Before heading off on my year-long New Zealand working holiday, I had to do a lot of preparation. I had to get my visa, I had to find an affordable flight, I had to pack everything into a carry-on size backpack, and I had to purchase working holiday insurance.
I had trouble finding information about what type of insurance I needed for my working holiday. The New Zealand immigration website only said that I needed to “maintain medical insurance” for the duration of my visa, but that short sentence still left a lot of questions. I asked other travelers who had done working holidays, and they didn’t seem to have much advice. It seemed my only option was to just buy something and hope that I got insurance with proper coverage.
Luckily, I did figure it out. So instead of sending you off to figure it out for yourself too, I’m going to tell you why you need insurance for your working holiday, how to get it, and my top choice for New Zealand working holiday insurance.
Note that this article is written with U.S. citizens in mind. Visa requirements may be different for citizens of other countries, however it is generally required to maintain medical insurance for the duration of your working holiday visa. This article should apply to most visa applicants, but check individual country details.
New Zealand Working Holiday Insurance
Why You Need Insurance
According to the New Zealand working holiday visa guidelines, it is required that you have travel insurance to cover you during your time in the country.
Now, whether or not anyone checks to make sure you have it is debatable. However, there’s no point in risking it, because if someone does check, you could be denied entry and have your visa revoked.
Besides the fact that it may be required for your visa, travel insurance is an important thing to have for any big trip like this. It’s meant to protect you in case something happens, whether it’s an unexpected illness or a full-blown medical emergency.
If you don’t have insurance, you’ll be footing the bill for any accidents or injuries. As a backpacker, the last thing you want to worry about is unexpected expenses.
How to Get Insurance for Your New Zealand Working Holiday
There are a few ways to get New Zealand working holiday insurance:
If you’re from the U.S., you might be able to get insured through a regular health insurance provider. Just check with your provider or search around. The problem with this option is that these companies aren’t geared towards travel, so it’s not really providing the right kind of coverage. It’s health insurance, but that doesn’t cover the full range of possible problems you’ll encounter as a traveler.
Another option is to buy traditional travel insurance to cover you for the full year in New Zealand, however that can be pretty expensive. Most travel insurance companies are focused on providing short-term insurance. Since a typical traveler is only going on holiday for a week, or maybe a month, these insurance packages are going to be priced a bit higher.
The best option for your New Zealand working holiday insurance is to use a company that specializes in providing insurance for this specific situation. I searched through so many providers before settling on one that seemed to cover all the possible incidents I would experience, while keeping prices reasonable.
Orbit Protect Working Holiday Insurance
Why Orbit Protect?
When I began researching Orbit Protect, I was so happy to finally find a provider that wasn’t charging exorbitant prices for things I didn’t need. Traditional travel insurance was overpriced, and health insurance from U.S.-based companies didn’t provide the right type of coverage.
Orbit Protect is based in New Zealand, and they specialize in insurance for international visitors to the country. Whether you’re on a working holiday, studying, or planning to work in New Zealand more permanently, Orbit Protect has a plan for you.
Most importantly, by including only the essentials in their basic insurance plans, Orbit Protect keeps their premiums low.
What Does it Cover?
Orbit Protect’s New Zealand Working Holiday insurance plan includes everything you need:
- Medical Insurance: If you need unexpected medical care or end up in the hospital, your expenses will be covered. This applies only to situations of accidental illness and injury. (Up to $250,000)
- Medical Evacuation: In a medical emergency, you may have to return to your home country. In these instances, travel expenses to your country of origin will be covered.
- Travel Insurance: Covers up to 31 days of travel in nearby destinations (such as Australia & Fiji) during your working holiday period.
- Loss of Deposits: In the case of cancelled travel arrangements, you can be reimbursed for any expenses incurred. That includes accommodations, meals, and loss of deposits. (Up to $50,000)
- Occupational Insurance: You will be automatically insured for any work undertaken in the fields of retail, hospitality, and horticulture. These are the typical working holiday jobs, so this will cover most people.
If you need insurance above and beyond the basic plan, Orbit Protect offers more options:
- Pre-existing Conditions: Pre-existing medical conditions are not automatically covered. An assessment will be made as to whether or not they can cover your pre-existing conditions.
- Baggage Insurance: Orbit Protect also offers an option to insure your property. You can insure specific items, or get a general baggage insurance.
What Does it NOT Cover?
Orbit Protect Working Holiday insurance is not health insurance. That means regular doctor’s visits (medical check-ups), on-going medications, and dentistry expenses are not covered.
This plan is meant to insure you in cases of unexpected injury and illness or emergencies.
This insurance will not cover you if you travel to other countries, unless it is one of their specified countries (mostly South Pacific countries and Australia).
Manual employment is not covered by this insurance plan, unless the work is part of the retail, hospitality, or horticulture industries.
How Much Does Working Holiday Insurance Cost?
Orbit Protect offers a variety of prices depending on how long you intend to stay in New Zealand. This is great because even though your New Zealand working holiday visa will be valid for a year, you might not stay the entire time.
Perhaps you only plan to stay in New Zealand for 6 months. In that case, the basic plan will cost you about $170 NZD. If you are going to spend a full year in New Zealand (like I did), you can expect to pay about $285 NZD.
That’s an entire year of travel insurance for less than $200 USD! Purchasing traditional travel insurance for a year could easily cost you close to $1,000 USD by including coverage for things you don’t need.
Check Orbit Protect’s full pricing menu below
Other New Zealand Insurance Plans from Orbit Protect
Orbit Protect provides great plans for New Zealand working holiday insurance, international students, and those planning to move to New Zealand long-term. In addition to the Working Holiday Insurance plan I outlined above, there are a few more options.
Experience NZ: This plan is for anyone working in New Zealand, or prospective residents. Maybe you’re staying a little longer, you want more coverage (compared to the working holiday plan), or you’re hoping to become a resident.
This plan includes everything I talked about before, plus automatic property cover and a few other benefits. It’s also good for anyone undertaking construction or other trades.
International Student: If you’re going to New Zealand to study, this is the best plan for you. It’s very similar to the working holiday plan, however it was created specifically for international students.
Seasonal Worker Insurance: New Zealand has a huge horticulture/viticulture industry. They have a large need for international workers to come to the country specifically to take on seasonal work in these industries. If you’re a Registered Seasonal Employee, this plan was created for you.
So you’re going to New Zealand on a working holiday visa. You need travel insurance. Now that you’ve (hopefully) read through this post, you have a better idea of what you really need before flying to New Zealand to start your working holiday.
If you’re ready to purchase your New Zealand working holiday insurance plan, click here. You’ll be saving a lot of money by using this plan versus other insurance plans out there.
If you’re not ready to buy insurance yet, I recommend doing two things:
- Bookmark this post to come back to when you are ready.
- Head to the Orbit Protect website to read over the details and full pricing menus.
Looking for more information about the New Zealand Working Holiday? I’m working on more posts to help guide you through the experience, from getting your visa to filing your taxes after it’s over, and everything in between.
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Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you click on my link and purchase something, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. This helps me to continue creating travel content for this blog.
I used Orbit Protect for my New Zealand working holiday insurance before becoming an affiliate, and now I just want to share their product with you.