I’ve been researching the best travel insurance policy for our upcoming trip around South East Asia. We’re limited as to what insurers we can use because our travel doesn’t originate in our country of residence. This is a big pain for location independent people. You either need to get insurance for the duration of your travels (expensive) or find an insurer which allows you to buy travel insurance on the road (limited options).
We had a sucky experience trying to make a claim for Lee’s damage iPhone 3 when we were in the US last year. We used State Travel Insurance – one of the major insurance companies in New Zealand. We weren’t able to extend the policy on the road so had to estimate when we thought we’d return to New Zealand. This meant we ended up paying for eight months of insurance when we only ended up needing five. They also had no provision for making claims from overseas and were very difficult to deal with. We know now to choose a more nomad-friendly insurer.
We didn’t buy travel insurance before we left New Zealand. New Zealand and Australia have a recipricol healthcare agreement, meaning that we don’t need to pay for healthcare here in Australia. I discovered this when we travelled here last year and was hospitalised overnight for an asthma attack. The only cost that I incurred was the fee to visit the GP as a unregistered patient (A$50). My entire hospital stay was free. We had travel insurance at this stage and the excess was NZ$100 so there wasn’t anything to claim for. There didn’t seem to be much point paying for travel insurance for the one day we were flying from Christchurch to Brisbane – this would have cost us at least NZ$50.
I’ve only found two insurers that will cover us for travel that doesn’t originate in New Zealand – World Nomads and Travel Insurance Direct. Here’s my comparison between the two. Quotes are for a 64 day trip for two adults and one child.
Travel Insurance Direct (NZ but they also have an Australian branch)
- Underwritten by Lloyd’s
- Coverage for my pre-existing medical conditions (asthma and meniere’s disease)
- NZ$100 excess – reduced to NZ$0 for an additional NZ$25
- Personal effect limit of NZ$700 per item. Sub-limits on laptops, tablets, cameras and video cameras up to NZ$4,000. NZ$20 additional for specifying cover for Lee’s iPhone 4s (NZ$1200 value). A maximum of NZ$24,000 worth of gear can be covered.
- With a bit of googling, I found a 10% discount code online which applies to the base policy but not the extras
- Total policy cost NZ$525 (NZ$477 with 10% discount code)
- NZ$456 (This is coverage for three months. It would have only been $414 if we’d were away three days less i.e. under two months total.)
- Underwritten by Lloyd’s
- No coverage for pre-existing medical conditions
- $100 excess – no opportunity to reduce the excess
- Personal effects limits $250 per item. Specified cover for other items can be added but only up to $1000 per item. A maximum of $3000 worth of gear can be covered.
- Total policy cost $456
Seems like a no-brainer. I bought the Travel Insurance Direct policy. World Nomads is popular with location independent people because it can be bought outside your country of residence, extended and claims made on the road. It also covers lots of adventure-based activities. There coverage for electronics is terrible so unless you’re travelling with a point & shoot camera and a cheap netbook it’s risky to say the least.
I’d love to hear what other nomadic individuals and families do for their travel insurance. Let me know if there are better options out there!