Got your camper car or campervan yet? Next thing you should be looking at is campervan insurance in New Zealand. If that’s not already included with your rental company.
By the way, you should read this too if you have a camper car:
Our guide for starting vanlife in New Zealand
But you might be wondering:
Do you really need insurance for your car?
For the first 4 months of our Working Holiday, we were based in Auckland. During that time, we never bought any insurance for our converted camper car.
Well, we did in June but had it cancelled when we realized the insurance wasn’t applicable for our car.
If you don’t travel that often
In our case, we didn’t really need to drive the car much in those first few months. And since our rented room was walking distance from the major supermarkets, we either walked or drove. The roads in Auckland are wide and people generally follow the rules. Another reason was daily carpooling to work in a colleague’s car.
What about road trips?
Insurance for road trips
We did do two that were pretty far from Auckland. We have already explored both Tongariro (for the Tongariro Alpine Crossing hike) and the Coromandel peninsula. Both of these places are than 3 hours’ drive from Auckland. The roads for both journeys could be windy at times but there were few cars and the lorries always let us pass them. Or maybe we were just lucky.
Note: For Tongariro, we thought we had the right insurance. But if anything had happened, we wouldn’t have been able to claim anything. Because our car was not a motorhome according to that insurance company.
Don’t push your luck though. Accidents are very expensive here.
We did some research for several insurance companies before we started our big New Zealand road trip down south in August 2018. Apparently, the roads in the south island are not as easy to drive as those in the north. E.g. gravel roads, icy conditions, etc.
Update (3 Sep, 2018) – we’ve done our big road trip to south island and apart from a few gravel roads, we didn’t have any difficulties as far as road conditions go.
Here’s what we found:
Types of camper car insurance available in New Zealand
There are typically three types of insurance offered for camper cars, in general.
- Third party
- Third party, fire and theft
Third party would only cover the car or property you damaged. Item #2 would cover the same as item #1 in addition to damage from fires or theft involving your car.
Note: It hasn’t happened to us or any of our friends yet but you can have your car broken into here while you leave it in a carpark to go on a hike or something. Not to scare anyone off though. ?
Comprehensive covers the most out of all three insurance types. Hence, it is the most expensive type of car insurance you can get. It usually includes the drivers listed for the car, damage done to an involved third party and most importantly (to us), windscreen damage and replacement.
8 things you should take into account:
Camper car insurance terms to get familiar with
- Excess – in New Zealand, it is generally expected that you have to pay a standard sum of $2000 when you make a claim. The insurance company will pay the rest. No, the $2000 does not include the initial and subsequent insurance payments that you pay monthly or annually to the insurance company. =’(
- Policy duration – Policy is what they call the insurance package. Many companies do not do anything less than 6 months. If they do, then it’s just third-party insurance. And maybe just for camper cars.
- Cancelling a policy – there will be an admin fee of $30-50 but you can cancel your policy after the first 30 or so days (depending on the company). There may be a certain initial grace period where there’s no cancellation fee charged.
- Roadside assistance – Your insurance company may offer unlimited or a certain number of callouts. This is where you can call them if you have any mechanical breakdown (e.g. jumpstart your car, change a tire, etc). If necessary, they might help tow your car too.
- Getting a quote – all of the insurance companies we checked had online forms that will lead you to a quote. This is a rough estimate of the final number you have to pay. You can also call them to get a more accurate quote. At the same time, you can clear any doubts you have. It can be quite a lengthy process so allow up to 20 minutes if you decide to call them.
- Your license and age – the drivers license you carry and your age will impact the final sum quoted. Younger drivers will probably have to pay more since they have less experience. Nationality matters too. We both carry Malaysian drivers licenses (in English) and that drove our quotation price up. Not sure by how much.
- Type of car – The definition of camper car is quite a grey area. Some companies only regard the RVs and motorhomes as camper cars while others include converted cars like ours. Be sure to get this clear when making a quote.
- Listed drivers – when making your quote, please provide the details of anyone in your travel group who might potentially drive the car. If an unlisted driver drives your car and there’s an accident, the policy will not be applicable to them and you may be charged an additional fine. For the companies we checked, there was no change to the final quote regardless of whether we put one or both of our names down.
Every policy and insurance company is slightly different.
Always read the policy terms. You may find that they don’t cover the things you are most worried about. For us, it was the windscreen.
One of the companies we checked out even included claims for natural disasters! But nothing was mentioned about windscreen replacement.
Here’s the list of companies we checked out:
Insurance companies for camper cars
State insurance – don’t do camper cars
AA insurance – only have insurance for registered motorhomes. To get your camper car registered as a motorhome, you gotta first take it to a VTNZ branch for motorhome certification. One of the requirements was ample floorspace which our car just doesn’t have.
Youi insurance – for our car, comprehensive cost $160/month with $1.6k excess. The contents of the car was not included. But natural disasters are.
Vero insurance – comprehensive for our car was $44/month with $2k excess. We ended up going with this one since it covered contents of the car and the windscreen.
Backpackercarworld – only have Third party and Third party, fire and theft insurance. But you can choose from 3 months to 12 months duration. Most of the campervan insurance companies we checked only offer a minimum of 6 months’ duration.
Car accidents can be extremely costly in New Zealand. Even rental car companies insist to include some sort of insurance in their package. We knew we definitely needed insurance for our camper car but didn’t know where to start. Hopefully, this guide has helped to lessen your own confusion on the topic.
Which camper car insurance are you considering for your trip in New Zealand? Leave a comment below.
More on van life in New Zealand here:
Starting vanlife in New Zealand – how to choose and buy a camper car and more
What it was like to sleep in a camper car for the first time in New Zealand
The must-have app for vanlife in New Zealand, CamperMate – here’s a guide on how to make the most of it
Need a rain and windproof jacket to serve your time in New Zealand, regardless of the weather? We recommend the Uniqlo Blocktech Parka – see our review here.
Lastly, pin this post!
Hello, I have booked a Camper van from 31st March to 9th April.
I am travelling from Spain, and due to this C19 virus I might have to cancel.
I am trying to find Insurance for Cancellation.
Can you help please ?
Hi Chris, we’re no expert on insurance. I’m not sure any insurance company would want to take on something as uncertain as corona virus. Did you try contacting the camper van company directly? Appeal to them about the corona situation. I’ve had to do this for my own personal trip in Korea. If not a cancellation and full refund, then the next best option is to postphone.