New Zealand is a long way away from most places, so we reckon it’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to travel insurance. Making sure you’re covered for any mishaps when you’re away from home means that you’re doing everything you can to ensure your ‘trip of a lifetime’ is as smooth (and enjoyable!) as possible. It’s a small price to pay for a bit of peace of mind.
New Zealand Healthcare System
We are pretty lucky down here in New Zealand; not only do we live in the most beautiful country in the world (ok, we may be a bit biased but that doesn’t mean we’re wrong!), we also have a great healthcare system. This means everybody has the right to healthcare; it doesn’t matter where you’re from or whether you have health insurance or not. In New Zealand, we don’t sue people when we have an accident, instead the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) will help pay for medical costs and care – even for our overseas guests, since we are a hospitable bunch. Although our healthcare system is top notch, it is not free and ACC doesn’t cover everything – like delayed flights, travel home and loss of income at home – so we reckon you should cover yourself with insurance to save a lot of hassle.
Do I need insurance for New Zealand?
You don’t legally need to get insurance to come to visit us in New Zealand, unless you’re travelling for longer than two years. But in a practical sense, we strongly recommend that yes, you most definitely do! Compared to the price of your whole holiday, paying a little bit more for insurance isn’t much at all and could save you a whole lot of cash in the long run, especially if you encounter something unexpected (and no we are not talking about a certain Hobbit’s unexpected journey).
What insurance should I get for New Zealand?
We recommend everybody invests in travel insurance for their New Zealand vacation – no matter what country you’re from. A good travel insurance policy covers almost everything – medical costs, theft, travel delay, lost luggage and even deportation.
We are one of the safest holiday destinations on the planet, which adds to our attraction, but we are also the adventure capital of the world with heaps of fun outdoor activities, and accidents occasionally do happen – and when they do, travel insurance will cover your medical costs, including rehabilitation and income loss, home and away. Make sure you double-check the details with your provider because some of the more risky activities may not be covered.
There are also things that happen, through no fault of your own, when you are travelling; imagine if your luggage gets lost; that’s all your stuff and you’re so far from home – what will you do? Unfortunately, travel insurance can’t magically summon your bags but it can do the next best thing: pay you out an agreed amount so you can buy some essentials to tie you over until your bags turn up. It’s hard enough losing something of sentimental value like your engagement ring or your Grandmother’s necklace, so make sure you pop your pricier items like jewellery or electronics on your policy so you at least get replacement value.
New Zealand health insurance for visitors is available - and in some cases mandatory – for people on specific visas like a two-year working or student visa.
You should make sure your travel insurance includes cover for cancellation. Sometimes events out of our control mean we have to postpone or even cancel travel plans and you can get insurance to cover this. This could be something that happens to you or a family member, not something we want to think about a lot but it can happen. We recommend you get cancellation cover from the time you book your New Zealand trip, so you're covered for deposits or air tickets from that point.
Many credit card companies offer free travel insurance as part of signing up. While on the surface this may seem like good value, it always pays to check exactly what you are and are not covered for. Sometimes, credit card companies only offer the real basics of travel insurance, and you may have a large excess or not be insured for certain situations.
Often, friends and family will have recommendations of good travel insurance providers they have used in the past, or a quick Google search will give you some options. Get prepared well before you board the plane because it’s likely you won’t be covered or will have to pay more money if you’ve already left home.
Do people from all other countries need insurance for New Zealand?
Because Aussies are allowed to live and work here, we often get asked: Do Australians need health insurance in New Zealand? New Zealand and Australia have a mutual agreement that lets you get treatment if you if you really need help, plus you get some pharmacy benefits, but it is better to be safer than sorry, especially when it comes to your health. We recommend getting travel insurance that covers medical before you make your trip across the ditch. We have a similar agreement with our UK cousins, but there are many costs that aren’t covered within it, so making sure you’ve got your travel insurance to New Zealand sorted if you’re from the UK will save you a lot of money.
There is no mutual health treatment agreement in place with America or Europe – sorry guys! – so travel insurance is most definitely something you need to tick off your to-do list.
When it comes to lost luggage, left, accidents or delayed flights, no one is totally safe, no matter if you’re one of our Aussie mates or USA comrades. Wherever you’re from, we want you to have the best New Zealand experience, so have a chat with you insurance provider to sort out a policy that covers everything you need to put your mind at ease while on your once-in-a-lifetime vacation ‘down-under.’