We get a lot of questions from our readers regarding what options are available for you to obtain the right car insurance in New Zealand. This guide will cover all you need to know about the cost of car insurance in New Zealand; New Zealand car insurance law, and how it actually all works in NZ. A quick navigation bar is below to make your life a little easier!
Do you need car insurance in New Zealand?
How much does car insurance cost in New Zealand?
Are no claims discounts transferable to New Zealand?
Car insurance comparison in New Zealand
Car insurance companies in New Zealand
Car insurance in Auckland
In New Zealand, car insurance isn’t compulsory like it is in the UK and throughout Europe. That being said, just because you don’t need insurance, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. If you’re involved in an accident and you are at fault you could find yourself in quite a financial difficulty.
Rego and ACC
The vehicle registration fee (or rego as it is more fondly called here) is like road tax in the UK but a large portion of the fee collected goes towards ACC (Accident Compensation Corporation). ACC provides support and compensation for personal injuries – i.e. a car accident, whether you are at fault or not. To find out more about the ACC check out our article here! It doesn’t cover the cost of vehicle repair for either party or any other costs associated with a car accident – which can get expensive very quickly.
Coming from the UK, we’ve found car insurance prices in New Zealand to be very agreeable, cheaper – by about a third. In general, it is a lot cheaper to keep a vehicle in NZ. Our fully comprehensive insurance policy with $300 NZD excess, cover for a $7000 NZD car costs $350 NZD per year. Paying for insurance yearly is always going to be cheaper, small administration and interest charges bump up the insurance premiums by as much as 30%. Most banks also charge for direct debit set up cost’s as well, so it is much better to pay it yearly.
Car insurance companies, in general, will accept international no claims bonuses earned on cars outside of New Zealand from countries like the UK and USA. It’s strongly recommended that you bring proof of no claims with you.
Getting car insurance in NZ
Insurance quotes are fairly straightforward, insurers don’t tend to ask half as many questions as you might expect if you are from the UK or USA. Most insurance providers give a quick quote via their websites – these are then finalised over e-mail or telephone call with the insurance company.
The thing that surprised us most about car insurance in NZ is the lack of automation, to get a feel for the market and find the cheapest provider I collected 3 online only, 5 partial telephone / online and two telephone only quotes. We’re kind of used to instant online quotes and easy insurance comparison engines. New Zealand doesn’t really have anything like this – yet. If you like a bargain you’ll probably spend a morning filling out forms and phoning around the different providers to get a sensible quote.
We found State Insurance to be the best provider for us over the five years we have been here. You can actually get a quote online and you can purchase the same day if needs be.
Living in Auckland, you should expect to pay more for car insurance than in Wellington or anywhere else in New Zealand. With a third of the Country compacted into a small city – car insurance is strongly recommended when driving in Auckland.
Driving with a UK or international driving license in New Zealand
You are legally allowed to drive in New Zealand for a period of 12 months using your UK or internationally accepted driver’s license. Some insurers however will not insure drivers with international licenses or bump up the premiums – by as much as $100 from our experience.
Travellers Car Insurance
If you are planning to do a tour of New Zealand, buy a van and hit the south island – that sort of thing tends to be more expensive. With our international driver’s license, we found a couple of insurers would only offer us temporary cover at a much higher per day rate.
It may be worth your while, depending upon how long you plan to stay in New Zealand converting your license to a New Zealand license – the added benefit here is acceptable forms of ID. If you look under 25 here, well it feels more like if you look under 45 then you may be asked for ID to purchase cigarettes and alcohol everywhere – which really gets tiring after a while!
What types of insurance cover are available?
Just as you would expect, New Zealand insurance providers offer third party, third party fire and theft and fully comprehensive policies. Temporary (short term) and annual policies are available.
We also recommend contacting the company you bank with as well and your local insurance broker.
What you need to know about driving in New Zealand
In New Zealand, much like the UK they drive on the left hand side of the road. It is also illegal to park on the right side of the road facing oncoming traffic. We learned this first hand, paid our fine and won’t be doing that again! For more tips about driving in New Zealand check out our article here!
To finish, do shop around and compare insurance, read reviews and find out what others think of their car insurance provider. Remember the cheapest isn’t always the best choice, $50 less for a legal protection or hire car while your vehicle is repaired – in our opinion is no bargain. You might be able to claim these fees back, but may have to upfront the costs., as nobody likes an empty wallet!