A cruise ship sounds about the safest holiday environment you could choose – but even in these self-contained cities on the sea, something can go wrong. When RACV member John* had a stroke while on a cruise in New Zealand and needed to be medevaced home to Australia, he faced a huge bill. By the time medical transportation, additional emergency expenses and cancellation of the unused part of his trip were taken into account, the out-of-pocket costs came to $81,000.

Such a bill could have been life-changing - in a bad way. Fortunately, John had taken out RACV Travel Insurance, which covered the total amount.

John’s experience illustrates that whether you are travelling to New Zealand on a cruise with the family, an adventure break on the South Island or a self-drive holiday, there are some important questions to consider before you go to the Land of the Long White Cloud.

*John’s name has been changed

helicopter landing on top of an mountain covered in snow in new zealand

Cover for hospital treatment and medical expenses in foreign countries is one of the main reasons people take out travel insurance. Knowing this, many Australian travellers ask whether they really need to take out travel insurance for a trip to New Zealand because the two countries have a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement.

But what does a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement actually mean and what does your Australian Medicare card cover you for in New Zealand?

Reciprocal medical cover provides urgent medical treatment for Australian citizens or residents with a Medicare card while they are in New Zealand. But the Reciprocal Health Care Agreement does not cover:

  • Treatment received on a cruise ship
  • Evacuation costs
  • Repatriation costs 
  • Medical transport costs

You can see there are a number of situations where travel insurance might be needed even in New Zealand. And there’s more…

Self-drive holidays are one of the most popular ways to explore New Zealand. But if you’re planning to hire a rental car, campervan or motorhome, there are several things you need to be aware of, particularly rental car excess insurance, which is included in some RACV travel insurance policies.

  • Know how much your excess is. The excess is the amount payable if your rental vehicle is damaged or stolen. Check whether there is an additional excess if your car is involved in a single vehicle accident.
  • RACV Rental Car Excess will cover you for the rental vehicle insurance excess or the cost of repairs - whichever is the lower amount. However, it does not replace rental vehicle insurance. 
  • Read your rental terms and conditions. These may include limits on when and where you can drive the rental vehicle. RACV Rental Car Excess will not cover you if you violate your rental agreement.
  • Is there an age restriction? Many rental companies impose maximum or minimum age limits and rules. Check the details before you arrive to avoid any nasty surprises.
new zealand car and campervan insurance
new zealand snow skiing and winter sports insurance

Before you hit New Zealand’s renowned mountain slopes, remember to check your travel insurance to make sure you are covered.

RACV Travel Insurance does cover you for skiing and other winter sports (including tobogganing, snowmobiling and ice skating), provided you add this to your policy and pay any additional premium. However competitive skiing and winter sports aren’t covered.

RACV Travel Insurance covers you for a range of winter sports, learn which activities and sports are included on the adventure travel insurance page.

New Zealand is world renowned as a mecca for adventure sports, so before you take the plunge with a bungee jump, or white-water rafting adventure, make sure you’re covered by your travel insurance.

RACV Travel Insurance will cover a wide range of adventure pursuits as long as the activity:

  • Is conducted through a commercial operator and is available to the public
  • Is not considered extreme risk
  • Does not require any special skills, pre-fitness training program or a high level of fitness.

However, some activities, including heli-skiing, base jumping, sky diving and hang gliding are not covered in any circumstances. Before undertaking any activity, be sure to check with your travel insurance provider whether or not you are covered. 

RACV Travel Insurance covers adventure sports and activities, learn which are included on the adventure travel insurance page.

new zealand adventure sports and activities insurance

The information provided is general advice only. Before making any decisions please consider your own circumstances and the Product Disclosure Statement and Target Market Determinations. For copies, visit racv.com.au. Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV) Ltd AR 001243563 is an authorised representative of the issuer and receives commission for each policy sold or renewed. RACV Travel Insurance issued by Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co., Ltd ABN 80 000 438 291 AFSL 246 548. Terms & conditions apply, refer to the PDS.