Going on a working holiday to New Zealand? Awesome! One of your next steps will be to think about travel insurance.
It’s definitely not the most exciting part of your working holiday in New Zealand, but it is actually really important.
Read this article to find out why, plus some buying tips and some suggestions of the best providers of working holiday insurance for New Zealand.
This post includes affiliate links. If you make a qualifying purchase through one of these links, I may receive a small percentage at no extra cost to you.
The importance of travel insurance
Having travel insurance (including medical coverage) is mandatory when doing a working holiday in New Zealand. The NZ government states that working holiday participants must ‘maintain your medical insurance while in New Zealand.’
They continue to say ‘we may ask to see evidence you’re insured when you arrive in New Zealand.’ If you arrive in New Zealand without travel insurance, you may not receive your working holiday visa.
Besides this rule, the other obvious main benefit of travel insurance is medical and repatriation coverage in the case of sickness, injury and accidents abroad.
No matter what type of life you lead, a serious accident or illness can happen to anyone. It is sadly not unusual to come across stories in the media of people who have had their lives drastically changed by accidents while travelling or working abroad (examples here, here and here).
Whatever the healthcare system you’re used to at home, medical treatment usually comes with a fee for visitors in other countries. This means that medical bills can run up to large amounts very quickly.
Repatriation refers to to transportation of a critically ill or injured person home, or, in the worst case, returning a body back to their home country. For this reason, having working holiday insurance for New Zealand can offer real peace of mind for your family too.
Research travel insurance carefully
Here are some things to keep in mind when searching for the best working holiday insurance for New Zealand:
- Firstly, most travel insurers are aimed at people who go on holiday a couple of times a year. You will need something that covers a lot longer. Often these policies are advertised as ‘Backpacker’ or ‘Traveller’.
- For a working holiday in New Zealand, you will need insurance specifically covers work. Most travel insurance policies only cover pleasure activities on regular holidays.
- Another thing to look for in the small print is whether you can fly to New Zealand on a one-way flight. Again, many companies will not cover a trip with you leaving your home country without a return flight.
- Planning to do some ‘extreme’ activities such as skiing/snowboarding, bungy jumping, skydiving, rafting? Then you will need to make sure they are also covered in your working holiday insurance for New Zealand.
- Check whether it is possible to extend the policy while away, in case you decide to keep travelling
- Make sure you understand whether you are able to go home for a visit without the policy automatically cancelling. A year or two is a long time – you may find the desire to go home for a wedding, Christmas or (sadly) a funeral.
- Look for how much the ‘excess fee’ is. An excess is like an added fee that you must pay before the insurance company pays out.
The Best Working holiday insurance for New Zealand
True Traveller offers 18 months insurance for British and EU citizens going to New Zealand with unlimited visits home allowed. Coverage can start when already travelling and trips starting with a one-way plane ticket are fine.
Winter sports coverage is available and there are no minimum residency requirements. I have used True Traveller twice myself. If you are looking for a longer policy (up to 24 months) and/or wish to travel to other countries besides NZ, choose the ‘Worldwide’ policy instead.
W0rld Nomads is another long-term travel insurer with working holiday coverage – they have policies for travellers from over 140 countries. Easy to buy online, policies can be started if you’ve already started travelling.
Canadian/British citizens heading to New Zealand for the full 23-month visa length would need to purchase 12 months and then an additional policy for 11 months with World Nomads.