Buying a Car in New Zealand Step 4: Car Insurance© Pxhere
Buying a Car in New Zealand Step 4: Car Insurance

How to Get Backpacker Car & Campervan Insurance in New Zealand

© Pxhere
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Article Single Pages©
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How to Get Temporary Car and Campervan Insurance for Backpackers

The final part of any car or campervan-buying process in New Zealand is getting insurance. Although vehicle insurance is not mandatory in New Zealand, it is still a part of the car-buying process that many backpackers or travellers on an extended trip want to include. Some reasons you might want to consider getting backpacker car or campervan insurance in New Zealand are:

  • If you are in a vehicle accident, you will not have to pay the full and potentially huge cost of damages to both your vehicle and any other vehicle involved
  • New Zealand road rules are likely to be different from what you are used to at home, increasing the risk of accidents
  • Even if you are a seasoned driver, there are other idiots on the road who can cause an accident involving your vehicle.

So, if you’re considering covering yourself or your vehicle while backpacking in New Zealand, take a look at our backpacker car insurance guide below to see what car insurance-buying decisions you will need to make.

5 Things to Do Before Getting Backpacker Car or Campervan Insurance

  1. Make sure you have a valid driver’s licence. Find out more in Driving in New Zealand: Everything You NEED to Know
  2. Learn about the road rules in New Zealand, starting with driving on the left side of the road! You can also find more tips in The 15 Essential Driving Rules in New Zealand
  3. Browse the Facebook Groups, TradeMe, hostels, supermarket boards and dealerships to find some vehicles to view
  4. Inspect the vehicle you would like to purchase making sure you inspect the car and take it for a test drive
  5. Fill out the appropriate car purchase paperwork to get ownership of the vehicle.©

Decide What Type of Car Insurance Cover You Want

There are three types of vehicle insurance you can get in New Zealand:

  • Comprehensive covers the cost of damages to your own vehicle, as well as damages to any other vehicle involved.
  • Third-party covers the cost of damages to just the other vehicles involved in the accident.
  • Third-party fire and theft, (usually combined with third-party cover explained above) also cover your own vehicle if stolen or damaged by fire.

Some companies cover the costs of accidental injuries and death involved in a vehicle accident, however, injuries caused by accidents are usually covered by the New Zealand universal cover scheme, ACC, which you can read more about in our guide, What is ACC and Employee Accident Cover?

For more information on the difference between comprehensive and third party, check out our guide to How Car and Campervan Insurance Works in New Zealand.

How to Get Backpacker Car & Campervan Insurance in New Zealand© Unsplash

Choose Who You Want to Insure

By “who” we mean you can insure either a driver or a vehicle.

Insuring the Driver

If insuring a driver, it usually means that that driver is insured when driving any vehicle in New Zealand. Then you can add named drivers to that insurance at an extra cost.

Insuring the Vehicle

If insuring a vehicle, it means any driver of your vehicle holding a valid driver’s license is insured. You don’t have to worry about switching drivers on a long road trip. You can read more about what a valid driver’s license is in Driving in New Zealand: Everything You NEED to Know.

pexels© Pexels

Choose a Duration of Cover

Not all backpackers or working holidaymakers travelling in New Zealand stay for a whole year, so it’s ideal that there are some New Zealand vehicle insurance companies out there offering cover for a shorter duration than the usual one year.

Look for insurance companies that offer insurance in intervals of three, six, nine and 12 months to keep prices lower by only paying for what you need.

Buying a Car in New Zealand Step 4: Car Insurance© Unsplash

Keep an Eye on Excess

“Excess” is also important to understand when comparing backpacker car insurance. The excess is the amount you would have to pay in the event of paying for damage before the insurance company pays for the remainder. Higher excess usually means cheaper insurance prices, while lower excess may mean expensive car insurance.

Insurance Excess Example

If you have an excess of NZ$500 and the damages bill is NZ$5,000, then you will pay NZ$500 and the insurance company will pay NZ$4,500.

For more information on excess and other technicalities of understanding your car insurance, as well as more nitty gritty tips, head to the 10 Things to Know About New Zealand Car Insurance.

Buying a Car in New Zealand Step 4: Car Insurance© Unsplash

How to Choose a Vehicle Insurance Company

Once you have an idea about what type of cover you want, who you want to insure, and the preferred duration of the insurance, this may make choosing an insurance company a little more straightforward. However, not all insurance companies in New Zealand sell insurance to visitors and backpackers, so it’s important to make sure that you search for “temporary” or “backpacker” car/campervan/vehicle insurance when doing your online search.

It’s always smart to make a comparison between insurance companies by getting a quote from a few different companies before deciding on which one to go with.

Your First Quote for Backpacker Car Insurance in New Zealand

To get started on quotes, use the widget below to get a quote from Frogs-in-nz. They offer comprehensive backpacker insurance and you can get a 5% discount just by using the discount code: POCKETGUIDE in the “promo code” field. You’re welcome!

How to Get Backpacker Car & Campervan Insurance in New Zealand© Backpacker Car

Can You Buy Backpacker Cars and Campervans Already Insured in New Zealand?

To alleviate the hassle of buying car insurance once you arrive in New Zealand, get it already included in the purchase of your vehicle. Dealerships like Backpacker Car renovate vehicles themselves so they’re road trip ready for your arrival. Vehicles are fully pre-serviced with an included one-month mechanical warranty and have optional add-ons like insurance, roadside assistance and extended warranties. Then, at the end of your trip, you can sell the vehicle back to the team. Check out their cars and campervans for sale at

Buying a Car in New Zealand Step 4: Car Insurance© Unsplash

What You Need to Buy Backpacker Car and Campervan Insurance

Once you have decided what lovely car insurance you want to purchase, you’ll need to provide some information about the driver and the vehicle. The information asked for by the insurance company may vary depending on what type of cover you are getting, but generally, this is the information you need to have on hand:

  • The driver’s driving license
  • The driver’s passport – you may need your passport number if buying online
  • Year, make, model and registration number of the vehicle
  • Visa or MasterCard to pay online or just your debit card will do if paying in a store.

More About Backpacker Car and Campervan Insurance in New Zealand

Now that you know how to get the best backpacker car and campervan insurance and have followed all the steps of our Buying a Car in New Zealand Step by Step, you are ready to hit the road! Here are a few more articles to help you and your vehicle during your road trip:

Finally, if there’s anything we’ve missed, you’re likely to find it in Driving in New Zealand: Everything You NEED to Know.


The information in this guide has been compiled from our extensive research, travel and experiences across New Zealand and the South Pacific, accumulated over more than a decade of numerous visits to each destination. Additional sources for this guide include the following:

Our editorial standards: At NZ Pocket Guide, we uphold strict editorial standards to ensure accurate and quality content.

About The Author

Robin C.

This article has been reviewed and approved by Robin, who is the co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. With more than 15 years of experience in the New Zealand tourism industry, Robin has co-founded three influential tourism businesses and five additional travel guides for South Pacific nations. He is an expert in New Zealand travel and has tested over 600 activities and 300+ accommodations across the country.

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