an insurer and compare offers. Your travel insurance can cover five main points:
- trip cancellation and interruption
- medical care
- baggage (by the way, check out our packing list in case you forgot anything)
- flight insurance.
Most cover includes some but not all of those points. Here is the list of questions you may want to ask your insurer before purchasing your travel insurance.
1. Where is the insurance company based?
For example, for New Zealand travel insurance, a company based in New Zealand will be able to help you much more efficiently in an emergency than one based in your home country.
2. Who is the underwriting company and are they licensed?
This is an obvious one, New Zealand companies have to be registered and display the underwriter rating. If they don’t, something is fishy.
3. How does the policy define a pre-existing condition?
Pre-existing conditions are usually excluded from your cover or covered at extra costs. Check if that applies to you.
4. Will a pre-existing condition affect your coverage?
If you do have a pre-existing condition listed in your policy wordings, check how much it will affect your cover.
5. Are there any medical exclusions that apply to you?
Some companies may excuse certain procedures, situations or diseases from their coverage. Check if any of the exclusions apply to you.
6. Will you have to pay a deductible/excess? If so, how much?
An excess or deductible is the amount of money per claim that is to be paid by you. Most insurances have one. To help you understand this more, we have put together this guide to How to Choose the BEST Travel Insurance for New Zealand.
7. What is the insurance company’s procedure for handling claims?
This process will have to be made during a stressful situation; you are better off knowing the process beforehand.
8. Do you need approval from the company before seeking medical treatment?
Ask about the process of getting treatment so, in case of emergency, you are prepared.
9. Will the insurance company pay the hospital or physician directly?
In some cases, you may have to pay the full amount yourself and then be reimbursed later by the company.
10. Does the company offering the policy provide a free, 24-hour helpline that you can call in an emergency?
It sounds simple but some of them don’t.
11. Does the policy exclude any sports or activities you plan to do on your trip?
New Zealand offers plenty of awesome activities. The most extreme of them are not covered by your policy. However, the activity provider’s insurance should if you’re going on a guided tour.
12. What if you want to stay longer than originally planned?
Can you extend your policy to cover the extra time you are in a country, and how do you make the necessary arrangements?
13. Once you have signed a policy, can any further changes be made at the insurance company’s discretion without advising you?
For example, can the company revise the policy later and reduce your coverage?
14. When does coverage begin and end?
Some insurances will cover from the day you are leaving your home country, during the whole transit, and then in New Zealand. Travel insurance like OrbitProtect covers you in transit, meaning you can take trips to those nearby Pacific Islands and be covered!
More Questions to Ask Before Buying Travel Insurance
While all of these questions to ask before buying travel insurance are important, you may come up with more questions to ask your insurance provider after you have dived into our other insurance guide:
- How to Choose the BEST Travel Insurance for New Zealand
- New Zealand Working Holiday & Student Insurance: FULL Guide
- How to Pay for Healthcare Services in New Zealand
Finally, for all your questions about visiting New Zealand answered, start with the 31 Tips for Travelling in New Zealand.