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ICNZ explains travel cover ahead of possible trans-Tasman bubble

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The Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ) has issued an advisory on how travel insurers have responded to the coronavirus pandemic ahead of a potential trans-Tasman travel bubble with Australia.

ICNZ says at present policies won’t cover for cancellations to travel caused by government-imposed lockdowns, costs incurred from blanket quarantine issued by governments and travel delays arising from COVID-19.

Border closures due to COVID and travel to any other countries where there is still a “do not travel” alert in place are excluded as well.

“Insurers have constantly looked at ways to support their customers for the day the travel bubble becomes a possibility, introducing tailored policies that provide cover for a range of COVID-19 related claims,” ICNZ CEO Tim Grafton said.

“In addition to the normal travel insurance cover, some policies may include cover for specific COVID-19 claims such as cancellation costs if you contract COVID-19 and can’t travel, costs to return home if a relative gets sick with COVID-19 or costs if you get sick with COVID-19 and need to quarantine while overseas.

“Some also cover reasonable costs if the person you are supposed to stay with gets COVID-19 and you need to find alternative accommodation.

“However as discussed… border closures imposed by a government are not covered by any insurer as it is simply not possible to develop a product that accounts for the uncertainty and the level of risk this presents.

“Insurers and customers need certainty of the exact dates and times borders open or close so that they know when cover is available and when it is not.”

ICNZ says it is still important for travellers to buy insurance for protection. It says travellers should read through policies thoroughly and ask insurers about what is and what isn’t included.

“Travel insurance is still available to purchase and offers cover for a variety of unforeseen events as outlined in individual policies – such as a broken leg, theft or lost baggage or the impacts of a significant weather event.”