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Travel insurer reveals hit to pocket with pre-holiday illness

The list of most expensive domestic claims from New Zealand’s leading travel insurer is a reminder to purchase travel insurance as soon as a trip is booked – the highest claims came from customers who hadn’t yet packed their bags. Southern Cross Travel Insurance has revealed the ten most expensive domestic travel insurance claims paid to customers since launching the policy a year ago, with eight of them for a cancelled trip due to injury or illness. Sitting at the top of the list is a claim for $16,274, paid to a customer from Auckland who had to cancel a Fiordland cruise after developing a respiratory infection.

A traveller from Christchurch also had to cancel a cruise around Fiordland after their mother suffered a stroke – Southern Cross paid out $11,324 for this claim. Several other high claims on the list were for cancelled holidays after customers incurred hip, knee and leg injuries.

Southern Cross Travel Insurance CEO Jo McCauley said these claims show that holidays in New Zealand can be as expensive, if not more, than heading overseas, and demonstrates why travel insurance is just as important for trips closer to home. “Interestingly, people commonly purchase insurance because they want to be covered while they’re away on holiday, but our most expensive claims are proof that the unexpected can happen beforehand, regardless of whether you’re travelling domestically or abroad. Unfortunately this can have a serious hit to your pocket if you don’t have travel insurance. The majority of our customers who’ve had to cancel their holiday due to injury or illness have been older travellers. As we age, we become more susceptible to health concerns so it’s particularly important for older people to be covered,” said McCauley.

Southern Cross’ top 10 most expensive domestic travel insurance claims paid:

1. An 80-year-old from Auckland had to cancel their Fiordland cruise after suffering a respiratory tract infection (claim paid – $16,274)

2. A 57-year-old from Wellington had to cancel their Fiordland cruise after a family member suffered a stroke (claim paid – $11,324)

3. An 80-year-old from Christchurch had to cancel their Southland train tour after fracturing their leg (claim paid – $10,168)

4. An 84-year-old from Napier had to cancel their Chatham Islands tour after suffering a hip injury (claim paid – $10,100)

5. A 62-year-old from Lower Hutt had to cancel their Milford and Routeburn hikes due to a heart condition (claim paid – $9,160)

6. A 75-year-old from Christchurch had to cancel their Chatham Islands trip due to a heart condition. This was declared as a pre-existing condition and covered under their policy (claim paid – $6,300)

7. A 47-year-old from Auckland had to claim for a rental car damaged in an accident while driving in Christchurch (claim paid – $4,200)

8. A 71-year-old from Hawkes Bay had to cancel their hike in Hollyford after suffering a knee injury (claim paid – $4,024)

9. A 32-year-old from Christchurch had to claim after a stone caused a chip in a rental vehicle’s windscreen while driving around the South Island (claim paid – $3,544)

10. A 72-year-old from Auckland had to cancel their South Island tour due to suffering osteoarthritis. This was declared as a pre-existing condition and covered under their policy (claim paid – $3,516)

*Calculation based on:

$134.02 – Non-member rate with two adults aged 40 years-old and two dependent children, four days cover ($100 excess selected).
**SCTI does not charge an excess under its rental vehicle excess benefit. The maximum cover is $6,000 per paying person.