Your Safety and Accident & Health Insurance
New Zealand is one of the safest travel destinations in the world, with a relatively low crime rate, few endemic diseases, no poisonous snakes or spiders and a first-class healthcare and accident compensation system. However, we recommend you observe the same precautions with your personal safety and your possessions as you would in any other country or at home.
- Keep copies of your important documents, eg passport and credit cards, and keep them separate from the originals.
- Keep a record of the description and serial number of valuable items, eg digital cameras.
- Take out personal travel insurance
- Variable weather - weather conditions in New Zealand alpine areas can change rapidly. Be prepared for cold wet weather if you plan to visit the National Parks, whatever the time of year.
- Sandflies - in wetter areas, particularly in Fiordland, sandflies can be pests, but are effectively controlled by use of an insect repellent.
- Giardia is a water-borne parasite that causes diarrhoea. To avoid contracting it, it is best not to drink water from lakes, ponds or rivers without first boiling, chemically treating or filtering it.
- Sunburn - New Zealand's clear, unpolluted atmosphere and relatively low latitudes produce sunlight stronger than much of Europe or North America, so be prepared to wear hats and sun block if you plan to be out in the sun for more than 15-20 minutes.
- When in New Zealand dial 111 in emergencies.
With a little care and common sense, your visit to New Zealand should be accident-free. If you are injured here, you may need the help of the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) - New Zealand's accident compensation scheme. In New Zealand, you cannot sue anyone for compensatory damages if you are injured. Instead ACC helps pay for your care - and that means paying towards the cost of your treatment and helping in your recovery while you remain in New Zealand.
You still need to purchase your own travel and medical insurance because ACC does not cover everything. ACC only covers treatment and rehabilitation in New Zealand, and usually you must pay part of the cost yourself. If you have a serious injury, with long-term effects, you may also be eligible to be assessed for lump-sum compensation once the injury is stable. The ACC does not pay any additional costs resulting from an accident, for example delayed or curtailed travel costs, travel home, treatment at home and loss of income in your home country.
We strongly advise you to arrange your own health insurance. New Zealand's public and private medical/hospital facilities provide a high standard of treatment and service but it is important to note these services are not free to visitors, except as a result of an accident.Visitors bringing in a quantity of medication are advised to carry a doctor's certificate to avoid possible problems with New Zealand Customs. Doctor's prescriptions are needed to obtain certain drugs in New Zealand.