Trans-Tasman bubble: Travel insurance won't cover Kiwis stranded in Australia

Kiwis who travel to Australia when the quarantine-free trans-Tasman bubble opens will not be covered by travel insurance policies if an outbreak in either country leaves them stranded.
Stuff understands the Cabinet could decide as soon as Monday to open a quarantine-free bubble with Australia from mid-April.

House of Travel chief operating officer Brent Thomas said the travel agencys insurance provider Allianz Partners will provide a level of cover if an individual or their travel companion contracts Covid-19 before they travel overseas. They will also be covered if they are denied access to a country because they are suspected of having Covid-19, or if theyre unable to continue with their trip due to a Covid-19-related incident.

What the insurance does not provide cover for is if there is a government-enforced lockdown, change in alert levels. In other words, should a border be closed then there is no cover.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern warned Kiwis could get stuck in Australia if an outbreak of Covid-19 closed borders.

* Trans-Tasman bubble expected to start by the middle of April
* Trans-Tasman travel bubble: Why it's the right time to start
* Jacinda Ardern warns Kiwi travellers could get stuck when the trans-Tasman bubble opens

Flight Centres insurance provider CoverMore is also offering travellers to Australia cover for some Covid-19-related scenarios but, again, travellers will be on their own if they find themselves stuck.

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said insurance companies are unlikely to cover Kiwis stranded in Australia.

For a state-wide lockdown you're unfortunately not covered yet, she said. This means stranded travellers would have to fork out for extra accommodation costs and changes to flights themselves.

The CoverMore policy covers travellers if they are diagnosed with Covid-19 before or during their journey, if they need to isolate because they are a close contact of a Covid-19 case, if the person they are set to stay with contracts the virus, or if their paid accommodation closes because of an outbreak. A range of other Covid-related scenarios are also covered.

It is always worth thoroughly checking any insurance policy as not all scenarios are covered, she said.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern warned on Thursday that travellers could get stuck in Australia when the bubble opens.

This is why we take so seriously the planning and protocols we need to put in place because Australia is dealing with the equivalent of one state, New Zealand, and we're dealing with multiple.

And that means there is a chance we could have an outbreak that could cause a pause in travel, and we need to put in place protocols to manage that. And we also need to put in place forewarning to people that may occur.

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins told media insurance companies were unlikely to cover coronavirus cancellations so would have to build that into their thinking.

The Government is unlikely to be in a position where were providing compensation to people who are stranded in Australia because of suspension of the Green Zone (travel bubble), said Hipkins.

Travellers to Australia will need to be able to support themselves financially if they are stranded.

One of the things people will need to be aware of when they travel to Australia is if they are stranded they will have to be able to support themselves.

The Flight Centre spokesperson said many airlines, hotels and tourism operators are happy for customers to postpone if their plans are disrupted by Covid-19.

Always make sure youre carefully checking the booking details in case plans change, and have a chat to a travel expert about flexible options that will allow to you cancel risk-free close to the travel date.


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