A common question we get asked here at Travellers Car Insurance regarding third party insurance is is “Will my belongings be covered if they get stolen from my vehicle?” The answer to this is no they will not. Third party car insurance will only cover you for accidental damage done to property that arises as a result of the use of your vehicle. In other words, if you backed into another vehicle, then your third party car insurance would cover the costs of fixing that vehicle (after you have paid the initial excess, which is $500 with Travellers Car Insurance) but not any damage done to your own. If your vehicle gets broken in to and your iPad, passport and camera are stolen then this is when having travel insurance will apply.

Travel insurance is generally not compulsory when you travel and it may be tempting to think because you are coming to a reasonably safe, first world country such as New Zealand, that you might not need it. It is important to realise that travel insurance will cover you for an array of circumstances that can arise while travelling and it could be money well spent.

Consider that travel insurance is likely (among other things) to cover you for the following:

Cancellation of your trip before you go: It is advisable to purchase travel insurance from the moment that you book your ticket to New Zealand. If a valid reason arises (such as illness, accident or maybe the passing of a relative) and you can no longer depart on your trip then your travel insurance could reimburse you for non-refundable parts of your trip costs. This could include flights and tours you may have booked.

Emergency medical costs: Depending on your nationality, you may not necessarily be eligible to use the New Zealand public health system as a ‘local’s rate’. Your travel insurance could cover these expenses.

Emergency medical evacuation and repatriation: Depending on the severity of your medical illness or injury, your travel insurance may also pay to get you back home.

Baggage: Insurance companies will usually cover the loss or delay of any checked luggage while flying.

Personal Belongings: As mentioned above travel insurance can cover the replacement of your personal belongings. However, keep in mind that the fine print of policies will usually state that you must take reasonable care to look after these belongings. So will you be covered if you leave them in a locked vehicle? Will you be covered if you leave them at the bottom of your backpack in a shared dorm room in a backpackers? What if you daypack gets stolen from a cubby hole while you are enjoying a hot swim in Rotorua?

It might be worth posing some scenarios to a potential travel insurance provider so you are clear on how you need to look after your belongings while you are travelling.

Personal liability: Personal liability is when you accidentally cause injury or damage to others. This usually will not cover injury you might cause to a family member or friend you are travelling with. This excludes when you are driving a car and cause an accident (this is where your car insurance becomes important).

Travel insurance is an expense that should be factored in to your trip in the planning stages. It provides peace of mind when you are travelling for those ‘worst case’ scenarios that rarely happen.

It is important to know you (or your family) will not be burdened with huge bills or expenses. If money is tight then travel insurance could be a fantastic suggestion as a travel gift for you instead of the common camping gear, travel packs and travel guides.

When purchasing Travel insurance it is always worth shopping around and reading the fine print to clearly understand what you are buying. This is especially important when you own expensive smart phones, cameras, laptops or other electronic equipment that may be an easy target for theft. You may need to pay a small amount to upgrade your policy to cover the theft or loss of some of these items.

Scanning and emailing yourself copies of important documents such as your passports could be handy in the event of loss of theft of these documents. It could also be useful to take photos of the contents of your backpack before you travel.

As always with insurance it is important to fill out the form truthfully and accurately as this will assist you if you need to make a claim.