What Kind of Travel Insurance Do I Need for Trekking in Routeburn Track, New Zealand?

By Neil Clymer

Many people are content to travel to distant places and take in the sights from the relative safety of the sidewalk. There are others, though, that require something a little more thrilling to make their vacation complete, which often means engaging in activities that come with a few added risks. A perfect example of that is the 2-4 day hiking experience that is the Routeburn Track in the South Island of New Zealand.

It's a trekking experience that brings in adventurers from all over the world, but is also one that is not necessarily for the faint of heart. While most people are aware of the need for some form of travel insurance when they head to a new country, very few may be aware that there are different types of insurance available that are pretty much essential to your holiday plans. The travel insurance required by a tourist going on a shopping trip to Auckland is entirely different from that of the trekker who is about to embark on a 4 day trip on the Routeburn Track.

 It should be totally obvious why their needs are different, since the risks involved in each of those trips is at the opposite end of the scale. You need only be told that there are 4 huts along the route, as well as 1 emergency shelter at Harris Saddle to know that the going can get a little rough at times on the Routeburn Track. As you might expect, the type of travel insurance required to go on that trip is quite a bit more extensive than most options.

 The mistake that many make is simply opting for a sports travel insurance package, unaware that they might still be selling themselves a little short should an accident occur during the trip. You really need to read the small print on these types of policies to see what sort of height you are covered up to, as sustaining an injury above that height will render the policy invalid. If you are hell bent on making the trek around Routeburn Track, then you need to make sure that you purchase travel insurance up to 6000m.

 If part of your trip also includes a little bit of climbing on one of the mountains surrounding the track, then you will also need to add mountaineering insurance into your overall package. The key to making sure that you never actually have to use that insurance is to plan well ahead before you make the trip. Compile a checklist of all the items that you need to make it safely around Routeburn Track, especially since many insurance claims end up being for injuries and ailments that could easily have been avoided had you been better prepared. Insurance is in place to cover you in the event of an injury, but it is not there to give you carte blanche to behave in a way that would endanger yourself or others on the trail.

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