Are you heading away on holiday soon? You lucky sod.
Maybe it’s your first trip overseas or you’re a seasoned traveller. Whatever your situation, choosing the best travel insurance NZ has to offer is a crucial part of any holiday planning process.
You definitely don’t want to spend a fortune, but you do want peace of mind knowing that you’re covered for any issues that might happen when you’re overseas.
While travel insurance is entirely optional, you’d have to be a fool to go anywhere without it. Unfortunately many New Zealander’s continue to travel overseas without adequate cover.
Sorry to be blunt, but it’s a real daily occurrence, just to save a couple hundred dollars.
And a recent study showed that 1 in 3 kiwi’s still don’t buy travel insurance, despite all these horror stories.
Is it worth the risk? I would never let my family travel without it.
When to buy travel insurance?
99% of New Zealand travel insurers will only insure you before you leave the country.
You can buy travel insurance until the day of departure, including the day of travel, before the plane leaves.
That means you could buy it 5 minutes before you fly, as soon as you leave NZ airspace, you can no longer purchase travel insurance from a New Zealand company for that trip.
So what happens if you’ve already left and forgot to buy your travel insurance?
Thankfully, World Nomads offers policies that can be started before and during your trip as started.
1Cover NZ does offer cover for residents, but not for 72 hours after starting the policy.
Can you extend travel insurance policies?
Most New Zealand travel insurance providers do not let you extend your policy. So what happens if you decide to extend your holiday by a few days or you decide to stay overseas longer?
Well again, World Nomads is the only policy provider that allows you to extend your policy multiple times up to 12 months in total.
Most gap year travellers who have no fixed schedule, love this provider for buying blocks of cover and extending as and when required.
Best Travel Insurance NZ
|World Nomads||Before/After||Online||12 Months|
|1 Cover||Before/After||Online||3 Months|
|Southern Cross||Before||Online||3 Months|
1. World Nomads NZ
When it comes to offering the best features, at budget friendly prices then World Nomads is always up there as one of the best.
Subject to pre-existing medical conditions, you can usually get cover within a few minutes and their online form helps you add additional cover for extreme sports, expensive personal belongings and any special travel types such as cruises or ski trips.
The best feature about this outfit is that they are the only NZ provider that will cover you once you’ve left New Zealand for up to 12 months.
Did you forget to buy insurance or decided to extend your trip? Well right now, they are the only company that will let you do both, using their online portal and a credit card you can do both.
Another standout feature is that they allow coverage for up to 12 months. Most other providers only offer cover for up to 90 days.
Be careful of companies offering multi trip cover, these are deceptive and usually only cover trips up to 60 days a few times per year.
World Nomads offers two standard policies including their Standard and Explorer. The Standard could be seen as their budget policy but still covers medical, dental and personal liability.
Explorer plan is their fully optioned package that covers everything.
World Nomads lets you add ‘high risk’ activities during the checkout process and allows you to see how much your policy is likely to cost if you decide to do any of those activities such as Sky Diving.
By default, they cover individuals up to the age of 65 years old and the standard excess is either $100 or $200 depending on how low you want your premium to be.
Making a claim is easy with their online form which allows you to upload receipts directly into the platform. You can track claims too.
You only have to look online at the thousands of positive reviews, they are the real deal!
2. 1Cover NZ
1Cover is a very familiar name across New Zealand and Australia ans has been offering travel insurance, among other categories, for many years now.
They will not insure you if you’ve already left the country and trips must be no longer than 90 days.
You must return to New Zealand after your trip to ensure you’re still covered.
1Cover offer a multi trip cover plan, but you need to ensure each trip is no longer than 90 days in duration.
They offer two policies, their medical only and comprehensive policy. Given the price is usually only slightly higher for comprehensive I’d recommend purchasing this package instead. Both plans come with a $200 excess by default which can be lowered to $100.
If you’re going to be doing any extreme sports or partaking in any adventures such as cruise or ski trip then you can add these to your policy during checkout.
1 Cover allows you to manually enter high value items during the checkout process to get adequate cover. Lastly if your’e renting a car, you can increase your excess from $5000 to $6,7 or $8000.
1 Cover now does offer travel insurance for residents who have headed overseas and forgotten to buy insurance. The only downside is the first 72 hours are exempt which is annoying. The excess is also $250 and premiums are higher.
If you do need to make a claim then you can do so via their online form which allows you to upload receipts and other documents. You can track claims online too.
Similarly to World Nomads, 1 Cover is highly rated online all over the world.
3. Southern Cross (SCTI)
One of the most popular travel insurance providers among older travellers is Southern Cross, more commonly called SCTI.
Getting a quote online can be done in under 60 seconds due to their easy to use website. Until recently they covered per regions, but now you must enter specific countries you’re visiting.
Similar to 1Cover they offer single trip and multi trip bookings however these can only be made for multiple trips up to 90 days within 12 months.
You can only get cover if you haven’t left New Zealand yet and intend on returning.
They offer a single policy which makes it easy to see what your total price will be. The standard excess is also low at only $100 but can be raised to $250 to make your policy cheaper.
Their policy includes unlimited medical and evacuation which is the most important however their personal liability is capped at $1,000,000 compared with other providers that offer $2.5m.
SCTI doesn’t cover you for mopeds and motorbikes by default so if you’re planning on renting a scooter in Thailand you’ll need additional cover which is added on checkout.
You can also add cover for ski trips and cruising as per their rates.
Lastly you can add personal high value items to the checkout too. You can also increase the standard cancellation cover from $2,500 to 5, 10 or unlimited thousand.
On the face of it, SCTI is cheap but once you add extras your policy can increase in price where other providers are then cheaper.
Policy Types of Cover
Usually most providers have two or three types of cover. This is often structured into a budget and comprehensive policy.
While comprehensive is often more expensive, they often have higher limits for medical and dental expenses and personal liability.
While we recommend you choose the comprehensive policy, while covers you for most events, sometimes a budget policy is the only option.
If you do take a budget policy, be sure to make sure it covers medical and personal liability (in case you injure or damage something).
Some budget policies offer no cover for repatriation, accidental death, car rentals, theft and hospital expenses, so it pays to check each policy.
How To Choose Best Travel Insurance?
When you’re thinking about buying travel insurance, you need to take into account various different factors. While there’s many, these are the main ones:
- Where are you going?
- How long are you going for?
- How old are you?
- Do you want a high or low excess?
- What are you going to do on your trip?
- Do you have pre-existing medical conditions?
- Are you carrying any expensive equipment?
Where are you going?
Different countries have different issues going on, whether that’s environmental or likely to cause an issue in your travel plans. Most companies split these up into regions such as North or South America, Europe, Asia and South Pacific.
Others like to actually request the countries you’re going to be visiting. If you’re stopping off on a layover in a country, make sure you write it down if it’s asked for.
Heading to countries that are unsafe or war torn, may not be covered so make sure you check the small print on any policy if you’re not specifically asked for the country.
How long are you going for?
Usually the longer the trip, the more cost effective your travel insurance will be as you’ll usually only have to pay one admin or setup fee.
Remember, cover for your trip starts the day you leave but cover for prepaid expenses begins when your policy is issued so it makes sense to buy your travel insurance sooner rather than later.
Most NZ companies only offer cover up to 3 months so it’s important to look at all your options if you’re travelling for a long period of time.
How old are you?
Make sure you complete the age or date of birth field correctly as most travel insurance providers charge a higher premium for older travellers.
Some insurers may not insure you at all. Those that do may request a medical assessment. If you aren’t sure then it always pays to call the insurer prior to your trip to confirm.
Do you want a high or low excess?
If you have to make a claim, you’ll have to pay some money towards your loss. Usually this comes off the total claim, i.e. a $1000 claim would be paid out as $800 if the excess was $200.
The typical excess on travel insurance is $200. Some providers charge $500 while others charge $100. You can often lower your excess for a higher premium or raise it for a lower premium.
From personal experience, the standard excess is usually the popular option.
What are you going to do on your trip?
It pays to check each insurers policy carefully before purchase to ensure those activities you’ve got planned are actually covered.
For example, ski trips are usually extra as you’re more likely to get injured than if you were sunbathing at the beach.
Other providers have specific coverage for cruises and extreme sports. Before you throw yourself out of that plane, sky diving you should ensure you’re covered.
One of the most common confusion is around motorcycle or scooter rental. Most companies only cover you for riding a 200cc bike, regardless of your full license situation or not.
Make sure if you’re going to be riding something more powerful than 200cc that you find motorcycle insurance which is what you actually need.
Do you have any pre-existing medical conditions?
One of the common areas that trumps a lot of claims is the tick box you’ll likely have to agree too during checkout. This is that you don’t have any medical conditions that would affect your travel.
For example, someone diagnosed with diabetes may not be covered for a heart attack and would need special insurance, that a normal provider may not offer.
Other things to note are accidents that may happen before your holiday that deteriorate during your trip. For example breaking your leg before travel and then doing further damage on holiday due to walking around the cruise ship.
Are you carrying any expensive equipment?
One of the other major queries that often comes up is travellers with expensive equipment, usually priced over $3000. You’ll need to ensure you take out additional cover for each item over this threshold.
One of the most common is high powered video cameras or drones that could be damaged or stolen overseas. To avoid any loss of funds, take out additional cover.
Sites like World Nomads actually allow you to manually do this during the checkout process.
Multi Trip Travel Insurance Deception
I’m sure you’ve seen those sites offering multi trip insurance for a few hundred dollars per year and on the face of it, they look very appealing.
It’s only when you read into the small print that you realise each trip is limited to a maximum period of 60 days.
Don’t be that traveller booking a year long vacation, only to find out they aren’t covered after 60 days.
Credit Card Travel Insurance Worth It?
Personally I think credit card insurance is overrated and riddled with hidden clauses to catch even the smartest travellers out.
Usually you need a specific credit card and must have activated the travel insurance through your bank before departing. You must also spend a certain amount on your card for the holiday, i.e. 50% of all expenses.
You can only travel for up to 40 days on credit card travel insurance too which is far lower than most insurance providers.
Credit card providers nearly always exclude pre-existing medical conditions and the excess is often much higher, being $200-$500.
How To Make Successful Claims
Ultimately it’s up to your insurance provider as to whether your claim will be approved, but you can do many things to ensure you have a better chance of a successful claim.
The first thing to do is read your policy from cover to cover. Most people, myself included don’t read the policy until we need to make a claim. If you’re one step ahead then you’re better off.
By understanding what evidence you need to collect before incurring large expenses will help your claim.
Think of your insurance provider like the ATO. You must be able to prove everything you’ve claimed in your tax return. Without it, you can’t claim for it.
Some of the main snags people forget when travelling. If something is stolen you must report it to the police station within 24 hours. If your luggage is lost or stolen while flying, report it to the airline and then your insurer and find out what you’re covered for.
If you can’t complete your trip due to illness, keep all hospital or doctor records. You’ll also need to get email correspondence from your hotels and airlines to confirm you never received a refund for the flights before the claim was made. Even if you clearly booked a non-refundable ticket, it’s likely the insurer will want to see proof no refund was made from the companies.
Do Travel Insurers Cover Terrorism?
It’s an unfortunate event but in the world we live in, terrorism is all too common for travellers getting caught out in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Most policies limit their liability for acts of terror but it’s important to check each provider to see what level of cover you’d receive.
If you’re injured in a terrorist attack, most fully comprehensive policies will cover you for medical expenses and medical evacuation.
Editors Choice: Best Travel Insurance NZ
After much deliberation we recommend checking out World Nomads. They are the only company the offers cover up to 12 months and can be extended at any time.
They are also the only company to offer instant cover from overseas if you forgot to take out a policy.
They offer travel for travellers and also fully comprehensive policies for those looking for all the bells and whistles.
Making a claim is simple via their online portal and they even donate a portion of your fee to a charity of your choice, perfect.
Best Travel Insurance NZ
Our editors have scored this article 4.9/5.0