Nick Matthews is one of the Canada team making working holidays in the Great White North a reality for a bunch of Kiwi’s every year! He did a working holiday himself and based himself in Vancouver. Have a read of his take on how to choose a Travel Insurance policy below:

Travel Insurance, it’s one of those things that nobody likes to think about needing, but love it when they do need it. Unfortunately the reality is that bad things do happen and the stress of this is amplified when you’re in a foreign country with no real idea on who to call, what to do or where to go in the event of an emergency. Before I moved overseas I never thought that I would have my phone stolen, break a finger playing American Football or have a family member back in New Zealand pass away, but all of these happened in the short 2 year period that I was overseas and boy was I glad I had insurance!
In my case, I moved to Canada where insurance is compulsory to even be issued the visa so I didn’t have a choice in whether or not I needed to buy insurance, my decision then came down to which policy I needed to purchase. Finding the right insurance policy for you is increasingly difficult simply because of all the jargon that’s used! Product Disclosure Statement, Excess, Single-Trip basis and On-piste were all terms that I had never heard before I started looking into insurance so I’m going to attempt to make this mumbo-jumbo a little easier for everybody reading this to understand.
Product Disclousre Statement
The Product Disclosure Statement (or PDS) is essentially the dictionary for any insurance provider. You should be issued with a PDS prior to purchasing any policy and you will need to read through and make sure you understand this before purchasing anything. Inside the PDS you can find all of the information on what the policy that you are looking at will cover, the amount that you are covered for each inclusion and a list of activities/circumstances that you will not be covered for. I cannot stress enough that you need to make sure that you understand the PDS before making any purchase and if you have any questions, contact the insurance provider or issuing agent – they’re there to help!
What is an excess? Excess is essentially the amount that you will need to pay in the event of a claim. For example if you purchase policy with a $250 excess and you break your leg whilst up on the slopes and need to make a claim for $50,000 in hospital bills, you would need to pay for the first $250 of that $50,000 if the claim is approved.
The options for excess are typically $0, $150 or $250 depending on the provider you are using. The typical rule of thumb is that the higher excess you choose, the lower the total premium will be.
Single Trip
Most travel insurance policies are issued on a ‘single-trip basis’. This means that your ‘single trip’ starts when you leave home, and ends when you return home. I.e. one round trip that ends where it started. Any worldwide travel between leaving home and returning home will be covered. If you choose to return home before your insurance policy end date (e.g. to visit/holiday), this is deemed as ‘completing’ your round trip and your insurance will automatically end. Make sure you understand all of this before planning any visits to your home country!
All my skiing and snowboarding friends out there should know what on-piste means, but I had no clue and I was heading to Canada where I was definitely planning on hitting the snow so I made sure to understand what this meant. Certain insurance policies will cover you for skiing and snowboarding as long as these activities are being performed “on-piste”. This essentially means that you will be covered for the activity as long your skiing/snowboarding is on groomed terrain or marked sloped that are within the designated ski resort boundaries. If your policy covers you for skiing on-piste and you injure yourself skiing outside of the resort boundaries, you won’t be covered.
When you’re purchasing insurance, you need to be thinking about the country that you’re heading to and not the country you’re in, for example I was moving from New Zealand to North America. In New Zealand, I had great medical cover and in the event of an injury I didn’t have to worry too much about filing for bankruptcy to pay it off, however North America is a whole different kettle of fish. The cost for medical care in North America is incredibly high, for example a night in intensive care in New York comes in at a cool $25,000 per night. Most of us don’t have enough money in our savings accounts to cover us if we found ourselves in intensive care so make sure that you take this into account when you’re looking at which policy you would like to purchase.
The two main options for international travel are either basic or comprehensive. These policies cover a lot of the same activities, however the main difference in the policies is how much you are covered for. If your Luggage or Personal Effects got stolen whilst overseas you may be covered for up to $8,000 on a comprehensive policy, or just $3,000 on a basic policy for example.
The “hope for the best, plan for the worst” saying is a great motto to live by when looking into insurance so do your research to ensure that you don’t have anything to worry about while you’re on the trip of a lifetime! Of course – IEP sells a great range of policies so if you are in the market – hit the button below or call 0800 700 705.