Do I need insurance for domestic travel?
When holidaying around New Zealand travel insurance is probably the last thing many Kiwis think about. Travelling in their home country where accidents are covered by ACC and health and contents insurance covers everything else, they’re covered for any event… or are they?
Here at MoaTours we've been running our small group tours since 1971 and we have seen the benefits domestic travel insurance provides for New Zealanders.
What happens if I have to cancel my trip?
Sometimes our travel plans are interrupted for various reasons, such as personal or family illness, or something unforeseen crops up making travelling on a booked departure date impossible. This can leave travellers out of pocket as it’s common practice for tour companies, airlines or hotels to require non-refundable payment in advance to confirm a reservation.
Most tour companies, MoaTours included, require a non-refundable deposit to secure your booking and full payment of your fare is usually due 60 days prior to travel commencing. If you choose not to take out insurance and have to cancel your holiday, the deposit or even full fare could be lost.
Probably the biggest single reason to have domestic travel insurance is to cover yourself for cancellation and we strongly recommend insurance to all our travellers.
What happens if I need medical assistance on holiday?
All citizens and permanent residents of New Zealand have free access to our public health system, meaning emergency care required anywhere within New Zealand will be freely available.
ACC (Accident Compensation Corporation), the government insurance scheme covers New Zealanders and overseas visitors for any medical costs incurred as a result of an accident. This includes rehabilitation required to recover from minor accidents like trips or falls. As long as the accident occurred in New Zealand you are covered.
But there are some instances where you may incur costs which are not covered by ACC or our public health system, things like changes to travel arrangements, medical supplies or support personnel.
Take the example of a pre-existing medical condition, something that is being managed and doesn't get in the way of your day to day life. Let's use the example of high-blood pressure, a pre-exisiting condition which would not not be covered by ACC. If you're travelling and, for whatever reason your condition got worse, and a doctor recommended you didn't continue your trip and stayed extra nights in your current accommodation.
You would need to organize additional accommodation, meals and an alternative flight home and perhaps even a travel companion. If you were on our tour, our team would help you with this organization but unfortunately we would not cover these costs. You would have been compensated, however, if you had included cover for this pre-existing condition in your domestic travel insurance policy.
When should I buy my travel insurance?
To ensure you're fully covered for any eventuality you should buy your travel insurance at the same time you pay the deposit on your tour.
The cost of the insurance is calculated based on the number of days you're travelling and, most importantly, you're covered for cancellation from the time you purchase the insurance. You actually increase your risk if you wait until you pay the final balance of fare to take your insurance out as you wouldn't be covered in the interim.
Do Australians need travel insurance in New Zealand?
Yes, Australians have access to our health system under a reciprocal agreement between our countries, but not everything is covered and for the same reasons outlined above Australians should also take out travel insurance to cover cancellation, disruptions and luggage should unforeseen events occur.
With regards to medical treatment, the New Zealand Ministry of Health website advises:
‘An Australian resident who, in the opinion of the provider of medical treatment, needs immediately necessary medical treatment while in New Zealand, will be provided with such medical treatment as is clinically necessary for the diagnosis, alleviation or care of the condition requiring attention.’
‘New and pre-existing conditions are covered, but Australian visitors to New Zealand are not entitled to publicly funded emergency transport by ambulance. This includes both non-injury and emergency transport.’
There is a range of services not publicly funded and New Zealand’s reciprocal agreement with Australia does not provide full coverage, therefore travellers should hold comprehensive travel insurance, including health insurance.
It's all about peace of mind
Many people have the mindset that they don't need travel insurance when travelling in their own country and it's your choice, as long as you're aware of the risks but if you think that paying a little over $100 for peace of mind when travelling is worth it, then get yourself covered.
At MoaTours we recommend everyone on our tours has travel insurance which includes cancellation cover, the most common use of insurance among our travellers is for unforeseen cancellations.