Top 5 claims - How have they changed?

2023 was a big year travel wise, although this increase in us travelling the globe also meant an increase in travel claims. In February last year we looked at a wrap of the top 5 claims at that time. Not surprisingly, it was Covid-19 (Cancellation, Amendment and Medical) that scooped the top gong.

Now that we have entered 2024, we can ask what are New Zealanders claiming for now and how it has changed since last year? To find out, take a journey with us through our current top claims, because although it might not be so much fun to think about, it is good to understand what can go wrong. We’ve also included some information on what to do if it does and some top tips to help you on your travels.   

Final Top 5 Claims Nov 2023


#1. Medical

Coming in at #1 (up 4 places from #5 in February, 2023) on the list is Medical claims (injury or other illnesses) which covers things like overseas hospital, medical and surgical charges or receiving treatment from medical practitioners. It also includes cover if you have to be brought back to New Zealand as a result of an illness, injury, or disease that occurred on your trip.

How to claim: Wherever possible, either yourself or someone acting on your behalf needs to contact Allianz Partners Emergency Assistance Team to obtain prior approval for treatment or hospitalisation. You can call the 24-hour emergency assistance service (+64 9 486 6868) and will be put directly in touch with a doctor or travel specialist who will be able to assist you and confirm your cover available. You can call collect from anywhere in the world.

Top tip: New Zealand has reciprocal health arrangements with Australia and the United Kingdom. So most often you will be required to seek treatment in these countries from their public health system.

#2. Personal Baggage (lost and damaged items)

Your eyes are glued to the luggage carousel, a bead of sweat forming on your forehead as your flights passengers whittle down, and your precious bag is still not making its dutiful grand entrance.  Unfortunately, temporarily delayed and lost luggage claims are holding firm in the number 2 spot, so we suggest you see our top tip below. 

Did you know? If your Personal Baggage is temporarily lost in transit, firstly, you must notify the airline, bring it to their attention and seek compensation from them. There is a provision to claim for the outcome difference if your personal baggage is not restored to you within 12 hours of the discovery of the loss, and we will reimburse you for the emergency purchase of essential replacement items. We will reimburse you up to NZ$500 after the first 12 hours under the Comprehensive plan and NZ$250 under the Essentials plan.  

Receipts of purchases must be produced to support your claim, including all relevant documentation from the airline.

How to claim: This can be a bit of a curly one to explain as to when luggage becomes ‘lost’. First and foremost though, you must contact and seek compensation from the airline, even if you have travel insurance.

  • If the airline admits to the loss of checked baggage or if the checked baggage had not arrived at the expiry of 21 days from when it was due to arrive, you have the right to seek compensation from the airline under the Montreal Convention of 1999.

  • As of right now, airlines are experiencing unprecedented baggage delays and travel interruptions. When you contact your airline to seek compensation, response times may take longer than anticipated. Please be patient, as you will need documentation of the outcome from the airline before submitting a claim with Allianz Partners.

  • Once you have received an outcome from the airline, if you have not received the total amount you claimed from the airline, you have a provision to claim for the difference. At this point, you should submit a claim with Allianz Partners, inclusive of all the relevant documentation from the airline, detailing what was covered and what was not covered, providing receipts and as much proof of purchase as possible.

Finally, a top tip: Pack your carry-on like your life depends on it. This includes having spare clothes (you can’t go wrong with thin black merino items), medicines, make up, chargers and small washable shoes (we love Allbirds) to keep you going. Lastly, it goes without saying to always keep small valuable items on you. 

#3. Covid-19 (Cancellation, Amendment and Medical)

Not surprisingly, Covid-19 claims relating to catching Covid-19 have slipped from the #1 spot in February 2023 to #3 in 2024. These claims include both international and domestic travellers having to cancel all or part of their trip or having to make amendments to their plans. It also covers if they were diagnosed on their trip and required medical assistance.

Did you know? AA Travel Insurance offers cover for some COVID-related situations^. Both domestic and international options include selected cover for epidemic and pandemic diseases, like COVID-19. So, if you’re diagnosed on your trip and need medical assistance or need to change your plans, you’ll be covered.

#4. Flight/Cruise disruption (due to weather/strike)

If there is a weather disruption beyond the airline’s control, there is a provision to claim for the disruption through your travel insurance, but you must first seek compensation and resolution from the airline. Airlines will work with you so you can rebook and be on the next same class available flight.

If you are unsure and need guidance at any point, you should contact Allianz Partners for advice.

How to claim: First and foremost, you must contact and seek compensation from the airline, even if you have travel insurance. 

  • Once you have received an outcome from the airline, at this point, you can submit your claim to Allianz Partners. 

  • Allianz Partners will require confirmation from the airline of the reason for the delay and the compensation if any was paid. Where an airline is unwilling to provide any compensation, documentation such as a letter or email confirmation from the airline will be required to submit with your claim.

Top tip: Head into these things with an open mind and patience to get the best possible outcome - we get it though, it’s hard to embrace your inner zen when you haven’t slept for several time zones. But you are most likely get the best possible outcome if you are nice to airline staff. 

#5. Airline Operational Requirements

Rounding out our list at #5 is Airline Operational Requirements. This is when a flight is delayed or cancelled by the airline due to a fault of their own, i.e. for mechanical issues or staffing shortages. Again, the onus is on the airline in the first instance to provide you with compensation.

Under Article 19 and 22 of the Montreal Convention of 1999, the traveller has the right to seek compensation from the airline up to 5346 SDR per passenger.

Once the traveller receives an outcome from the airline, if the traveller has not received the total amount they claimed from the airline, the traveller has a provision to claim for the difference.  

At this point, the insured should submit a claim with Allianz Partners, inclusive of all the relevant documentation from the airline, detailing what was covered and what was not covered, providing receipts and as much proof of purchase as possible.

Airlines will work with you so you can rebook and be on the next same class available flight.

AA Travel Insurance

Travel is part of the Kiwi DNA, but even the best laid travel plans can go unexpectedly wrong. That’s why we offer AA Travel Insurance plans - so you can travel a little freer here in NZ or overseas, knowing help is only a phone call away.

With AA Travel Insurance, your trip can be protected from unforeseen cancellation and loss of deposits before you even depart. So, if something happens in the lead-up to your trip, we can be there to help you.

Get a quote

^The policy still has a general exclusion for epidemics and pandemics, and does not cover disinclination to travel due to fear or change of mind. Cover is only provided if you have not commenced your journey against the New Zealand Government’s advice not to travel. There is no cover for lockdowns, changes in government alert levels, quarantine or mandatory isolation applying to a population or part of a population. Please refer to the Policy Wording for full details. 

Our insurance partner

AA Travel Insurance policies are brought to you by the New Zealand Automobile Association Incorporated (AA), are issued and managed by AWP Services New Zealand Limited trading as Allianz Partners and underwritten by The Hollard Insurance Company Pty Ltd ABN 78 090 584 473 (Incorporated in Australia) ("Hollard"). You should consider the Policy Wording before making any decisions about this insurance policy. Terms, conditions, limits, sub-limits and exclusions apply. 

Financial Strength Rating

The Hollard Insurance Company Pty Ltd ABN 78 090 584 473 (Incorporated in Australia), ("Hollard"), has been given a financial strength rating of A (Strong) issued by Standard and Poor's. View the full details on the Financial Strength Rating.

An overseas policyholder preference applies. Under Australian law, if The Hollard Insurance Company Pty Ltd is wound up, its assets in Australia must be applied to its Australian liabilities before they can be applied to overseas liabilities. To this extent, New Zealand policyholders may not be able to rely on The Hollard Insurance Company Pty Ltd’s Australian assets to satisfy New Zealand liabilities.

Financial advice

The New Zealand Automobile Association provides general information about AA Travel Insurance products and services so that you can make a choice that best meets your needs. Information provided does not take into account your personal circumstances, needs or goals and is not intended to be financial advice. If you'd like to receive financial advice, you can get professional advice from a registered financial adviser.