Travel insurance for Nepal and Everest Base Camp

Heading to the Himalayas? Find the right cover for Nepal including treks to Everest Base Camp

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Nepal is a country that every curious traveller should experience, from the iconic trekking adventure that is Everest, to the thrilling jungles of the Indian plains. However, as you plan your travel activities, you will discover some concerns.

Do I need travel insurance for Nepal?

The right travel insurance will protect you from the unique risks associated with travelling to Nepal and climbing to Everest base camp as well as typical losses such as:

  • Emergency medical expenses and repatriation
  • Cancellations and lost deposits
  • Luggage delays and stolen items

So how do you choose the right travel insurance for Nepal? The best way to start is by understanding your travel needs, what you plan to do in Nepal, and then comparing policies online.

Top five safety concerns in Nepal

  • Earthquakes and aftershocks. Nepal is in an active seismic area and earthquakes are common. There is an ongoing possibility of further earthquakes, which increases the risk of avalanches and landslides. Familiarise yourself with general safety procedures in the event of an earthquake. (Source: SafeTravel)
  • High-altitude terrain and trekking activities. Altitude sickness is a risk in all trekking regions above 9000 feet (2700 metres). Never trek alone and female trekkers should be extra vigilant about the risk of sexual assault. Trekking in Nepal should be done with a group using an experienced guide from a reputable company. (Source: SafeTravel)
  • Local transport. Nepal has poor road conditions, driving standards as well as overcrowded and under-maintained vehicles. Avoid travelling on overloaded or crowded vehicles and overnight buses.
  • Protests and strikes. New Zealanders in Nepal are advised to avoid all protests and demonstrations as there is an increased risk of violence at such events. (Source: SafeTravel)
  • Petty theft. Exercise security awareness and guard personal belongings carefully, particularly at tourist sites, airports and bus stations. Women travellers should take particular care and avoid travelling alone, especially at night. (Source: SafeTravel)

Travel insurance for Nepal can provide financial protection and assistance if your trip is disrupted by these risks, but it’s important that you understand how insurers interpret cover if something goes wrong.

Compare travel insurance for Nepal

Name Product Medical Cover Cancellation Cover Luggage and Personal Effects Cover Default Excess
Unlimited
$50,000
$5,000
$100
Unlimited
$50,000
$0
$100
No cover
$50,000
$0
$100

Compare up to 4 providers

Am I covered if I trek to Everest base camp?

There are few experiences more thrilling than a trek to Everest base camp, typically a 12 day round trip. You are rewarded with breathtaking scenery and a sense of achievement that few other travel experiences can match.

Travel insurance can cover you for

  • Medical expenses. Most travel insurers will cover you for the medical expenses you could incur if something goes wrong when trekking.
  • Helicopter evacuation is covered if something goes wrong. You’re a long way from the hospital if you become ill or you’re injured while trekking to Everest base camp or on other guided treks in Nepal. In these situations, the only course of action to get you the medical assistance you need is evacuation via helicopter, which can be provided by your insurers medical assistance team.
  • Cancellations. If you have to cancel a paid trek for reasons outside of your control e.g. weather conditions, travel insurance can cover you for this expense.

Would I be covered in a major earthquake?

The tragic loss of life and widespread damage caused by two major earthquakes in Nepal in 2015 received extensive media coverage. More than 8,000 people died and many more were injured.

Many New Zealand travellers had to cancel travel plans to Nepal and make alternative arrangements. Some were already in Nepal at the time of the earthquake. Others had booked and paid for a holiday to Nepal but had not yet departed New Zealand.

How you would have been covered

Situation Details
  • Already in Nepal when earthquake hits
If you were already in Nepal, you had cover for extra travel, accommodation and meal costs resulting from an earthquake.
  • Not yet in Nepal but already bought travel insurance
If you purchased a travel insurance policy before an earthquake hits but you’ve not yet departed New Zealand, cover for the cost of cancelling or rearranging your journey can be provided.
  • You buy travel insurance after an earthquake hits
If you decided to book a holiday and take out travel insurance after an earthquake hits, in most cases no cover would be available for any losses you suffer. Insurers will usually exclude cover if there are government and media warnings about a destination.

Apples and Oranges

Alex’s case. Alex booked a Nepalese trekking holiday for August 2015. As he paid for the holiday and took out travel insurance cover on April 20, a few days before the earthquake struck, Alex received cover for the full cost of cancelling his holiday because the area where he was planning on trekking was deemed unsafe to visit.

Brian’s case. On the other hand, Alex’s friend Brian didn’t take out travel insurance until early May, after the earthquake had occurred. At the time Brian took out his policy, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade was advising tourists not to travel to Nepal, which meant Brian could not receive any cover for the cancellation fees and lost deposits he incurred when cancelling his trip.

Five other Nepalese activities you should consider getting as extras

Nepal’s beautiful, mountainous terrain attracts trekkers from all over the globe, but there are plenty of other great adventure activities on offer that travellers may wish to participate in.

  • Bungee jumping. You can discover spectacular bungee-jumping adventures just three hours from Kathmandu, by the Tibetan border.
  • Canyoning. Taking a rafting trip down Kali Gandaki river is a highlight for many travellers to Nepal.
  • Jungle safari. Nepal’s variety of animals and birds can be encountered by taking a jungle safari in Terai.
  • Fishing. The streams of Nepal feature more than 185 unique species of exotic fish.
  • Rock climbing. The Himalayas offer a unique and challenging climbing experience.

Check with your provider if you are automatically covered

Some of the more extreme activities, such as rock climbing, will require you to add a special ‘sports pack’ to your policy, so check with your insurer to find out how you can get the cover you need.

If I have a medical emergency, am I covered in Nepal?

Common illnesses in Nepal

In addition to altitude sickness and injuries sustained while trekking, visitors to Nepal are at risk of malaria, degue fever, Japanese encephalitis, typhoid, cholera and hepatitis.

Nepal’s healthcare system

Medical facilities in Nepal are limited, especially outside of Kathmandu in rural areas where there is a lack of trained staff. High medical costs under Nepal’s private healthcare system makes travel insurance a necessity.

Travel insurance procedures

If you experience a medical emergency in Nepal, you can contact your insurer’s emergency assistance line for information on what to do and where you can go for help. Your insurer’s emergency assistance team will also be able to confirm whether you are covered for your treatment costs upfront.

If it’s not an emergency and your treatment costs are unlikely to be excessive, it may be up to you to pay the bill and then claim for reimbursement later, depending on the insurer.

Who do I contact in an emergency?

The best point of contact in Nepal depends on the nature of your emergency.

  • Your travel insurance provider. If you need financial assistance, you may be able to contact family and friends. Your travel insurance provider can help for situations such as lost baggage and travel delays.
  • The tourist police. If you’re a victim of theft or crime, you can contact the Tourist Police in Kathmandu on +977 1 470 0750 or the Tourist Police headquarters on +977 1 424 7041. Make sure to obtain a written copy of any police report.
  • New Zealand Embassy. Consular assistance is available from the New Zealand Consulate in Kathmandu. Call +977-1-442-6427.
  • Nepal Ambulance Service. If you need an ambulance or emergency medical transportation, call 102. For police, call 100.

What are the entry requirements for Nepal?

A valid visa

New Zealand visitors to Nepal will need to obtain a visa, which is available upon arrival for a maximum of 90 days.

A valid passport

Your passport must be valid for at least six months from the time you leave Nepal. If that passport is lost or stolen in Nepal, you’ll need to transfer your visa to your new passport before you can leave Nepal.

When is the best time to travel to Nepal?

Peak travel season in Nepal occurs from October to November when the weather is warm and trekkers crowd the Everest and Annapurna regions. Spring (March to April) can produce spectacular flower displays and weather that is still quite acceptable for trekking, but you’ll want to stay away during monsoon season from June to September.

Money in Nepal

What currency do I need?

The Nepalese rupee is the accepted currency in Nepal, so it’s a good idea to stock up on bank notes before you go. Avoid airport exchange bureaus, as the rate will be more expensive.

Money tips

  • Traveller’s cheques are accepted at most banks, and there are plenty of ATMs around Nepal.
  • Exercise caution when withdrawing money and keep an eye out for pickpockets.
  • Be wary of foreign transaction fees.
  • Major credit cards are widely accepted throughout the country.

What are some tips for travelling in Nepal?

  • Don’t go trekking alone. Trekking in Nepal is dangerous, so book with a reputable tour company with professional guides.
  • Watch what you eat. Avoid pre-cut fruit, and boil your water or buy it bottled.
  • Don’t give money to beggars. Support a reputable charity instead.
  • Take a torch. It will come in handy when you need to deal with daily power outages.
  • Be aware of Bandhs. These transportation strikes could disrupt your travel plans.
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