Travel Insurance New Zealand

Two people in hiking gear stand on top of a mountain which overlooks other snow-capped mountains surrounding a lake.
Credit: Matt Champlin, Getty Images

Ah, New Zealand. A land of postcard-perfect scenery, of rugby legends, Maori culture, and one of the main filming locations of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. While we might be tempted to claim New Zealand as Australian territory, it’s truly a standalone destination.  

Considering New Zealand is one of the most visited international destinations for Aussies, you’re probably already familiar with the process of heading across the ditch. But when it comes to choosing travel insurance, it never hurts to go over a quick checklist of things to keep in mind before you select a policy.

Do I need travel insurance for New Zealand?

A popular saying is that if you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel. While it might feel like you’re not going very far, there are still risks involved with heading overseas to NZ. From unexpected situations, like your flights being cancelled, to your bags being stolen out of your hotel room, to medical emergencies, these things can happen anywhere - yes, even in beautiful New Zealand. 

So, whether you’re planning a long road-trip across the South Island, or an adventure holiday in Queenstown, getting cover for any potential emergencies is always the safest bet.

What inclusions should I look for in my NZ travel insurance policy?

While a basic travel insurance policy covers you for things like medical treatment, it’s important to read the fine print and see if you need any additional inclusions based on your holiday itinerary.

Travel insurance essentials

There are a few benefits you can expect when you book a basic travel insurance policy. But it’s always worth checking a provider’s product disclosure statement (PDS) out, to make sure these essentials are covered.

  • Flight delays and cancellations. At one point or another, we’ve had a flight delayed or cancelled on us. It’s a real buzzkill, but it’s a common occurrence. While often you’ll just have to wait for the next flight, in some cases you won’t have the flexibility to alter your plans. If that happens, a travel insurance policy with cancellation and delay cover could save you hundreds, if not thousands, on recovering your airline expenses. Just remember, there are often time requirements your circumstances will need to meet for the delay to be covered by a travel insurance policy. 
  • Loss or delayed arrival of luggage. If the airline loses your luggage, it gets stolen, or ends up at the wrong airport, then your travel insurance policy will often cover you for the cost of replacement clothing and personal items. So no, you won’t be doing NZ in your birthday suit. The amount you’re covered for will depend on the kind of policy you have and is subject to sub-limits, so you probably won’t be splurging on designer gear. If you’re heading over for the snow, then different policies often apply for ski and other snowsport equipment, but we’ll get to that later on. 
  • Medical expenses. You could be forgiven for thinking Australia and New Zealand were joined at the hip when you learn that Australian citizens in NZ have access to free public healthcare. Thanks to a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement, you might be eligible for free public medical treatment while over there. In some cases however, you will have to pay for some things, and that’s where your travel insurance policy comes in to lighten the cost. Also, if there’s a situation when a medical emergency evacuation is needed, travel insurance can also help with that. 
  • Accidental death and permanent disability. While it’s not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of going on a holiday, travel insurance often covers claims related to repatriation of your remains, overseas burial and funeral services, and alternative means of bringing you home if you need it. It’s a worthwhile comfort knowing that if the worst does happen, you and your loved ones won't be left to foot the bill.
  • Personal liability. Accidents happen all the time, no matter how careful a traveller you think you might be. So, in case you wind up in a situation where you’re responsible for someone’s injuries, or damage to another’s property, personal liability cover is a good one to watch out for. Usually, the cover amount will start around $1,000,000, but can go up depending on your policy option. 
  • Airline and accommodation provider default. Your travel insurance may also cover you in the event that your airline of choice or hotel provider goes bankrupt. Often, alternative means of travel or accommodation can be covered by your policy.

Extra cover and optional add-ons

If you’re not going on a typical holiday, such as a snow trip or cruise, or you’re planning on renting a vehicle to get around the islands, then your policy might require you to pay an extra premium in order to cover claims related to these kinds of activities.

  • Snow cover. If you’re heading over to New Zealand’s famous Mount Ruapehu for a ski or snowboarding trip, then you can’t look past getting your mitts on snow travel insurance. You could be covered for extreme weather conditions like blizzards and avalanches, and covered for things like piste-closures or the loss of your lift passes. 
  • Cruise cover. If you’re exploring New Zealand via a cruise holiday between the islands, then cruise travel insurance is another must-have extra. It could cover you for any claims related to the cruise, like missing the boat, or the loss and replacement of your formal attire or personal luggage.  
  • Adventure sports. New Zealand has established itself as an international adventure hub with some of the most jaw-dropping locations for bungee jumping or skydiving and top-notch infrastructure for extreme sports. However, keep in mind that some insurance policies won’t cover adventure sports or activities as standard, so it’s best to make sure you read through your policy’s PDS if you’re planning on participating in these activities. 
  • Rental vehicle excess. Have you been dreaming of driving along the stunning highways of New Zealand in a campervan? Many travel insurance policies include rental car excess cover, which means you can avoid paying rental car excess if you get in a pickle on the roads and need to make a claim.

How to make a travel insurance claim in New Zealand

While making an insurance claim is a fairly straightforward process, you need to make sure you’ve saved all the relevant documentation from your NZ holiday that goes to prove your claim. For instance, hospital bills if you’re out of pocket for a medical emergency, or police reports if personal items were stolen from you.

Once you’ve got all this ready, don’t waste any time before you make your claim. You’ll often have a set amount of time, like 30 days from the time you return home, to submit a claim. The sooner your insurance provider knows about your claim, the sooner they’ll be able to respond. While there may be some different requirements depending who you’re insured by, you can usually follow these simple steps to report your claim:

  • Before you contact your provider about your claim, keep your overseas travel insurance policy number handy.
  • Most insurance companies will let you register your claim online. Just go to their website, find the travel claim section and attach all the relevant details and documents.
  • In case you need to post any original bills or receipts to your insurance provider, don’t forget to keep a copy for yourself.
  • Once you have made your claim, it could take about 2-10 business days before you hear back from your insurance provider.

What happens if my NZ travel insurance claim is rejected?

If you’ve combed the fine-print of your policy’s PDS and believe your claim shouldn’t have been rejected, then you can contact the Australian Financial Complaints Authority for review. 

Unfortunately, many travellers don’t bother familiarising themselves with the seemingly minor details of their policy and in the process have their claim rejected. For instance, while you may have paid for an extra cover for skiing and other snow-related sports, if you have an accident while you were under the influence of alcohol, your insurance provider can reject your claim. Similarly, if you left your baggage unattended, and it was stolen, your claim could be rejected. 

These small slips can lead to losing a lot of money, and that’s why it is absolutely crucial that you read your insurance policy properly.

How to find travel insurance policies for New Zealand

Looking for the best travel insurance policies for New Zealand doesn’t have to eat up all your time. By comparing travel insurance policies with Mozo,you’ll be able to find the best options to suit your travels  quicker than you can say ‘kia ora’.