Although you’re only travelling “across the ditch”, protecting your New Zealand trip can help you get your travels back on track if things don’t go quite to plan.
New Zealand, also known as Aotearoa to the Māori people, has everything an Australian traveller could hope for: fantastical landscapes that seemingly leap from the pages of incredible novels, winding road trips with breathtaking views, museums and a distinct love of breweries.
When booking a trip to our neighbouring nation, many Australians likely ask themselves this: “Do I need travel insurance for New Zealand, given it’s so close to home?”
It is something we believe you should consider purchasing. New Zealand may be “close by” by Australian standards, but it’s still an international destination and a quality travel insurance policy can help support you if something goes wrong.
Do I need travel insurance for New Zealand?
It’s hard to predict when or where something will go wrong during your travels, which can leave you out of pocket or in an awkward pinch if your trip isn’t protected. That’s why it pays to take out travel insurance before leaving home. Travel insurance aims to protect travellers financially and having access to a team of medical specialists and travel assistance personnel 24/7, as well as an app that provides real-time safety alerts and up-to-date travel advice, can make a world of difference in stressful circumstances.
In this article, we explore the many things that can go wrong when travelling in New Zealand and explain why you may wish to consider travel insurance for New Zealand, even if you are travelling from Australia.
9 reasons to consider travel insurance for New Zealand trips:
- You may end up spending more time waiting at the airport than in New Zealand
- When you arrive in Rotorua, you may find your bathers are still in your luggage in Australia
- Your passport may take a holiday of its own
- Your epic road trip may fall flat thanks to a punctured tyre
- Your thrill seeking may land you in a hospital bed and in need of help getting back home
- Your family may need you to come back home ASAP
- COVID-19 may affect your holiday plans
- Your holiday may resemble a natural disaster movie
- You may need emergency assistance well outside of business hours
#1. You may end up spending more time waiting at the airport than in New Zealand
Delays and cancellations are almost inevitable when travelling – even when you’re only going as far as New Zealand. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how well-planned your holiday is, it can easily be derailed in unexpected ways if you happen to miss a connecting flight or a tour departure.
Travel operators – such as airlines, cruise companies, tour companies, hotels, and more – often have varying policies when it comes to allowing late changes or refunding last-minute cancellations, which can leave you out of pocket before your holiday even begins.
Good news: Australians who consider travel insurance when travelling to New Zealand may protect themselves from some of the costs associated that may arise with certain unexpected travel delays. Our travel insurance plans can provide cover for unintentional knock-on expenses caused by certain delays or cancellations outside of your control that meet the criteria for cover as outlined in your policy. This means you may be able to reclaim the funds you paid to book a hotel room while you wait for your next flight if experiencing lengthy delays.
True travel stories: Flight delays
One of our customers had their flight from Napier to Auckland rescheduled due to severe weather, which resulted in them missing their connecting flight from Auckland to Melbourne. They booked the next available flight to Melbourne via their travel agent. However, this meant the traveller had to pay for new accommodation and taxis, which was covered under their travel insurance policy with us.
#2. When you arrive in Rotorua, you may find your bathers are still in your luggage in Australia
Nothing spoils a holiday quite like learning your suitcase is still circulating the baggage carousel in your departure airport – and with it your clothes, shoes, and personal items. Worse still is if your luggage simply disappears, never to be found again. This is a common reason Australians may wish to consider travel insurance for New Zealand – to lean on if your luggage doesn’t arrive with you.
It’s wise to consider travel insurance for your next New Zealand trip because cover may be available for lost, stolen or damaged luggage while travelling. If the luggage is delayed temporarily, you may receive an allowance to replace necessary items until your baggage is recovered.
True travel stories: The case of the missing winter warmers
We came to the rescue of one hapless traveller, who had checked in their bags full of warm winter clothes in anticipation of a winter holiday in New Zealand. Their luggage went missing en route from Adelaide to Queenstown, leaving them in the cold without their winter attire. We reimbursed the traveller with more than $350 to help cover the cost to buy new warm clothing until their bags finally arrived.
#3. Your passport may take a holiday of its own
Passports are not just a necessary part of travelling overseas – they’re also important government documents. While we tend to think of New Zealand as just across the ditch from home, you still need a valid passport to travel there and back.
It takes time to replace a missing passport, and losing yours mid-trip can lead to a few headaches. That’s where travel insurance may come in handy for trips to New Zealand, just like when visiting anywhere else in the world. If you purchase our travel insurance, we may be able to help you with the costs to replace your passport. We can also help cover the cost of your temporary emergency passport.
Missing passports can create delays elsewhere in your travel plans too, and we may be able to help cover the costs of any extra accommodation expenses you incur while waiting for a new passport to arrive.
#4. Your epic road trip may fall flat thanks to a punctured tyre
New Zealand is famous for its road trips thanks to its diverse mix of coastlines, rainforests and mountains. Driving holidays are a great way to explore the country at your own pace, made even easier because Kiwis also drive on the left-hand side of the road, and the New Zealand Government recognises Australian driver’s licences.
However, you still need to consider travel insurance for driving trips in New Zealand. Why? Because there’s plenty that can go awry while on the road. New Zealand’s roads can be more prone to snow, ice and fog than Australians might be used to, so it’s wise to check with your car hire provider whether their rates include snow chains for tyres. A four-wheel drive vehicle may be preferable for such trips.
If something does go wrong while you’re on the road, we may be able to assist with repairs, replacements and, depending on your level of cover, the cost of your car hire company’s excess. In some cases, car hire damage can cause delays to your travel plans, resulting in emergency expenses for accommodation. We may be able to provide cover for this if you purchase travel insurance for New Zealand.
True travel stories: Highway to horror
We’ve helped many travellers when it comes to car hire. In one instance, a traveller lost control of their vehicle on a highway in New Zealand’s South Island and ended up alongside a tree. Luckily, they were OK, but they did incur almost $4,500 in costs because of the incident. This amount was covered by their Cover-More policy so the traveller could continue their holiday.
#5. Your thrill seeking may land you in a hospital bed and in need of help getting back home
Thrill seekers travelling to New Zealand can indulge in a wide range of adventure activities, from bungee jumping off a bridge and white water rafting down speedy rapids, to spelunking in glow worm-filled caves and skiing down fresh slopes. Unfortunately, so many ways to get active also come with an equal number of potential injuries.
Australians are covered under reciprocal healthcare agreements with New Zealand, meaning the cost of medical treatment for Australian travellers is generally free through the country’s public healthcare system. New Zealand also provides some assistance with paying for treatment required due to injuries and accidents through its Accident Compensation Commission (ACC).
However, this may not cover all expenses, particularly when it comes to organising alternative travel arrangements, or repatriation back to Australia. Also, certain cases or treatments as part of accidents and injuries may not be covered by the ACC, or only be partially covered.
You may find you require other types of support that the ACC is unable to provide, which your travel insurer may be able to offer as part of what occurred or arises as part of the whole injury or accident. This is one reason why you may wish to consider travel insurance with appropriate Adventure or Adventure+ activities cover for New Zealand trips – even short ones.
Some adventure activities in New Zealand may not be covered under a standard insurance policy, so paying close attention to your Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and understanding exactly what cover is included is important. If you will be engaging in adventure activities such as snow skiing, it’s extra important to consider travel insurance for your New Zealand trip and organise the appropriate level of cover.
True travel stories: Landing with the bill of snow sports gone wrong
We all like to think injuries won’t happen to us, but we never know what’s around the corner. We recently helped one traveller who had landed heavily on their coccyx (on the base of the spine) during a snowboarding accident, which resulted in pain while standing, sitting and walking. They had to be assisted from the accident site in a sled, taken to the hospital in an ambulance, given pain medication and sent for X-rays. The doctor ultimately recommended they fly home on their tummy or lying on their side, which would not have been possible on a regular economy-class seat. The final bill for this incident amounted to over $3,500 but they could breathe easy as they had purchased the appropriate level of Snow Sports cover and we were there to cover the expenses.
#6. Your family may need you to come home ASAP
We often think travel insurance is there to protect us if we’re injured or need medical treatment while on holiday, but what happens if your travel companions are injured, or if there is a family emergency back home in Australia?
No one can predict what will happen at your destination or back home while you’re on your getaway, which is why it’s important to consider travel insurance for trips to New Zealand from Australia.
If your trip is covered by one of our International Plans, we may be able to help you if you need to cancel your trip and return home because a family member becomes ill, injured or dies, or if you need to cancel onward travel plans because your travel companion is unable to continue. To learn more about what may be covered under these scenarios please refer to the combined FSG/PDS for the full terms and conditions of the coverage provided.
Having cover for family emergencies and access to 24/7 Emergency Assistance can prove especially valuable in distressing situations, because we may be able to help arrange your return home.
True travel stories: Returning home for a funeral
One of our travellers had to cut their trip short after sadly learning a relative had died. We provided cover for over $2,000 worth of unexpected amendment fees that the traveller incurred while getting home to family earlier than planned.
#7. COVID-19 may affect your holiday plans
International travel is a little more complicated than it used to be before COVID-19 was in the picture. COVID-19 may no longer be a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC), but there’s still a chance you could face a challenging situation if you or a travel companion contract COVID-19 while travelling internationally.
No matter how short or long your holiday may be, our Basic, Comprehensive, and Comprehensive+ International Plans all offer selected COVID-19 benefits. This includes policy benefits for costs resulting from any medical treatment and ambulance transport you may require if you’re diagnosed with COVID-19 by a qualified medical practitioner and certified unfit to travel (subject to some limitations) while you’re in New Zealand.
Want to understand the entry requirements for Australians travelling to New Zealand? Use the COVID-19 TravelCheck Tool when planning your trip “across the ditch”.
#8. Your holiday may resemble a natural disaster movie
New Zealand is famous for its natural beauty, but – sadly – it’s also infamous for its history of natural disasters. From earthquakes and volcanic eruptions to floods and landslides, New Zealand has experienced them all. While these natural disasters can pose major safety risks to locals and holidaymakers in the area, they can also disrupt travel to and from the affected destination. This is another great reason to consider travel insurance for New Zealand adventures.
At Cover-More, our International Plans provide benefits coverage for Overseas Medical and Dental Expenses incurred, including emergency repatriation and evacuation.
All our International Plans also provide cover for over 80 adventure activities as standard, as well as two options to vary your cover (Adventure Activities and Adventure+ Activities) if your New Zealand holiday plans involved a little more adrenaline.
True travel stories: Having to shift your plans because of an earthquake
Our Emergency Assistance team helped one traveller who became stranded in Wellington after an earthquake cancelled their outbound ferry. To leave, they ended up having to book a flight from Wellington to Queenstown as the ferry was no longer an option. They also had to cancel two nights of accommodation in Christchurch because of the earthquake, plus book a night of accommodation each in Wellington and Queenstown. This unexpected situation could have left the traveller out of pocket almost $1,900 if they didn’t have a Cover-More travel insurance policy, as we covered the costs
#9. You may need emergency assistance well outside of business hours
Maybe you’ll wake up in the middle of the night in your hotel in Wellington feeling terribly ill and in need of a doctor. Maybe you’ll lose your passport in Christchurch but not notice until you’re in Rotorua. Or maybe there’ll be an emergency back home in Australia and you’ll need to rearrange your trip so you can leave Tauranga earlier than planned.
Whatever unexpected situation you find yourself in on holiday, our Emergency Assistance team may be able to help – no matter when or where you need help.
Yes, one of the best perks of being a Cover-More travel insurance policyholder is having access to our award-winning 24/7 Emergency Assistance team.
If things go wrong on your New Zealand holiday, our Emergency Assistance team is ready to swing into action to help support you, help recover your expenses, assist in reorganising your onward travel or return travel home, and more.
Discover our cover
Still need convincing on why you need to consider travel insurance for New Zealand? Read more about the benefits of purchasing our travel insurance for New Zealand, the different levels of insurance we offer, and what exactly these plans include.
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