Understanding destination travel warnings before you buy your policy


What is a travel warning?

The New Zealand Government Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) issues travel advisories for destinations. These are published on the SafeTravel website

When the travel advisory is at an ‘Avoid non-essential travel’ (Level 3) or ‘Do not travel’ (Level 4) level, we call this a ‘travel warning’. It is important that you understand how these travel warnings affect your cover, before you purchase your insurance. 

In addition to any MFAT travel warning, it is important to understand what border controls (including visa requirements) may be in place for the destination(s) you are travelling to. This information is generally available through the immigration department of the applicable country. There is no provision for cover if you do not have the correct visa, visa waiver, or documents needed for your journey.


How do travel warnings affect whether I can buy a policy? 

When a country has an ‘Avoid non-essential travel’ or ‘Do not travel’ warning, we may decide to either:

  • sell you a policy, and these will be highlighted in ‘orange’ on our website; or
  • not sell you a policy – these destinations cannot be selected on our website. 

If you cannot select a country, it means we have removed the destination from our website due to the extreme risk that the destination poses to travellers. 


When I purchase a policy, how do travel warnings affect my cover? 

Sometimes just part of a country has a travel warning. For example, MFAT may issue a travel warning for travelling to a specific region or destination in a country. 

When you buy your policy, if the country has a travel warning that affects just part of a country, you will not be covered* for any events that relate to travel warnings in these areas.

Other times the whole country may be affected by the same travel warning. For example, MFAT may advise against travelling to a country that poses risk to visitors. 

When you buy your policy, if the whole country has a travel warning, you will not be covered* for any events that relate to travel warnings, anywhere in that country. 

Other times multiple travel warnings may apply to a country. For example, MFAT may issue an entire country with a travel warning because of kidnapping threats. In addition, a city in that country may be experiencing civil riots which results in MFAT issuing a partial travel warning to that specific area. 

In this example, there would therefore be no cover* for claims that are directly or indirectly related to kidnapping for the entire country, and nor would there be cover* for any claims resulting from events that are directly or indirectly linked to the civil riots in the city that’s referenced in the travel warning. 

To understand how the travel warnings apply to the areas of a country, it’s important to visit the SafeTravel website before you purchase your insurance.


When selecting ‘Worldwide’ as your destination

If you select ‘Worldwide’ as your destination when buying your insurance, it’s very important that you check that the individual countries you are travelling to are safe to visit, on the SafeTravel website

We highlight ‘Worldwide’ orange, because we want you to be aware that some countries around the world are likely to have a partial, or whole country travel warning applying to them. 

When you buy your policy, if a country that you’re visiting or a part of that country has a travel warning, you will not be covered* for any events that relate to travel warnings in that country, or in the areas. 


Get in touch

If you have any questions about travel warnings, please either call us on 0800 800 571 or email info@scti.co.nz for further information. 


*Except for Section D1.6 of our TravelCare policy, Section 1.5 of our Working Overseas policy and Section 1.8 of our International Student policy. Please refer to your policy document for full terms and conditions that apply under our travel insurance policies.