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Travel Insurance for New Zealand.

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  • 1Should You Purchase a Travel Insurance?
  • 2Is Your Credit Card's Insurance Covering You in New Zealand?
  • 3What Are the Risks in New Zealand?
  • 4The Chapka Insurances Suitable for New Zealand.
  • 5How Does the Cancellation Insurance Work?
  • 6Is an Insurance Essential for a Short Stay?

Should You Purchase a Travel Insurance?

Good insurance must cover the activities you practice.

The best insurance is not the one subscribed by a relative during his last trip to Australia. This is not the insurance recommended by this smart guy you met during a party and who claims to have explored all New Zealand using hitchhiking. No, in reality, a good insurance is the one that corresponds to your own trip, and not to the one of another person.

In the vast majority of cases, a trip in New Zealand occurs without any incidents or luggage lost.

But the unexpected is by definition unpredictable, and you should purchase an insurance if you want to be protected with your belongings during your entire stay.

To select the proper insurance, you must list the activities you want to practice during your stay. A list that includes both car driving, swimming with dolphins or the bungee jumping. It is only after having created this list that you should consider searching for a well-tailored insurance.

Extreme sports are not always covered by insurers.

Alas! the travel insurance is far too often seen as an unnecessary expense, or as a chore that young people are happy to delegate to their parents.

And even when they subscribe an insurance policy, many travelers do not take the time to read the contract and the conditions for compensation. An irresponsible attitude, especially in case of a family trip. In reality, if most people do not clearly understand the importance of an insurance, even for a trip to the other side of the world, this is mainly because they do not see the risks. The necessity of having a travel insurance seems evident as soon as one fully realize the dangers.

Kiwipal recommends Chapka insurance for New Zealand.

Even so, many people believe they are covered while they are not (or far less than what they think).

An important part of this guide is devoted to credit card insurances that give the illusion of to be covered abroad.

Because to get a good travel insurance, it is essential to know the reimbursement ceilings and the conditions for compensation.

With travelers whose age varies between 18 and 70 years, insurance companies had to adjust their offers in order to cover both trekkers and extreme sports enthusiasts.

Kiwipal recommends the Chapka travel insurances for your trip to New Zealand.

The Chapka travel insurances which are detailed in this guide were chosen because they are perfectly suitable to Kiwipal itineraries.

Of course, this does not mean you should subscribe with your eyes closed, and we strongly encourage you to compare the offers of different insurance companies.

Anyway, you must address the insurance issues before purchasing your trip to New Zealand.

Because some insurance must absolutely be subscribed within the 48 hours following the booking of the trip (including for the flights, hotel, activities...).

Rates are given for information only in this guide, and they are not contractual. We invite you to check the prices when you purchase on the website of the insurer of your choice.

Is Your Credit Card's Insurance Covering You in New Zealand?

Credit card insurance is just ridiculous...

Many travelers travel to New Zealand believing to be covered by the insurance of their credit card. Alas, most credit cards feature only a basic insurance which gives the illusion of being covered in case of accident or theft of luggage.

Without being a pure marketing product, the credit card insurance (including for the Gold version) is insufficient for a trip abroad.

One should know that the credit card insurance is valid only if you pay your stay with it! If you paid your airline tickets by check or wire transfer, you will not be covered! Insurance may also cover the whole journey outlays or a part of it, according to a scale defined by the bank. Impossible to know what is exactly covered without reading the small characters of your bank contract.

No credit card insurance can cover you adequately in New Zealand.

It also important to remember that many credit card insurances won't cover your relatives. But who is a relative according to a bank? Some banks may consider tax in common, or a marriage contract, or civil union ... Once again, you must check your contract andread it fully to discover the real conditions.

The period of cover abroad may be adequate for a tourist visit not exceeding 90 days (the maximum duration of a tourist visa in New Zealand), but is clearly insufficient to spend a full year with a Working Holiday Visa.

Reimbursement Ceilings Are Too Low.

Credit card insurance covers poorly hospitalization fees.

The reimbursement ceiling (the maximum compensation amount) of a Visa or classic MasterCard is only $16000. An amount that might seem high enough at first sight but is in reality equivalent to a single day at a New Zealand hospital! In comparison, the ceiling of good insurance company like Chapka usually exceed $750000, a more realistic sum in case of serious accident.

A classic credit card insurance will cover you up to 16,000 NZD, the equivalent of one hospital day in New Zealand.

In other terms, you can be ruined (or indebted for life) if you are the victim of a serious incident in New Zealand, with only a cheap credit card insurance to cover you.

Certainly the ceiling of a gold credit card is already more significant (around $150000), but each reimbursement includes a franchise fee to pay between $50 and $75.

Under these conditions, a single visit to a dentist in New Zealand involves fees that are already equivalent to the price of a Chapka insurance that would cover during an entire stay.

If this argument is not enough to convince you, then there is nothing to add...

An insufficient cancel insurance

In case of cancellation, credit card insurance is virtually useless.

If you only possess a basic Visa credit card or a MasterCard, you can already forget the cancellation insurance because this service is not included in your bank contract.

The Gold credit cards do have a cancellation insurance, but effective only in the limited cases of death, serious illness or hospitalization ... Therefore, if you lose your passport or if you must cancel your New Zealand trip in an interval of 30 days before departure, all you can do is crying because you won't receive a penny of compensation from your bank.

Even Gold credit cards do not provide enough coverage because the cancellation insurance is too restrictive.

Similarly, an against-medical indication just before departure (e.g. pregnancy) does not imply any refund, and one could multiply examples again and again...

As for the famous luggage insurance that comes with many gold credit cards, be aware that it only applies during the flight! If someone steals your luggage outside of the airport, you will not be covered at all!

In other words, you will have to buy new clothes with the money you saved for the holiday ...

You pay all costs in advance!

With just a credit card insurance, you must advance all fees.

It remains a fundamental issue to address: your credit card insurance does not relieve you to advance money in case of emergency!

So in case of a surprise visit to a dentist in New Zealand, you will need to pay all the expenses and send a refund request to your care insurance and wait for its approval before being able to claim a refund from your bank...

Needless to say, that the repayment of the sums involved is likely to be done long after your return to your country.

Driving in a foreign country justify a travel insurance.

Some people will tell you that the insurance is not necessary in New Zealand thanks to the ACC, a local law, unique in the world, that compensates the victims of accidents even if they are foreigners. It is true but at the express condition to have the accident categorized as such! Because a credit card insurance offers no insurance liability abroad, and you may find yourself without any cover if you are held responsible!

The credit card insurance does not provide coverage for damage that you may cause abroad!

Let's be clear: a credit card insurance is better than no insurance at all. I am not asking you to believe me, but I suggest you double-check your bank contract you have probably never read again since your account opening. Because insurance is only a meaningless word. What really matters are the conditions, the delays and the reimbursement ceilings... everything else is just bank marketing!

What Are the Risks in New Zealand?

No vaccine is required to travel to New Zealand.

New Zealand is a country with a very low health risks. No vaccinations are required to enter the territory (to be checked, however, if you do not come from Europe). There are no snakes in the nature, and the last death caused by a spider bite happened 150 years ago!

The infrastructure, particularly hospitals are modern, and the crime rate is incredibly low compared to most countries in the world. To top it all, the New Zealand ranks se

In such conditions, many travelers will lower their guard, partly because the fairy tales' landscapes seem incompatible with the very notion of danger.

Yet, serious accidents and even deaths involving tourists happen each year. The victims are often unlucky people who had a bad bicycle fall, or a car accident...

Sprains sometimes mobilize rescuers and a helicopter.

It would be tempting to continue with frightening anecdotes or testimonials, but I consider this method to be as ineffective as the shocking images on cigarette packets. It is better to explain the facts clearly, without jargon or exaggerations. We are between adults after all.

Accidents or car thefts in New Zealand can happen to you, like everywhere in the world, and being a senior with an average physical condition, or an overtrained athlete makes no difference. A sprained ankle that mobilizes a helicopter can lead to costs that easily exceed $15000.

Some sports such as diving require a prior visit to the doctor.

In reality, extreme sports are not covered by basic insurances. But even water sports such as diving or surfing that may seem harmless, are classified as risky activities by insurers and thus covered partially or not at all..

If we leave aside the accidents in the wild, one must not overlook the improvised visits to doctors whose services are very expensive. New Zealand possesses a health system, founded on private insurances like in most Anglo-Saxon countries.

Here are some examples of consultations with the average rate applying in New Zealand:

General practitioner Dentist Specialist
$65 $110 $200

I'm not trying to scare you, but silly accidents or a raging toothache are not the only reasons that should motivate your decision to purchase a travel insurance.

There are a multitude of unpredictable scenarios that can alter your holidays and lead to an anticipated return, e.g. the hospitalization of a relative in your own country.

To summarise, the risks are quite similar to the ones that exist in your own country, except you won't be in a familiar environment this time, alternating original activities and long driving hours each day.

Of course, one must not be afraid to live, but a travel insurance is your best option to face the unexpected in New Zealand.

The Chapka Insurances Suitable for New Zealand.

The difficulty is not to find insurance but to choose one of them.

We have compared the most insurers specialized in travel, and selected Chapka insurance because its insurances are well adapted to Kiwipal's itineraries in New Zealand. I will present the main Chapka solutions which you can subscribe on the Internet in few minutes.

If you have not yet booked your stay, you should consider in priority the “Cap Assistance 24/24” formula which includes a cancellation insurance (in option). And if you plan to join the Working Holiday Program, the Chapka company also offers the excellent “Cap Working Holiday” insurance that will cover you for a whole year in New Zealand.

Unlike conventional insurers, Chapka is a specialized travel insurance. It is the insurer recommended by Kiwipal.

There are, of course, similar deals proposed by other insurers, but Chapka is the market leader and its specialized offers are usually chosen by most tourism professionals. I do not know if one can talk about "good value for money" in such domain, but the Chapka service is one the best on the market, especially in terms of coverage ceilings or repayment.

Chapka Insurance: Cap Assistance 24/24

Chapka insurances are specially designed for travelers.

This is the formula that we recommend in priority at Kiwipal, with extensive coverage and full or partial refunds for the following services. The Cap 24/24 assistance insurance can be purchased until the eve of your departure to New Zealand (unless you need a cancellation option).

Here are the services included by default, but that you will find the reimbursement ceilings and every detail on Chapka's website.

  • 24/24 repatriation assistance
  • Medical and hospital expenses
  • Early return of the insured person
  • Costs of research and rescue
  • Advance of bail and legal fees
  • Luggage insurance
  • Public liability
  • Insurance against journey interruption

Chapka Insurance: Cap Assistance 24/24

The rate is calculated based on the length of stay and not its global value. Thus, a 17 to 24-day trip in New Zealand is ensured for $106 per person, a very competitive price on the travel insurance market.

The cancellation option covers most cases of force majeure, and cancellations for serious reasons. However, this option must be purchased BEFORE booking the trip or within 48 hours after.

Another important condition: the reservations must be obtained exclusively from tourism professionals (airlines, hotels, tour operators ...).

Sorry for not reproducing here the prices, but the figures often change and Kiwipal cannot give outdated information. But you will instantly find the latest rates on the Chapka website.

Chapka Insurance: Cap Working Holiday

Chapka offers special insurance for the Working Holiday Visa.

This is a youth insurance (valid up to 30 years) who are visiting New Zealand for a whole year with a Working Holiday Visa. These young people need to be covered by a solid insurance whenever they work or practice sports. When a stay exceeds a three-month limit, a tourism insurance is not enough, and Chapka offers a formula named “Cap Working Holiday” which is very flexible, and comes with a degressive rate calculated according to the exact number of months spent in New Zealand.

Chapka also has a special insurance for youth traveling with a Working Holiday Visa.

The reimbursement system is suitable for young people who have no time to lose with formalities. The documents to prove a care with a price inferior to $765 can even be sent by email, allowing to be refunded faster!

And as it is an insurance exclusively dedicated to young people, the sports activities are better covered, including the extreme sports such as diving or climbing (this does not absolve you to check whether your sport is covered or not by the insurance).

A summary of the main advantages:

  • Repatriation 7/7 and 24/24
  • Medical expenses
  • Hospital expenses
  • Emergency Dental
  • Eyes care
  • Psychological support
  • Early return
  • Luggage's insurance
  • Costs of research and rescue
  • Public liability
  • Tenants Legal Liability
  • Death benefit
  • Legal assistance and bail advances

Chapka Insurance: Cap Working Holiday

Please note that the insurance (without commitment) is charged monthly with a digressive pricing: the longer you stay the less you pay. A whole year stay will cost about $650, which is equivalent to $55 per month only!

Kiwipal has a complete section devoted to the Working Holiday Visa which includes a full-insurance guide.

How Does the Cancellation Insurance Work?

The insurance also covers activities canceled due to weather.

Having a cancellation insurance, that's fine... but understanding how it works is even better! The cancellation policies differ between insurers but Chapka offers a transparent formula with simple clauses.

The insurance covers you, provided the cause of cancellation is legitimate... that is to say beyond your control and justified.

If you change your mind and decide to cancel your holidays in New Zealand on your own initiative, you won't be eligible for a refund.

The misunderstanding that people have with most cancellation insurances is related to the exact definition of what is refundable. Thus, when a $3000 stay is canceled , this does not mean that the insurer will reimburse you $3000.

In reality, the insurer will only refund the penalties caused by the cancellation.

An activity canceled due to a sprain may be refunded.

Let's consider a concrete example. Imagine that you have to cancel a $3000 trip two weeks before departure because of a twisted ankle. A tour operator may refund you$2500 but retain $500 as cancellation fees. In this case, your Chapka insurance will cover you up to $500 and you'll get your $3000 back without losing a single penny.

The cancellation insurance is not limited to airfare, but also covers the rest of your stay in New Zealand.

The cancellation insurance is therefore used to complete the parts that are not reimbursed by the tour operators. Provided, of course, that you are able to prove your request with supporting documents.

The insurance also applies to cancellations that may occur during your stay. For example, you will be covered even if you cancel a guided kayak tour because of a surprise visit to the dentist.

Examples where cancellation insurance applies:

  • Disease
  • Accident
  • Death of a family member
  • Pregnancy complications
  • Pregnancy not known when booking the stay
  • Economic redundancy (including spouse)
  • Stealing of your ID papers 48 hours before departure
  • Modification or cancellation of holidays by the employer
  • Pet hospitalized
  • Tax audit

The cancellation insurance won't prevent you from being ruined (this is the role of the travel insurance which is far more complete), but it can save your holidays if your luggage is lost by your airline company. To some extent, skipping the cancellation insurance, you only expose yourself to a loss of a few hundred dollars at most. However, it would be ridiculous or even dangerous to travel without any valid insurance, just to save $150 on your budget.

Is an Insurance Essential for a Short Stay?

You should subscribe an insurance, no matter of the length of your stay.

This is not because the stay is short that the insurance should suddenly become optional! I do not think you would agree to suspend your home insurance or your mutual health care for a few weeks, to save a hundred dollars.

Is it reasonable not to take an insurance when $ $150 are enough to cover a traveler during a three-week stay in New Zealand?

In general, the families are traveling with an insurance, but so many adults have a blind trust in their credit card insurance, without realizing how defenceless they could be in case of accident!

And then there are all those crazy travelers who denigrate the insurance very principle, with the excuse that they never had any serious problem during their past travels. Traveling without an insurance is a personal choice, but advising other people to do the same is irresponsible (to stay polite).

At Kiwipal, we consider that travel insurance is mandatory for any trip to New Zealand. It is above all a matter of responsibility, for you and your family.

Keep in mind that you are still 18,500 km away from Europe.

In reality, if so many people are traveling an insurance, this is primarily because they do not realize the risks.

This is for this precise reason that the New Zealand Government has voted a Law to make the insurance mandatory for young people who visit the country with a Working Holiday Visa.

At Kiwipal, we consider travel insurance as essential for every journey, regardless of the duration of the holidays.

If you do not have the means to visit New Zealand with a good travel insurance, you should just book another destination. Visiting New Zealand? Yes! but not at any price, and certainly not without insurance.

You should not consider visiting New Zealand without a good travel insurance.

If you have specific questions about the choice of insurance, you should contact directly Chapka to get a detailed answer because the subject is serious and deserves some expert advice. And do not forget to bring your insurance certificate with you in New Zealand, and you will spend a relaxing holiday, knowing that you are well covered.

William, Kiwipal
A Guide Written by William.
Founder of Kiwipal, New Zealand Travel Guide.

Questions & Answers.

What can I do for you? It is not my role to be a kind of insurance advisor, but I will do my best to answer your questions.

Ask a question to Ben

  • All topics ... 13 answers in total
  • The Formalities 5 answers
  • Insurance in New Zealand 4 answers
  • The Choice of Insurance 4 answers

The Formalities

  • Can I subscribe an insurance online?

    You no longer need the services of a travel agency because Chapka allows you to get an insurance directly via their Internet website.

  • How do I get my insurance certificate?

    If you choose Chapka insurance, you will receive your certificate directly by email after signing up for an online offer.

  • How to get reimbursed by my insurance?

    You simply need to describe your problem and provide proof of payment to your insurance company who will take the necessary steps to compensate you. If you are visiting New Zealand as part of a Work Holiday Visa (WHV) and you are insured by Chapka, you can even send your proofs by email.

  • How long does it take to get refunded?

    Depending on the complexity of the accident or incident, the delay varies between insurance companies, and you will wait from a few days to several weeks.

  • Can I get reimbursed without a receipt?

    You must be vigilant and not misplace your booking confirmations, because no insurance in the world will refund you without proofs.

Insurance in New Zealand

  • Is travel insurance mandatory?

    Insurance is not compulsory for a three-month tourist visa. On the other hand, travel insurance is one of the mandatory conditions for obtaining a Working Holiday Visa. That being said, although insurance is not compulsory, it nevertheless remains strongly recommended.

  • Is New Zealand dangerous?

    New Zealand is a modern country with no health risks. But you are not immune to accidents, and you should subscribe a travel insurance to be protected in case of unexpected events.

  • Should I subscribe a car insurance?

    Your car insurance does not cover you in New Zealand, and that is why car rental companies offer basic insurance while giving you the opportunity to redeem the franchise.

  • Can we get treatment in New Zealand?

    Yes, because New Zealand is a modern country with very competent nursing staff and efficient hospital equipment. People of foreign origin can be taken care of free of charge in the event of an accident, which in no way dispenses with having good travel insurance.

The Choice of Insurance

  • What insurer do you recommend?

    Kiwipal advises subscribing a Chapka insurance, but there are many insurance companies and you should compare before choosing.

  • When is travel insurance required?

    The ideal is to subscribe to the insurance within 48 hours after the purchase of the stay, which also allows to get a cancellation insurance.

  • Can we travel without insurance for a short stay?

    No, because accidents and unexpected events strike without warning, regardless of the length of stay. Trying to save a hundred euros by agreeing to put your health or fortune at risk is a very bad idea.

  • Is my credit card insurance valid in New Zealand?

    No, because the reimbursement ceilings are too low and the enforcement clauses too restrictive. Even more, credit card insurance does not include cancellation insurance!

Guillaume picture in the mountains

Ask Questions to William.

New Zealand Expert

Travel insurance is a sensitive issue that needs to be addressed with the utmost seriousness.

At Kiwipal, we consider that it is essential to subscribe to an insurance and we strongly discourage to travel with just a credit card insurances.

This guide explains why insurance is necessary, and helps you choose an offer tailored to your needs.

Because you should not choose insurance according to its price, but depending on what it covers.

I invite you to read this page seriously, especially if you are still hesitant to subscribe an insurance to visit New Zealand.

william Ask me a question

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