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Travel insurance terms you need to know

There is nothing in this world like the excitement that comes with travelling. Whether you’re into intrepid vacations in exotic locations or low-key chilling on golden sand beaches (with margaritas in hand of course!), travelling is the ultimate experience for lovers of life. Of course, things go wrong abroad just as much as they hit the fan at home, and when you’re travelling in foreign lands you’ve got to be prepared for the worst. The best way to ensure a happy ending when travelling is by arming yourself…with travel insurance! You’ll meet people who swear by it and others who think it’s a complete waste of money. Doing your own research will help you determine whether or not travel insurance is important for you. Personally, we wouldn’t think of leaving the country without it! But read on to see exactly what you need to know when you’re considering getting travel insurance.

Do I really need travel insurance?

Travel insurance is a personal choice, but whether or not you think positively in life, you can guarantee that you will, at some time or another, run into trouble while you’re travelling overseas.

From sprained ankles, to stolen suitcases, and burst appendixes to literal shipwrecks, everyone who’s adventurous has a harrowing horror story to tell about their travels. These things happen, these things have happened! And without travel insurance, you’re in it deep. Here are just a few examples of what travel insurance can save you from overseas:

  • Medical bills
  • Property replacement
  • Flight changes
  • Specialised medical treatments
  • Body recovery
  • Flight refunds
  • Cancellation partial refunds
  • Emergency evacuations
  • Lost luggage

Travel insurance may not be the most exciting part of planning a trip, but it’s certainly a necessary precaution when travelling overseas!

Know your terms and conditions

Reading some travel insurance policies can be a challenge – it’s so easy to get lost in the jargon! We’ve complied the most common phrases you’ll come across on your “travel insurance journey”! Once you’re able to understand the terms and fine print of your travel insurance policy, you’ll be better prepared when something goes wrong during your travels.

Please keep in mind that these phrases and definitions are illustrative and do not include actual wording from policies as the wording can differ company to company. Consult with your trusted travel insurance provider for more clarity if you’re still unsure about some of the terminology. They’re there to help you!

The ABCs of travel insurance

Accident or accidental

An unexpected, unforeseeable event causing loss that can happen while you're on a trip covered by your policy.


Any type of lodging in which you stay overnight and pay a fee to do so.

Additional expenses

Additional accommodation and transportation expenses as a result of events such as sickness, natural disasters, loss of travel documents and strikes.

Amendment or cancellation costs

Cost of rearranging or cancelling your journey because of unforeseen circumstances outside your control such as illness, accidents and extreme weather conditions.


The person who receives compensation from your insurance policy in the event of your death.


Benefits are what your insurance provider gives you according to the terms of your policy.


A request for payment in accordance with your insurance policy.

Cover or coverage

This is the extent of protection afforded by your policy.

Current Market Value

The amount of money an item would bring if sold in the current local market. This is based on what it could be sold for in its present state, the original cost, and its current condition and age.


Harm or injury to property or a person, resulting in loss of value or the impairment of usefulness.


The original value minus a reasonable rate determined by the age of the item

Emergency Medical Care

This includes anything that constitutes an emergency. It does not include any type of regular, foreseeable medical care or needs.


An endorsement is any special condition listed on your policy.


If you have an excess on your policy, this is an amount you have to first pay towards a claim.

Existing Medical Condition

Conditions where you've received treatment by a medical practitioner.


'Home' means your usual place of residence in New Zealand.


Costs associated with an event, such as an injury or accident, which are not directly related to the event.


An injury is anything which harms you that occurs by accidental or violent means that is covered by your policy.


'Journey' means the period you're covered for commencing at the time you leave your home and ceasing at the time you return to your home.

Luggage and personal affects

Any personal item owned by you and carried with you on a trip during your period of cover including, but not limited to: clothing, personal jewelry, personal computer, electrical devices or portable equipment.

Medically necessary

Any medical treatment that is needed, is consistent with the symptoms you display, and can safely be provided. It does not include any procedure that's done simply for convenience.

Natural disaster

This is any event caused by nature and not by any human activity. This can typically include earthquakes, storms, bushfires and floods.

Overseas medical expenses

Overseas hospital, surgical nursing, ambulance and emergency dental expenses.

Period of cover

The time period during which your policy covers your travel.

Personal Liability

Personal Liability meaning the party or parties involved are solely responsible for any debts accumulated.


This is cash or credit that can be given to you as reimbursement according to the terms of your policy.

Rental car insurance excess

Excess charges for damage to or theft of a rental car while in your control.

Resumption of journey benefit

Cost to resume your travels if you had to return home due to a sudden serious injury, sickness, disease or death of a relative or business partner.

Sudden illness or serious injury

An illness or injury that occurs during your period of cover which necessitates treatment by a health professional.

Travel delay

Scheduled transport that is delayed.


The term reasonable when associated with an expense or cost refers to what is usual, needed and lives up to the standards of the travel you reserved.


An unforeseen circumstance is one that was out of your control and can include an illness, an accident, cancelled flights, or a natural disaster.

Please remember that this advice is quite general in nature and that you should consult with your insurance provider to get tailored help.

Travel insurance hacks

Before you purchase a new policy we’ve got some insurance hacks to help you get the most bang for your buck.

First things first, the good news.

You may already have travel insurance! If you have a credit card, a bank account or home and life insurance, check the fine print on your documentation as some of these things come with travel insurance perks!

Vaccination Nation

Before you do any kind of travelling make sure you have all of the vaccinations recommended to you by your doctor. If you get struck down by a random virus (Bird Flu!) your insurance company may not pay out for your medical cover if you didn’t take the proper precautions before travelling.

Value your valuables

You’re pretty important but your valuables are too! Know the difference between baggage and electronics. The term ‘baggage’ refers only to your actual bags and everyday items, such as clothing. Electronics and valuables are in an entirely separate section in your policy. Keep in mind that many companies won’t pay out if you don’t have proof of purchase. Keep hold of those pesky receipts, and if they’re long gone, make sure you take photos of serial numbers and bank statements and save them to your email.

Always get a police report

It’s super important that you report any relevant incidents to the police within 24 hours of their occurrence. Many travel insurance companies will not pay out if you don’t have a police report within a certain time frame.

Daredevils Beware

There are policies for the adventurous among us to add additional cover if they’re taking part in sports or activities that put them at a higher level of risk. This includes winter and extreme sports, long distance hiking or cycling, and everything else that’s dangerous in between. Check your policy for full listing of sports coverage.

If you’re still confused about any terminology be sure to get in touch! We’re here to help you get the right cover!