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Travel insurance and cancellation cover

When does travel insurance actually cover for delays and cancellation?

Many travellers misunderstand that their travel insurance covers them for all cancelled or missed travel arrangements, which is not the case. A large proportion of all travel insurance claims are for cancellations or travel delay, but the majority of these claims are denied because of exclusions set within the policy.

So when are you covered?

Missed flights/transport
If you can prove that you left enough time to make your flight (around 6 hours), and there was no other way for you to get the airport (perhaps a road might have closed, and trains weren’t running) then you would be covered by travel insurance for the cost of the flight.

Flight cancellations
Flights cancelled because of bad weather or airlines strikes are covered.

Pre-booked hotels and accommodation
If you cancel or delay your pre-booked accommodation because of an unforseen circumstance that is covered by travel insurance, you will be reimbursed for any fees or money you might lose out on.

Extreme events
Natural disasters, hijacking, and civil unrest which affect travel arrangements are all covered if you bought your policy before the events happened.

Severe sickness or severe injury
If you are too unwell, or injured to start your holiday, or if you become ill while overseas, travel insurance will cover you for medical fees and evacuation. You must get written proof from a doctor and your illness cannot be from a pre-existing medical condition.

Death or severe sickness of a relative
If a close family relative (your travelling companions spouse, defacto partner, parent, parent in law, daughter, son, daughter in law, son in law, brother, sister, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, grandchild, grandparent, step-parent, step-son, step-daughter, fiancé, fiancée, guardian) suddenly becomes ill or dies you will be covered for your emergency travel arrangements to get home. There are restrictions to this benefit - the relative cannot be over 85, the illness or death cannot be because of a pre-existing medical condition (e.g. if they were sick when you left for holiday you wouldn’t be covered) and your relative must live in New Zealand.

Frequent flyer points
If your flight is cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances some insurers will reimburse you the monetary value for loss of frequent flyer points that you might have used to pay for your flight.

Disruption of journey
If your transport is delayed more than 6 hours, travel insurance will reimburse any food or alternative accommodation you might need to purchase.

Alternative transport
If your transport is cancelled and you need to get to a pre-booked event such as a wedding, your alternative transport arrangements will be paid by travel insurance.

In order to have a successful claim for any of the above, you will need to provide written proof of cancelled flights, delays or loss, and prove to the insurer that you have done everything reasonable to avoid delay expenses.

When are you not covered for cancellations?

Flight cancellations
Mechanical faults, overbooking, maintenance, repairs, rescheduling, service faults or the airlines closing down are not covered by travel insurance as it is seen as the airlines responsibility to reimburse.

Missed flight and missed connecting flights
If you’re late and miss a flight or another connection you are not covered as it’s your responsibility to leave enough time to get to the airport.

I decided not to go on holiday
If you cancel your trip because you changed your mind, travel insurance will not cover this.

Cancelled annual leave
If your employer cancels your annual leave you are not covered by travel insurance as your employer should take responsibility.

If you’re unwell
If a doctor has advised you not to travel, and you do not cancel your trip you are not covered.

Exams
If you cannot make your trip suddenly because you have to take an exam, travel insurance does not reimburse for this cancellation reason.

Under booking
If your pre-booked tour is cancelled due to under booking this is not covered by travel insurance as it’s the tour operator’s responsibility to reimburse you.

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