Holiday horror stories

Ryan Boyd
Holiday horror stories

While most holidays are unforgettable for the right reasons, from accidents and illness to travel disruptions, the list of things that can and do go wrong while travelling is long.

Here are a few real-life tales of Kiwis who found out the hard way the importance of having travel insurance.


Extended stay in Swiss ski resort

A Kiwi man tore a calf muscle skiing on his last day at a Switzerland ski resort. He was hospitalised for 2 days and required medical scans and an early return to New Zealand.

The man and his wife had to move to alternative accommodation close to the hospital and fly back to New Zealand in business class the moment the man was certified fit to fly.

As he was only able to move around on crutches, neither he nor his wife could manage their luggage on the trains in Europe (2x suitcases of 30kg each, plus 2 additional bags containing their ski equipment), so private transfers had to be arranged for them.

Thankfully his insurance covered this, along with the medical expenses, additional accommodation, business class tickets home to New Zealand, and a refund of their cancelled accommodation and travel tickets.

Total claim: $31,800

Snow accident


Illness stops holiday before it begins

Sometimes it’s something that happens before a holiday that can ruin your plans.

A Kiwi family had to cancel their long awaited 10-day trip to Fiji as their 8 year old came down with chicken pox 4 days prior to departure.

They wouldn’t postpone the trip as it was planned for the school holidays and the recovery period for chicken pox can be a substantial number of days.

As the family cancelled their trip shortly before departure, full cancellation fees were charged by airlines and hotel resort.

Total claim: $6,750


A short trip across the ditch turns in to a month long stay

A couple were only planning a short weekend trip to Australia to attend a wedding. They were hesitant to take comprehensive insurance for such a short trip.

What could go wrong?

On the morning of their second day in Brisbane, whilst driving on the motorway a truck changed lanes without seeing them in his blind spot. The back wheel of the truck clipped the car, spinning it out of control. The car flipped and the woman was badly injured.

On arrival at hospital, her x-rays confirmed a broken leg and punctured lung. She spent 8 days in hospital, but was not fit to fly until her lung had healed.

The couple’s 3-day trip turned into a 4-week stay in Australia, with costly additional expenses.

Total Claim: $11,623


One wrong step leads to a long path of recovery

A Kiwi woman embarked on a solo 8 week journey to Europe that included a famous walking tour in northern Spain. Unfortunately, while walking she tripped over a cobblestone and fractured her leg and knee in several places.

She was admitted to the nearest hospital for emergency surgery and had to remain there for a few days to recover.

Her recovery was slow and after 10 days, the surgeon realised she would require a second operation due to the complex fracture.

She was transferred to Madrid for the second operation and had to remain in Spain for another 3 weeks until she was certified fit to fly.

During the rehab process, it was discovered that the second operation was not successful and her insurance agency’s emergency assistance team insisted she be repatriated back to New Zealand as fast as possible to ensure she received suitable medical treatment and further surgery in New Zealand.

However, she was not able to travel alone. Her policy provided cover for a relative to escort her on her flight back to New Zealand, so one of her relatives travelled to Spain to assist her with her journey home.

A truly horrific ordeal, but at least she was upgraded to business class as her leg had to be elevated throughout her flight.

Total Claim: $172,357


Natural disasters

A couple along with their 7 other family members had planned their April 2015 holiday to Vanuatu months in advance to celebrate a milestone birthday. Cyclone Pam struck just weeks before they were scheduled to leave.

The storm wiped out the only bridge to their accommodation and there was still no power, water, or enough food supply to much of the area.

Given these health and safety factors, it was clearly not a place to travel with a family.

Luckily they had taken insurance that covered natural disasters, and the flights and accommodation for all 9 people were refunded.

Total claim: $16,040


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