New Zealand’s Southern Cross Travel Insurance (SCTI) has announced the launch of a new International Medical Only travel insurance product.

The product is designed for “the more budget-conscious traveller who is looking [only] for medical expenses cover for their overseas adventures”.

SCTI said that it is intended to serve as an alternative to its International Comprehensive policy, but without features such as coverage for cancellations and lost luggage.

The company acknowledged that for some New Zealanders, the temptation to save money on insurance was balanced by a desire not to risk being caught abroad with no insurance for medical incidents.

“While a small number of travellers think they can get away without taking out comprehensive insurance, many New Zealand travellers underestimate the potential costs associated with common travel mishaps,” said Jo McCauley, CEO of SCTI. “From trips and slips outside a restaurant to piercing a foot playing a quick game of football, what seems like something small can end up costing thousands of dollars in medical costs.

“As we were looking into what travellers need and want from insurers, it became increasingly clear that younger travellers (under 30) are more likely to take the risk of travelling with no insurance to save money. We’re also seeing an increasing reliance of older travellers (65 plus) on credit card travel insurance, which might not offer all the protection they need,” she added.

SCTI has been warning of the potential for simple mishaps to generate major medical bills.

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