Travel insurance suggestions?
October 6, 2006 4:20 PM   Subscribe

Travel insurance advice requested for an extended trip to New Zealand.

We're looking for a reputable place to get travel insurance for our several week (8) trip from the US to New Zealand. Our primary concern is medical coverage, but any plan that offers additional coverage for personal effects / electronics (laptop, cameras, etc.) would be good too. There seem to be a lot of websites out there, but we're not sure how to check the reliability of a company. Right now we're between:

World Nomad (underwritten by BCS insurance), suggested by Lonely Planet's website. They seem pretty affordable, about $145 for 2 months, and cover personal items as well as medical. Has anyone heard anything +/- about this company?

International Medical Group (IMG) is another option offered through AAA, but they seem to be only for medical, and had limitations on what activities they covered.

There are so many companies and options out there, just wondering if anyone had any experience or advice to offer?

Thanks!
posted by sarahmelah to Travel & Transportation around New Zealand (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Ask your bank, just to be sure. My bank offers fantastic travel insurance, for both health and your stuff. You might also have some sort of stuff insurance through your house/renter's insurance - talk to them and find out. You should probably have a separate rider for your laptop anyway, and your camera if it's a professional or very expensive model.
posted by joannemerriam at 6:37 PM on October 6, 2006


I used insuremytrip.com for several extended stays in Hong Kong (coming from the US) for my employees. One got sick on the trip, and had to use the policy, and everything went fine. I recommend calling and speaking to the customer service agents though, they were also quite helpful.

Plus: previously
posted by extrabox at 8:17 PM on October 6, 2006


I don't know if I can recommend to you any travel insurance company but I just wanted to offer a word of caution. In New Zealand, you cannot sue for personal injury. They have an Accident Compensation Corporation which provides no-fault compensation for NZ-resident accident victims only. There is no personal injury protection for tourists. You are able to sue for exemplary (i.e. punitive) damages in the event that a duty of care was severely breached but the NZ Courts have never been generous with such damage claims.

So just be careful with your insurance - especially if you are on an adventure holiday.
posted by zaebiz at 9:06 PM on October 6, 2006


zaebiz: They have an Accident Compensation Corporation which provides no-fault compensation for NZ-resident accident victims only. There is no personal injury protection for tourists.

This is incorrect. Short-term visitors to NZ are covered by ACC, but compensation does not extend to loss of earnings outside New Zealand.

From the AA website:

Visitors are covered by the Government-run scheme for personal injury by accident. Claims may be lodged with the Accident Compensation and Rehabilitation Insurance Corporation (ACC) irrespective of fault. Some medical/hospital expenses and physical disability compensation are covered, but not loss of earnings outside New Zealand. Actions for damages may not be brought, and personal travel insurance should therefore cover accidents. Medical services are not free. Accident care is subsidised. ACC does not cover any medical treatment relating to illness.
posted by Sonny Jim at 6:51 PM on October 7, 2006


This is incorrect. Short-term visitors to NZ are covered by ACC, but compensation does not extend to loss of earnings outside New Zealand.

This in no way contradicts what I said. This means short-term visiting accident victims are put up in a hospital and given treatment until their visa runs out. For example - if you become paraplegic and are unable to work for the rest of your life as a result of a bungy jumping accident owing to negilgence of the operator, you cannot sue the operator for the personal injury costs. You can sue for exemplary damages but will just be large enough to "punish" the operator, not to cover your injury.

From the ACC website :
If you’re injured during your visit to our country, ACC can help with the cost of treatment and support you need while you are here in New Zealand. However, you can’t sue for personal injury – ACC replaces that right.

Basically if you have a life-changing accident in New Zealand, they'll get you to a hospital but you will be completely on your own when you get back home.
posted by zaebiz at 1:42 AM on October 8, 2006


zaebiz, I totally agree with you that any visitor to New Zealand—particularly those looking to participate in adventure tourism—should know about the inability to sue for personal injury under New Zealand law.


However, you said: 'They have an Accident Compensation Corporation which provides no-fault compensation for NZ-resident accident victims only. There is no personal injury protection for tourists'.


I was just pointing out that tourists are eligible for some forms of compensation under ACC—particularly, medical treatment for accident-related injuries within New Zealand, and some (limited) physical disability compensation. Your post, I thought, implied that non-NZ residents were not eligible for any form of accident-related compensation at all.


But, yeah, as you say, the particularities of NZ personal injury law make a decent travel insurance policy pretty much mandatory for visitors.
posted by Sonny Jim at 2:40 PM on October 8, 2006


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