Safe, not sorry…

Life is full of risks – insurance can help protect against them. Do you buy travel insurance when travelling overseas?

If not, you risk financial and physical catastrophe. If you do, do you really understand the terms of the policy? Have they been explained to you by a broker?

Perhaps you bought the policy on line. As they say, ‘the devil is in the detail’; true from a legal perspective.

What an insurance policy actually means is only truly tested when a claim is made. Even for a lawyer, many travel insurance policies are not easy to understand. What is covered – physical disability, financial loss, missed and bumped flights, and so on?  What are the limitations and exclusions to that cover?

Making sense of what you have bought can be a struggle. The website, safetravel.govt.nz/travel-insurance is helpful on travel offshore as is the Consumer Institute guide to travel insurance, consumer.org.nz.

Double insurance can be an issue. For example, credit card insurance is often available or built in when travel is booked using the appropriate premium credit card. There are
two issues here. The first is how credit card insurance compares with single or multi trip travel insurance: particular points to note are the type of coverage, whether pre-existing
medical conditions are included and excess levels, all of which may be less favourable than single trip cover.

The second is how more than one policy fits with the others. There can be complicated issues concerning double insurance – which policy covers which risk and when and to what extent contributions (if any) between insurers are dealt with.

While some insurance is better than no insurance, there can be complexities when claims are made as to the level of cover, excesses and the general relationship between the policies. For example, if there are two policies one may require that the insured person first claims against the other policy which may have the same exclusion, leading to issues of double insurance and contribution as between insurers.

It’s best to have one comprehensive insurance policy with a reputable insurer. There are a number of websites which are helpful but tend to concentrate on pricing more than detailed content. Travel insurance policies are necessary but complicated and require careful review.

  • Supplied by Wynyard Wood consultant, RICHARD OSBORNE, whose specialties include commercial law and intellectual property law, writes on issues concerning the business community.