Travel insurance for New Zealand

Keep yourself and any precious belongings safe on your journey to middle earth.

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From downtown Queenstown to the top of Mount Alfred, New Zealand is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Whether you want a quiet week of exploring the local culture or a heart-pounding summer of climbing mountains and seeing how much of the famous Te Araroa 1,800-mile hiking trail you can conquer, this country offers something for everyone. Before you pack your bags, don’t forget to pack the most important thing – a travel insurance policy to keep you safe on your journey.

Why get travel insurance for New Zealand?

New Zealand is a fairly safe country, but that doesn’t mean nothing bad can ever happen there. Travel insurance can help you deal with any financial risks so that you can enjoy a carefree vacation. For example:

  • Feeling sick after trying that street food? If you get sick while overseas, medical bills can quickly become overwhelming. A travel insurance policy can help you get the care you need without emptying your savings account.
  • Need to cancel your trip at the last minute? If you have to cancel for something outside of your control, travel insurance can cover you for the money you’ve already spent. If you have to cancel the whole trip because you’re sick at home or because an earthquake struck in Christchurch, you can get your money back.
  • Airline lose your luggage? Travel insurance can pay you a daily allowance until you get your luggage back or can pay for it in full if it’s lost forever.
  • Carrying expensive gear? You can get coverage to protect your skis, jewellery, electronics, golf clubs, cameras and other equipment from destruction and theft.
  • Paying for expensive lift passes or green fees? You can take out a policy that will pay you back if you have to cancel expensive activities like skiing and golfing due to circumstances outside of your control.
  • Someone nab your pack when you weren’t looking? Travel insurance can cover you for loss of cash, passports and other essential travel documents.

What doesn’t travel insurance cover?

Exclusions vary from policy to policy, but things that usually won’t be covered include:

  • Inebriation. If you hurt yourself or someone else while drunk or on drugs not prescribed by a doctor, your insurer won’t pay.
  • Irresponsible behaviour. This can range from leaving your luggage sitting on the pavement while you go into a shop to skiing off-trail and needing to be helicoptered out. If an insurer can argue that you didn’t take sensible precautions to keep yourself and your belongings safe, they can deny your claim.
  • Travelling to an unsafe area. If you get sick or injured while in an area that the UK Home Office has issued an advisory against, your claim can be denied. New Zealand is usually pretty safe, but it’s always a good idea to check for updates before getting on a plane.

What activities should you get covered?

New Zealand is an adventure lover’s paradise, with activities like skiing, bungee jumping, white-water rafting, rock climbing, trekking and more. You should be aware that basic travel insurance policies often exclude certain riskier activities, so if you plan to get your adrenaline pumping, check with your insurer to find out if you need to purchase extra cover.

Travel insurance for skiing in New Zealand

Skiing and snowboarding are extremely popular in New Zealand, but most travel insurance policies won’t automatically cover medical emergencies that happen on the slopes. Check to see if your insurance policy covers skiing or consider purchasing a special skiing insurance policy. Ski insurance commonly covers:

  • Getting you off the mountain and to a hospital. There’s a good chance an accident on the slopes would require helicopter rescue and that can be expensive. Ski insurance can cover you for that.
  • Paying for unused lift passes, unused equipment rental and unused ski lessons. If extreme weather like a blizzard or avalanche keeps you off the slopes, your insurer can pay you back for unused lift passes, equipment rental and lessons that you’ve already paid for. It can also cover you if an illness or injury ruins your plans.
  • Getting you to a new resort. Many snow travel insurance plans cover your transportation and accommodation expenses if bad weather forces you elsewhere.
  • Paying for damaged equipment. Ski insurance can pay you back for lost or damaged equipment and it can pay for you to rent equipment if yours is lost, damaged or delayed in transit.

Have special insurance needs?

Not everyone is heading to New Zealand to jump out of a plane or go mountain biking. The landscape itself is enough to attract tourists who just want to take in the scenery at their leisure, like families and seniors.

Here are a few situations where you might need to make a few tweaks to your coverage or find something specifically suited to your circumstances:

  • Travelling to New Zealand while pregnant. If you’re pregnant, you’ll have to let your insurer know. Most providers will cover you until a certain point in your pregnancy, usually 26-32 weeks, as long as you’re not travelling against your doctor’s advice. They’ll even cover pregnancy-related complications unless it’s something that you were aware of already. After that period, they’ll no longer cover your pregnancy but you’ll still be covered for the other travel-related risks like lost luggage and travel delays.
    These policies vary from insurer to insurer, so if you’re pregnant, check with your insurer before purchasing a policy to find out exactly how you’re covered.
  • Working vacation in New Zealand. If you’re going to NZ for a working holiday, check your travel insurance policy’s fine print. Some insurers won’t cover you if it’s a working vacation, particularly if your job is risky, such as a summer spent as a hiking guide or a winter vacation as a ski instructor.
  • Going to New Zealand with a pre-existing medical condition. If you have a pre-existing medical condition, you’ll need to tell your insurer or else they could deny your claims or cancel your insurance altogether. Find out how you’re covered ahead of time, and see your doctor before you leave for vacation to make sure your symptoms are under control and you have enough of any medications.
  • Senior travelling to New Zealand. It’s fairly easy to get travel insurance if you’re over 65, although it does get a little harder the older you get. It works the same way as normal travel insurance except you’ll have to pay a little more because of your age. You’ll have to declare any pre-existing conditions just like anyone else would, although the insurers may be a little more strict about what they’ll cover and what they won’t.

Who should you contact in an emergency?

In the event of an emergency, contact:

  • Your insurer. Most insurers have a 24/7 helpline you can call. The number will be clearly displayed on your policy.
  • Emergency services. Dial 111 to reach police, fire and ambulance dispatch.
  • UK embassy or consulate. If you lose your passport, get into legal trouble or if there’s a countrywide emergency, contact the nearest UK embassy or consulate.

Bottom line

Whether you’re going to hit the slopes, explore Christchurch or journey to middle earth or at least a few of the famous filming locations, New Zealand has it all. The country is far from dangerous, but you’ll be thankful you have travel insurance if you lose your luggage when they send it to Wanaka instead of Wellington, miss your golf game because the flight was delayed or have your ring stolen on the way to the hotel.

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